Cable TV can seem a lot like a landline these days: an unnecessary expense chopped to outdated hardware. All the cool kids and many of the cool adults are growing.
If you want to join them but still want to watch live TV, you've come to the right place. Live TV streaming services likeand let you watch most if not all of your favorite TV channels – from ABC to NBC to ESPN to CNN to Nickelodeon to Fox News ̵
Priceswith no additional fees or contracts. Instead of a cable box, and the monthly fee to rent it, use an app on smart TV, Roku, Apple TV, or game console. And you can watch at home or on the go via a tablet, phone, other mobile device or even a PC browser.
Update: AT&T announced that November 19, 2019,and . In addition, Sony recently stated that it on the PlayStation Vue power service.
These services have many benefits – no more cable fees, no more contracts, yes! – but the savings can be offset by other disadvantages such as internet fees, DVR restrictions, caching and a lack of things to watch, especially live sports. And just like cable TV, the cost of these services.
Meanwhile, many heavy hitters have entered the fight, including Apple with the subscription video service Apple TV Plus that launched on November 1, and Disney with streamingservice, which is coming out November 12. However, both Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus do not have live TV and are instead "add on" services, which means they are not meant to replace your full live streaming service.
LIVE TV STREAMING SERVICES Compared to
|YouTube TV||Sling TV||Hulu with Live TV||AT&T TV Now|
|Basic price||$ 50 / month for 70-plus channels||$ 25 / month for 30-plus channels||$ 45 / month for 60 plus channels||$ 65 / month for 40-plus channels|
|ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC channels||Yes, in many markets||Fox and NBC only in select cities||Yes, in many markets||Yes, in many markets|
|Concurrent flows per account||3||1 or 3||2 ($ 15 unlimited option)||2 ($ 5 alternative for 3)|
|Family member / user profiles||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Cloud DVR||Yes (keep for 9 months)||Yes ($ 5 per month, cannot record Disney or ESPN channels)||Yes||Yes (20 GB, hold for 30 days)|
|Fast forward or skip commercials with cloud DVR||Yes||Yes||Yes||No (Yes with $ 15 option)|
And while PlayStation Vue was among the top choices for premium options, unfortunately Sonyin January 2020. With all this in mind, here's a guide to brave the new world of live TV streaming over the Internet, as well as other cut-and-paste options available today, starting with our favorite recommendations for the best TV streaming service.
Sarah Tew / CNET
YouTube TV has more top channels for the base price than any competitor, including all four local channels (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC brands) that CBS is the parent company of CNET) in most areas of the country. It also has the best cloud DVR of the bunch, including unlimited storage and a generous nine months of watching recordings (most are 30 days). YouTube TV's interface is no-nonsense, though a bit sad, and yet it offers most of the features a cable service can provide. And unlike Sling and others, death is simple: a package, a price, done.
With its best channel selection and shy DVR, YouTube TV is our favorite option for cords that will have the cable benefits without any hassle. However, like all premium services ($ 50-ish), the relatively high monthly fee makes it more difficult to save money over a traditional cable subscription.
Top Channels Not Available : A&E, Comedy Central, History, Lifetime, NFL Network, Nickelodeon.
Read the YouTube TV Review.
Sarah Tew / CNET
Sling TV costs more than AT&T Watch TV ($ 15) and Philo ($ 20), but has better channels, more options and a better interface, so it's worth the extra money in our opinion. And it is still cheap in comparison to the other services, let alone cable.
Slingshot is cheaper than premium services like YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV because it has very few local stations. Confusingly, it also has two $ 25 per month channel packages, Sling Orange and Sling Blue. While some channels are available on both Sling Orange and Sling Blue, the two differ significantly with other channel offerings: Orange is basically the ESPN / Disney package, while Blue is the Fox / NBC package.
Sling's interface is not much to look at, but it offers all the options you need without harassing the screen. The only real downside is its arcane live break and DVR exceptions (you can't record Disney-owned channels such as ABC). There are many options, so check out Sling TV: Everything you need to know for all the details.
Top Channels Not Available on Sling Blue : ABC, CBS, Animal Planet, Disney Channel, ESPN, Fox News, Nickelodeon. Fox and NBC only available in select major cities.
