Cutting ties with your cable provider no longer means losing out on all of your favorite shows, local programming and sports. Most of the time, local news and sports is the only reason people hold on to their current cable subscription. Users can now ditch the high price of their monthly cable bill and still get all the entertainment they love with a TV-streaming service.
There are a ton of streaming services out there, but not many with live TV capabilities. The likes of Netflix and Prime Video don’t offer live TV, but fuboTV and YouTubeTV are streaming services that can truly replace your cable subscription, while offering great features like DVR capabilities and lots of entertainment storage. With all of these streaming options available, you’ll wonder why you didn’t break up with your TV provider sooner.
Below our list for the best streaming services available.
In the streaming world, Netflix is still king. Many of its original series have been hits like Stranger Things, Big Mouth and Bird Box. According to Muchneeded.com, Netflix has over 15,400 titles in its library along with over 700 original shows. Considering Netflix doesn’t have any live TV streaming options, that is a ton of content compared to all other streaming services. Netflix also has an advantage signing huge contractual deals with the likes of Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld and others, so Netflix get exclusive rights to comedy specials, shows and movies.
Netflix has three pricing options: the Basic Plan only costs $9 a month, but you can only watch on one device at a time and only on standard definition. The Standard Plan is $13 a month and allows you to stream on two devices at once in HD. You can also download titles on two different mobile devices. The Premium Plan is $16 a month and allows you to stream in HD and UHD on up to four different devices at once. You can also download content onto mobile devices. It’s much cheaper than many of the live TV streaming subscriptions, and you get the most binge-worthy content compared to other steaming services.
2. Amazon Prime Video
BEST FOR RENTING AND PURCHASING
Prime doesn’t have as a robust content library as the likes of Netflix or Disney+, but there is still a handful of critically acclaimed shows that only stream on Prime Video such as Fleabag, The Man in the High Castle, Sneaky Pete and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Content is subjective, but Amazon creates original content that is easily on par with Netflix and Hulu. Prime Video also offers a ton of HBO series such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Veep and Boardwalk Empire to name a few, although, we aren’t sure if those will be removed in 2020 when HBO Max launches. Prime also hosts a handful of NFL Thursday Night games, but that’s about it as far as live TV and sports coverage. We recommend fuboTV for live sports coverage.
The big advantage that Prime Video boasts over its competitors is the ability to rent or buy movies and shows. This gives you access to content you can’t find anywhere else. When you rent, you typically get 30 days to watch, but once it is started, it generally needs to be finished within two days. Renting usually costs between $3 – $6 while buying generally runs between $8 and $15 depending on the movie or show. Prime Video itself costs $9 a month, which is cheaper than Netflix, but more expensive than Hulu or Disney Plus.
3. Disney Plus
BEST FOR DISNEY CONTENT
Disney Plus launches on November 12th. Disney Plus will start with 300+ movie titles, but that will jump to over 500 movies and 7,500 episodes of television by the end of its first year. Disney Plus sneaks into the streaming wars at $7 a month with an option to purchase the subscription annually for $70, which knocks the monthly price down to $5.83 a month. That’s about as inexpensive as it gets for a streaming service of any kind. Like Netflix, Prime Video and HBO Max, Disney Plus will have an influx of new original content. Some notable new content that is heavily anticipated include The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Monsters at Work, The Mandolorian and The World According to Jeff Goldblum. More about these new original series can be found here.
Disney Plus will also feature a robust list of Disney titles, everything from the 1955 animated film Lady and The Tramp to Pixar’s entire catalog will be available for binging Disney with the kids. And, of course, Star Wars will exclusively stream on the service. Disney Plus isn’t just for kids, so your children won’t be the only ones enjoying this streaming service.
4. HBO Max
BEST FOR CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED SHOWS
There is a reason that HBO shows have such a great reputation. From The Sopranos to Game of Thrones, HBO regularly produces some of the best and most award-winning content there is. HBO has decided to finally enter into the streaming world itself, instead of being an add-on to other subscriptions. HBO Max is going to launch in May of 2020 and is going to cost $15 a month, which is $1 less than Netflix’s Premium Plan, but its far more expensive than Hulu’s and Netflix’s basic plans, as well as Disney Plus’.
HBO Max will have more than just HBO-related content, though. HBO Max will be the streaming home of shows such as Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Friends, which is scheduled to leave Netflix in 2020. It will also be the only place that you will be able to stream The Big Bang Theory and South Park. And for the hardcore Dr. Who fans, HBO Max is going to make all 11 seasons available, as well as future seasons. We can also expect entertainment from CNN, TNT, TVS and Cartoon Network, since WarnerMedia owns all of the above content. The premium service is going to be a bit more pricey than other services, but the original content will be worth the investment for many people.
Below you will find all of our top choices for live TV-streaming services. These services are a bit more expensive, but you don’t have to lose out on local news, the latest entertainment and live sports.
5. YouTube TV
BEST FOR LIVE TV
If you are looking to finally end your relationship with TV (it’s not you, it’s me), then there isn’t a better place to jump ship to than YouTube TV. The TV-streaming service features more channels for the base price than any other service, an easy to use interface and great DVR capabilities. YouTube TV offers major networks including ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC and ESPN. That not only covers you for national and local news, but you can also host all of your friends and family for all the major sporting events –– the Superbowl airs on FOX this year, NBC for Sunday Night Football, World Series is on FOX and the NBA Finals air on ABC.
