On-demand streaming services have given many people a reason to cut cable, but no bottomless episodes of Friends can fill the gap left by live TV broadcasts. Whether it’s live news or a major sporting event, the demand for live TV is still huge.
The good news is that there are many opportunities now for live TV broadcasting. We’ve rounded up seven of the best live streaming services we could find that could finally get you to ditch this expensive cable TV subscription.
Hulu + With The Live TV Add-on ($ 54.99 / month + 7-day trial)
Hulu is one of the pioneers of on-demand streaming services. While its main competitor, Netflix, went global, Hulu remained within the United States. This is probably one of the reasons it offers such a powerful streaming service.
For $ 54.99 a month, you get access to a standard (ad-supported) library of on-demand shows and movies, as well as live sports, news, and entertainment. As you can see in the picture above, a huge selection of channels is offered at this price.
You will have no problem finding a device to watch – Mac, PC, Android, iOS, Chromecast, game consoles, smart TVs – the list goes on. The standard package also offers 50GB of cloud recording space, which equates to approximately 50 hours of recorded TV.
Sling TV (Different rates)
Sling is an outstanding service in the TV streaming world because it specializes in this form of digital entertainment. While other services tend to provide on-demand services that have already connected live TV coverage, Sling is the opposite.
There are two packages, orange and blue. Both packages cost the same on their own ($ 30) and do not offer the same channels or the same number of channels. There is some overlap between them though. The cheapest option is to use the combo package, which includes all the channels that Sling has to offer.
There are also optional add-on packages that you can install for a few dollars more. If you want absolutely everything, the price can really skyrocket, but it’s still far from a typical cable set.
The actual experience is very similar to a traditional cable. There are several popular premium channels that you can switch between using the app on a supported device. There is some content on demand, but that’s not why anyone subscribes to Sling.
If all you want is live news, you may not have to pay anything at all. At the time of writing, this service offers several free news feeds, which also gives you the opportunity to try out the app and service before spending money.
One catch is that hardware support is pretty limited right now. AirTV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, LG webOS, and Xbox One are the only platforms listed on the site.
YouTube TV ($ 49.99 / mo + 14-day trial)
It might be a little confusing which YouTube subscription service belongs to. YouTube Music is competing with Apple Music, YouTube Premium is an ad-free on-demand service, and now YouTube TV is a streaming offering.
While the service is for the US only at the moment, it also offers different content depending on where in the US you live. You will receive local sports news and news, plus over 70 channels including ESPN, ABC, NBC and Disney Channel.
You get three simultaneous streams and unlimited cloud DVR space. So you can record as much as you like.
As you might expect, device support is broad. As far as we can tell, almost any device that can run the standard YouTube app will work here This includes the major brands of smart TV, set-top boxes and mobile devices. You can also watch through your browser.
rel=”n”ferabelrer noopener= a new tab = “rel=”n”ferabelrer noopener= a new” strong> Amazon Prime Live Channels ($ 5.99 / month + Live TV Add-ons)
The Amazon Prime Video subscription is an on-demand Netflix competitor that is still catching up but has recently started delivering quality original content. However, a basic Prime Video subscription is just the beginning. Amazon also offers subscribers the ability to add channels to the service for an additional fee.
Some of these “channels” only contain more on-demand content, but some also have live streams. If you pay for any of these, a new line labeled “Now” will be added to the app’s content selection.
This is a good solution for those who are already subscribed to the basic service and only want one or two add-ons. However, subscribing to a significant number of add-ons quickly makes the service unaffordable, so choose them carefully.
Pluto TV (Free)
Pluto TV is the only service on this list that offers live streaming for free. There is not even a possibility for any paid subscription. The service offers a mix of on-demand and real-time content with content that isn’t quite from premium channels. However, there are several well-known brands.
You will find, for example, web feeds from news agencies such as Bloomberg and MSNBC. But these 240 channels are mostly eclectic or outdated. However, this isn’t all that bad and it won’t cost anything other than time to dig around and find a few gems. It is currently a service in the US, but you can check if it is broadcast in your area here
There is support for iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, PS4 and some Smart TV models. At least you can download Pluto in your browser right now and see for yourself.
Fubo TV ($ 54.99 / month)
One of the main reasons people find it difficult to cut the cord is because of live sporting events. Cable networks are aware of this and are working hard to retain the exclusive rights to premium sports content. They then bundle it together with optional low quality content. This means your need for great sports coverage ends up subsidizing content you don’t need.
Pay-per-view options are currently available for certain major sporting events or seasons, but this can quickly get expensive and does not provide as much coverage of live sports channels.
Log in to Fubo TV. This channel started out as a dedicated football coverage service, but has since grown to a massive offering with over 100 channels in its base. This plan includes 30 hours of cloud storage and two streams. For about $ 5 more, you can get 500 hours and three streams with the Family Plan.
In addition, there is the Ultra plan, which includes the Family Plan, Fubo Extra, and Sports Plus. You can also add several additional channels to the service in parts. For example, Sports Plus includes the NFL Red Zone and NBA TV for an additional $ 10.99.
Philo < ($ 20 / month)
Among the paid services offered here, Philo is the cheapest option. Regardless, it has an impressive selection of premium channels including AMC, Comedy Central, BBC America and MTV. This is a very well balanced set of content types, including both live streaming and content on demand. The DVR offer is also unlimited, which is a great deal for this price point.
While Slings’ Blue and Orange packages are often close to or equal to Philo, the channel count and mixing on Philo is better in our opinion, and of course you only get 50 hours of DVR with Sling.
Three streams are standard for Philo and common devices such as smartphones, Apple TV, Roku’s and Amazon Fire TV are supported. One big issue is that game consoles are currently not supported, as are mainstream smart TVs or Google Chromecast. Philo says they are working on expanding to these other devices, but if you don’t already have the right set-top box, the additional expense could make Philo an unattractive choice.
On top of that, we’ve seen a lot of people complain that the app is a little awkward to use, which suggests that Philo’s software development team might have the same budget as the service price tag suggests.
Which Live TV Service is Right for You?
While we’ve narrowed down our streaming offerings to seven options, you may still be confused about your specific needs. We think that for certain audiences, some of these streaming services are the best choice. So let’s find out which one works best for you.
Fubo TV is the obvious choice for wire cutters looking for live sporting events. Additional add-ons cover most of the basic sports needs and are still cheaper than pay-per-view or cable TV. That being said, it’s one of the more expensive live streaming options out there, so you really need to be a big sports fan.
YouTube TV is a great choice, but we find it especially good for viewers who care about local content. YouTube’s efforts to provide content based on where you live is a unique service that can very well be a deciding factor in choosing where to spend your money.
Sling TV is the best choice for watching cable TV. This is especially true if you are buying a combo pack, which should make the cord-cutting process much less disorienting.
Philo is the best choice. This assumes you already have a supported device and do not need to specifically purchase one for the service. Despite the cumbersome software, the content on offer can’t match the money.
So is it more convenient for you to cut the cord? We’d love to hear your own cord cutting experiences and tips in the comments.