live tv streaming service
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The best live TV streaming services

YouTube TV is our top pick for the price and its customization options.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

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Cutting the cable cord continues to be a hot topic of conversation, with some TV viewers thinking that getting rid of their cable subscription means letting go of live TV altogether. That may have been true a decade ago, but within the past five years, streaming services have responded to consumers' need for live content in addition to on-demand programming. And it seems to be working well for those platforms. 

A March 2022 study shows that live streaming services, also known as virtual multichannel video programming distributors, are on the rise, picking up 7.6 percent more subscribers than the year before. Meanwhile, approximately 25.5 million U.S. households dropped their cable provider between 2016 and 2021, and it's predicted that by the end of 2023, less than half of U.S. households will have a traditional cable subscription.

Why are so many people making the switch? Well, streaming services with live TV components aren't typically as pricey as standard cable providers and most of these multichannel video companies don't force you to sign a long-term contract, giving you the freedom to cancel whenever you want. Also, the ability to consolidate your live and on-demand entertainment onto one platform is pretty appealing. To help you navigate these potentially new waters, we've created a guide to the best live TV streaming services.

Best live TV streaming services

youtube tv

Best overall: YouTube TV

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  • Base price: $54.99/month for first 3 months
  • No. of plans: 2
  • Free trial? Yes
  • No. of concurrent streams: 3

Pros & cons

Pros

  • More than 85 channels
  • Unlimited DVR space
  • No contracts — customers can cancel whenever they want
  • Four add-on options, including a Sports Plus package

Cons

  • No ad-free plan
  • 4K Ultra High Definition playback isn't available for all content

Why we chose it

YouTube TV's wide variety of offerings probably mimics traditional cable packages the most out of any streaming service on this list. The Base plan (starting at $54.99 per month) comes with more than 85 news, entertainment, sports, and local channels (to see the full lineup for your area, enter your zip code on the homepage).

Sports aficionados have access to four ESPN channels, the MLB Network, the NFL Network, NBA TV, the Golf Channel, and more. There's also a Sports Plus ($10.99 per month) add-on that unlocks another dozen channels, including beIN Sports' international coverage.

Spanish speakers get their own base plan, starting at $24.99 per month, and can upgrade their package with the Spanish Plus add-on for an additional $14.99 per month. There's also an add-on for entertainment ($29.99 per month) and one for 4K viewing ($14.99 per month).  

The fact that YouTube TV offers a free trial and allows users to stream on up to three different devices at once is icing on the cake. The one thing we'd change are the amount of ads, which are a little too reminiscent of basic cable for our taste.

Read our full review of YouTube TV.

Hulu

Best TV bundles: Hulu + Live TV

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  • Base price: $69.99 per month
  • No. of plans: 2
  • Free trial? No
  • No. of concurrent streams: 2

Pros & cons

Pros

  • More than 75 live TV channels
  • Access to everything in Hulu's streaming library
  • Bundle includes Disney+ and ESPN+
  • Ad-free option for on-demand programming

Cons

  • No free trial for the live TV service
  • List of local channels is somewhat limited

Why we chose it

Thanks to its partnerships with Disney+ and ESPN+, Hulu has the best bundles in the streaming game. With Hulu's live TV plan ($69.99 per month), customers get access to Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+'s streaming libraries, as well as 75+ live channels. And for $6 extra each month, users don't have to sit through ads while watching on-demand content.  

On top of the bundle, users can customize their platforms with other add-ons. Here's a quick rundown:

  • Entertainment ($7.99/month): includes more news, reality TV, cooking, and crafting shows, plus hundreds of movies.
    • Examples: Cooking Channel, Discovery Family, Magnolia Network
  • Sports ($9.99/month): six additional sports channels.
    • Examples: NFL RedZone, Outdoor Channel, MavTV
  • Español ($4.99/month): includes Spanish-language news, sports, and entertainment.
    • Examples: CNN en Español, ESPN Deportes, NBC Universo
  • Premium: allows you to add a single network to your plan.
    • Available partners: HBO Max ($14.99/month), Showtime ($10.99/month), Cinemax ($9.99/month), and Starz ($8.99/month)
  • Unlimited Screens ($9.99/month): no cap on the amount of streams happening at once.