Beyond news and sports, there are a handful of entertainment channels including Food Network, TNT, USA, National Geographic and FX, to name a few. You won’t have any troubles searching for entertainment either because the interface is easy to use. Simply put, if you’ve ever used YouTube, you’ll be just fine. YouTube TV is a bit expensive compared to services like Sling or Philo, but you get way more entertainment and features. Speaking of features, the icing on the cake is the unlimited DVR storage, and your recordings are stored for nine months. You get a lot when you subscribe to YouTube TV, which makes it worth the monthly price.
6. Hulu With Live TV
BEST FOR HULU USERS
Hulu has the advantage of already having original content on the Hulu platform. But when you add live TV into the mix, it gets that much better for users. When you opt in for live TV, some of the local and national news channels include ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox Business, CNBC and MSNBC. For entertainment, some of the channels include Cartoon Network, Discovery, Disney, Food Network, FX, TBS and TNT. There’s plenty on the docket for sports lovers as well. Sports nuts will have their choice on all of the ESPN networks –– ESPN, ESPN 2 and the like –– as well as local affiliates, depending on where you live.
For $45, you can enjoy live TV with ads, but you have the option to spring for ad-free viewing pleasure for $6 more. Without live TV Hulu only costs $6 for its content streaming service. When you spring for live TV, you also get 200 hours of DVR storage as well as the ability to fast forward through ads. It is also the only streaming TV service that allows unlimited screens. Most allow only two or three simultaneous streams. Hulu has a little bit for everybody, and Hulu users will love the added capabilities that comes with live TV.
BEST BUDGET LIVE TV
Philo is for people who don’t want to pay for cable anymore, but can’t live without their entertainment channels. For only $20 a month, Philo offers 58 TV channels including BBC, BET, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, Food Network, AMC and others. Seeing that its only a few channels less than YouTube TV, and less than half the price, it seems like a no-brainer, but there are a few caveats. Local news and live sports are virtually non-existant on this streaming TV service. So, if you’re a looking to cut the cord for a sports-centric streaming service, you’ll definitely want to look elsewhere. The devices you can stream Philo on are bit limited as well. You can stream on your phone, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV for instance, but there isn’t a Philo app for Xbox or PlayStation.
Once you are in the Philo streaming service, it’s fairly simple to navigate. Browsing through shows can be done in the Guide section. You can also jump to channels that are listed alphabetically across the top and save your favorite channels for quick access. Like YouTube TV, you get unlimited DVR storage, but you can only save shows for 30 days. Philo’s lack of sports and news channels might deter some users, but for TV-entertainment buffs, this is a good way to save money and still access the content you want.
BEST FOR SPORTS FANS
You don’t have to sacrifice live sports when you finally decide to ditch your cable company. With fuboTV, you’ll receive NBCSN, FS1, NBA TV, PAC12, FS2, NBC Golf, Bein Sports as well as entertainment channels like FX, FXX, IFC, and Nat Geo Wild. Local sports channels are determined by your location, so that will vary depending on where you live. One unfortunate omission from the package is ESPN, which is surprising for a sports-centric streaming service.
Fubu offers four plans: fubo Standard, Family, Ultra and Latino Quartery, a mostly Spanish speaking entertainment package. The other three packages range from $55 to $80 a month for Ultra. The Standard package allows for 30 hours of cloud DVR storage, which is well short of what Philo and YouTube TV offer standard. Though, like YouTube TV, the interface is clean and easy to use. The top is well organized with sections for Sports, Series, Guide, Movies and Recordings, which makes it a piece of cake to navigate around. Overall, fuboTV is a bit pricey, but it’s a gem for sports lovers, even with the ESPN omission.
9. Sling TV
BEST FOR CORD CUTTERS
Sling is an inexpensive alternative to live TV. Limited packages such as Sling Orange or Sling Blue are only $15 a month, although the way they package the channels is a little…wonky. The individual packages seem like a mix and match of channels, so, we recommend going to Sling Blue & Orange (yes, that is a package) that combines the two for a total of 44 channels for $25. This package includes a nice mix of entertainment and sports. You’ll get networks like ESPN, Disney, NBC Sports, NFL Network, SYFY, IFC and TBS to name a few. You can add to your channels with additional packages for additional cost. You can add a kids package which includes more kids shows or a sports package, which makes your channel selection flexible, which is nice. Keep in mind that Sling does lack local network coverage, which can hinder you from watching your favorite local sports team.
Unlike YouTube or Philo, you’ll have to pay extra for DVR capabilities, which is disappointing. You can add it for $5 a month and record 50 hours of TV. Sling is a bit limited overall, but if you have your favorite channels, and you can go without local news and sports, this might be a great way to save some extra cash.
10. AT&T TV Now
Even though its expensive, AT&T TV Now offers some pretty great entertainment packages. The Plus plan has about 45 channels that include CNN, Disney, ESPN, Fox Sports, FX, and the big one, HBO. If you opt to go with the Max plan, you will get over 60 channels and Cinemax. For those who really want to beef up the entertainment, you can add on Showtime, Epix and Stars for $11 a month each. If you go with the Max plan, and include all of the add-ons, you could be looking at over $100 for the service a month. That’s over $50 more than YouTube TV and $75 more than Philo. Unfortunately, if you want regional sports, you’ll have to go with the Max plan. For sports lovers, AT&T TV Now has a 72-hour Lookback features which allows you see tune into games (and other shows) three days in the past. So, if you forgot to DVR the game, you can use this feature to still watch.
As for the DVR, its not as robust as YouTube TV or Philo, as you can only record up to 20 hours and store recordings for 30 days. There is also a Restart feature that kicks a show back to the beginning if you want to watch or record from the beginning, which is useful. AT&T TV Now is expensive, but getting live TV plus HBO is a pretty sweet combo.