skip to main content
We may earn money when you click our links.

Niche Live TV Streamers Shine as Competitor Prices Surpass Cable

The verdict is in! 7,150 people shared their take on live TV streaming, and we analyzed the results.

On-demand: For rankings on services like Netflix, Disney+, and Max, check out’s On-Demand TV Streaming Customer Satisfaction Survey 2024.

Cable and satellite TV usage fell to record lows in 2023 as the focus on live TV streaming continues to rise. But while streaming is all the rage, it doesn’t mean every service is worth your time and money.

Everyone has different needs. Perhaps you crave nostalgic content that takes you back to the analog days. Or maybe you live for the thrill of your favorite sports team. Our live TV streaming customer satisfaction survey highlights the diverse needs influencing streaming habits.

Fielded from June 16 to September 24, 2023, the online survey included 7,150 respondents. The live TV streaming services with the most subscriptions were YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and DIRECTV STREAM. But popularity doesn’t always equal quality.

Live TV streaming trends for 2024

Niche services like Frndly TV and Philo excel in meeting user expectations

Frndly TV nabbed the highest overall satisfaction rating of any live TV streaming service. Meanwhile, Philo also excelled in meeting customer’s expectations—particularly in pricing.

We label these services as niche because they cater to specific audiences that want affordable and quality content but are willing to sacrifice local channels and sports-oriented networks. They are the antithesis of services like Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV, which cost more than most cable TV plans.

Heading into 2024, Frndly TV plans start at $7.99 a month and offer 40+ channels. Philo costs $25 a month and includes 70+ channels. It’s easy to see how maintaining low monthly prices with extensive, high-quality channel lineups makes these two services soar in satisfaction.

Service Price vs. quality (Excellent or good) Price vs. expectations (Excellent or good)
Frndly TV 94% 88%
Philo 83% 83%

Price hikes sting year-over-year satisfaction

Over the last year, price hikes hit most live TV streaming services—impacting customer satisfaction. Notably, Philo was the only service that avoided a price increase during that period. The absence of frequent price changes contributed to Philo’s significantly better satisfaction rating in our survey’s price-related categories.

While Frndly TV saw a slight price increase in September 2023, it remains the only live TV streaming service to cost under $10 a month. Its affordability mirrors its high satisfaction rating, illustrating how steady prices in an inflated economy garner better customer happiness.

Service Price increase Date
DIRECTV STREAM $5.00–10.00+ Nov 2023
Frndly TV $1.00+ Sep 2023
Fubo $5.00+; added RSN fees* Feb 2023
Hulu + Live TV $7.00+ Oct 2023
Philo $5.00+ Jun 2021
Sling TV $5.00+ Nov 2022
YouTube TV $8.00+ Apr 2023

Data effective as of post date.
*Fubo’s 2023 regional sports network (RSN) fees cost $10.99–$13.99/mo.

Sling TV’s identity crisis frustrates users, sinks satisfaction

Sling TV’s performance in this year’s survey revealed a significant decline over last year. It scored the worst overall satisfaction rating (57%) due to consistent shortcomings in user experience and unfulfilling subscriber expectations.

Customers expressed dissatisfaction primarily with Sling TV’s channel offerings, app interface, and overall reliability. As one user said in our survey, “They market themselves as à la carte service, but in reality, they suffer from offering a lot of awful channels.”

We attribute Sling TV’s failure to its shortcomings in providing a cohesive service. When we look at standouts like Frndly TV and Philo, we see that they’ve crafted an experience that mirrors the entertainment of their channel lineups. However, Sling TV’s base plans offer too broad of channel lineups that miss the mark for general entertainment lovers and sports fans alike.

If we had it our way, Sling TV would offer one entertainment base plan and one sports base plan. Users would then have the option to combine the plans and upgrade with add-ons depending on channel preferences and budget.

