Best live TV streaming services: Compare our top picks for May 2019

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Streaming TV plans
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Are you paying more than $100 a month for cable or satellite TV service? You may be able to cut that bill in half by switching to one of several popular live TV streaming services.

YouTube TVSling TVHulu + Live TV, PlayStation Vue, and DirecTV Now are five of the top options for cord cutters.

Quick links: 

Best streaming TV services: YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, DirecTV Now

As you look at an average pay TV bill of over $100 a month, you can instead go with streaming services that typically will run you from a base of $20 a month for a bare-bones streaming package to a more common $50 a month.

Here are the major live TV streaming services available right now, starting with the cheapest options:

Cheapest live TV streaming plans 

Streaming TV service Starting price 
AT&T WatchTV $15/month or free for some AT&T wireless plan subscribers
Philo $20/month
Sling TV $25/month
PlayStation Vue $44.99/month
Hulu + Live TV $44.99/month
YouTube TV $49.99/month
DirecTV Now $50/month
fuboTV $54.99/month

The best part? Instead of being married to your own sofa and TV, these streaming services allow you to watch from anywhere — on your phone, computer or TV.

A cable box or satellite dish isn’t required to stream TV, but there are a few things you’ll need:

  • High-speed internet service: Requirements vary by provider, but a minimum download speed of 10 Mbps or higher is generally recommended for a high-quality streaming experience. (Check your current download speed)
  • Compatible streaming device: Although no cable box is required, you may need to buy a streaming device (Google Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire TV) to play content on your TV.
  • Digital antenna: You can pick up a digital antenna for $10 to $40 if your live TV streaming package doesn’t include your favorite local channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS.

First-time streamer? Start with our step-by-step guide to cutting the cord!

Team Clark has tested all of the major live TV streaming services. Some of the key differences are price, channel lineup, DVR, supported devices and the ability to watch multiple streams at once.

“My favorite of all the streaming products is YouTube TV. It has a pretty wide array of television programming, but what’s really neat is that multiple people could be watching different things at the same time and everybody has an unlimited DVR,” says money expert Clark Howard.

Ready to lower your pay TV bill once and for all? We’re going to review the pros and cons of the major live TV streaming services, starting with Clark’s personal favorite…

YouTube TV

YouTube TV live TV streaming service starting at $50/month

YouTube TV Review Summary: Overall, YouTube TV is Clark’s favorite live TV streaming service. For $50 a month, you get 70+ networks, including local sports and news. The channel lineup features sports networks like ESPN, Fox Sports 1 & 2, BTN and SEC Network. Eight entertainment networks from Discovery (HGTV, Food Network, TLC and more) were added in April 2019. YouTube TV offers unlimited DVR and allows up to three simultaneous streams. Support for Amazon Fire TV devices is coming later in 2019. (Full review)

  • Price: One single plan for $50 per month
  • Channels: Heavy on sports and and lighter on entertainment networks. Added in April 2019: Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Travel Channel and MotorTrend.
  • DVR: Record as many programs as you want at the same time and never run out of storage space
  • Supported devices for TV include:  
    • Apple TV, 4th generation & 4K
    • Google Chromecast & Chromecast Ultra
    • Roku Players & TVs
    • Xbox One, Xbox One S & Xbox One X
  • Multiple streams: Up to three separate devices at the same time
  • Internet speed: At least 7 Mbps to stream one High Definition (HD) video; 13 Mbps to reliably stream HD video, even with other devices using the same network
  • More resources: Free trial offer | Cancel your subscription

YouTube TV: Pros and cons 

Pros Cons
One simple plan for $50/month Price increased from $40 to $50 per month in April 2019
Lots of sports: ESPN, FS1, FS2, MLB Network, NBA TV and more Amazon Fire TV not a supported device
Discovery-owned networks like HGTV, Food Network and TLC added in April 2019
Unlimited DVR

Related YouTube TV content on Clark.com:


Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV streaming service starting at $44.99/month

Hulu + Live TV Review Summary: Hulu with Live TV’s channel lineup offers a mix of sports, news, entertainment and local channels in many cities. The live TV service also provides access to Hulu’s entire on-demand streaming library for a base price of $44.99 per month. Cloud DVR is limited to 50 hours and you can stream two screens at a time, but there are options to upgrade both features. Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Google Chromecast are among Hulu + Live TV’s supported devices. (Full review)

  • Price: $44.99 per month and up
  • Channels: Access Hulu’s entire streaming library, plus get channels like A&E, Bravo, Discovery, Disney, E!, ESPN, FS1, FS2, Food Network, HGTV, History and more (Full channel lineup)
  • DVR: 50 hours of cloud DVR storage included; additional charge to upgrade to 200 hours
  • Supported devices for TV include:  
    • Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
    • Apple TV, 4th generation or later
    • Google Chromecast
    • Roku and Roku Stick, select models
    • Nintendo Switch
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
  • Multiple streams: Watch videos simultaneously on up to two screens
  • Internet speed: 8 Mbps or higher for a reliable, high-quality viewing experience; multiple concurrent streams may require higher bandwidth
  • More resources: Free trial offer | Cancel your subscription

