Live TV Streaming

What is live TV streaming?

Live TV streaming services go all-in on replicating the familiar look and feel of cable TV while also maintaining the ease and convenience of streaming. They’re also mostly cheaper than cable or satellite. That got your attention, didn’t it?

Live TV streaming is simply television carried over the internet instead of using traditional cable or satellite connections. It’s the same programming that’s happening live right now on your favorite networks, just delivered through different wires. You could call it “internet TV,” but live TV streaming just sounds cooler.

A couple more ways that live TV streaming is different from cable and satellite:

The channel grids look mostly the same as those of cable and satellite, but livestreaming TV providers simply use an app on a streaming device (like Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV) instead of a physical receiver or DVR box. One less piece of equipment on the shelf is a definite plus.

Also, except for local TV stations, there are also no channel numbers in live TV streaming. Initially, that’s the weirdest difference when cutting the cord in favor of streaming, but you get over it. TNT is still TNT, numbered or not.

Though no single service covers every need for every viewer (yet), has reviewed and rated 14 of the best live TV streaming and on-demand TV services currently available to potential cord-cutters. We even threw in five extra free streamers for kicks.

We’ve ranked these streaming services based on bang-for-your-buck value, features, reliability, and our 2020 customer satisfaction survey results for livestreaming and on demand. Between Cable’s expert reviewers and real-life streaming users, we’ve come up with our own editorial star ratings for livestreaming and on-demand services. Not to brag, but we nailed it.

Best live TV streaming services

  • YouTube TV – Best overall ($64.99/mo.)

  • Hulu + Live TV – Best value ($64.99–$70.99/mo.)

  • Philo – Cheapest ($20.00/mo.)

  • fuboTV – Best for sports ($64.99–$79.99/mo.)

  • Sling TV – Best for kids ($35.00–$50.00/mo.)

  • AT&T TV – HBO Max included ($69.99–$139.99/mo.)

Best on-demand streaming TV services

  • Netflix – Best overall ($8.99–$17.99/mo.)

  • Prime Video – Best value ($12.99/mo.)

  • Peacock – Cheapest (Free–$9.99/mo.)

  • ESPN+ – Best for sports ($5.99/mo.)

  • Disney+ – Best for kids ($7.99/mo.)

  • HBO Max – HBO originals and exclusives ($14.99/mo.)

  • Paramount+ – Deep TV and movies library ($5.99–$9.99/mo.)

  • Apple TV+ – Good for Apple fans ($4.99/mo.)