The final installment of OTELCO’s Summer Streaming Series is all about streaming live TV. Live TV services provide the easy access offered by on-demand services with the look and feel of classic cable and satellite TV. This relatively new service is taking off, and there are some excellent services out there. To make things easier, OTELCO narrowed things down to the top five live platforms, with some honorable mentions at the end. We have a lot to cover, though, so let’s get started.
The Top Five
So, you have evaluated your TV needs, and you realized live TV is a necessity. No worries, OTELCO has you covered. After some extensive research and personal testing, OTELCO has compiled a list of the top five live-streaming services and their most notable features.
FubuTV – Best for Sports Fans
Fubu’s standard plan cost $54.99/mo and offers 100+ channels. It also features twelve add-on features, such as the NBA League Pass, Fubu Extra, and Latino Plus. Fubu offers a Showtime add on, but is missing premium channels like HBO, Starz, and Cinemax.
With Fubu, you get a free DVR that can hold 30 hours of content indefinitely. There is also a free 72-hour look back feature available for most shows and movies. For an additional $9.99/mo, you can upgrade to a Cloud DVR that holds 500 hours of content, still indefinitely. The service allows for two simultaneous streams, but you can add a third screen for $5.99/mo.
Hulu + Live TV – Best for Existing Hulu Users
Hulu’s Live TV option is $44.99/mo and offers Alexa voice support. Hulu offers 60+ channels, including many local channels, depending on where you live. With Hulu + Live TV, you have access to Hulu’s immense on-demand library, including Hulu Originals and exclusive Dream Works content. They also offer several add-ons, such as HBO, Starz, and an Espanol package. Hulu + Live TV does not support AMC, or any Viacom channels, such an MTV, Comedy Central, or Nick (though it does offer some on-demand content from these networks).
For $10 /mo, you can also skip commercials on all their content. Their DVR offers 50 hours of recording time, with an upgraded 200-hour storage limit for an additional $10 /mo. Users can create six personal viewing profiles, but can only stream on two screens simultaneously They offer a $10 add on that allows for unlimited streams for users connected to the same network and a third screen that can you can access from anywhere.
– PlayStation Owners and Those Looking for the Most Channels Possible
PlayStation Vue offers four streaming plans, ranging from $49.99 – $84.99:
- Access $44.99: 40+ Channels, some local access, and no sports.
- Core $54.99: All the 40+ access channels with an additional 10+ sports channels.
- Elite $64.99: 90+ channels, including sports, local access, and movie channels.
- Ultra: $84.99: Access to all 100+ channels (minus A&E, Comedy Central, History, Lifetime, MTV, and Nick)
Along with these plans, you can purchase a’la carte premium channels such as HBO, Fox Soccer, and “Hi-Yah!”, a martial arts and Asian action movie package. You can also access local sports, even when you are out of town.
PlayStation Vue offers an unlimited Cloud DVR, with a storage life of 28 days. It also allows you to skip commercials for shows you have already recorded. Simultaneous streaming rules vary on PlayStation Vue, though their website claims you can stream five devices at any time.
Sling TV– Streamers Looking to Save the Most
Sling, like PlayStation Vue, offers different viewing plans:
- Sling Orange $20: 33 channels (excluding ABC, Disney, CBS, Animal Planet, Fox News, the MLB Network, Nick, Bravo, FX, MSNBC, and USA), with only on stream available at a time.
- Sling Blue $25: 45 channels (excluding ABC, Disney, ESPN, CBS, Animal Planet, Fox News, the MLB Network, and Nick) with three simultaneous streams available.
- Sling Orange+Blue $40: 54 Channels (excluding ABC, CBS, Animal Planet, Fox News, the MLB Network, and Nick) with four simultaneous streams available.
For local access channels, Sling recommends their free digital antenna. They also have premium, and a’la carte channels, along with their “Extra” genre-based packages. DVR is available as a $5/mo add on, with 50/hours of storage that will stay for 30 days.
YouTube TV– YouTube Lovers and Local News/Sports Enthusiasts
YouTube TV is $49.99 /mo for 70+ channels. Most critiques agree it has the best local coverage, but it does not currently offer A&E, Comedy Central, History, Lifetime, the NFL Network, NFL Red Zone, or Nickelodeon. Like most Live Streaming services, they offer premium channel add-ons like Epix, Starz, and Showtime, but is notably missing any HBO options. With YouTube TV, you also have access to the company’s premium on-demand and original content.
Unlimited DVR is included with YouTube TV, but it will replace saved shows with on-demand content, preventing you from skipping commercials. You can create six personal profiles but only stream simultaneously on six screens.
Though they didn’t make it to the top five, these services are also well-loved among streamers.
AT&T TV: Since AT&T’s acquisition of Warner Media, they have been changing things. They rebranded Direct TV Now to AT&T TV Now, announced a separate AT&T TV service, and is working on the much anticipated HBO Max. All these changes are head-spinning, so we decided to leave it out of our top five for now, even though the once Direct TV Now was a wonderful service. If you want to learn more about what is happening with AT&T TV, we recommend this great article by Cordcutters.com.
CBS All Access: CBS All Access is CBS’s answer to live-streaming. On top of offering live access to their network, you can also have on-demand access to their new and old content, live sports (including the Superbowl), news, and original web-content like Star Trek: Discovery. It is $5.99/mo with a commercial-free option available for $9.99/mo.
ESPN+: If you are only watching TV for the sports, save yourself some money and just subscribe to ESPN+. It is only $5 /mo and offers an extensive sports package, as well as the networks documentaries and other original programming.
Philo: Philo is another live-streaming TV option with one notable difference from its competitors: no sports. It does offer 58 non-sports channels though, and all for the low price of $20 /mo. So if sports don’t matter to you, Philo may work for you.
Pluto TV: Pluto is a free live-streaming video service. Though you won’t have as many of the top networks with Pluto, you will have access to over 100 channels, including NBC News, MTV Videos, and 24/7 Antiques Roadshow.
Don’t Forget the Connection
As we have mentioned before, you can’t stream anything without a stable Internet connection. OTELCO can help you uncover the speed you need with OTELCO’s free Bandwidth Calculator.