Service 2024 overall satisfaction 2023 overall satisfaction 2022 overall satisfaction
Sling TV 57% 71% 60%

Legacy TV brands falter in the streaming era

DISH and DIRECTV have been in the TV game for a while, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at their streaming services. We already dug into DISH’s Sling TV and its lack of direction, but DIRECTV STREAM has a similar problem.

DIRECTV STREAM is missing a clear identity to attract and maintain subscribers. Just look at the numbers in the table below. DIRECTV STREAM and Sling TV don’t offer effective and enjoyable experiences. They’re the least likely services users would recommend to a friend. Ouch.

Service Effective meeting needs (Extremely or very effective) Enjoyable interactions (Extremely or very enjoyable) Recommend to a friend (Completely or very likely)
DIRECTV STREAM 67% 60% 62%
Sling TV 67% 62% 53%

Highest overall satisfaction

This section unveils customers’ overall satisfaction ratings for live TV streaming services. Content quality, pricing, and ease of use are pivotal factors in this category.

Seven platforms appeared in our polls based on respondents’ subscriptions, with Frndly TV emerging as a standout newcomer. Notably, Vidgo didn’t make the cut this year because not enough subscribers participated in our survey.

What is your overall satisfaction with your live TV streaming service?

Top spots for overall satisfaction go to Frndly TV, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV
#1 Frndly TV (86%); #2 Hulu + Live TV (78%); #3 YouTube TV (77%)

Frndly TV launched in 2019, but it wasn’t until this year that it appeared in our survey results. Taking the top spot in customer satisfaction is a pretty drastic debut. Like Shudder in our on-demand streaming survey, Frndly TV’s success relies on its affordability and transparency. You get what’s advertised for a low cost, and customers love that.

Meanwhile, Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV are also highly rated for 2024. Both services dropped one spot over last year’s results to make room for Frndly TV, and their overall satisfaction scores slightly decreased. But that’s a trend most live TV streaming services saw from 2023 to 2024 as prices rose across the board.

DIRECTV STREAM is the only service featured in our survey last year where overall satisfaction improved this year (from 64% to 68%). Sling TV, on the other hand, took a nosedive from 71% to 57%. We attribute that significant drop in satisfaction to Sling TV’s November 2022 price hike. Sling TV’s base plans now cost double its price when it launched in 2015.

Service Completely or very satisfied
Frndly TV 86%
Hulu + Live TV 78%
YouTube TV 77%
Fubo 74%
Philo 71%
Sling TV 57%

We love seeing the Hallmark movies, Christmas movies, and all of the old-school family shows.

—Frndly customer

How well did your experience compare with your ideal of how a live TV streaming service should be?

Percentage of customers responding “Extremely” or “Very close” to the ideal:

  1. Frndly TV (84%)
  2. Hulu + Live TV (75%)
  3. YouTube TV (75%)

Frndly TV takes the lead as the closest thing to the ideal live TV streaming service. Of course, that’s as long as you’re a fan of family-oriented content and don’t mind missing out on local channels and live sports—not to mention vowels.

Behind Frndly TV, it’s a draw between Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV. Both come packed with popular channels and unlimited DVR storage.

Sling TV trails the competition as the least perfect service. While it lacks local channels like Frndly TV, Sling TV has a much higher price tag and no unlimited DVR option.

Service Extremely or very close to the ideal
Frndly TV 84%
Hulu + Live TV 75%
YouTube TV 75%
Fubo 74%
Philo 71%
Sling TV 59%

Best user experience

Quality user experience (UX) is vital for any streaming platform to maintain subscribers. After all, it’s frustrating when apps kick you out, content doesn’t load, and menus are difficult to navigate. (Serenity now!)

At a time when streamers prioritize expanding content over enhancing UX, it’s pretty rare to find a flawless platform. Sure, streaming devices play a role in an app’s performance. But if a platform claims compatibility with a specific device, it better work.

How satisfied are you with your user experience?

