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Best Live TV Streaming Services

Explore the pros and cons of the best live TV streaming service and find the right one for your needs.
by Erin Gobler — 
sling-tv-vs-philo.jpg

Simpson33 / iStock / via Getty Images

Best Live TV Streaming Services

Best Overall: YouTube TV Best for On-Demand Streaming: Hulu + Live TVBest Affordable Streaming Service: Sling TVBest for Sports Fans: fuboTVBest for Regional Sports: DirecTV StreamBest for Entertainment & Lifestyle: Philo
  • Vast channel lineup
  • Unlimited DVR space
  • Includes local and sports channels
  • Access to Hulu's extensive on-demand library
  • Bundle includes Disney+ and ESPN+
  • Offers local and sports networks
  • Budget-friendly pricing
  • Flexible plans and bundle options
  • Variety of sports channels available
  • Big channel lineup, with many sports channels included
  • 10+ streams with some plans
  • Up to 1,000 hours of DVR storage
  • Access to regional sports networks such as Bally Sports
  • 40,000+ on-demand shows and movies
  • Some packages include premium channels
  • Cheapest pricing
  • Plenty of entertainment and lifestyle programming
  • Unlimited DVR

These days, it seems like everyone is replacing their traditional cable plan with a streaming service. And with so many options on the market, it's become easier than ever. Streaming services now offer all of the same features you love about your cable provider, including regional and national sports, news, local channels, and your favorite entertainment. And with all of the add-ons available, these streaming services are far more customizable than cable.

Get to know the best live TV streaming services on the market today and how to choose the best service for your home.

What are the best live TV streaming services?

Compare top live streaming services


YouTube TVHulu + Live TVSling TVfuboTVDirecTV StreamPhilo
Starting monthly price $65/mo.$70/mo.$35/mo.$70/mo.$70/mo.$25/mo.
Free trial Up to 14 daysNoneNoneSeven daysSeven daysSeven days
Live channels 85+85+30+127+65+60+
Local channels? X
Sports channels? X
Number of simultaneous streams ThreeTwoOne-ThreeTwoThreeThree
DVR storage UnlimitedUnlimited50 hours1,000 hoursUnlimitedUnlimited
Number of account users SixSixOneSixOne10
Picture quality Up to 4KUp to 4KUp to 720p HDUp to 4KUp to 4KUp to 1080p Full HD
On-demand library
Offline viewing XXX

Choosing the Right Live TV Streaming Service

There's no shortage of live TV streaming services on the market to help replace your traditional cable service. It's important to compare the features of each service to find the one that best fits your needs. Here are a few factors to consider when shopping for the best streaming service:

  • Price: One of the reasons so many people switch away from traditional cable is the high price tag. Live tv streaming services range in price from just $25 to more than $100, so it's important to go into knowing what you want to spend.
  • Channels included: Most of the streaming services on our list include impressive channel line-ups. If there are certain channels you find yourself watching often, be sure any service you consider offers them.
  • Simultaneous streams: Households with multiple people are likely to have times where more than one screen is streaming at the same time. Some of the services on our list don't support multiple simultaneous streams, so be sure the service you choose supports everyone in your household.
  • Compatible equipment: Chances are that all the major streaming services will be compatible with the smart TV or streaming device you already have, but it's important to double-check.

Best Overall Live TV Streaming Service: YouTube TV
Price: $65/mo.

Pros

  • Large channel lineup
  • Simple pricing and plan structure
  • Local and sports channels included
  • The only service to offer unlimited cloud DVR
  • Additional sports and entertainment add-ons
  • 2,000+ on-demand titles

Cons

  • Regional sports networks may not be available
  • 4K and offline viewing only available for an extra cost

What to Watch on YouTube TV

Your YouTube TV subscription comes with access to more than 85 channels, meaning most people can find something to watch. The service comes with several sports channels, including ESPN, MLB Network, NBA TV, and NFL Network. You can also upgrade your sports viewing experience with the Sports Plus add-on. YouTube TV also comes with access to local channels, as well as your favorite network entertainment and news channels.

Best for On-Demand Streaming: Hulu + Live TV
Price: $70/mo.

Pros

  • Access to Hulu's large on-demand library, including Hulu original movies and series
  • Large channel lineup
  • Local and sports channels included
  • Additional sports and entertainment add-ons
  • Add-ons for entertainment, unlimited screens, enhanced DVR, and more
  • Bundle with Disney+ and ESPN+ to save on monthly costs

Cons

  • Fewer channels than other live TV streaming services
  • Confusing pricing scheme
  • Only 50 DVR hours (unlimited DVR space starting on April 13)
  • No-ads plan doesn't apply to live TV

What to Watch on Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV offers all of your favorite sports, news, and entertainment networks, as well as access to your local channels. You also get access to Hulu's large on-demand library, which includes more than 4,000 titles, including many Hulu original movies and series. Finally, people love the Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+ bundle, which allows you to purchase all three streaming services at a lower price.

