It’s official — more people watch streaming services than watch cable TV. In fact, 44% have canceled cable or satellite entirely, according to Nielsen.
Whatever your reason for wanting to cut the cord, you have more options than ever to replace your cable package with a streaming service that includes live TV — something the current No. 1 streaming service, Netflix, can’t provide, and the thing that makes it easy to leave cable behind.
Keep reading to learn about some of the best streaming services for live TV.
What Are the Best Live TV Streaming Services?
Which live TV streaming service is best for you depends on a number of factors, such as what you want to watch and how much you want to spend. Here are six top picks to consider:
- Best overall: DirecTV Stream
- Best variety of programming: Hulu + Live TV
- Best for broadcast TV viewers: YouTube TV
- Best incentives: Sling TV
- Cheapest streaming with live TV: Philo
- Best for sports fans: FuboTV
If the cord you’re cutting is satellite service, DirecTV Stream will be an easy transition. The service offers live and on-demand programming on nearly any device, with no service contract and no hidden fees. According to the DirecTV website, DirecTV Stream has more live sports than any other streaming TV service, plus unlimited cloud digital video recording storage.
For an additional fee, you can purchase the DirecTV Stream Device for a seamless experience across live and on-demand TV, streaming apps and DVR recordings. The device is compatible with over 7,000 Google Play apps and allows for 4K streaming on third-party apps. The box costs $120 new or $49.99 for a certified refurbished model.
All DirecTV Stream plans include streaming on unlimited devices within your home and unlimited cloud DVR storage.
- Entertainment: 75-plus channels, including a selection of news, sports and entertainment, for $69.99 per month
- Choice: 105-plus channels geared toward sports fans, including NBA, Major League Baseball, college networks and regional sports networks, for $89.99 per month
- Ultimate: 140-plus channels that include family programming and movies, including Starz Encore, plus regional sports networks, for $104.99 per month
- Premier: 150-plus channels, including premium networks like Showtime, Starz and Cinemax, plus HBO Max and regional sports networks, for $149.99 per month
DirecTV Stream bundles combine streaming and AT&T Fiber internet service. There are no contracts or equipment fees, and the price is guaranteed for 12 months.
- Entertainment: 300Mbps AT&T Fiber internet plus Entertainment streaming package for $124.99 per month
- Choice: 300Mbps AT&T Fiber internet plus Choice streaming package for $144.99 per month
- Premier: 1GB AT&T Fiber internet plus Premier streaming package for $229.99 per month
DirecTV Stream is currently running special deals, which are subject to change.
- $10 off the Choice, Ultimate or Premier streaming plan for five months
- Three free months of HBO Max, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and Epix with the Entertainment, Choice or Ultimate streaming plan
- $10 off the Choice or Premier bundle for five months
Why We Like DirecTV Stream
Here are some of the features that make DirecTV Stream worth considering:
- Unlimited cloud DVR storage
- $50 off over five months for most plans
- No contracts
Where DirecTV Stream Falls Short
DirecTV Stream has a few issues you should consider before you subscribe.
- Little savings over cable with top plans
- Pricey, though optional, streaming device
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV offers Hulu’s entire streaming library, which includes many current TV shows, plus more than 75 live channels. Specific channel selections vary by location and might include local network affiliates, cable news networks and live games from the NCAA, NBA, NFL and NHL.
Subscribers can have up to six user profiles and can stream on two different screens at the same time within the same home or while on the go. DVR storage is unlimited for live TV, but it’s only stored for nine months. Because there are no contracts, you can change plans or cancel your subscription at any time.
Hulu offers just one plan for live TV. For $69.99 per month, you get Disney+ and ESPN+ in addition to streaming and live TV.
Hulu + Live TV is a bundle, as it includes Disney+ and ESPN+. HBO Max and premium channels, such as Cinemax, Showtime and Starz, can be added for an additional, undiscounted fee after you’ve subscribed.
As of this writing, Hulu has no active deals.