Frndly TV, YouTube TV, and Philo win best user experience
#1 Frndly TV: 83%; #2 YouTube TV: 76%; #3 Philo: 74%

When it comes to UX, Frndly TV was the clear winner in our survey—besting YouTube TV by 7%. It’s a clear example of Frndly TV living up to its name by offering a smooth and comfortable viewing experience.

Frndly TV’s Movies menu
Frndly TV’s Movies menu displays neatly organized rows of live and on-demand content.

YouTube TV coming in second makes sense because its familiar UX mirrors the standard interface. Philo is up there, too, with its easy-to-navigate channel guide and on-demand library.

Service Completely or very satisfied
Frndly TV 83%
YouTube TV 76%
Philo 74%
Hulu + Live TV 71%
Sling TV 66%
Fubo 56%

Good quality for a reasonable price. I would recommend it to family and friends.

—Philo customer

Best customer experience

While UX focuses on the service’s functionality, customer experience encompasses a subscriber’s entire journey with the platform. It factors in the sign-up process, customer service, pricing, channel variety, and brand satisfaction.

Based on what we saw with UX, you may think Frndly TV will reign supreme in this category. Well, spoiler alert: It does.

How easy was it to use your live TV streaming service?

Percentage of customers responding “Extremely” or “Very easy”:

  1. Frndly TV (86%)
  2. YouTube TV (82%)
  3. Sling TV (79%)

Most live TV streaming services are easy to use once you master the app’s controls. However, Frndly TV is the most user-friendly option, offering an exceptionally straightforward interface.

Surprisingly, DIRECTV STREAM is in last place. It should score big here after all those years in the satellite TV game. But it’s a tricky service to navigate. (We’re guilty of accidentally exiting the app on many occasions.)

Service Extremely or very easy
Frndly TV 86%
YouTube TV 82%
Sling TV 79%
Hulu + Live TV 78%
Fubo 74%
Philo 71%

How effective was your live TV streaming service at meeting your needs?

Percentage of customers responding “Extremely” or “Very effective”:

  1. Frndly TV (84%)
  2. YouTube TV (82%)
  3. Hulu + Live TV (78%)

Frndly TV continues to excel in meeting customers’ needs, leading the effectiveness chart. YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV closely follow, but overall scores in this category are strong.

We attribute the success of the higher-ranked services to their breadth of channels and infrequent streaming interruptions.

Service Extremely or very effective
Frndly TV 84%
YouTube TV 82%
Hulu + Live TV 78%
Fubo 74%
Philo 74%
Sling TV 67%

I love YouTube TV. It gives me everything I need and want without the high cost.

—YouTube TV customer

How enjoyable were your interactions with your streaming service?

Percentage of customers responding “Extremely” or “Very” enjoyable:

  1. Frndly TV (86%)
  2. Hulu + Live TV (76%)
  3. YouTube TV (75%)

Interacting with a service can range from the sign-up process to navigating the platform’s online support page. Even top services face occasional issues—device problems, internet lag, and user errors also arise. But quality interactions with the service can make a difference in how you move forward with your subscription.

It’d be surprising if Frndly TV didn’t ace this section. But it’s a breeze to sign up for and offers a straightforward viewing experience. It also has an in-depth Help Center featuring a live support chat should anything go wrong.

Other services have similar support options, but Frndly TV radiates warmth and empathy. In our survey, a Frndly TV subscriber said, “They’re a nice small company to work with, and they seem to understand the customer.”

Service Extremely or very enjoyable
Frndly TV 86%
Hulu + Live TV 76%
YouTube TV 75%
Fubo 69%
Philo 69%
Sling TV 62%

Most reliable

Reliability is the linchpin of a seamless streaming experience.

Some live TV streaming services excel in this aspect. They deploy regular app updates to ensure delivery of the best possible product. However, per the following feedback, certain services must step up to meet the reliability benchmark.

How reliable is your live TV streaming service?

