Many people who want to save money on their monthly cable bill are discovering that they need live broadcasts in addition to Netflix. With the advent of live TV streaming services. These bundles of live TV channels allow you to view local and national news as well as live sports and events, and they may be canceled at any time. A smart TV or other streaming device is all that’s required.
Live TV streaming services provide a live channel selection and don’t require a contract like a cable, unlike on-demand platforms like Netflix or HBO Max. Services like YouTube TV are approximately double that price, but the finest ones (which can help you save money on cable) start at about $35 per month. Live programming from major networks like CNN, NBC, ESPN, and Fox is available over the internet on various devices, from desktop computers to mobile phones. You don’t need a professional to come to your house to start.
There has been some movement in pricing, and the number of channels through which products can be purchased is still in charge.
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The Top Choice for Streaming Live TV
YouTube TV is one of only two services, including local PBS stations, offering more premium channels than its competitors. The finest cloud DVR is available with the bare-bones $65 YouTube TV package, which offers unlimited storage and nine months to watch recordings (most rivals offer 30 days). The interface is straightforward and unpretentious, though a little bland, but it nevertheless provides access to the vast majority of options available from a cable provider. In addition, it is the only service that provides surround sound during live broadcasts.
Live 4K college football broadcasts are available for an additional $20 monthly on the video streaming service. It’s not a terrific deal only for the 4K programming since there isn’t much of it, but you get an unlimited number of streams (up from three) and offline DVR downloads.
YouTube TV is the greatest option if you’re willing to pay for the highest quality service. Sling TV is the best value in TV streaming if you’re merely looking to save money compared to a standard cable package.
Sling TV Blue, at $35, is $5 more than Philo, but it’s worth it because it features superior channels, customization choices, and a more polished live TV streaming experience. Even when compared to other streaming services and especially cable, Sling is a steal.
Since Sling does not carry as many local channels as paid-for alternatives like YouTube TV and Hulu Plus Live TV, it is significantly more cost-effective for cord-cutters (no local ABC or CBS stations, and availability of local Fox and NBC is very limited). Sling has two live TV streaming channel packages for $35 per month. While both have some of the same live TV stations, there are substantial differences in the other channels available: While Blue includes more channels than Orange, the former is essentially the ESPN/Disney package.
Sling TV’s new features, the enhanced storage capacity of its DVR (up to 50 hours), and its user-friendly interface (as seen above) make the service even more attractive than before.
In lieu of a traditional free trial, Sling provides a reduced-feature version of its service dubbed Sling Free, which has access to many channels.
Read Also: Ways to watch Vimeo TV on Smart TV
Hulu Plus TV
Hulu Plus Live TV offers the ideal combination of live and on-demand viewing. Even though Hulu’s channel lineup isn’t as extensive as that of YouTube TV or FuboTV, the service’s extensive on-demand library more than makes up for this. The $70 package includes both Hulu basic and Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, and a brand-new unlimited DVR. Hulu’s exclusives like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Only Murders in the Building” offer them an edge in programming that no other streaming service can match. But YouTube TV is still a slightly better option if you’re watching your pennies than Hulu Live TV, which costs $5 less.
The ad-supported version of Disney Plus will join Hulu Plus Live TV in December, while the price of the current ad-free bundle rises to $75.
DirecTV Stream, which has undergone no less than four rebrandings in the past three years, is currently among the most expensive at $70 per month (equal to Hulu Plus Live TV and FuboTV). The service isn’t without its benefits, though, such as the accessibility features that make it easy for those who use wheelchairs, such as the ability to swipe left and right to navigate channels. New customers can get unlimited DVR free, but existing members must pay an additional $10 per month.
In addition, DirecTV Stream provides access to over 250 local PBS stations, which isn’t the case with some competing packages. We recommend DirecTV Stream’s $90 Choice package for sports fans who want to cut the cord but still keep up with their favorite NBA or MLB club. But before you shell out any cash, you should check to see if the channel you want is available.
Other live TV streaming service providers.
