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Which Live TV Streaming Service Is Right for You?

Whether you want family-friendly shows, lots of sports channels, or a low monthly bill, you can find a streaming service that meets your needs.
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A growing number of Americans are saying goodbye to their cable subscriptions and the bills that come with them. Thanks to live TV streaming services, though, they can still watch their favorite channels — often for a much-lower price.

Keep reading to learn about the big-name TV streaming services, and which ones are ideal for families, sports fans, and budget-minded viewers.


family watching TV

Best Live TV Streaming Services for Families

DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now offers an ideal mix of sports, entertainment, and children's programming that can meet the whole family's needs. You may be able to view regional sports networks and local live channels, too, if they're available in your area.

DirecTV Now offers more channels than Hulu with Live TV, but the packages are pricier.

Plus, DirecTV Now lets you choose from a wide range of channel amounts, with packages that work for a variety of budgets. Here are the different plans:

  • Live a Little: $40 a month for over 65 channels
  • Todo y Más: $45 a month for over 90 channels (features both Spanish- and English-language channels)
  • Just Right: $55 a month for over 85 channels
  • Go Big: $65 a month for over 105 channels
  • Gotta Have It: $75 a month for over 125 channels

With this service, you'll also be able to record up to 20 hours of programming with the True Cloud DVR BETA.

DirecTV Now offers the following premium channels, as well:

  • Cinemax: $5 a month
  • HBO: $5 a month
  • Showtime: $8 a month
  • Starz: $8 a month

If you're not sure whether the service is a good fit for your family, you can test-drive it free of charge for one week. And since there are no annual contracts, you can stop DirecTV Now at any time without incurring a cancellation fee.

Hulu With Live TV BETA

Families also can't go wrong with Hulu with Live TV. The monthly fee is $39.99, and you'll have access to over 50 channels. In addition, you'll get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage with your subscription.

SEE ALSO: 10 Ways to Stream TV and Save Money

Sports lovers in your home will be able to stream live games on the top sports networks, such as ESPN, NBCSN, and the CBS Sports Network. And for those who want to stay on top of current events, a plethora of news channels are available. Plus, the little ones can watch channels like Disney Junior and Cartoon Network.

Subscriptions also include top movies, premium Hulu Originals, and series that are exclusive to Hulu. And you can upgrade your subscription to include the following premium networks:

  • Cinemax: $9.99 a month
  • HBO: $14.99 a month
  • Showtime: $8.99 a month

watching sports

Best Live TV Streaming Services for Sports

YouTube TV

If you're a die-hard sports fanatic, YouTube TV may be the perfect fit. It costs $40 a month and grants you access to just about every sports network you can think of, including these ones:

  • CBS Sports Network
  • ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, and ESPNU
  • Fox Sports
  • Golf Channel, NBC Sports, and NBCSN
  • MLB Network
  • NBA TV
  • Olympic Channel
  • Tennis Channel

As a subscriber, you'll have access to 60-plus networks, so when you want to take a break from sports, you can livestream a variety of entertainment and news channels. The following add-ons are also available:

  • AMC Premiere: $5 a month
  • CuriosityStream: $3 a month
  • Fox Soccer Plus: $15 a month
  • Showtime: $11 a month
  • Shudder: $5 a month
  • Starz: $9 a month
  • Sundance Now: $7 a month

Even better, YouTube TV includes a cloud DVR with unlimited storage, along with six accounts per household. That will let you keep your viewing and DVR personalized.

PlayStation Vue

If you have a PlayStation device and love sports, this service may be right for you. (And a PS console isn't even required!) PlayStation Vue offers four service levels:

  • Access: Select live channels for $44.99 a month
  • Core: Access plan, plus select sports channels for $49.99 a month
  • Elite: Access plan, plus movies and sports for $59.99 a month
  • Ultra: Access plan, plus select premium channels, movies, and sports for $79.99 a month

The service is ideal for sports fans because you can add the Sports Pack to the Core, Elite, or Ultra package for $10 per month. Networks in this add-on include the following:

  • Eleven Sports
  • ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Classic, and ESPN Goal Line
  • Fox College Sports
  • Longhorn Network
  • MLB Network Strike Zone
  • NBC Sports
  • NESN National
  • Outside TV

Livestreaming is available on up to five devices at a time, and you can store as many episodes as you'd like from your favorite shows for up to 28 days.


Woman streaming TV on laptop

Best Cheap Live TV Streaming Services

AT&T WatchTV

For only $15 per month, AT&T WatchTV lets you stream over 30 channels of live TV on a variety of devices. (This service is free if you have an AT&T Unlimited &More wireless plan.) Your monthly subscription also includes access to 15,000 on-demand movies and TV shows.

