Millions of people have canceled their expensive cable subscriptions in favor of internet-based live TV streaming services. Are you thinking about joining the cord-cutting revolution? Here are seven options for watching live TV without cable.

Streaming TV Services

Live TV streaming services deliver many of the same channels as the cable companies for a fraction of the price. Choosing the right one, however, is complicated. Each streaming service offers a different mix of channels, features and pricing.

Local TV

One of the things that makes choosing a streaming TV service tough is figuring out which local TV stations you’ll get. Each service has to cut deals with each local broadcast station for the rights to stream their content.

Some streaming services are more aggressive about getting those deals than others, which means you might only get one or two local stations — or you might get all of the Big Four networks.

Related: What’s the Best Service for Streaming Live Local TV?

Streaming services still don’t carry many of the local broadcast television channels you can get with a TV antenna. For example, PBS affiliates don’t let any of the streaming TV services carry their feeds.

TV Everywhere

Most TV networks have their own apps which let you stream content live and on-demand. You can’t get full access to that content, however, unless you have a TV provider. This used to mean a cable or satellite TV subscription, but not anymore.

All but one of the streaming TV services we’ll be looking at are treated like TV providers by the TV networks. Just enter your login credentials and you unlock all of their premium content.

Philo

Fixer Upper on Philo
Source: Philo

When Philo launched its streaming service in late 2017, it got a lot of attention for taking the low-cost crown from Sling TV. The $16-per-month subscription gives you 43 channels. A $20-per-month plan bumps the channel lineup to 55. Philo has been adding channels rapidly, while also keeping its price the same. This makes it a service to strongly consider adding to your TV services lineup.

 Package 1Package 2
Price$16$20
Channels4355
Simultaneous Streams33
Fire TV SupportNoNo
Roku SupportYesYes
Sign Up7-DAY FREE TRIAL7-DAY FREE TRIAL

Philo gets away with low prices because it does not offer the most expensive channels. You won’t find any sports networks or national networks in Philo’s lineup. Instead, what you’ll find is a nice selection of lifestyle and entertainment networks like HGTV, Food Network and AMC.

Related: Philo Review 2018

You can record as many shows as you want with Philo’s cloud DVR, but you can keep them for only thirty days.

Philo Shortcode

 

As a small startup company, Philo had to focus its software developers on getting the system up-and-running. That left little time to develop apps. Roku is the only way to watch Philo on a television, which could be an issue for some people.

  • Living room devices: Roku, Amazon Frie TV, Apple TV
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: None.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: iOS.
  • Game consoles: None.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari.

Philo has negotiated deals that grant its customers access to half a dozen apps from networks like HGTV and the Food Network.

FuboTV

FuboTV Home page
Source: FuboTV

FuboTV focused on sports, and especially on soccer when it first entered the live TV streaming business. Now the service looks more like an alternative to cable, albeit an alternative with a strong sports focus. You’ll find more than 80+ channels in its primary lineup, including 30+ sports channels.

 FuboFubo ExtraFubo LatinoFubo Português
Price$44.99/mo.$49.99+$17.99/mo.$19.99/mo.
Channels75+90+15+5+
Simultaneous Streams2222
Fire TV SupportYesYesYesYes
Roku SupportYesYesYesYes
Sign Up 7-DAY FREE TRIAL7-DAY FREE TRIAL7-DAY FREE TRIAL7-DAY FREE TRIAL

The main subscription plan, “fubo” costs $45 per month, with a $5 discount for the first month. That package comes with 80 channels. You can up the channel package to 100+ channels through fubo Extra for $50 per month ($5 discount on the first month as well). The other two plans serve Spanish-speakers ($18 per month) or Portuguese-speakers ($20 per month). Several add-on plans deliver even more sports channels. You also can get Showtime but not HBO.

FuboTV Shortcode

 

The free cloud DVR lets you record up to thirty hours of content. You can keep the recordings as long as you want. When you run over the thirty-hour limit, however, fuboTV will delete the oldest recording. FuboTV will expand the recording limit to five hundred hours for a monthly fee.