Why We Like Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV has a solid selection of live channels and excellent on-demand programming. Here are other features working in its favor:
- Disney+ and ESPN+ bundled
- No contracts or hidden fees
Where Hulu + Live TV Falls Short
With just one plan, the only way to customize your experience is to opt for pricey premium add-ons. Here are some other drawbacks:
- No option for commercial-free on-demand content
- Two-screen maximum
YouTube TV’s lineup includes over 100 top channels encompassing everything from local broadcast networks to cable news, PBS, MTV, BET, ESPN, the NFL Network and Nickelodeon, plus lots of options to customize your service with premium channels and 4K Plus add-ons. Devices equipped with Google TV provide the best experience, with personal recommendations for all your streaming services and live-channel browsing. But the service is compatible with most devices and allows three simultaneous streams at home or on the go. Travel restrictions apply.
Although YouTube TV only keeps DVR recordings for nine months, there are no limits on storage space, and you can set up a personal library for each account. You can have up to six accounts, with no contract or commitment required.
YouTube TV has two plans to choose from:
- Base Plan: Live TV from over 100 channels across live sports, news and entertainment in English and Spanish for $64.99 per month
- Spanish Plan: Live TV from at least 28 Spanish-language channels for $34.99 per month
YouTube TV subscribers who also subscribe to YouTube Premium watch YouTube Premium content ad-free.
Here are some incentives for new YouTube TV subscribers:
- $10 off the Base Plan for the first three months
- $10 off the Spanish Plan for the first six months
- Two weeks free, cancel anytime
Why We Like YouTube TV
Here are some of YouTube TV’s standout features:
- Great value
- Excellent channel selection
- Spanish-language plan
- Ability to customize membership with sports and entertainment add-ons as well as 4K quality
Where YouTube TV Falls Short
Here are a couple of drawbacks of YouTube TV:
- YouTube Premium not included
- DVR storage limited to nine months
Sling TV has morphed into a full-featured service with expanded channel options but still holds plenty of appeal for cord-cutters who want the basics for a budget-friendly price. Subscriptions start at $35 per month for 31 channels, including ESPN and a couple of news channels. All plans include 50 hours of DVR storage.
Subscribers who prepay two months of Sling receive a free AirTV Mini 4K TV streaming device that’s optimized for Sling but is compatible with most popular streaming services. Alternatively, download the Sling app to watch on most streaming devices and smart TVs.
Add-on packages are available starting at $5 per month. You can choose individual premium networks like Showtime and Acorn or add bundles of themed channels.
Sling TV offers two different plans:
- Orange: 31 channels, including NCAA football and family programming, with streaming on one device for $35 per month
- Blue: 41 channels, including pro football and news, with streaming on up to three devices for $35 per month
You can bundle the Orange and Blue plans to receive 47 channels and stream on one to three devices — one stream for channels included in Orange, three streams for channels included in Blue — for $50 per month.
Sling TV offers plenty of deals to get new customers started.
- $20 refer-a-friend bonus
- Half off your first month’s subscription for any plan
- Half off first month of Premium Pass bundle plus one month of free Showtime, Starz and Epix
- Half off first month of Sling Blue plus Sports Extra
- Half off first month of Sling Orange and Sling Blue plus Sports Extra
- Free and discounted AirTV Mini, AirTV 2, AirTV Anywhere and HD antennas for prepaying subscription fee
Why We Like Sling TV
Sling TV offers several advantages:
- Basic channel selection for basic price
- Many customization options
- Extensive incentives, including free equipment
Where Sling TV Falls Short
Here are a couple of things to consider when deciding whether Sling TV suits your needs:
- Might get more channels with basic cable than with Orange plan
- Limited availability of broadcast networks
Philo is the lowest-priced live TV streaming service in this roundup, and it offers a lot of value for the money. You get at least 60 channels, including news, weather and cable favorites like HGTV, BET, AMC, Nickelodeon and MTV. What’s more, Philo gives you up to 10 profiles per account and allows streaming on three devices at the same time. Unlimited live- and future-show DVR recording is also included, and you can save your recorded programs for up to a year. There are no contracts or hidden fees.