One downside to Hulu's service is that there's no free trial for the live TV feature, so you're committed to paying for at least one full month.

fubotv

Best for live sports streaming: fuboTV

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  • Base price: $69.99 per month
  • No. of plans: 4
  • Free trial? Yes
  • No. of concurrent streams: 3

Pros & cons

Pros

  • Base plan comes with nearly 130 channels
  • Includes 100+ sporting events
  • Five sports-focused add-on options
  • 1,000 hours of DVR space

Cons

  • Price can quickly balloon to more than $100 per month
  • No guaranteed access to regional sports networks

Why we chose it

FuboTV has the most comprehensive sports coverage out of its live TV streaming competitors. The base plan ($69.99 per month), which is confusingly called the Pro plan, offers a slew of channels, including ESPN, CBS Sports, FS1, FS2, beIN Sports, the Golf Channel, and the Big 10 Network. But the five sports add-on packages are where customers can really personalize their experience to fit their interests:

  • NBA League Pass ($14.99/month): watch up to 40 out-of-market NBA games per week.
  • Sports Plus with NFL RedZone ($10.99/month): includes top NCAA games, NBA TV, NHL Network, MLB Network, and more channels.
  • Sports Lite ($9.99/month): includes eight additional channels, three of which are NBA TV, the NHL Network, and the MLB Network.
  • International Sports Plus ($6.99/month): caters specifically to soccer fans and covers the world's biggest tournaments.
  • Adventure Plus ($4.99/month): includes channels that focus on outdoor and extreme sports like fishing, motorsports, and more.

One area where fuboTV could improve its live coverage is regional sports. Depending on where you live, you may or may not have access to local sports channels. Unsurprisingly, the regional feeds tend to center around major metropolitan areas like New York City, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia.

directv stream

Best for live local TV streaming: DirecTV Stream

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  • Base price: $69.99 per month
  • No. of plans: 4
  • Free trial? Yes
  • No. of concurrent streams: 20

Pros & cons

Pros

  • Every channel lineup includes local TV stations
  • Regional sports networks are in three of the four plans
  • Unlimited DVR storage across all plans
  • More than 40,000 on-demand titles

Cons

  • The plans are expensive
  • Local channels aren't accessible in all zip codes

Why we chose it

DirecTV Stream prioritizes local channels in its lineups. Before signing up, you can see exactly what channels are available in your zip code for each of the four plans: Entertainment ($69.99 per month), Choice ($89.99 per month), Ultimate ($104.99 per month), and Premier ($149.99 per month). The latter three also include regional sports networks (the amount is determined by your zip code). For instance, a Chicago zip code comes with nine local channels and two regional sports networks covering all of the Windy City's major teams.

Of course, news, entertainment, and kid-friendly channels are also represented, and DVR space is unlimited no matter which package you choose. DirecTV is unparalleled when it comes to concurrent streams, seeing as users can watch on up to 20 devices at home and three while they're away, making the service ideal for families of any size.

Though DirecTV's plans are pricier than competitors', you get a lot of bang for your buck. The Premier package comes with more than 150 channels, 65,000 on-demand titles, and access to HBO Max, Cinemax, Showtime, and Starz's streaming libraries.

philo

Cheapest live TV streaming: Philo

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  • Base price: $25 per month
  • No. of plans: 1
  • Free trial? Yes
  • No. of concurrent streams: 3

Pros & cons

Pros

  • Lowest price across live TV streaming services
  • Comes with more than 60 channels
  • Unlimited DVR space and recordings last for up to a year
  • Customers can cancel their subscription at any time

Cons

  • No local or broadcast channels
  • No live sports

Why we chose it

If you're looking for a cheap live TV plan, we recommend Philo. For $25 per month, subscribers get more than 60 channels. Unlike its competitors, Philo does not stream major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC) or popular cable channels like CNN and ESPN, but you will find lifestyle and entertainment channels, including HGTV, Hallmark, Discovery, and the Food Network.

There are also three different add-ons available. Movies & More ($3 per month) is made up of five film-focused channels, including Reelz and Sony Movies. The Epix add-on ($6 per month) includes three of the network's channels, which run original programming, popular films, and recently released movies. The Starz add-on ($9 per month) is dedicated to the premium network's programming, airing shows like Outlander, Power, and Blindspotting.

If you tend to watch a lot of news and sports coverage, Philo is not the streaming service for you. But you can still test out the platform using the seven-day free trial.

sling tv

Best plan options: Sling TV

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  • Base price: $35 per month
  • No. of plans: 3
  • Free Trial? No
  • No. of concurrent streams: 1–3

Pros & cons

Pros

  • Two distinct base plans, plus one that merges them
  • Relatively affordable
  • No annual contract
  • 55 add-on options

Cons

  • HD antenna required to receive local news and sports channels
  • Only 50 hours of DVR storage available across all plans 
  • Sling Orange channels only allow for one stream at a time

Why we chose it

Though Sling TV falls short in some areas (like simultaneous streams and DVR space), we really like how the service's three plans and add-ons are sorted. On one hand, you have Sling TV Orange ($35 per month), which is targeted at families and college sports fans (channels include Disney, Freeform, and ESPN). On the other hand, you have Sling TV Blue ($35 per month), which may appeal more to news watchers and professional sports followers thanks to channels such as CNN, BBC America, Fox Sports 1, and the NFL Network. The third plan combines the Orange and Blue lineups into one package ($50 per month), which comes out to nearly 50 channels.