Related: FuboTV Review for 2017

FuboTV’s device support covers the most popular streaming platforms. It doesn’t have apps for smart TVs or gaming consoles.

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: None.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: None.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome is recommended.

Thirty-nine networks accept fuboTV login credentials in their TV Everywhere programs.

Sling TV

Sling TV
Source: Sling TV

Sling TV offers low entry-level pricing and a lot of customization options. The downside to that approach is a bit of complexity in its subscription system.

You have three options for your baseline subscription and a menu of thirty-five add-on plans.

  • Orange: 30+ channels for $25.
  • Blue: 40+ channels for $25.
  • Orange+Blue: 50+ channels for $40.
 Sling OrangeSling BlueSling Orange + Blue
Price$25$25$40
Channels30+40+50+
Simultaneous Streams134*
ESPNYesNoYes
Fire TV SupportYesYesYes
Roku SupportYesYesYes
Special OffersFREE ROKU DEALFREE ROKU DEALFREE ROKU DEAL
* You get one stream with Sling Orange and up to 3 simultaneous streams with Sling Blue.

The add-on plans, what Sling TV calls Extras, range from bundles of sports channels or lifestyle channels to collections of channels from other countries.

 

Most streaming TV services include cloud DVR as a standard feature. Sling TV, however, charges you an extra $5 per month for the cloud DVR service.

Related: Sling TV Review 2018

You’re also limited in the number of devices that you can use. You can stream to as many as three devices at the same time — but only with channels included in the Blue plan, like NBC or Fox. You can only stream the channels that come with the Orange plan, like Disney and ESPN, to one device at a time.

  • Living room devices: Air TV Player, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Certain models from LeEco, LG, Samsung and ZTE.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Amazon Fire tablets, Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: Xbox One.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome.

Only eighteen TV channels treat Sling TV as a TV provider. Though major network apps like NBC Sports and Fox Now accept Sling TV credentials, you won’t have access to premium content in the WatchESPN or Disney apps.

Hulu with Live TV

Hulu beta
Source: Hulu

Hulu launched its live TV service in early 2017 as a “beta” project. While that means Hulu with Live TV is technically a work in progress, it offers a highly polished experience.

You get more than fifty channels with Hulu’s $40-per-month subscription plan as well as access to the streaming service’s enormous library of on-demand content.

Related: Hulu with Live TV Review 2018

Hulu’s basic cloud DVR lets you record fifty hours of content. However, Hulu limits what you can do with the DVR. You can only record one program at a time and you can’t fast forward through the commercials. You can, however, pay an extra monthly fee that removes those limits and expands the storage to two hundred hours.

The standard Hulu subscription limits simultaneous streaming to only two devices, but an add-on plan lets you stream to as many devices as you want on your home network and up to three devices when on the road.

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Nexus Player, Roku and TiVo.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Certain models from LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Amazon Fire Tablets, Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8
  • Game consoles: Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari.

Thirty-five networks let Hulu with Live TV subscribers use their apps.

DirecTV Now

directv now vs hulu with live tv streaming cable alternatives
Source: DirecTV Now

If you want to get the closest thing to your old cable experience, then DirecTV Now is the streaming TV service you want. You’ll find a straightforward, four-tier subscription system. Each plan charges a little more per month in exchange for more TV channels. Even the highest-priced option, the “Gotta Have It” plan, is still a fraction of what you would pay for a cable subscription.