Hulu with Live TV: Pros and cons

Pros  Cons
One simple plan for $45/month Expensive add-ons
Hulu’s on-demand streaming library included Must upgrade DVR to fast-forward through commercials
50 hours of cloud DVR storage Only two screens at once

Team Clark Review: 4 things to know about Hulu’s live TV streaming service


Sling TV

Sling TV streaming service starts at $25/month

Sling TV Review Summary: Sling TV has two skinny bundles (Sling Orange and Sling Blue) that cost $25 per month each, but you can combine them and pay $40 a month. Sling Orange is the cheapest way to get ESPN. Cloud DVR is not included, but you can pay an extra $5/month for it. Sling Orange allows for only one stream at a time, while Sling Blue allows for three. Many streaming devices are supported. Local channels are limited with Sling TV’s plans, so it’s best to have a digital antenna if you choose this service. (Full review

  • Price: $25 per month for Sling Orange (up from $20), $25 for Sling Blue, $40 for Sling Orange + Blue
  • Channels: Sling Orange offers 30+ channels including ESPN, Disney, AMC, CNN and HGTV; Sling Blue offers 40+ channels like Discovery, TLC, NFL Network and FX (Full channel lineup)
  • DVR: 50 hours of storage for an extra $5 per month
  • Supported devices for TV include:  
    • Apple TV (4th generation or later)
    • Amazon Fire TV
    • Google Chromecast
    • Roku LT and higher
    • AirTV Player
    • Xbox One
  • Multiple streams: One stream at a time with Sling Orange, three streams at a time with Sling Blue, four streams at once with Sling Orange + Blue
  • Internet speed: 5 Mbps for a single stream of video content on a TV, PC or Mac; 25 Mbps for households that maintain internet use on multiple devices
  • More resources: Free trial offer | Cancel your subscription

Sling TV: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
Packages start at $25 per month; cheapest way to get ESPN Limited local channels
Lots of compatible devices Cloud DVR costs extra
Affordable add-on channel options starting at $5/month Only one stream at a time with Sling Orange

Team Clark Review: 5 things to know before you sign up for Sling TV


PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue streaming service starts at $44.99/month

PlayStation Vue Review Summary: Despite its name, you don’t need a PlayStation console to sign up for PlayStation Vue. This streaming TV service starts at $44.99 per month and offers a variety of sports, news and lifestyle networks: AMC, CNN, Disney, ESPN, HGTV and more are included. Local channels are available in many locations. Programming saved to DVR can be accessed for 28 days and the service can be used on up to five devices at a given time. Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Google Chromecast are among PlayStation Vue’s supported devices. (Full review

  • Price: $44.99 for “Access” plan
  • Channels: Watch more than 45 networks like ESPN, Disney, Bravo, Cartoon Network, Food Network, Fox Sports, OWN and HGTV (Full channel lineup)
  • DVR: Programming saved to DVR in “My Shows” can be watched in and out of your home network; stored for up to 28 days
  • Supported devices for TV include: 
    • Amazon Fire TV, all gens
    • Apple TV, 4th generation running tvOS 11.0 and up
    • Google Chromecast, 1st generation and up)
    • Roku players, firmware 7.7 and up
    • PlayStation 4 consoles
    • PlayStation 3 consoles
  • Multiple streams: Up to five devices at the same time
  • Internet speed: Minimum of 10 Mbps or higher is recommended for the best experience, plus 5 Mbps for each additional stream
  • More resources: Free trial offer | Cancel your subscription

PlayStation Vue: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
Up to 5 devices at the same time Base plan is more expensive than most competitors
Cloud DVR included Free trial is only 5 days (others are typically 7)
Many supported devices

Team Clark Review: 4 things to know about PlayStation Vue


DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now streaming service starts at $50/month

DirecTV Now Review Summary: DirecTV Now had arguably the best channel lineup until it revamped its streaming plans in early 2019. Now, its cheapest plan starts at $50 per month and includes fewer channels than its competitors. What makes DirecTV Now different is that it includes HBO, which is $15/month as a standalone subscription. You get 20 hours of cloud DVR and two simultaneous streams are allowed. Most streaming media players are compatible with DirecTV Now. (Full review

