Top Streaming Live TV Services


You just got your cable or satellite TV bill and the monthly subscription increased dramatically, perhaps even doubling, because your long-term contract expired, and all your promotions suddenly vanished. Sometimes a call to a subscriber specialist at the cable or satellite TV company will resolve the issue and they will place you on another long-term contract. That is great. You got another long-term contract and you will not have to deal with the subscription again for another year or so but if you’re looking to cut the cord, here are the top streaming live TV services.

In the past, that was a great option because there was not a lot of competition. Most cable companies have defined service areas, so you more than likely can only deal with the one designated for your region. For satellite, there really was only few options. Combine that with a nascent streaming TV environment where there were not that many viable options to choose from and so, going with that renewed long-term contract made sense.

However, over the last few years, the landscape of streaming TV services, not to be confused with on-demand streaming video services like Netflix, has changed dramatically. Sure, there was Playstation Vue and a few others on the market that offered good products but not that many people really knew that much about them. PS Vue, perhaps one of the best streaming TV services, was unfortunately viewed as a Playstation only service, which it wasn’t (Sonl shut down the service January 2020).

Part of increased visibility for streaming TV services was the entry by Google into the market. They launched YouTube TV in several test markets with great success and 2019 became a year where more US consumers paid for streaming services than those who subscribed to traditional pay TV services, according to a study by the consulting firm, Deloitte. Yeah, some of that was demographics. You not only had the cord cutters but also the cord nevers, younger consumers who have never subscribed to traditional pay TV services.

All of this has combined to create a perfect storm where consumers are looking for lower cost, greater personalization and month-to-month contracts where the ability to change services is as simple as downloading and launching the app. Yeah, there is some hardware you need for your TV but between smart TVs that come with many of the apps already installed, streaming sticks like Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, etc., or game consoles like Xbox One, where you can access streaming TV apps, it isn’t that complicated. Or you can access the apps on your computer, tablet or smartphone. So, for many people it isn’t a question of whether they are going to cut the cord but what streaming TV service should they choose.

YouTube TV Top Streaming Live TV Services

YouTube TV - Top Streaming Live TV Services

Monthly Cost: $49.99
No. of Channels: 70
Local Channels: Yes (all major networks)
DVR: Yes (unlimited)
No. of Screens: 3 simultaneous
Compatible Devices: Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox One, Playstation 4, LG, Samsung, Vizio, Sharp, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac

If you’re looking for the closest thing to a cable or satellite TV replacement, YouTube TV is it. One basic subscription gets you 70 channels, including all the major network local channels. The channel lineup features a good blend of family, lifestyle, news and sports programming. There is usually a 2 week free trial you can opt into.

Hulu + Live TVTop Streaming Live TV Services

Hulu + Live TV - Top Streaming Live TV Services

Monthly Cost: $54.99
No. of Channels: 65 + Hulu Video Streaming (add-ons available)
Local Channels: Yes (all major networks)
DVR: Yes (50 hours + 200-hour add-on)
No. of Screens: 2 simultaneous
Compatible Devices: Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox One, LG, Samsung, AndroidTV, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4

A little more expensive than YouTube TV but with a pretty impressive package that is more than a suitable replacement for cable or satellite TV. Basic subscription for Hulu + Live TV includes local channels plus a good selection of popular family, lifestyle, news and sports programming. It also comes with Hulu video streaming, which is cool and 50 hours of DVR storage. They also have upgrade options such as premium networks that include HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and Starz; enhanced DVR that features 200 hours; unlimited screens; and network add-ons that feature additional programming. The add-ons cost extra and could drive your subscription cost up significantly but you have the opportunity to choose.

Sling TVTop Streaming Live TV Services

Sling TV - Top Streaming Live TV Services

Monthly Cost: Varies, depending on whether you subscribe to Sling Blue, Sling Orange, Sling Blue+Orange, plus other add-ons you may want

Sling Blue: $30/month
No. of Channels: Depends on area but around 38
No. of Screens: 3 simultaneous

Sling Orange: $30/month
No. of Channels: Depends on area but around 28
No. of Screens: 3 simultaneous

Sling Orange+Blue: $45/month
No. of Channels: Depends on area but around 44. As you can tell, there is overlap between Sling Blue and Sling Orange; however, the channels that don’t overlap may be worth the $15/extra per month for you.
No. of Screens: 4 simultaneous

