Best Value: Hulu + Live TV
- Spotty entertainment channel lineup
- No MLB, NBA, NFL, or NHL networks
When you think of Hulu, you probably think of The Handmaids Taleor maybe Palm Springs if youre 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 its imaginatively titled Hulu + Live TV. Despite the name, the crew here at CableTV.com likes it so much weve named it our best value streamer.
For $69.99 or $75.99 a month, in addition to on-demand Hulu content, Hulu + Live TV gives you over 70 live cable channels and, depending on your area, a near-complete local network lineup. As of December 2021, either Hulu + Live TV plan includes the Disney+/ESPN+ bundle to take the sting out of its recent price hike.
That all sounds good until you scan the cable channels and notice favorites like AMC, IFC, Hallmark, and WEtv are nowhere to be found. Several other streaming services lack these channels, toowe 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 NBC Sports Network, plus TBS and TNT, with Hulu + Live TV. Hulu + Live TV also offers a generous number of regional sports networks and a handful of college sports channels. However, MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL pro sports networks are missing.
What We Dont Like About Sling TV
- Sling TV’s DVR storage space is questionable
One of the worst DVRs in the industry
We hate to say it, but Sling TV’s DVR is one of the poorest DVRs in the industry.
A DVR with 50 hours can fill up quicker than you think, especially if you’re sharing with the fam. And you’ll have to add $5 to your monthly bill for the 200-hour DVR storage space.
If you choose to keep the 50-hour DVR storage, just remember, your older recordings will automatically delete so the DVR can find storage space for your new recordings.
At least Sling TV has an excuse because this service is on the inexpensive side.
The Best Streaming Services Now
HBO Max has everything HBO had, and then some. Both HBO and HBO Max pack current-run shows including Insecure, as well as completed seasons of Westworld, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Veep. But for $14.99 per month , HBO Max adds a lot more to be a compelling competitor to Netflix. Big highlights include Wonder Woman 1984 and The Flight Attendant with Kaley Cuoco. There’s also Friends, the Studio Ghibli library and original shows like Made for Love. HBO Max has found a second life, though, as Warner Brothers Pictures’ destination for its biggest movies.
The likes of James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad , Dune, Godzilla vs Kong and Space Jam 2 are delivering serious reasons to sign up. Check out our guide to the best HBO Max shows and movies to see what it’s offering. The only downsides with HBO Max have been its relatively higher price than most, those weird Apple TV bugs and that Warner movies won’t launch on Day 1 in 2022.
Check our our full HBO Max review.
The great-granddaddy in the market remains the best streaming service. As you probably know,Netflix provides unlimited streaming of TV shows, movies, comedy specials and original programming for one monthly subscription fee. Netflix is constantly adding and taking away movies, so you’ll want to check our our what’snew on Netflix guide to see what’s coming soon, and what you should watch before it’s gone. Thanks to a new Netflix price hike, though, you’ll be spending up to $2 more per month on it.
Read our full Disney Plus review.
Don’t Miss: The Chosen Streaming Service
What Do We Like About Youtube TV
- YouTube TV has a solid channel lineup
- This streaming service has the best DVR in the industry
You get 85 great channels, including the new addition of ViacomCBS channels
You get 85 great channels, including the new addition of ViacomCBS channels
YouTube TV somewhat recently raised its pricing because it got 14 new ViacomCBS channels, such as Comedy Central, BET, and Paramount Network.
But our favorite part about YouTube TVs channel lineup: you get NFL Network, NBA TV, and MLB Network. Sure, you can get these channels with fuboTV, but youd have to pay $80 per month.
Theres no question why we named YouTube TV the second-best streaming service for sports.
Other great channels in YouTube TVs channel lineup include the following:
- Tennis Channel
- Universal Kids
YouTube TVs DVR has the biggest storage space with unlimited hours. So you can literally record everything.
Record all of The Office episodes, NFL games, and The Price Is Right every day, and still have space to record more.
The Best Streaming Services In 2022
The best streaming services will help you stream great content without having to pay for cable. HBO Max continues to pump out top-notch content even with a new price hike, Netflix is still a force to be reckoned with and Amazon Prime Video has a hit with Wheel of Time. Paramount Plus doesn’t have a seat at the table yet, but more content like the highly watched South Park: Post Covid special could get it there.
And that’s not to mention the live TV entries in our best streaming services list, which help you cut the cord. The best streaming services bill you on a month-to-month basis , which give you the flexibility to cancel and resubscribe as you see fit, and we’ve got options that offer extensive customization and lots of live sports.
