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Best Live TV Streaming Services to Ditch Cable in 2024

There’s a streaming platform for every kind of cord-cutter.

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel
Ali James/Shopper News / USA TODAY NETWORK

This post was written in partnership with Sling TV.

Live TV streaming services have become a haven for cord-cutters. With no long-term contracts and the freedom to watch from anywhere — not to mention the opportunity to save big on cable costs — streaming platforms have lured many viewers away from traditional cable. 

But, with so many options on the market, how do you choose the right one? There are plenty of arguments about which is the best live TV streaming service — but what’s best for one person isn’t always right for another. That’s why we’ve reviewed the top live TV streaming services to highlight which one stands out in five different categories. It’s up to you to decide which kind of streamer you are.

How we chose

To make our picks for the best live TV streaming services, we spent time testing and exploring the key aspects of each one. We compared pricing and plans and explored aspects of the user interface, ease of use, variety of add-ons, and more. 

We narrowed the most important streaming features down to five categories: cost, sports content, channel selection, familiarity for long-time cable subscribers, and overall experience. Below, we’ve highlighted the top option for each feature.

Top live TV streaming services

Best for streaming on a budget: Sling TV

BenefitsDrawbacks
Affordable plan optionsLimited channel selection
Huge selection of add-ons for customizationNo regional sports networks
Possible to put together a strong sports lineupVery little DVR storage space

About Sling TV

Sling TV offers three basic plans featuring a limited selection of the most popular cable channels. Sling Orange and Sling Blue are both $40 per month, with the former tailored to sports and family programming and the latter emphasizing news and entertainment. Sling Blue also offers local channels in some markets. The combo plan — Sling Orange & Blue — includes all 46 channels for $55 a month, and all plans come with 50 hours of cloud DVR storage.

Why is it the best?

Sling is a dream come true for anyone feeling too crunched by the costs of cable or exhausted from too much channel surfing. Its affordable plans feature the best of the cable TV experience, and its customizability sets it apart as a platform you can tailor to your own streaming needs. Whether you want plenty of live sports, extra family channels, or every angle on current events, you can build a Sling plan that has it. And even though it doesn’t offer regional sports networks (RSNs), it’s cheap enough that you can subscribe directly to your local offering without breaking the bank.


Best for live sports: Fubo

BenefitsDrawbacks
Huge selection of popular and niche sports channelsMissing some popular channels
Largest channel lineup of any streaming platformHidden “regional sports fee” 
Regional sports networks included in all main plansNo parental controls

About Fubo

Fubo was originally built as a streaming service for sports lovers but has become much more. With over 180 channels in its basic Pro plan, it offers more live TV than any other streaming platform. Its three main plans (there’s also a fourth for Spanish-language programming) range from $79.99 to $99.99 a month, but there’s also a market-specific regional sports fee of up to $14.99 per month. All plans include 1,000 hours of cloud DVR storage and up to 10 simultaneous streams at home.

Why is it the best?

Although it’s more than a sports streaming platform, Fubo is still our go-to choice for sports-loving cord-cutters. The basic plan features more than 30 sports channels, including RSNs, and you can add tons of extra sports by upgrading your plan or choosing add-ons like Sports Plus with NFL RedZone, NBA League Pass, and MLB TV. It’s missing a few key channels — for sports fans, TBS, TNT, and TruTV are nowhere to be found — and the absence of parental controls is a major issue. Still, it’s the best way to get loads of international, national, and regional coverage in one place. Try it for free for up to seven days.


Best for channel selection: YouTube TV

BenefitsDrawbacks 
Best channel lineup for a well-rounded packageNo regional sports networks
Lots of live national and international sportsOnly 3 simultaneous streams
Tons of add-on options to expand your planLimited parental controls

About YouTube TV

YouTube TV eschews a single focus for a broad channel lineup designed to appeal to cord-cutters who want a well-rounded viewing experience. Its base plan, which starts at $72.99 a month, offers over 110 of the top news, entertainment, local networks, and sports channels, including popular options that aren’t available on other platforms. YouTube TV features unlimited cloud DVR storage, and you can stream on up to three devices at once.

Why is it the best?

