Best Live TV Streaming Services 2023: Cost, Plans, and More
Our experts spent thousands of hours researching and testing all of the top live TV streaming services so you don't have to.
Switching from cable to streaming TV can be confusing. There are lots of different types of providers, and many have multiple plans. But we’re the TV experts, and we’ve hand-picked some of the best options for you.
If you’re looking for a lineup of live TV channels much like cable (without all of the equipment), you’ll want a live TV streaming service (as opposed to on-demand). Keep reading for an overview of some of the best live TV streaming services in 2023.
Compare live TV streaming services
|Service||Price||Channels||Multiple streams||Cloud DVR||Details|
|Hulu + Live TV Bundle||$76.99–$89.99/mo.||85+||2||Unlimited (9 mos.)||View plan|
|DIRECTV STREAM||$69.99–$159.99/mo.||75–150+||3–unlimited||Unlimited (9 mos.)||View Plans for DIRECTV STREAM|
|Fubo||$74.99–$94.99/mo.||150–220+||3–10||250–1,000 hrs.||View Plans for FuboTV|
|Sling TV||$40.00–$55.00/mo.||30–45+||1–4||50–200 hrs.||View Plans for Sling TV|
Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Best live TV streaming services in detail
We’ve given you a high-level rundown of the best streaming services. Now, let’s dig deeper into why we recommend these live TV streaming services.
Hulu + Live TV/The Disney Bundle
- Full Hulu on-demand experience
- Disney+ and ESPN+ included
- Unlimited cloud DVR storage
- No AMC, BBC America, or IFC
- No MLB, NBA, or NHL networks
Hulu + Live TV bundles
|Hulu (with ads) + Live TV, Disney+ (with ads), and ESPN+ (with ads)||Disney+, Hulu + Live TV, ESPN+||$76.99/mo.|
|Hulu (no ads) + Live TV, Disney+ (no ads), and ESPN+ (with ads)||Disney+, Hulu + Live TV, ESPN+||$89.99/mo.|
When you think of Hulu, you probably think of The Handmaid’s Tale—or maybe Palm Springs if you’re into romantic quantum time-travel comedies.
Beyond original dystopian dramas, thinky comedies, and next-day broadcast releases, Hulu has also taken a swing at live TV streaming with Hulu + Live TV. The crew here at CableTV.com likes it so much we’ve named it our best value streamer.
For $76.99–$89.99/mo., in addition to on-demand Hulu content, Hulu + Live TV gives you over 75 live cable channels and, depending on your area, a near-complete local network lineup. As a bonus, both Hulu + Live TV plans include the Disney+/ESPN+ bundle to take the sting out of the high price.
That all sounds good until you scan the cable channels and notice favorites like AMC, IFC, and BBC America are nowhere to be found. Other streaming services lack these channels, too—we recommend making up the difference with Philo, which carries them all for just $25 a month.
Sports fans, on the other hand, are treated to ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, FS2, and NFL Network, plus TBS and TNT, with Hulu + Live TV. It also offers a generous number of regional sports networks and a handful of college sports channels. However, MLB, NBA, and NHL pro sports networks are missing.
And again, each Hulu + Live TV plan automatically comes with the Disney Bundle, which adds Disney+ and ESPN+ to the deal. That’s a feast of 41,000+ on-demand movies and shows, more content than any other streaming service. Plus, the bundle has a cheaper, ad-supported option. If you have the extra cash, the ad-free plans are the way to go for the best streaming experience, but the ad-supported version will do if you’re short on cash (we get it, streaming can be expensive!)
We think Hulu + Live TV provides the best live TV streaming value for the price. Access to all of that cool Hulu on-demand content (not to mention everything that comes with Disney+ and Hulu) seals the deal.
Most sports channels: DIRECTV STREAM
- Big channel lineups
- All premium add-ons available
- Expensive plans
- Hidden regional sports fees
Like many legacy media providers, DIRECTV leaped into the streaming boom quickly. After several iterations, DIRECTV STREAM (formerly AT&T TV) has since evolved into a decent streaming version of its satellite TV service, complete with unlimited cloud DVR—but it’s not cheap.
DIRECTV STREAM looks and navigates much like its satellite TV counterpart. More importantly, it also carries more RSNs (regional sports networks) than other live TV streaming services, like Bally Sports, YES, MASN, Altitude, ROOT Sports, and AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain.