SEE ALSO: Streaming TV With AT&T Just Got More Confusing

There's no annual contract, either, so you can cancel at any time. And you can see if WatchTV is a good fit with their 7-day free trial.

Philo

Philo is another live TV streaming option that won't place a big dent in your wallet. You can choose from 40 or 49 channels for $16 or $20 per month, respectively. Service is available through your streaming media player, computer, or mobile device, and you can stream on up to three devices at a time. As a subscriber, you'll also enjoy unlimited recording capabilities and can save shows for up to 30 days.

With both Philo and AT&T WatchTV, you can get at least 30 channels for less than $20 a month.

You can try out the service free of charge for seven days. Once the trial period expires, you'll be charged your monthly subscription amount, but you can cancel at any time without incurring additional fees.

Sling TV

If you have a little more wiggle room in your budget, Sling TV offers three plans that give you access to some of the biggest entertainment, sports, news, and children's networks.

Here are the bundles to choose from:

  • Sling Orange: $25 a month, and it includes ESPN and Disney Channel
  • Sling Blue: $25 a month, and it includes Fox Sports 1, FX, and Bravo
  • Sling Orange and Blue: $40 a month

For an additional $5 per month, you can add cloud DVR to your subscription. This service allows you to record 50 hours of programming, which you can view at home or on the go through your mobile device. Extra-channel bundles for news, sports, comedy, premium movies, and children are available, too, and start at $5 per month.

Readers, what's your favorite live TV streaming service? Have you tried any of these? Let us know in the comments below.


Contributing Writer

After spending several years as a governmental accountant, Allison transitioned into the world of freelance writing. Her work has appeared on on a number of reputable sites, including The Wall Street Journal, Investopedia, Daily Finance, MSN Money, and Credit.com.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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15 comments
jake2011
Silicon Dust just released there own Tv service $35 for 45 top channels. You provide the locals if you want. Great thing is you can't set up your own dvr to own, no cloud storage https://www.silicondust.com/premium-tv/
JacktheDude
Over the air TV with free DVR like WMC or Kodi. Enough said.
ztztzt8888
Live TV is overrated ... I have tried several live TV streaming services ... way too many ads for my taste ... I was okay with ads several years ago having the Comcast package at the time ... my tolerance for wasting my time has gone down ever since
slappymartin
Probably you should just go outside and play
nematoda
I have Playstation Vue. For my needs, I think it's the best of the lot, but there are still issues:

1. Takes way too long to load/open at home. Once loaded, it works fine--no glitches or buffering, but I have 100 mbps internet. On my phone, though, there is a lot of buffering.
2. Unlimited DVR at no additional charge is great, but still some issues. I've noticed that the last minute of some shows is cut off, but there doesn't seem to be a way to adjust recording time. Can't seem to record individual shows, either.
3. Search function is just weird. You cannot input specific shows, but instead get a sort of random list of shows for each letter of the alphabet.
4. UI took some getting used to, but is okay now.
5. Has pretty much all channels I want, except Comedy Central. Local channels included at no extra cost.
6. Monthly cost on the high side ($49.99), but still half the price of Dish, which I used to have.
Clubhouse
Forgot to mention (for you deals lovers) MLB.TV offers a "free game of the day" everyday so you have the option to pay nothing if you're a big enough of a baseball junkie that you don't care which teams are playing.
Clubhouse
MLB.TV is a great streaming sports service. Provided you like to watch Baseball.
jake2011
If you want the closest cable experience Playstation Vue is the best quality service. Ad Philo if you need a&e and Viacom
bmathew
Youtube TV replaces DVR shows with On Demand versions if they are available. This means, you can't skip commercials. Otherwise, it's great. I had tried Hulu Live, and kept getting pixellation, even though I have 1 Gbps fiber to my home. Youtube TV has no resolution or bandwidth related issues. It has local channels, but not PBS which no streaming service is licensed to carry. Get an antenna for that.
NotTheTodd
https://www.suppose.tv does this pretty well.
ELURIE
I want my local news and shows
junkle1
As long as local, live pro sports are only available via cable, cutting the cord isn't an option for that audience.
ailanthus777
I've been using the Spectrum streaming package + internet for several months. I like the package, and I like the price. However, their service (both streaming and internet) have been rather glitchy lately. I hope its just a short hiccup.
Rich_P
Grandfathered DTVNow ($35/mo for GoBig) and it's great.
jake2011
No reason to get Dtv now above $40. A combination of Philo and Youtube, Vue or Hulu will give you all the channels and a much better experience