Frndly TV, YouTube TV, and Philo score the highest reliability ratings
#1 Frndly TV: 80%; #2 YouTube TV: 75%; #3 Philo: 74%

Is there anything Frndly TV can’t do? Okay, maybe it can’t make us a cup of hot cocoa to go with its cozy content. But it’s a reliable live TV streaming service.

A satisfied Frndly TV customer mentioned, “I like having the ability to record programs and to watch live programs from the beginning if I tune in late.” And isn’t that the epitome of what we desire from a TV service? Simple, convenient, and trouble free. Just load up the app, find what you want to watch, and enjoy it without thinking twice.

Service Completely or very satisfied
Frndly TV 80%
YouTube TV 75%
Philo 74%
Fubo 70%
Hulu + Live TV 70%
Sling TV 60%

Best bang for your buck

When it comes to paid TV, the quest for value is more challenging than ever. Many live TV streaming services raised prices in 2023—making some plans more expensive than cable and satellite TV.

Fortunately, a few budget-friendly options still exist. But you’ll likely concede some favorite channels to find the right balance of content and affordability. At least, that’s the sentiment customers had while responding to the following questions.

Considering the quality of your live TV streaming service, how would you rate the price you pay for it?

Frndly TV, Philo, and Hulu + Live TV rank the best for price
#1 Frndly TV: 94%; #2 Philo: 83%; #3 Hulu + Live TV: 73%

As the two cheapest live TV streaming services, Frndly TV and Philo soar in this category.

Frndly TV started 2023 at $6.99–$10.99 a month but raised its monthly prices by a dollar in September. Meanwhile, Philo has maintained a steady $25 monthly rate since 2021. Beyond budget-friendly pricing, both platforms boast an attractive array of popular channels and unlimited DVR storage, adding substantial value to their offerings.

Hulu + Live TV comes in third place—a testament to its balance of quality and price. But the real head-scratcher is Sling TV coming in second to last. Sling TV offers inexpensive pricing—it’s the cheapest way to get full access to channels like ESPN and TNT. However, we attribute its low score to its limitations with local channels, simultaneous streaming, and DVR storage.

Service Excellent or good given the quality
Frndly TV 94%
Philo 83%
Hulu + Live TV 73%
Fubo 68%
YouTube TV 67%
Sling TV 64%

Considering your expectations for your live TV streaming service, how would you rate the price you pay?

Percentage of customers responding “Excellent” or “Good” given their expectations:

  1. Frndly (88%)
  2. Philo (83%)
  3. Hulu + Live TV (75%)

Despite the absence of sports or local channels, subscribers find Frndly TV and Philo attractive based on pricing. But what stands out the most is that Sling TV ranks last in this response.

Like Frndly TV and Philo, Sling TV is much cheaper than all other live TV streaming services. So, what separates it from the other inexpensive platforms? Well, costing $15 more than Philo and still missing local channels in most markets isn’t ideal.

Customers draw the line somewhere between $25 and $40 a month. That’s the gray area where satisfaction becomes increasingly difficult to earn when a TV service lacks essentials like local networks.

Service Excellent or good given expectations
Frndly TV 88%
Philo 83%
Hulu + Live TV 75%
YouTube TV 69%
Fubo 64%
Sling TV 64%

It has a variety of channels for the entire family. The price for the service is excellent.

—Hulu + Live TV customer

Given competitors’ prices, how would you rate the price that you pay?

Percentage of customers responding “Excellent” or “Good” given competitors’ prices:

  1. Frndly TV (88%)
  2. Hulu + Live TV (74%)
  3. Sling TV (70%)

Frndly TV’s dominance in this category comes as no surprise. And it makes sense to see Sling TV in the top three for its competitive pricing. However, Philo oddly fell to the bottom half of the rankings. Perhaps customers were comparing its pricing with Frndly TV rather than something more expensive like DIRECTV STREAM.