Best Affordable Live TV Streaming Service: Sling TV
Price: $35/mo.

Pros

  • Affordable pricing for all three plans
  • Includes many sports channels
  • Add-ons for sports, entertainment, news, lifestyle, kids, and more
  • Add-on bundle gives you access to four add-ons at a discounted rate
  • Flexible plan structure so everyone can choose the right one

Cons

  • Fewer channels than other live TV streaming services
  • Live channels aren't included and require an antenna
  • Only 50 DVR hours
  • Number of simultaneous streams depends on the plan

What to Watch on Sling TV

While Sling TV offers a smaller channel line-up than its competitors, you'll still have access to 30+ channels for the Sling Orange plan, 40+ channels for the Sling Blue plan, and 50+ channels for the Sling Orange & Blue plan. You can also choose from many add-ons, and since Sling TV is so affordable to begin with, they won't break the bank. The two major plans are each designed for a certain type of viewer. The Orange plan is good for NCAA football and families, while the Blue plan is good for pro football and news. The Orange & Blue plan provides the benefits of both plans, meaning it works for everyone.

Best for Sports Fans: fuboTV
Price: $65/mo.

Pros

  • Large channel line-up, starting at 100+ channels
  • Pro and Elite plans allow for 10+ simultaneous streams
  • Up to 1,000 hours in cloud DVR storage
  • Optional Latino Quarterly plan for Spanish TV

Cons

  • Doesn't include some local and regional sports channels
  • One of the more expensive streaming services
  • Some add-ons are very expensive
  • 4K streaming isn't widely available

What to Watch on fuboTV

FuboTV comes with one of the largest channel line-ups of any live TV streaming service, but it's particularly good for sports lovers. The standard plans include sports channels including NBC Sports, ESPN, NFL Network, Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, and many more. FuboTV also offers sports add-ons including NBA League Pass, Sports Plus with NFL RedZone, and Sports Lite, which comes with NBA TV, NHL Network, MLB Network, and more.

Best for Regional Sports: DirecTV Stream
Price: $70/mo.

Pros

  • Access to such regional sports as Bally Sports
  • More than 40,000 on-demand titles
  • Large channel line-up with certain packages
  • Three months HBO Max free when you sign up
  • Up to 20 simultaneous streams

Cons

  • Limited 4K streaming options
  • More expensive than other live TV streaming services
  • Small channel line-up for the cheapest package
  • Regional sports networks not included with the cheapest package
  • Only 20 hours of DVR storage

What to Watch on DirecTV Stream

One of the real stand-out features of DirecTV Stream over its competitors is access to regional sports networks including Bally Sports. Big sports fans who hate to miss a game will especially appreciate this feature, which is included in three of the four packages. DirecTV Stream also has a surprisingly large on-demand library with more than 40,000 titles, meaning just about everyone should be able to find something to watch.

Best for Entertainment and Lifestyle Content: Philo
Price: $25/mo.

Pros

  • Cheapest live TV streaming price
  • Large selection of entertainment and lifestyle content
  • Unlimited DVR hours
  • Move add-ons to expand your plan
  • Simple pricing structure

Cons

  • No 4K streaming
  • Sports channels aren't included
  • Small channel line-up compared to most competitors
  • No access to local channels

What to Watch on Philo

Philo is missing many of the channels you might expect from a live TV streaming service, including sports, news, and local channels. Where this streaming service really shines is the entertainment and lifestyle content. You'll have access to more than 60 channels, most of which fit into the entertainment and lifestyle category. All of the add-ons available also fall into the entertainment category, as they include STARZ, EPIX, and other movie channels.

Our Recommendation

With so many live TV streaming services to choose from, it's easy to find a replacement for your traditional cable plan. Of all your available options currently, YouTube TV is the best live streaming service for most people, thanks to its simple plan structure, large channel line-up, unlimited DVR hours, and other stand-out features.

While YouTube TV is the best for most customers, each of the other streaming services on our list has some serious benefits. For example, if you're looking for a service to replace not only your cable plan but also your on-demand streaming services, then you'd probably prefer Hulu + Live TV. Similarly, there are other streaming services that are best suited to sports fans or customers on a budget. Ultimately, the best live TV streaming service for you depends on what features and channels you're looking for.