SVG Icons

Best Livestreaming TV Providers in Customer Satisfaction 2020

Learn how cord-cutters across the US rate their favorite (and least favorite) livestreaming TV services.

Livestreaming hasn’t replaced cable or satellite TV, but it’s gaining ground on traditional providers in 2020. With just a solid internet connection, livestreaming TV can deliver the same entertainment as cable or satellite for less money and with no contract commitments.

You might want to also check out our 2020 internet customer satisfaction survey, BTW. We can’t emphasize enough how important that “solid internet connection” is for livestreaming TV; it can make the difference between an elegant HD picture and a discarded ’90s VHS tape.

Best livestreaming TV providers in customer satisfaction 2020

Hulu + Live TV—Best overall
Hulu + Live TV—Best channel offerings
AT&T TV NOW—Best local channel selection
AT&T TV NOW—Most add-on channels

Sling TV—Best streaming quality
Hulu + Live TV—Best reliability
Sling TV—Best user experience
AT&T TV NOW—Best cloud DVR

Methodology

Using Pollfish, we surveyed thousands of livestreaming TV customers about their cord-cutting journey as of 2020.

This year’s results were a little different than our 2019 Customer Satisfaction Survey—the biggest change being that PlayStation Vue ceased to exist, taking out a major player in sports streaming. Also, previous contenders fuboTV and Philo didn’t garner enough responses to be statistically relevant in our 2020 list. We still think they’re both decent services, but the people have (not) spoken.

The overall numbers for the livestreaming TV services featured here are within decimal points of each other, with no runaway winner or distant loser. It was a neck-and-neck contest with a photo finish.

Survey questions

Even though a livestreaming service differs from traditional TV services, viewers still have the same concerns: Does it get all the channels and shows I want? Can I record those shows? How does the picture look? Am I getting my money’s worth?

Here’s what we asked in our livesteaming TV survey:

Overall customer satisfaction

We’ll bottom-line it for you right now: Hulu + Live TV once again took the top spot in our survey. Congrats on two years in a row—go green!

Best overall customer satisfaction

#1 overall
  • Good live channel selection
  • Great on-demand content
  • Good original content
View plans

Hulu + Live TV is the only livestreaming TV service that also has a fully loaded library of original and on-demand content, giving it a distinct advantage over the competition. It doesn’t skimp on the “live” side, either, making for a best-of-both-worlds streaming package.

It also doesn’t hurt that Hulu + Live TV is available on every streaming device out there, even recently appearing on the longtime holdout PlayStation (probably not coincidental to the shutdown of Vue).

As we mentioned earlier, this was a tight numbers race—but we’re still more than a little surprised to see YouTube TV at the bottom. In our reviews and personal experience, YouTube TV is a fantastic service that competes easily with Hulu + Live TV, at least in livestreaming.

YouTube TV still doesn’t have much to offer in the original content category, however, and we don’t see that changing. We think the recent addition of several Viacom channels to its lineup (including Comedy Central, Paramount Network, MTV, Nickelodeon, and 10 others) will bump YouTube TV up in our 2021 survey.

You’ve seen what the customers think. Now find out what our experts say in our review of the best streaming services.

Channel offering

How satisfied are you with your streaming service’s channel offering?

Best channel offerings

#1 for live channels
  • 70+ live channels
  • Good local channel coverage
View plans

Hulu + Live TV, depending on the area, carries as many as 70 live channels—not bad for $54.99 a month. But YouTube TV gives you over 85 channels for $64.99 a month, so we don’t really get its last-place finish here.

Sling TV offers a lot of popular cable channels at a low price point but skimps on local channels (more on this below). Add-on packages are where it’s at with Sling—it’s super customizable, but those extra costs stack up quick.

Speaking of costs: AT&T TV NOW offers seven livestreaming TV packages, with emphasis on its PLUS (45+ channels at $55 a month) and MAX (60+ channels at $80 a month) plans. The ULTIMATE plan (125+ channels at $135 a month) is NOW’s fattest lineup. None of these are what we’d call a “budget” plan.

CableTV.com tip: Check the channel lineups

When switching from cable or satellite to livestreaming TV, make sure your favorite channels are in the lineup before you cut the cord. If you go with Hulu + Live TV, for example, you’ll be bummed when the next season of Better Call Saul arrives: the service doesn’t carry AMC.

Local channels

How satisfied are you with your streaming service’s local channel selection?

Best local channel selection

#1 for local channels
  • High channel counts
  • Great local channel coverage
View plans

AT&T TV NOW has impressive channel counts and local station inclusivity, but the plans are on the expensive side—almost what you’d pay for standard cable or satellite service. You usually cut the cord to cut the costs, but our survey respondents apparently feel differently.