Sling Extras: Yes, there are add-on channels for both Sing Blue and Sling Orange. They include sports, comedy, kids, news, lifestyle, Hollywood and heartland. These extras range from $10 to $5 per month. If you subscribe to Sling Blue and Sling Orange, you will get both Sling Blue Sports and Sling Orange Sports for $15/month

Local Channels: No
DVR: Yes. You get 10 hours as part of your subscription or you can upgrade to 50 hours for an extra cost of $5/month
Compatible Devices: Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox One, LG, Samsung, AirTV, AndroidTV, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Oculus, Portal

If you’re looking for something that is modular in terms of what you can subscribe to through the service, that is Sling TV. It is an adequate replacement for cable or satellite TV. However, navigating its various subscriptions can be frustrating but it will offer you choice, including several other package options such as Sling Latino and Sling International. That choice does come at a price. If you subscribe to Sling Orange+Blue and add on the additional sports plus the upgraded DVR service, you’re at $65 and you still won’t have local channels. Plus the DVR will be capped at 50 hours. Overall, if you can live with the Sling Blue subscription and no extras, then you’re set. Most people though will want more and that is when Sling TV starts to lose its appeal.

AT&T TV Now Top Streaming Live TV Services

AT&T TV Now - Top Streaming Live TV Services

Monthly Cost: $55 for Plus / $80 for Max
No. of Channels: 45 + channels for Plus / 60 + channels for Max (Includes HBO & Cinemax)
Local Channels: Yes (all major networks)
DVR: Yes (500 hours)
No. of Screens: 3 simultaneous
Compatible Devices: Chromecast, Apple TV, Fire TV, Samsung, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac

Used to be called DirecTV Now but rebranded under AT&T TV Now. The basic package is a good package and features some channels other streaming TV services don’t but, on the flip side, they don’t have some of the channels others do, so you will have to do your comparisons based on what you like to watch. It does come with local channels, which is a plus, and you get up to 500 hours of DVR storage. The devices supported is limited but overall, the Plus basic package is not a bad offering.

Fubo TV Top Streaming Live TV Services

Fubo TV - Top Streaming Live TV Services

Monthly Cost: $54.99
No. of Channels: 75 + channels
Local Channels: Yes (depends on market)
DVR: Yes (30 hours)
No. of Screens: 2 simultaneous (can add additional streams)
Compatible Devices: Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Fire TV, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac

Not only does Fubo TV offer a great selection of family, news and entertainment channels, they are one of the best streaming TV services for sports, especially if you’re a soccer fan. The only knock regarding sports – they don’t have ESPN channels. For $54.99 though, they do have a lot of other channels to compensate. Overall, this is another streaming TV service you should strongly consider.

VidgoTop Streaming Live TV Services

Vidgo - Top Streaming Live TV Services

Monthly Cost: $29.99 Core; $39.99 Plus
No. of Channels: 68 channels Core; 90 channels Plus
Local Channels: No
DVR: No
No. of Screens: 3
Compatible Devices: Roku, Fire TV, Android TV, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac

I like this service and it has a lot of potential. The Core package has 68 channels with a good selection of popular family, lifestyle, news, and sports programming. In fact, if you like sports, this has a really good selection of sports programming that does include ESPN channels. The Plus package expands Vidgo’s channel offering to 90, adding in some Spanish-language sports channels. The Spanish-language channels also come as an add-on package for $9.99.

Yeah, there are holes and that is why I said this service has great potential. It does not offer local channels or DVR service. The company does plan to launch a DVR service. Of course, for local channels you can get an antenna and for DVR you can still get an OTA DVR device like Tablo or Tivo.

Overall, very impressed with Vidgo’s offering. If you’re into sports and don’t necessarily need DVR, the cost and selection make this a strong streaming TV service to consider.

PhiloTop Streaming Live TV Services

Philo - Top Streaming Live TV Services

Monthly Cost: $20
No. of Channels: 59 channels
Local Channels: No
DVR: Yes (unlimited)
No. of Screens: 3 simultaneous (can add additional streams)
Compatible Devices: Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Fire Tablet

For the money, you can’t beat Philo. It has 59 channels, featuring a good selection of family and entertainment channels and unlimited DVR. Now for the holes in the service. It doesn’t have very many news channels, no sports, none of the major broadcast networks and it doesn’t have the breadth of devices supported that other streaming TV platforms have. However, if the channel lineup suits your needs, this is a great deal.

