The Best Live-TV Streaming Services
WITH THE NUMBER of on-demand streaming services available now, you can watch nearly anything whenever you want. But sometimes it's nice to scroll through a TV guide and dive into a 6-hour marathon of Property Brothers or Real Housewives. We all have our things. Subscribing to a live-TV streaming service gets you that joy without shelling out for cable.
There are quite a few options to choose from, and while they cost more than Netflix or Hulu, they give you the ability to watch livestreams of many major channels, often with more ease and on more devices than cable. These are the best live-TV streaming services for every kind of viewer.
Updated February 2021: We added T-Mobile's Television service, available only for those on the company's phone plan. We also updated prices throughout. Jess Grey also heavily contributed to this piece.
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu's live-TV interface isn't the best. There's a separate tab for only live channels, but if you're searching through anything else, the on-demand options are confusingly mixed in with the live offerings. Plus its price has increased $10 since we first recommended it, making it the same price as YouTube TV. Still, it has a leg up on the competition because it offers both live TV and its vast library of steamtable content, including original shows like Castle Rock and The Handmaid's Tale. That's a big advantage.
If you can live without Netflix, you can cut your subscriptions to one payment of around $65 for its base plan—though that price includes ads on live shows and in on-demand content. Not so great when you consider an on-demand Hulu subscription without ads is just $12. You can disable ads for on-demand content, but your monthly price will jump to $71. If you're a sports fan, you may want to look elsewhere. Hulu doesn't carry the NFL Network, NBA TV, or MLB Network. There's a free seven-day trial if you want to test the service before committing.
Watch It on: Android, iOS, MacOS, Windows, Chromecast, Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Android TV, Samsung TV
Major Channels Missing: AMC, BBC America, Comedy Central, MLB Network, MTV, NBA TV, NFL Network, NFL Red Zone, Nickelodeon
YouTube TV is widely available and isn't a hassle to use. It's quite pricey at $65 a month, especially since it doesn't include Hulu's library and original content. But it supports three simultaneous streams without making you shell out extra money, and up to six people can share your account (with their own profiles). Not to mention you get unlimited cloud DVR storage so you can watch movies and shows you missed at any other time. There are some notable omissions from its lineup (every streaming service has channels it doesn't carry), but YouTube TV's list of missing channels is shorter than many. It also includes popular networks like NBA and MLB, which are missing from Hulu's live-TV lineup.
Strangely enough, using YouTube TV doesn't give you access to YouTube Premium, which is a service that lets you watch YouTube and listen to YouTube Music ad-free. That means you'll have to pay extra to access YouTube Originals.
Watch It on: Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS, Fire TV, Apple TV, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Chromecast, Roku, and some Samsung and Vizio smart TVs
Major Missing Channels: A&E, History, Lifetime, NFL Network
FuboTV and Sling TV (below) are quite similar, so the right one for you depends on your needs. Both have several plans to choose from, and prices can add up, but Fubo's base prices are more expensive. It ranges from about $65 to $80, and it includes almost every major channel that's missing from our other picks. MLB network isn't part of the base plan, but you can get it with the sports add-on. Even without baseball, Fubo includes several sports channels in the base plan, including the NFL Network, ESPN, Golf Channel, and Fubo's own Sports Network. It also includes ABC, CBS, and NBC.
Even better, there are a few Spanish-language channels, with the option to add the full lineup to your plan for $20 extra. If you want only those channels, you can get a Spanish-language package for $33 a month.
Watch It on: Android, iOS, MacOS, Windows, Chromecast, Fire TV, Apple TV, Xbox, Roku, Samsung Smart TV, Android TV