Sling TV’s second-place local channel finish is just weird. The service is inexpensive, but it’s also weaker than every other service here on local channels. Sling TV is particularly vigorous at encouraging DIY antenna usage, though, with receiver integration hardware and antenna giveaways.

Hulu + Live TV and YouTube placed at the bottom, which is surprising considering that both offer more channels than Sling TV (including locals). They’re also cheaper than most of AT&T TV NOW’s plans, if you’re eyeing the budget (we know we always are).

CableTV.com tip: Get an antenna

If a livestreaming service strikes your fancy but doesn’t carry the local channels you want, there’s an easy workaround: an over-the-air antenna. With a one-time purchase, you can receive local channels free forever (or however long those channels exist).

Add-on channel options

Do you pay for any add-on channels or packs with your streaming service? How satisfied are you with your streaming service’s add-on channel options?

Most add-on channels

48% of customers have add-ons
  • Included premium channels like HBO
  • Cheap premium add-ons

AT&T TV NOW’s most attractive add-on package is HBO®. You’d pay just $10 a month for HBO alone on the PLUS plan but, with the MAX plan, both HBO and CINEMAX® are included free. SHOWTIME® and EPIX are also available for lower-than-the-competition rates on AT&T TV NOW.

Sling TV offers over 20—yes, 20—add-on packages for its livestreaming TV plans, but HBO and CINEMAX aren’t among them. That’s two major strikes against Sling TV.

Hulu + Live TV offers a standard suite of premium add-ons: HBO, CINEMAX, SHOWTIME, and STARZ. YouTube TV has only SHOWTIME, STARZ, and EPIX. But you can also get Sundance Now, Shudder, and FOX Soccer Plus through YouTube TV, which kind of evens the scales.

Best add-on channel options

#1 for channel add-ons
  • Tons of add-on options
  • HBO Max, SHOWTIME, and STARZ add-ons
View plans

It’s a clear-cut vote here: YouTube TV offers HBO, CINEMAX, SHOWTIME, STARZ, EPIX, Sundance Now, Shudder, and FOX Soccer Plus as premium add-ons.

On that note, it’s a bit surprising that Sling TV dropped to third place here—did we mention the plethora of add-ons available through Sling TV? A larger quantity means more (and better) choices, we say.

Streaming quality

How satisfied are you with the streaming quality of live TV on your streaming service?

Best streaming quality

#1 for streaming quality
  • 720p resolution
  • Solid picture quality
View plans

This category is more about perception than reception, since all of the TV services here stream at 720p HD, which is as high as livestreaming gets. On-demand streaming can reach 1080p, but it’s a different animal because it’s not transmitting data, you know, live.

Still, our survey respondents liked Sling TV’s picture best, followed closely by AT&T TV NOW and Hulu + Live TV. In our reviewing experience at CableTV.com, we’ve barely detected an HD difference between those three and YouTube TV, so we think you’d be satisfied with any of their pictures.

CableTV.com tip: Maybe you need a new TV

Can’t remember when you bought your current TV? As with a mattress, that’s a good sign you might be due for a new TV. You want to enjoy the best HD (and 4K) picture you can get, right?

We have some recommendations for your next TV—or your first, if you’re tired of watching The Masked Singer on your phone.

Reliability

How satisfied are you with the reliability of your streaming service (buffering, frozen screens, loading failures, etc.)?

Best reliability

#1 for reliability
  • Fewer blackouts
  • Fewer playback issues
View plans

The polling numbers were single-digit tight in every category but reliability, where Hulu + Live TV pulled away from the pack with a double-digit lead. It’s very exciting (we take what we can get with stats around here).

Our survey participants experienced fewer blackouts, playback problems, and general streaming issues with Hulu + Live TV, which has also been our take in service reviews.

CableTV.com tip: Go direct with an Ethernet cable

Wi-Fi gets the job done, but the surest way to avoid buffering while streaming TV is to make a direct connection between your device and your internet router via an Ethernet cable.

But if you’re still averse to the clutter of extra cables, look into upgrading your Wi-Fi router. We have a few recommendations for the fastest Wi-Fi routers out there.

User experience

How satisfied are you with your streaming service’s user experience (on-screen channel guide, on-demand menu, suggested content, etc.)?

Best user experience

#1 for user experience
  • Good channel guide
  • Easy navigation
View plans

Sling TV’s simple, clean channel guide is a breeze to navigate—as long as you know exactly what you’re looking for. Intuitive search isn’t a strong point with any of these four livestreaming TV services, unfortunately.

AT&T TV NOW’s interface looks less like a clone of a satellite TV guide than DIRECTV NOW’s did, but it’s actually easier to “surf” channels like on standard TV than before. It’s not a major departure from the standard cable/satellite experience, so that’s good if you’re a new cord-cutter looking for familiarity.

Hulu + Live TV’s interface is still a bit stark and clunky for our liking. Apparently, Hulu’s recent on-demand makeover hasn’t translated to Live yet.