  • Price: DirecTV Now Plus starts at $50 per month
  • Channels: HBO included in DirecTV Now’s latest plans, plus more than 40 other networks like Bravo, Cartoon Network, CNN, Disney, ESPN, Fox Sports 1, Hallmark and TBS (Full channel lineup)
  • DVR: 20 free hours of cloud DVR storage
  • Supported devices for TV include: 
    • Amazon Fire TV, 2nd generation
    • Amazon Fire TV Cube
    • Amazon Fire TV Stick, 2nd and 3rd generation
    • Apple TV, 4th generation
    • Google Chromecast, 2nd generation and higher
    • Roku, select models
  • Multiple streams: Up to two devices at the same time; $5/month for third stream
  • Internet speed: Minimum of 12 Mbps for broadband connections to the home
  • More resources: Free trial offer | Cancel your subscription

DirecTV Now: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
HBO included in new streaming plans Only 40+ channels offered for $50/month
Many supported streaming media players and devices Must upgrade to $70/month plan for some regional sports networks
Only two streams at the same time included

Team Clark Review: 4 things to know before you sign up for DirecTV Now


AT&T WatchTV

AT&T WatchTV streaming service is $15/month and free for some AT&T unlimited wireless subscribers

AT&T WatchTV Review Summary: This is the cheapest of the major live TV streaming services, but you won’t get sports or local stations with AT&T WatchTV. Some of its 30+ networks include CNN, HGTV, Food Network, History, Lifetime and TLC. This is a single-stream service with no DVR. Some AT&T unlimited wireless plan subscribers get AT&T WatchTV at no additional charge, but it’s $15/month for everyone else. (Full review

  • Price: $15 a month as a standalone service; free for AT&T wireless customers with unlimited data plans (Details here)
  • Channels: More than 30 channels like A&E, Animal Planet, CNN, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, History, Lifetime, TBS and more; no sports or local stations (Full channel lineup)
  • DVR: No DVR included
  • Supported devices for TV include: 
    • Amazon Fire TV, 2nd generation or higher
    • Amazon Fire TV Stick, 2nd generation or higher
    • Apple TV, 4th generation or higher
    • Apple TV 4K
    • Google Chromecast, 2nd generation or higher
  • Multiple streams: Each WatchTV account can stream on one device at a time
  • More resources: Free trial offer | Cancel your subscription

AT&T WatchTV: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
The cheapest live TV streaming service Roku not supported
Free for AT&T Unlimited &More and AT&T Unlimited &More Premium wireless customers (Details here) No DVR included or even an option to add the feature
Turner networks included: CNN, Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT and more Stream on only one device at a time
15,000 on-demand movies and shows No local or sports channels

Team Clark Review: 5 things to know about AT&T WatchTV


Philo

Philo live TV streaming service starts at $20/month

Philo Review Summary: If you don’t care about the major national sports networks, Philo has lots of entertainment for a very low price. There are nearly 60 channels in its $20/month plan: A&E, BET, Discovery, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, Nickelodeon, VH1 and more. Unlimited DVR and three simultaneous streams are included. Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV are supported devices, but Google Chromecast isn’t on the list. Only a phone number is required to start the free trial, not a credit card. (Full review

  • Price: $20 per month for 58 channels ($16/month plan discontinued in May 2019)
  • Channels: AMC, Food Network, HGTV, Hallmark Channel, Investigation Discovery, OWN, Nickelodeon and more; no sports or local stations (Full channel lineup)
  • DVR: Unlimited DVR to save any shows you want for up to 30 days
  • Supported devices for TV include: 
    • Amazon Fire TV, all models
    • Apple TV, 4th generation or later
    • Android TV 5.0 or higher
    • Roku, all current models
  • Multiple streams: Three different streams can be played at the same time
  • Internet speed: Minimum of 5 Mbps for HD quality and 1.5 Mbps for Standard Definition (SD) quality
  • More resources: Free trial offer | Cancel your subscription

Philo: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
Lots of entertainment networks for a very low price Google Chromecast not supported
Unlimited DVR included No local or sports channels
Three streams at a time allowed

Team Clark Review: 5 things to know before you sign up for Philo


What happened to fuboTV?

Team Clark removed fuboTV from this guide in April 2019 after its starting price was raised to $54.99 per month, but the sports-heavy service may still be a good value for some cord-cutters.

Read our full review to learn more about the pros and cons of fuboTV! 


Final thought 

Still not sure which live TV streaming service to try? Call a family meeting and have everyone write down the channels that are most important to them, then decide together which service is the best fit by using our channel comparison chart.

All of these streaming services offer free trials to allow you to test them out before breaking up with your existing provider.

And if you’re happy with your current cable or satellite service but not your monthly bill, it doesn’t hurt to give customer service a call and see if they’d be willing to work with you on the price.

Listen to Clark talk about live TV streaming options on The Clark Howard Show Podcast

Streaming TV reviews: Which service do you want to learn about?

YouTube TV Hulu with Live TV
PlayStation Vue DirecTV Now
Sling TV Philo
AT&T WatchTV fuboTV
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