But the add-ons are really where Sling TV shines. Subscribers can essentially create their own streaming package by choosing from 55 different extras that represent various interests. For example, the lifestyle add-on ($6 per month) includes channels like Hallmark, WE tv, and Oxygen, which aren't available in the Orange and Blue plans. The Sports add-on ($11 per month) will get you NFL RedZone, beIN Sports, and NBA TV, among others. Singular premium channels cost between $3 and $10 per month.

One drawback to Sling is that while local news and sports channels are free to access, subscribers must order an HD antenna for the feeds to work.

vidgo

Best basic live TV package: Vidgo

Sign up now
  • Base price: $59.95 per month
  • No. of plans: 3
  • Free trial? No
  • No. of concurrent streams: 3

Pros & cons

Pros

  • More than 110 channels in the basic package
  • Lower monthly cost than many competitors
  • Access to additional content with TV Everywhere feature
  • 24-hour playback

Cons

  • No add-ons
  • Customers only get 20 hours of free DVR

Why we chose it

Vidgo is a no-frills service that has most of the broadcast and cable channels you'd expect, though it is missing a few key networks (namely NBC, CBS, and CNN). Still, the platform's basic plan, which is referred to as the Plus plan, is arguably the best low-level package we've seen. For the amount of channels you get, the price ($59.95 per month) is a steal and the advanced playback feature lets you watch live shows or events you missed up to 24 hours after they've aired. 

In addition to the Plus plan, Vidgo offers a Premium package for $79.95 per month, which includes 150+ channels, and a Spanish Mas package ($29.95 per month) with Spanish-language channels.

Unfortunately, there aren't any add-ons offered, so the existing channel lineups are what you get. But Vidgo's TV Everywhere feature does provide access to additional content through various network apps as well as local channels that aren't available with your subscription.

Final verdict

For live TV streaming, we recommend YouTube TV. The service is easy to navigate and offers many of the channels you'd get with a traditional cable provider. Plus, it's a great value at $64.99 per month ($54.99 for the first three months) and comes with unlimited DVR space. 

While YouTube TV has something for everyone, the best live TV streaming service for you ultimately demands on the type of content you want to watch. Sports aficionados will appreciate the customization capabilities of fuboTV, which has five different sports-focused add-ons. If you're worried about losing your local channels by cutting the cable cord, they're a big part of DirecTV Stream's lineup, as are regional sports networks. TV watchers who want their fill of entertainment may be satisfied with Philo's $25-a-month subscription, which is heavy on reality TV, lifestyle, and kids channels.

Compare the best live tv streaming services

Service

Base price

No. of plans

Free trial?

No. of concurrent streams

YouTube TV
Best overall

$54.99/month for first 3 months

2

Yes

3

Hulu + Live TV
Best TV bundles

$69.99/month

2

No

2

fuboTV
Best for live sports streaming

$69.99/month

4

Yes

3

DirecTV Stream
Best for live local TV streaming

$69.99/month

4

Yes

20

Philo
Cheapest live TV streaming

$25/month

1

Yes

3

Sling TV
Best plan options

$35/month

3

No

1–3

Vidgo
Best basic live TV package

$59.95/month

3

No

3

Frequently asked questions

Sling TV vs. Hulu + Live TV: Which is better?

It's difficult to directly compare these two streaming services since Sling TV doesn't have a massive library of original and on-demand content like Hulu does. If you're a less is more type of person who wants to tailor their viewing experience directly to their needs, Sling TV is a budget-friendly option (starting at $35 per month) that can help you do that. But the best way to bundle is with Hulu, which includes Disney+ and ESPN+ in its monthly price (starting at $69.99 per month).

Does Roku have YouTube TV?

Yes, you can access the YouTube TV app through your Roku device. Just search for the app and add it to your account. If you're new to YouTube TV, you can also sign up for a free trial on your Roku device.

How do you get local channels without cable?

Most live TV streaming services offer local channels, though availability differs depending on your location. If a platform has local content as part of its lineup, you can usually enter your zip code to see what channels you'll be able to get before signing up. Our pick for best local TV streaming is DirecTV Stream because it has the most local offerings, including regional sports networks.

Methodology

To find the best live TV streaming services on the market, we reviewed nearly 45 platforms by looking at more than a dozen criteria points. A service's live TV offerings were weighted most heavily, but we also considered its full list of features, including on-demand options, as well as add-ons such as discounted streaming bundles.

When researching a streamer, our data collection team noted the number of channels and range of genres (news, entertainment, etc.) available, the breadth of sports coverage offered, and the service's compatibility with a variety of devices. We also took into account subscription prices, whether or not the platform offers an ad-free plan for on-demand content, and the amount of DVR storage space allotted.

Finally, we kept track of how many simultaneous streams each service allows and whether subscribers are made to sign a long-term contract. The platforms that performed best had an impressive amount of live TV channels and a solid basic package with the option to customize using add-ons.

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