- The best streaming devices for cord-cutters
- Our best Netflix shows list will tell you what to binge next
These services are just one half of the streaming equation, though. As the cable box slowly withers away, it’s being replaced by smart TVs and the best streaming devices, which include Rokus and Chromecasts.
And by testing the best streaming services and devices side-by-side, we figure out the best way to build the ultimate streaming setup with the best selection of content and live channels.
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Directv Stream Best Channel Selection
One of the newest cable TV alternatives, DIRECTV STREAM launched nationwide in August 2021. Its something of a hybrid between the traditional cable TV providers and new live TV streaming services.
|DIRECTV STREAM plan|
|HBO Max, Cinemax®, SHOWTIME®, Starz included. EPIX® included for three months.|
*Pricing per month plus taxes for length of contract. Additional fees and terms may apply. Pricing varies by location and availability. All prices subject to change at any time. May or may not be available based on service address. Speeds may vary. As of 08/27/21.
Streaming capabilities: DIRECTV STREAM offers live TV channels to your TV through the streaming device that it provides. The price of the device is included in your monthly subscription at no extra cost, but you can also stream the service on other streaming devices like Amazons Fire TV Stick and Apple TV.
Devices: DIRECTV STREAMs device allows you to watch movies and TV shows in 4K HDR, includes a Google Assistant-powered remote and lets you record up to 500 hours of TV on its cloud DVR. You can also access other streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max through DIRECTV STREAMs device.
Contracts: DIRECTV STREAM does not require any long-term contracts.
Hulu + Live TV Plans And Pricing
Hulu combines an impressive live TV list with a Netflix-worthy catalog of on-demand titles. And it does it all for one price. Get more than 65 news, sports, kids, and entertainment channels and thousands of on-demand programs for $65/mo. Plus, the package includes all of Hulus award-winning original shows.
You can enjoy ad-free on-demand content with the live TV plan for $71/mo. It also gives you the chance to download titles for offline viewing ideal for frequent travelers.
Opt for the $10/mo. Enhanced DVR add-on to boost Hulus storage space from 50 to 200 hours. The same extra monthly cost will also give you every familys wish: unlimited simultaneous streams. Also, the standard plan only allows 2 people to watch at once. With Hulu + Live TV, a 7-day free trial is available if you want to give it a try before fully committing.
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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 doesnt 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 youre interested in. If theyre not available, a digital antenna can make up the difference.
Hulu + Live TV Great On
Hulu + Live TVs channel mix makes it a popular choice for families. With local channels, sports networks and popular kids networks like Disney and Cartoon Network, Hulu + Live TV offers a little something for everyone. Plus, with streaming allowed on two devices at once, Hulu + Live TV lets everyone watch what they want.
Whats more, by signing up for Hulu + Live TV, youll get access to Hulus popular on-demand streaming service, a $5.99/mo. value on its own. Further expanding your TV options without cable and making it that much easier to replace cable TV.
|Two||50 hours included|
*Pricing per month plus taxes for length of contract. Additional fees and terms may apply. Pricing varies by location and availability. All prices subject to change at any time. May or may not be available based on service address. Speeds may vary. As of 08/27/21
Whats not included: Some notable channels missing from Hulu + Live TV include major sports channels like NFL Network, MLB Network and NBA TV. Also, no premium channels are included with Hulu + Live TV, but you can add HBO®, Cinemax®, SHOWTIME® and STARZ® for an added monthly cost.
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Sling TVs Features And Playback Experience
Sling TVs playback screen is typical, with an information bar at the top and playback controls on the bottom. You also get a 10-second rewind button and a 30-second fast-forward button. However, you cannot select the playback resolution for either live or on-demand content. Note that the sliders and buttons for adjusting time are only available for some content, such as your DVR content. Clicking on the arrow at the top of the playback bar brings up a navigation menu that shows a guide to upcoming programming. Sling TVs playback screen on mobile looks like a scaled-down version of the one on the web. Thus, it looks a bit cluttered, especially if you expand the guide from the bottom of the screen.
Sling Orange subscribers can only stream to one device at a time, but Sling Blue users can stream to up to three. If you have Sling Orange & Blue, you can stream to up to four devices at once, which is better than average. Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV, for example, respectively limit you to two and three simultaneous streams by default. Both Hulu + Live TV and fuboTV offer add-ons that expand this support considerably.
Sling now gives you 50 hours of DVR storage for free, which beats fuboTV and AT& T TV’s standard offerings. Recordings remain available for as long as your subscription is active. For an additional $5 per month, you can increase the storage limit to 200 hours. Sling TV notably allows you to fast-forward through commercials when you watch recordings.