  • Live a Little: 60+ channels / $40 per month.
  • Just Right: 80+ channels / $50 per month.
  • Go Big: 100+ channels / $60 per month.
  • Gotta Have It: 120+ channels / $70 per month.
 Live a LittleJust RightGo BigGotta Have It
Price$35/mo.$50/mo.$60/mo.$70/mo.
Channels60+80+100+120+
Simultaneous Streams2222
ESPNYesYesYesYes
Fire TV SupportYesYesYesYes
Roku SupportYesYesYesYes
Special OffersFREE FIRE TV DEALFREE FIRE TV DEALFREE FIRE TV DEALFREE FIRE TV DEAL

New DirecTV Now subscribers can take advantage of promotional offers. The best deal comes when you have an AT&T Unlimited wireless plan. AT&T owns DirecTV Now so it will apply a $15-per-month discount on your monthly TV subscription.

Another promotion DirecTV Now runs quite often is giving away a free streaming device when you pay for the first two or three months of service in advance. The specific device changes from time to time. Right now you can choose between an Amazon Fire TV or an Apple TV 4K.

Shortcode TV Subscription Desktop Directv black 700px

 

The popularity of DirecTV Now is a little surprising given the absence of an important feature: a DVR. There’s no way to record live TV to watch later. That’s not as big a deal for TV series since you can stream them on-demand. But if you need to record a ball game or other live event, DirecTV Now won’t let you do it.

A cloud DVR is on the way, though. AT&T is investing a lot of money into DirecTV Now to make it a better service. In addition to a cloud DVR, upgrades over the course of the year will support programming in 4K ultra high definition as well as streaming to as many as three devices at a time.

Related: DirecTV Now Review 2017

DirecTV Now has apps for many of the major streaming platforms. The Xbox and PlayStation gaming consoles are the biggest exceptions.

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: None.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: None.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome and Safari.

Fifty-three networks accept DirecTV Now as a TV provider. You can access all of the live streams and on-demand content available in apps like DisneyNow and WatchESPN.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV
Source: YouTube TV

YouTube launched its own streaming TV service in early 2017. It set itself apart from competing services by focusing on local TV stations. YouTube TV is your best option for streaming local ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC stations.

The single $35-per-month subscription plan includes more than fifty channels. By mid-March, however, the subscription rate will jump to $40 per month. Premium subscriptions are available for Showtime, Sundance, Fox Soccer Plus and Shudder.

Related: YouTube TV Review 2018

Families will appreciate the ability to create up to six profiles on a YouTube TV account. Each person gets their own recommendations and DVR recordings.

With so many people sharing the account, YouTube decided to make its cloud DVR storage limitless. Everyone in your household can record as much as they want. YouTube TV deletes your recordings after nine months.

YouTube TV’s simultaneous streaming policies are not as family-friendly. You can only stream to three devices at a time.

YouTube has steadily released more apps over the past year. Amazon’s Fire TV is the biggest hole in YouTube TV’s menu of apps.

  • Living room devices: Android TV (but not the Xiaomi Mi Box), Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Certain models from LG and Samsung.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: Xbox One.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome.

Several dozen TV Everywhere networks accept YouTube TV credentials.

PlayStation Vue

No PlayStation needed to get Vue
Source: PlayStation Vue

Like DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue aims for a cable-like experience. Sony’s streaming service has a four-tier subscription system with each tier adding more channels for a small increase in the monthly rate.

  • Access: 45 channels for $45 per month.
  • Core: 60 channels for $50 per month.
  • Elite: 84 channels for $60 per month.
  • Ultra: 87 channels, including HBO and Showtime, for $80 per month.

PlayStation Vue’s cloud DVR will store an unlimited number of recordings for twenty-eight days. Another nice feature is the ability to stream to as many as five devices at once.

Related: PlayStation Vue Review 2018

Despite the branding, you do not need a PlayStation game console to use Sony’s streaming service. PlayStation Vue has one of the strongest app ecosystems of all the streaming services. You may never see a PlayStation Vue app on Microsoft’s Xbox, but you will find apps for a wide range of streaming platforms.

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Televisions based on Android TV or Amazon Fire TV
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android, Amazon Fire Tablets and iOS.
  • Game consoles: PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge.

Sixty-seven network apps accept PlayStation Vue login credentials. That’s the best of any of the live TV streaming services.