Top Channels Not Available on Sling Orange : ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Animal Planet, Bravo, CNBC, Discovery Channel, Bravo, Fox News, Fox Sports 1, FX, MSNBC, USA Network
Read the Sling TV Review.
Sarah Tew / CNET
Why is TV so cheap? It lacks the locals, much like Sling TV, does not have any dedicated sports channels, and with the exception of CNN, also lacks news channels. And many of the programs on the channels it has can be viewed on request with a Hulu subscription for less.
On the other hand, it is solid for the price. Its selection includes 30 channels, some of which – such as AMC, HGTV and BBC America – are no longer available on the more expensive AT&T TV Now. The interface is fun and easy to navigate. It's available on most other major streaming platforms, except Roku, and some AT&T wireless customers get it for free.
Top Channels Not Available: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Bravo, CNBC, Disney Channel, ESPN, Fox News, Fox Sports 1, FX, MLB Network, MSNBC, NFL Network, Travel Channel, USA Network
Read AT&T to watch the TV review.
Sarah Tew / CNET
With the least cable-like interface of its competitors, Hulus' biggest asset is the integration of live TV with its substantial directory of on-demand content for a price. Unfortunately, the frustration of the interface is amplified by the standard service when adding live TV. Another problem is that you have to pay an additional $ 10 a month to get the opportunity to skip commercials on Hulus cloud DVR (the base cloud DVR, including, doesn't allow ads to skip). However, the channel count is solid, and with Hulus catalog included (Handmaid's Speech, anyone?), It's a top contender, especially since it costs at least $ 5 per month less than other premium services.
Top Channels Not Available: AMC, BBC America, Comedy Central, MLB Network, MTV, NBA TV, NFL Network, NFL Red Zone, Nickelodeon.
Read Hulu with Live TV Review.
Read: 20 Google Chromecast Tips and Tricks
Sarah Tew / CNET
Formerly known as DirecTV Now, AT&T TV Now has one big extra the other premium services are missing: HBO included in the price. Whether or not you care about HBO (or Game of Thrones) is still not a good deal. Firstly, from November, it is the most expensive service starting at a base of $ 65, plus it lacks several of the top channels from any competitor (although you can pay extra to get most of those channels if you want). The DVR is also a step behind our best choices. However, the traditional interface is good, including the flip-friendly ability to swipe left and right to switch channels.
Top Channels Not Available in Basic Package: A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, HGTV, History, Lifetime, MLB Network, NFL Network, Travel Channel
Read AT&T TV now.
How To Shop For Direct Cut Cable TV Services
Each of the services above offers a different mix of channels so your first step should be to choose one that carries yours "can't miss "cable channels and show. And some of the most important channels are local ones, namely ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. Not all services offer them all in every area.
The services can be divided into two main groups: budget, with prices starting at $ 15 but without local channels; and premium, with prices starting at $ 45 which includes locals as well as often other extras such as a superior cloud DVR. Yes, most of the services (barring AT&T watching TV) allow you to record and play shows, just like a traditional cable or satellite DVR, but they often come with limitations.
Then that's the multi-stream question. If you want to watch more than one program at the same time – for example, on the living room TV and on a bedroom TV, or the main TV and tablet or other devices – you want to make sure that the service you're watching probably have concurrent flows . Some of the cheapest services allow only one stream at a time, and if you try to see for a second, it is blocked.
Remember that, especially if you have more than one person watching supported devices at one time, you must make sure you have fast, reliable broadband internet . A 100 Mbps download service costs around $ 50 to $ 60 a month, and here the savings of cutting the cable can be swallowed.
Here is a live TV streaming shopping list to consider:
What streaming TV services won't give you
Streaming TV services are good, but there are some things they can't do compared to a traditional cable box.
Firstly, it is worth looking at the channels you cannot access any of these services. A big one has been PBS, since the broadcaster had apparently not obtained the streaming rights to all the shows it broadcasts. However, the good news is that.
Another biggie is sports. Sure, most services carry ESPN and local channels for NFL football, but if you follow a professional baseball or basketball team, chances are you will need their specific channel – called an RSN, or regional sports network – to watch regular season matches . RSN coverage varies widely for each service.