Philo is an inexpensive live TV streaming service with a wide selection of channels, albeit it does not include sports networks, local stations, or major news networks (though it does have Cheddar and BBC News). Philo is a cable provider that focuses on lifestyle and reality shows but also provides access to standard cable channels, including AMC, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and Magnolia Network (previously DIY). An additional cloud DVR and Epix and Starz add-ons are available as well. If Philo provides all the channels you need, it’s a good price, but we think most consumers would be better off spending the extra ten bucks a month on Sling TV’s stronger service. Browse through our analysis of Philo.
FuboTV has a lot going for it, including a large channel lineup and a focus on sports that will appeal to soccer enthusiasts and those who follow the NBA, NHL, or MLB and live in a market where FuboTV offers regional sports networks (RSNs). As one of three providers, including YouTube TV and Hulu, to offer NFL Network and optional RedZone, it’s also a fantastic alternative for NFL fans. The absence of Turner networks like CNN, TNT, and TBS is the main shortcoming of Fubo’s channel roster. These networks broadcast a great deal of sports programming, including NBA, NHL, and MLB games. Due to its lack of channels and similar $70 price tag, YouTube TV is a more appealing option for most consumers. Here is our verdict on FuboTV.
How to buy cord-cutting live TV services
Your first step should be to determine which of the aforementioned TV streaming providers carries the cable channels and shows that you simply cannot miss. Local stations like ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC are among the most watched on television. While it’s true that no single streaming service can provide access to every available title, a little bit of research should reveal which services come closest to meeting your needs. There is an ongoing change in the channel lineups of live TV streaming services as networks compete for the most watched channels (ones with highly watched original shows and regional sports networks are especially in demand). Additionally, a cable channel may no longer be available on a certain provider if a network contract expires, as happened in 2020 with the regional sports networks.
The negotiations also result in additional shifts. Several streaming services, including Sling TV, Hulu (several times), Philo, and the rebranded DirecTV Stream, have increased their fees during the previous two years. Customers were unable to access the YouTube TV app on Roku devices until a contract issue between Google and Roku was resolved. At the same time, for two days, users were unable to access Disney channels as a result of a separate dispute.
These streaming services may be roughly divided into two categories: the cheaper ones (range from $25 to $35) don’t include many or any local channels, while the more expensive ones (starting at $65 and more) do. Like a standard cable or satellite DVR, these services let you record and rewatch episodes, but they also have their own unique limitations.
For more, see this article that compares the top 100 channels available on Hulu, Sling TV, YouTube TV, FuboTV, DirecTV Stream, and Philo.
Now we come to the multistream dilemma. Make sure the video streaming service you’re watching offers adequate simultaneous streams if you wish to watch more than one program at the same time, such as on your main TV and a bedroom TV, or the main TV and a tablet or other devices. You can only watch one video at a time on Sling Orange, and any further streams will be interrupted. Other services allow for more simultaneous streams.
It’s important to remember that having multiple viewers on multiple supported devices will necessitate a high-capacity internet connection. The savings from ditching cable can quickly be eaten away by the cost of a 100 Mbps download connection, which runs about $50 to $60 per month.
Things you can’t get from online video streaming providers
While excellent, streaming TV providers still lack some functionality compared to a standard cable box.
To begin, it’s instructive to consider the networks conspicuously absent from the available live TV streaming options. For instance, only YouTube TV and DirecTV Stream can provide PBS programming.
Now that the pandemic has passed, sports fans everywhere will look for the channels they need to get back into action. While most providers offer ESPN and local channels for NFL games, avid fans of professional baseball or basketball may need access to a dedicated channel broadcasting their team’s games during the regular season. In terms of RSN coverage, each service is very different. It is possible to be incorrectly blacked out based on your IP address, even if you are physically located in the correct region. If that’s the case, you must sign up for a virtual private network (VPN) that supports sports.
Compared to the “live” stream provided by your local cable or satellite company, the video streaming offered by every live TV service is several seconds to a minute or more behind. Thus, Twitter, phone alerts, or calls from pals may provide a sneak peek at scores or significant plays just before they are shown on television.
Those accustomed to 5.1-channel surround sound through cable or even over the air may be dissatisfied that only YouTube provides this option for live broadcasts. Other services only provide stereo sound for live channels, though 5.1 surround sound is an option for some on-demand offerings.