If the basic plan isn’t comprehensive enough for your needs, you can add Sony Movies, Starz, Epix, Reelz, HDNet Movies or Starz Encore for an additional fee.
Philo offers just one plan — $25 per month for 60-plus channels.
Philo doesn’t offer bundles at this time.
Philo is currently offering a seven-day free trial.
Why We Like Philo
Philo has just what many consumers want, and not a bit more:
- Basic selection of programs for a rock-bottom price
- Ability to add movie channels
- Available on most devices
Where Philo Falls Short
For $25 a month it’s hard to complain, but Philo’s back-to-basics approach isn’t for everyone.
- Limited add-on options
- Add-on prices not disclosed on website
Sports fans, rejoice — this one’s for you. FuboTV offers a comprehensive selection of channels — up to 235, depending on the plan — but its claim to fame is the 130-plus sports events you can stream live in 4K. PGA Tour, Nascar, NFL Red Zone, Premier League, Major League Baseball, Liga MX and Ligue 1 are some of the sports programming you can get with this service. That’s in addition to the NFL Network, ESPN, NBA League Pass and a broad selection of other sports channels included in the various packages.
FuboTV isn’t all sports, however. Broadcast networks, HGTV, cable news, Fox and Nickelodeon are just a few of the general programming channels the service also provides.
FuboTV has a long list of add-ons for its plans. They include movies, sports, news, Fox Extra, foreign-language programming and additional general channels familiar to cable subscribers.
As with the other services, FuboTV requires no commitment, and you can cancel anytime. Most plans allow for streaming on up to 10 screens at home and two on the go. The Latino plan offers 250 hours of cloud DVR space. The other plans offer 1,000 hours.
FuboTV offers several different plans:
- Pro: 136 channels and 100-plus sporting events for $69.99
- Elite: 198 channels and 130-plus sporting events in 4K, 70 additional channels with Fubo Extra and News Plus, for $79.99 per month
- Ultimate: 235 channels and 130-plus sporting events in 4K, 70 additional channels with Fubo Extra and News Plus, Showtime live and on-demand and Sports Plus with NFL Redzone, for $99.99 per month
- Latino: 45 channels and 100-plus sporting events, streaming on two screens at once, for $24.99 per month
Each plan already has add-on services bundled into it. DVR storage, for example, is normally $16.99 per month, and three-screen Family Share is normally $5.99 per month. These upgrades are also available individually on plans that don’t already have them.
FuboTV is currently offering a free trial.
What We Like About FuboTV
FuboTV has a lot to offer serious sports fans:
- Outstanding selection of sports programming
- Live sports events
- Decent selection of non-sports channels
- Several plans, including a Spanish-language one
- Plenty of upgrade options
Where FuboTV Falls Short
It’s hard to find fault with FuboTV, but there is some room for improvement.
- Limited selection of add-on movie channels
- Limited perks with Latino plan
Tips for Getting Started With Live TV Streaming
One thing holding some back from cutting the cable cord is losing local network affiliate stations such as ABC, CBS and NBC. But there’s an easy fix: If you live close enough to the nearest station and have a clear line of sight, you can view these broadcast stations for free using an HD TV antenna.
You can watch any of the streaming services listed here on most any device, including smart TVs, computers, tablets or smartphones. However, fast broadband internet is a must — specifically, you’ll want a minimum of 3Mbps for standard streaming and 16 to 25Mbps for 4K streaming, CNET reported. Your network speed will vary according to whether you’re using a wired or wireless connection and how many devices you have connected. Large households with multiple people streaming at once might need as much as 100Mbps for high-quality video.
Is Live TV Streaming Worth It?
Live TV streaming can be a terrific value if you use it as a replacement for cable — depending on the plan you subscribe to, of course. If you’re an infrequent TV viewer, you’ll get the most for your money by selecting the least-expensive plan with the channels you watch the most. TV fanatics, including sports fans, who fear missing out on the newest and best TV blockbusters will have to spend more, but the combination of on-demand and live TV might allow you to eliminate streaming subscriptions that are only on demand.
Information is accurate as of Nov. 2, 2022. Prices, deals and availability of channels are subject to change and may vary by location.