Fubo may offer more channels than any platform, but it can’t beat YouTube TV’s overall channel lineup. You’ve got a nice mix of everything here, from TBS and CBS Sports Network to CNN and FX. There aren’t any RSNs, so that may turn some fans away or require you to supplement your plan. Still, with a strong overall lineup, YouTube TV makes it easy for cord-cutters to jump in without too much thought, but its parental controls are somewhat limited. If you want add-ons, there are plenty of ways to expand your plan with more sports, niche entertainment, or premium channels. You can try YouTube TV for free for up to two weeks.


Best for a cable-like experience: DIRECTV STREAM

BenefitsDrawbacks
Four plans are very similar to DIRECTV’s satellite plansMost expensive live TV streaming service
Regional sports networks in Choice plan and aboveMore limited channel selection for the price than some competitors
Unlimited simultaneous streams at homeNo user profiles

About DIRECTV STREAM

DIRECTV STREAM largely mirrors DIRECTV’s satellite service, offering four plans with the same names and similar pricing. The big difference is that you can stream from anywhere without a contract. Depending on your plan, you’ll pay between $79.99 and $164.99 a month and get between 75 and over 150 channels. All plans include unlimited cloud DVR storage so you can record your favorite teams and shows to watch on your own time.

Why is it the best?

DIRECTV STREAM probably feels like home to anyone who’s been with cable for a long time. From the plan selection to the user interface, it all has a familiar feel to it, and it’s nice to know what you’re dealing with. Plus, DIRECTV STREAM is the only service other than Fubo to offer RSNs so you can watch your local teams. It may be pricier than the competition, but DIRECTV STREAM knows how to put together a strong channel lineup and intuitive features, and its unlimited simultaneous streams at home are a huge plus. You can even try DIRECTV STREAM free for five days.


Best overall: Hulu + Live TV

BenefitsDrawbacks 
Excellent mix of on-demand and live TV contentRegional sports networks not available in most markets
Disney Bundle included Limited add-on options
Access to many current show episodes soon after they air on TVOnly 2 simultaneous streams

About Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV is unique among the live TV streaming services for emphasizing both live and on-demand programming. All plans (except the discounted Live TV only option) come with more than 90 channels and complete access to the Disney Bundle. That means you get everything on Hulu, along with Disney Plus and ESPN Plus. Plans start at $76.99 a month and only differ in terms of how much advertising you have to endure. 

Why is it the best?

If you want to combine the best of on-demand streaming and cable TV, look no further than Hulu + Live TV. The channel lineup is solid, featuring an excellent mix of sports, news, entertainment, and local channels. ESPN Plus offers a huge boost for sports fans, with plenty of national and out-of-market action alongside award-winning sports shows and documentaries. Finally, Hulu and Disney Plus offer some of the most beloved entertainment, both classic and current, from production companies like Pixar, Marvel Studios, ABC, FX, and more. If you only choose one streaming service for all your streaming needs, it should be Hulu + Live TV.

Pro tip: For larger households, the Unlimited Screens Add-on is a must. Two simultaneous streams won’t cut it when you’re pitting live sports against Disney movies and the latest episode of “The Bear.”


Final thoughts

Live TV streaming services offer the obvious appeal of breaking you free from pricey cable contracts and home-bound cable boxes. But they also provide more variety for cord-cutters to choose from. Each streaming platform has its own unique emphasis, and that means more viewers can cut out the fluff and find the plan that works for them. Now that you know the top features of each live TV streaming service, which one will you try in 2024?

FAQ

What is the cheapest live TV streaming service?

Philo is the cheapest live TV streaming service on the market. At $25 per month, it’s much less than most competitors. However, Philo is missing many popular channels and offers no live sports.

Can I cancel my streaming subscription any time?

Yes. Streaming services do not require long-term contracts, so you can cancel your service anytime without paying a fee. Typically, you’ll still have access to content until the end of your current billing cycle.

Does Amazon Prime have live TV?

Amazon Prime does feature some live TV content, most notably Thursday Night Football from the NFL. Prime and Freevee also offer some live college sports, boxing, and mixed martial arts events. If you subscribe to extra channels such as STARZ, they may include live programming.

"We often receive complimentary products to review at Sportsnaut. Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team."

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