And fans of live sports watch out: every live TV service's video streaming is a few seconds to a minute or more behind the "live" stream you get from your local cable or satellite provider. That means you can get a preview of scores or large plays from Twitter, phone alerts or phone calls from friends a little before you see the action on screen.
Whileas part of its basic subscription, they sell Most other services either as an add-on or require you to register separately for . In addition, the NFL Red Zone and NHL Network are either not available or only as part of a package.
If you are used to the 5.1 surrounds offered by cable or even OTA, you will probably be disappointed that all the services include only stereo audio on live broadcasts. However, AT&T TV includes 5.1 audio on some on-demand material.
(Note that CNET is owned by CBS, which is a compensated programming provider on all cable, satellite and online TV services offering CBS channels, including Showtime, Pop, CBS Sports and CW, among others. and runs its own online service, CBS All Access, listed below.)
Price: Begins $ 20 Per Month  Another cheap service without sports or local channels. Philo offers bread-and-butter cable channels such as AMC, Comedy Channel, Nickelodeon and BBC America. Unlike Watch AT&T, it includes a cloud DVR, but it lacks a 24-hour big-name news channel like CNN.
Read more :
CBS All Access
Price: Begins at USD 6 per month
CBS All Access stands out from all the other services as it offers live (in some cities) and on request from only one channel. In addition to broadcasting video-on-demand, it offers exclusive online content such as. Things on request have ads, but you can get an ad-free option for $ 10 a month.
Price: Begins $ 55 per month
Fubo TV is a sports-centric service that also offers a variety of other channels including local OTA stations (except ABC) – and several RSNs (regional sports networks) than any other service. Especially for fans of professional baseball, basketball and hockey teams, FuboTV offers what may be the only way to watch regular-season matches without cable. However, there is no ESPN, and a narrow user interface and high cost means that it is not the first service we would have chosen.
Don't you love live TV? Several Cutter Cutter Pins
Netflix: One of the first streaming TV services, and it is so popular that it has become a catchy term in the same way as "Magic Marker" or "Coke" in the South. Plans start at $ 13 a month and cover thousands of TV shows and movies, including original content such as Daredevil and Orange Is the New Black.
: The "other" major streaming service, which is included as part of a $ 99 or $ 9 monthly Prime Membership. The interface is not as user-friendly as Netflix, but the service also offers non-competitive shows, including original content such as . Amazon Prime also has the ability to add premium channels (HBO and Showtime and more), making it a potential one-stop-shop.
Vudu /: A digital library (or cabinet) containing both UltraViolet content and streaming movies and TVs that are only available for purchase, as new releases.
It is also worth researching free, ad-supported services such asTuBi TV, Pluto and Sony Crackle, which offer a wealth of content.
Is an indoor or outdoor antenna a viable alternative?
If you have a TV in your house – that is, a screen that contains a tuner – you are already on your way to cutting the cord. An inexpensive indoor antenna connected to the set-top box lets you watch free TV over the air from all channels you receive in your local broadcasting area. Antennas cost as little as $ 10..
You can also add a DVR likeor if you want. Then you can record the live TV antenna channels, play them and skip commercials, just like a regular cable TV DVR. Here is .
A solid, cheaper alternative to live TV streaming services is the combination of an antenna for local local channels and an on-demand service such as Netflix or Hulu (which is). That way you will still be able to watch live programming and also have a choice of content on request.
Conclusion: Try it for yourself
Streaming of TV services is still in the beginning and the industry is still in flux. Since launch, each service has raised prices by at least $ 5 a month, channel selections and cities with local channel access are constantly changing, and reports continue that some services are losing money. While streaming is undoubtedly the future, it will take some time for both prices and services offered to settle in.
That said, if you want a cable-like experience both at home and on the go devices without the dead weight like a cable subscription provides, then a streaming service is worth looking at. There is no contract to sign, and if you do not like the service you are on, you can easily switch. So whether you are looking for a basic package like Sling TV or want to pay more for a luxury experience from the likes of AT&T TV Now, there should be a streaming TV service that suits you.
Originally published earlier.