If you’re determined to sidestep contracts, ditch the dish, and keep your RSNs, DIRECTV STREAM is a relatively painless gateway into the world of full-time streaming TV.
Best deals: Sling TV
- Inexpensive plans
- Tons of rotating deals
- Plenty of add-on packages
- Limited local channels
- Limited DVR storage
In terms of interface and channel options, Sling TV is similar to Hulu + Live TV. Its basic plans are cheaper if somewhat confusing, but overall Sling TV is highly customizable with multiple available add-on packages—including one for the kiddies.
The Sling Orange (32 channels for $40 a month) and Sling Blue (40 channels, also for $40 a month) packages aren’t bad for casual TV viewers. But more demanding viewers will likely want Sling Orange + Blue (46 channels for $55 a month), since it’s the most complete basic, no ad-ons package Sling TV has to offer.
The Orange + Blue package has kids’ channels Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, and Nick Jr. For $6 more a month, you can add the Kids Extra package, which includes Disney Junior, Disney XD, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, TeenNick, Boomerang, BabyTV, and DuckTV.
Sling TV’s cable channel lineup is strong—and with add-on packages, it gets even better, especially for sports (mom and dad need some to watch, too). If you have the patience to navigate the color-coding, Sling TV is a solid service.
Figuring out Sling TV’s local coverage requires more than a glance, but Sling TV is proactive about helping customers use antennas to get local channels by offering several deals on the equipment.
Sling’s TV’s rotating monthly deals and add-on channel package options—there are over 30 of them—should grab the attention of customizers who like to tweak their TV lineups to their own tastes and save a little cash along the way.
Lots of foreign sports leagues and RSNs: Fubo
- Excellent sports coverage
- Solid entertainment channel lineup
- Expensive plans
- No TBS, TNT, CNN, or Cartoon Network
Fubo promises “live sports and TV without cable,” delivering “the perfect mix of sports and entertainment.” It’s an expansion on the service’s initial mission to be “the Netflix of soccer,” which still fits.
The Fubo Pro package, at $74.99 a month, offers 140+ live TV streaming channels, including entertainment staples like FX, AMC, Syfy, and Comedy Central. The Elite plan, $84.99 a month, adds about 30 more channels to the mix.
fuboTV’s Ultimate plan, at $94.99 a month, nets you 215+ channels, including SHOWTIME. It also comes with a DVR upgrade to 1,000 hours. For a beyond-complete live TV streaming experience, Ultimate is the way to go.
Even with the addition of ESPN channels, fuboTV’s niche sports programming is where it’s at, especially if you’re really, really, really into soccer (you know who you are). That impressive channel count is mostly soccer networks that even hardcore fans might not recognize. And, with fuboTV’s sports add-on packages, you can get even more.
What to look for in a live TV streaming service
Does the service offer a free trial?
One of the best perks of streaming TV services is the free trial period. The trial windows are brief (seven days is common) but offer enough time for a dedicated viewer to pull off a marathon or two. Unfortunately, not every service allows this, and most require credit card information, so you’ll have to be quick about hitting that cancellation button.
Is cloud DVR space included?
Most streaming TV services that offer live TV also include cloud DVR storage with the package. Like a physical DVR, though, they do have limits on space and time. Some give you as little as 10 hours, while some “unlimited” options will save your Hoarders episodes backlog for only a few months. Ironic.
How many users does it allow?
When we talk about simultaneous streams, we mean how many users can be watching content on the same account at the same time. This isn’t the same thing as the number of devices that can be logged in simultaneously, and a good plan will usually allow three or four. Some services offer budget plans with fewer streams.
In 2023, Netflix began restricting simultaneous log-ins based on location. If you live in a different household from the account holder, you’ll have to pay a steep fee or get booted. We haven’t seen too many other services follow suit yet, but it’s a big drawback to look out for.
And some services don’t allow for more than one profile at all, which is a bummer if you’re sharing an account with someone else. You’ll just have to keep a mental note of which One Piece episode you’re on if you share a Crunchyroll account.
Does the service carry local channels?
You may not think about local channels much, but they carry the shows you love live from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, and The CW . If a streaming TV service doesn’t carry local affiliate channels, you could miss out on those shows, as well as area sports, news, and weather.
If these are important to you, check the availability of local affiliates on streaming TV services you’re interested in. If they’re not available, a digital antenna can make up the difference.