Service Excellent or good given competitors’ prices
Frndly TV 88%
Hulu + Live TV 74%
Sling TV 70%
Fubo 68%
Philo 67%
YouTube TV 67%

How satisfied are you with your add-on channels?

Percentage of customers responding “Completely” or “Very satisfied”:

  1. Frndly TV (75%)
  2. YouTube TV (73%)
  3. Fubo (69%)

Frndly TV doesn’t have a wide selection of add-on channels like Fubo and Sling TV, but subscribers get the channels they want.

We expected YouTube TV to have a better rating because of its new NFL Sunday Ticket add-on. However, the out-of-market package has a high price tag, which may have impacted customer satisfaction.

Meanwhile, Hulu + Live TV scored lower here than in previous questions due to its limited add-ons. But at least it includes ESPN+ at no extra cost—making it the only service to offer the complete ESPN ecosystem.

Service Completely or very satisfied
Frndly TV 75%
YouTube TV 73%
Fubo 69%
Hulu + Live TV 62%
Philo 62%
Sling TV 57%

We recently switched to Fubo because our other provider did not carry our local baseball team. We have enjoyed watching our team and the other channels. Unfortunately, Fubo doesn't have TBS or TNT, so we will switch back after baseball season.

—Fubo customer

Highest customer loyalty

Now it’s time to explore a crucial aspect of live TV streaming: customer loyalty.

Gone are the days when your local cable provider was the sole option, and the competition is fierce. Because several live TV services exist, we wanted to know what fosters loyalty and ensures subscribers stick around.

How likely are you to recommend your live TV streaming service to a friend?

Customers are more likely to recommend Frndly TV, YouTube TV, and Hulu + Live TV
#1 Frndly TV: 89%; #2 YouTube TV: 76%; #3 Hulu + Live TV: 75%

When evaluating quality, the likelihood of recommending a service to a friend is a key metric. After all, we like our friends and want them to have the best things in life.

With that in mind, the three most highly-rated services throughout this survey are also the most likely to be recommended to a friend. But, of course, Frndly TV wins this round by a long shot.

Service Completely or very likely
Frndly TV 89%
YouTube TV 76%
Hulu + Live TV 75%
Fubo 70%
Philo 66%
Sling TV 53%

How likely are you to continue to subscribe to your live TV streaming service?

Percentage of customers responding “Completely” or “Very likely”:

  1. Frndly TV (81%)
  2. Hulu + Live TV (79%)
  3. YouTube TV (79%)

Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV improved in this category over last year’s survey. But like we said then, both services offer a comprehensive experience with robust channel lineups and reliable DVR features. Price increases and dropped channels appear to be the main factors that could greatly impact these platforms.

Service Completely or very likely
Frndly TV 81%
Hulu + Live TV 79%
YouTube TV 79%
Philo 71%
Fubo 60%
Sling TV 58%

How likely are you to increase the amount you pay for your live TV streaming service?

Percentage of customers responding “Completely” or “Very likely”:

  1. Philo (58%)
  2. Hulu + Live TV (44%)
  3. Frndly TV (41%)

Nothing says customer loyalty better than when subscribers are willing to pay more for their service. Of course, the percentages in these results are much lower than in any other section of our survey. But seeing Philo as the only service above 50% signifies strong brand allegiance. We attribute this level of loyalty to Philo’s infrequent price increases—fostering sustained satisfaction among subscribers.

Service Completely or very likely
Philo 58%
Hulu + Live TV 44%
Frndly TV 41%
YouTube TV 39%
Fubo 32%
Sling TV 30%

Past customer satisfaction surveys


We surveyed 7,150 people across the U.S. to measure satisfaction with their live TV streaming service. Our sample represented broader U.S. demographics (e.g., gender, race, age, etc.) and was analyzed using prevailing industry standards by our data experts. If you’re a member of the media and have follow-up questions, feel free to contact us at

Don't miss an update

Stay updated on the latest products and services anytime anywhere.