PlutoTop Streaming Live TV Services

Pluto - Top Streaming Live TV Services

Monthly Cost: $0 (advertiser supported)
No. of Channels: 250 channels
Local Channels: No
DVR: No (on demand service)
No. of Screens: Unlimited (additional accounts are free)
Compatible Devices: Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Chromecast, Android TV, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Hisense, Playstation 4, Samsung, Sony, Vizio, Xbox 360

Remember when TV was free to watch and supported solely by advertising? Maybe not. Perhaps you’re too young but there was a time when TV was just advertiser supported. Pluto has replicated that as a streaming TV service. It is absolutely free. All you need to do to watch Pluto is have a compatible device. You don’t need to create an account unless you want to customize your experience. Through Pluto, you do have access to over 250 channels as of this article and an on-demand service. They do have a good selection of channels in all categories. Whether or not they are the channels you watch is another matter altogether but, hey, it is free. Because of that, you can use it to fill holes in a subscription based streaming TV service or as a supplement to a streaming video service like Netflix. Overall, I give Pluto TV a thumbs up. I like the concept and the sheer amount of channels means you will always find something.

XumoTop Streaming Live TV Services

Xumo - Top Streaming Live TV Services

Monthly Cost: $0 (advertiser supported)
No. of Channels: 180 + channels
Local Channels: No
DVR: No (on demand service)
No. of Screens: Unlimited (additional accounts are free)
Compatible Devices: Roku, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Hisense, Samsung, Vizio, LG, Panasonic, Sharp, Magnavox, Sanyo, Philips

Another free, advertising supported, streaming TV service, Xumo has 180 plus channels to choose from as of this article and an on-demand service. Not quite as built as Pluto TV and it doesn’t have as much compatibility in regard to devices. It is supported by a number of smart TV manufacturers, more so than other platforms. Again, Xumo is free and if you have a device that supports it, like Pluto TV you have a no-cost option for watching live TV.

KlowdTV Top Streaming Live TV Services

KlowdTV - Top Streaming Live TV Services

Monthly Cost: $0 to $9.99
No. of Channels: 1 to 85 + channels
Local Channels: Yes (With Model 10 set-top box)
DVR: Yes (With Model 10 set-top box)
No. of Screens: Unlimited (you just need multiple set-top boxes)
Compatible Devices: Klowd TV set-top box (Standard box is free. Model 10 set-top box is $159.)

Another different spin to streaming TV, Klowd TV uses their own device to stream their TV service. The standard box is free and streams at 4K resolution and has support for Netflix, Hulu and more. Free out of the box, you can watch one channel – OAN World Events. Then, there are the premium subscriptions at $4.99 for their Worldwide package that has seven live TV channels and $9.99 for the Premium + PPV package that has 85 channels. The Premium + PPV subscription includes both TV and music channels. Check out the Premium + PPV channels at KlowdTV. If you like the selection, then it is well worth the $9.99.

Frndly TV Top Streaming Live TV Services

Frndly TV - Top Streaming Live TV Services

Monthly Cost: $5.99
No. of Channels: 15 channels
Local Channels: No
DVR: Yes (unlimited)
No. of Screens: 4
Compatible Devices: Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac

A family-oriented streaming TV service that has 15 channels with many of the Hallmark ones present, Frndly TV is certainly cost-effective at $5.99 and has unlimited DVR services, allows you to watch on 4 screens simultaneously and is compatible with many streaming devices. Is it a cable and satellite TV killer? No but if you want 15 family-oriented channels at the cost of an add-on for Sling TV or other platforms, this is a good option.

Broadcaster Specific Offerings

We would be remiss not to mention the broadcaster specific streaming services. Most of these are on-demand services but some like CBS All Access do offer live TV, albeit just of CBS content. Most of these are nice supplements if you like the provider and have high interest in their content.

Some of the more popular ones are Disney +, HBO Now, HBO Max, AMC Premier, Lifetime Movie Club, CBS All Access, Hallmark Movies Now, FX+, History Vault, Showtime, Starz, Epix, Max Go, The CW and CW Seed, Peacock.