Once again, we’re perplexed by the last-place showing for YouTube TV—we’ve all been using regular YouTube for over a decade, and YouTube TV is just as simple to navigate.

CableTV.com tip: Take advantage of that free trial

We obviously don’t see eye-to-eye with our survey participants in all areas, and you might not agree with any of us.

That’s why we encourage everyone to take these services up on their free trial offers, which usually run at least seven days. Take ‘em for a spin for a week—just remember to cancel before the charges kick in.

Cloud DVR

Do you use your streaming service’s cloud DVR? How satisfied are you with your streaming service’s cloud DVR?

Most likely to use cloud DVR

58% of customers use cloud DVR
  • 500 hrs. of storage
  • User-friendly interface

DVR usage isn’t a big deal for the people we surveyed, as only a small percentage responded to this category. The ones who did, however, like using AT&T TV NOW’s 500-hour cloud DVR.

Sling TV only recently began including a mere 10 hours of DVR space with its plans (although it’s upgradeable to 50 hours), while Hulu + Live TV gives you 50 hours (upgradeable to 200 hours).

Meanwhile, YouTube TV still includes unlimited DVR space (for nine months before it wipes your shows) with its service. That’s right, unlimited.

Best cloud DVR

#1 cloud DVR
  • 500 hrs. of storage
  • User-friendly interface

No dramatic changes here beyond Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV trading spots—50 hours of cloud DVR space beats 10, but neither can compete with AT&T TV NOW’s 500.

Did we mention that YouTube TV features unlimited DVR space? We’ll leave it alone now.

CableTV.com tip: Cloud DVRs gather no dust

Unlike hardware DVRs that take up real estate on your entertainment center, cloud DVRs store recorded shows and movies in the digital ether. That’s why streaming TV devices are so small—sometimes as unobtrusive as a USB stick.

If you don’t record much live TV, a service’s DVR won’t affect your viewing life much. If you keep up on a lot of shows (say, more than 10), however, we say 50 hours of cloud DVR space is the bare minimum you’ll need. That’s like 100 episodes of The Daily Show, for reference.

Value

In your experience, rate your streaming service’s overall value.

Best value

#1 value
  • 70+ live channels
  • Great on-demand library
  • Middle-of-the-pack pricing
View plans

As we said before, Hulu + Live TV has a near-perfect combo of premium on-demand content and livestreaming TV offerings. If you could subscribe to only one streaming service—we know, scary—Hulu + Live TV would be an obvious choice.

Second-place AT&T TV NOW’s plan pricing doesn’t exactly scream “value” to us, but the availability of inexpensive HBO add-ons does help even things up.

We have our own opinions on Sling TV (it’s cheap!) and YouTube TV (it’s underrated!), but we’ll defer to our survey participants in this case.

Cable TV.com tip: Streaming is everywhere

If you have an internet connection, you can try out any livestreaming TV service. Where cable providers are limited to certain regions of the country, and satellite offers just two (DIRECTV and DISH), streaming is all about choice.

Check out all of your options with our guide to livestreaming TV services.

Streaming devices

What device(s) do you use to stream on the most?

Slightly more people are using dedicated streaming devices than smart TV apps, a trend we like, as devices offer more flexibility and are easier (and less expensive) to upgrade than TVs. Gaming consoles also had a decent showing, but no survey-takers mentioned apps in Blu-ray players—remember those?

YouTube TV scored high with viewers using mobile devices and laptops, which makes sense: its interface lends itself particularly well to those platforms. YouTube is still YouTube, after all.

CableTV.com tip: Check your streaming app’s device compatibility

Since you’ll probably be livestreaming TV on more than one device, you’ll want to check the streaming app’s compatibility across your gadgets.

Of the four livestreaming services we’ve featured here, Hulu + Live TV is the most compatible with popular devices. Sling TV and YouTube TV are incompatible with PlayStation and Nintendo consoles.

AT&T TV NOW has a few more device limitations—it won’t work with PlayStation, Nintendo, Xbox, or Vizio or LG smart TVs.

Our final take

For livestreaming TV, we like all four of the services that our survey participants ranked in overall quality, for different reasons.

  • Hulu + Live TV (#1) offers an excellent balance of live channels and on-demand content.
  • AT&T TV NOW (#2) gives you stacks of channels.
  • Sling TV (#3) is inexpensive and customizable.
  • YouTube TV (#4) is easy to navigate and includes an unlimited DVR.

There’s still a lot to like about fuboTV and Philo, too, even if they didn’t make the cut this year. Again, get in on those free trials—no contracts means no worries. Check out what our experts think of these services and more with our article “Best Live TV streaming Services.”

Don't miss an update

Stay updated on the latest products and services anytime anywhere.

This site is a U.S. Consumer site. You can learn more about our site and privacy policy here.