What Dont We Like About Sling TV
- Dont expect all of your favorite channels
- Sling TV has the worst DVR in the industry
You get what you pay for
Yes, Sling TV is on the cheaper side, but that also means you might not get all of your favorite channels.
Youll absolutely find a lot of popular channels in their packages , but you wont get your ABC, The CW, Nickelodeon, or Telemundo.
As for the sports channels Let’s just say Sling tends to the average sports fan. Sling offers the following sports channels:
Sling TV recently upgraded its DVR storage to 50 hours
Sling TV now includes 50 hours of DVR storage in your service finally, Sling.
This live TV streaming service used to give you a measly 10 hours of storage, and then they upgraded their DVR and raised their prices by $5.
Now you have the choice to upgrade to a 200-hour DVR storage for an extra $5 per month to make your monthly bill $40$55.
Oh, and just a heads up: when your DVR storage is full, and you happen to record another show, your old or already watched recordings will erase in your library .
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What Streaming TV Services Won’t Give You
Streaming TV services are great, but there are some things they can’t do compared to a traditional cable box.
First, it’s worth looking at the channels that you can’t get with any of these live TV streaming services. For example, only two of the services are able to offer PBS — YouTube TV and DirecTV Stream — and reportedly this is because PBS hadn’t acquired the streaming rights to all of the shows it airs.
With sports returning from the pandemic-enforced hiatus, fans will want to make sure they can find the sports channels to follow their teams. Most services carry ESPN and local channels for NFL football, but if you follow a professional baseball or basketball team, you might need their specific channel — called a regional sports network or RSN — to watch regular season games. RSN coverage varies widely for each service.
Every live TV service’s video streaming is a few seconds to a minute or more behind the “live” stream you’ll get from your local cable TV or satellite provider. That means you could get a preview of scores or big plays from Twitter, phone alerts or phone calls from friends slightly before you see the action on screen.
If you’re used to 5.1-channel surround offered by cable or even OTA, then you may be disappointed that YouTube is the only service to offer surround sound on live broadcasts. The other services only include stereo sound though 5.1 audio is available on some on-demand material.
Best For Families: Disney+
- Extra cost for same-day movie releases
- Small lineup of original shows
Disneys long-awaited streaming service arrived like a digital Deathstar in November 2019, dropping a handful of new originals and thousands of legacy shows and movies from the Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel vaults. If you havent heard of Disney+, where ya been?
Considering the sheer volume of content available, most expected Disney+ to cost more than other services like Netflix and Prime Video. Nope: at $7.99 a month , Disney+ is one of the cheaper on-demand streaming serviceschalk one up for the Mouse .
Disney+s low price tag, generous multiple-streams allowance , and overall kid-friendly vibe make it a gotta-have for families in our opinion. Its not just for the little ones, either: Disney+s mega-premieres of Hamilton and Black Widow prove the streamer aims to be more than just a babysitter.
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Best Live TV Streaming Service Providers 2022
If youre cutting the cord, might we suggest a live TV streaming service?
If you’re thinking of switching over to a live TV streaming service, you’re definitely not alone. More and more people are ditching cable or satellite TV.
Well help you find the best live TV streaming service based on your budget, ensure you have all your favorite channels, and ample DVR storage to meet you and your familys needs.
Below we outline the details of some of the best services in the industry.
- : Best for premium channel fans
How To Pick The Live TV Streaming Service Thats Best For You
While live TV streaming services are not as big a commitment as a traditional cable package, you want to make sure you settle on the right one so you dont waste your money.
Here are some basic points to consider when shopping around for the best live TV streaming service for you.
Identify what channels you want
The first step to finding a live TV streaming service that works for you is knowing what exactly you want to watch. These streaming services dont really have an option that includes every channel for every type of content.
Some services focus on offering basic cable staples such as MSNBC, TNT and Nickelodeon, to name a few. Other services may be more dedicated to sports content, with some focusing only on more of the major leagues such as the NBA, MLB or NFL. There are also services that only offer content such as the Hallmark Channel, TLC and other similar channels.
Depending on your content preferences, you may have to sign up for more than one of these services at once, or supplement your live TV streaming package with a subscription to Netflix, HBO Max or Apple TV+.
Do you want to record and watch later?
Almost all modern cable plans include a device called a DVR that allows you to record live broadcasts so you can watch them later. If youre looking for a live TV streaming service to replace your cable subscription, you may not want to lose access to the recording feature.
Do you want to watch live sports?
How many devices do you use?
Plan out your budget
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