Best Streaming Services for Live TV

The Best Live TV Streaming Services to Replace Cable in 2021

If you want to drop your expensive cable or satellite TV plan but still get your favorite channels, there are a handful of live TV streaming services that can cut your pay-TV bill in half.

I’ve been reviewing streaming TV services since 2016 and will help you pick the best one for your household.

These Are the Best Cable TV Alternatives in 2021

For first-time streamers, YouTube TV is the cable TV alternative that I recommend before you test out the others on my list.

If you’re new to streaming live TV, see my beginner’s guide to cutting the cord.

More experienced cord-cutters may want to try other (and cheaper) streaming options, including several featured in this post.

In this article, I’ll break down the pros and cons of my favorite live TV streaming services for 2021. You’ll learn about the five main deciding factors:

  1. Price
  2. Channel lineups
  3. Cloud DVR
  4. Supported devices
  5. Multiple screens

For more in-depth coverage of streaming TV services, watch my related YouTube videos below and consider subscribing to my channel. I upload new videos every week.



YouTube TV

YouTube TV Logo

YouTube TV Fast Facts

  • Starting Price: $64.99/month
  • Channels: 85+ in base plan; locals, ESPN, league networks and other sports, news and entertainment networks (See channels)
  • Cloud DVR Storage: Unlimited recordings; available for up to 9 months
  • Supported Devices for TV: Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and more (Full list)
  • Multiple Streams: Up to 3 streams at the same time
  • Read my full YouTube TV review!

IMPORTANT: As of April 30, the YouTube TV app is not available to download through Roku for new subscribers. However, YouTube TV has added a way for Roku users to access the service through the regular YouTube app. Details here.

YouTube TV is my #1 favorite live TV streaming service if this is your first time cutting the cord. The service starts at $65 a month and offers more than 85 channels, unlimited cloud DVR storage and up to three simultaneous streams. You can add NFL RedZone with the Sports Plus add-on for $11 a month. YouTube TV’s navigation is simple and easy to learn for people who are just getting started with live TV streaming.

Sling TV

Sling TV Fast Facts

  • Starting Price: $35/month for Sling Orange or Sling Blue; $50/month for Orange + Blue
  • Channels: Sling Orange features ESPN and Disney; Sling Blue has NFL Network and major cable news networks (See channels)
  • Cloud DVR Storage: 50 hours of storage; 200 hours with paid upgrade
  • Supported Devices for TV: Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and more (Full list)
  • Multiple Streams: One stream with Sling Orange and up to 3 streams with Sling Blue
  • Read my full Sling TV review!

Sling TV is my top choice for streamers on a budget who still want a mix of news, sports and entertainment networks. The Sling Orange and Sling Blue plans are $35 each, but you can combine them and pay $50 a month. Local channels are limited, so pair this service with an antenna. If you can stick with a base plan, you’ll save money compared to other premium services. However, add-ons can quickly increase your bill.


Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV Fast Facts

  • Starting Price: $64.99/month
  • Channels: 75+ in base plan; locals, ESPN and other popular sports, news and entertainment networks (See channels)
  • Cloud DVR Storage: 50 hours of storage; 200 hours with paid upgrade
  • Supported Devices for TV: Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and more (Full list)
  • Multiple Streams: Up to 2 streams at the same time; unlimited streams with paid upgrade

Hulu + Live TV‘s starting price is the same as YouTube TV, but you get less for your money: fewer channels, cloud DVR storage and simultaneous streams. The draw of Hulu Live is access to Hulu’s on-demand streaming library at no additional charge. In 2021, the service added NFL Network and a Sports Add-on featuring NFL RedZone. Depending on your preferred channels, the base plan could be an alternative to YouTube TV or fuboTV — but beware of the expensive upgrades.


Philo

Philo logo

Philo Fast Facts

  • Starting Price: $25/month
  • Channels: 60+ channels from A&E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery and Viacom; no locals, sports or cable news (See channels)
  • Cloud DVR Storage: Unlimited recordings; available for up to 12 months
  • Supported Devices for TV: Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and more (Full list)
  • Multiple Streams: Up to 3 streams at the same time

Philo is arguably the best value in live TV streaming. For a low monthly price, it offers access to more than 60 networks. The service focuses on entertainment and lifestyle programming. You won’t find local stations, sports networks or the most popular cable news channels. Philo includes an unlimited DVR, and you can now save shows for up to 12 months.


fuboTV

fuboTV Logo

fuboTV Fast Facts

  • Starting Price: $64.99/month
  • Channels: 100+ in base plan; ESPN and Disney added in 2020, but WarnerMedia networks dropped (See channels)
  • Cloud DVR Storage: 250 hours; 1,000 hours with paid upgrade
  • Supported Devices for TV: Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and more (Full list)
  • Multiple Streams: Up to 3 streams at the same time; 5 streams with paid upgrade

fuboTV is a live TV streaming service that’s great for sports fans, particularly if you like soccer. It added ESPN and Disney-owned networks to its channel lineup in 2020, but lost WarnerMedia networks. Starting at $65 per month for 100+ networks, it may be a good alternative to YouTube TV if the list of channels has everything you really want.


Additional Subscription Services With Live TV

  • DIRECTV STREAM: Formerly known as AT&T TV, DIRECTV STREAM is the most expensive live TV streaming service. It is currently the only streaming option for regional sports networks. Learn the pros and cons here.
  • Paramount+: The $9.99/month Premium plan includes 24/7 access to your local CBS station, while the $4.99/month Essential plan features some live events like the NFL on CBS. Watch my video review of Paramount+.
  • Peacock: This is primarily an on-demand service, but live features include NBC’s Sunday Night Football with the $4.99/month Premium plan. Some news content is also carried live. Learn more here.
  • Frndly TV: Stream Hallmark, The Weather Channel and about 20 other channels starting at $5.99/month. Sign up on Frndly TV’s website.

Action Plan

The live TV streaming services featured in this post have no contracts or long-term commitments. That means you can sign up one month and cancel the next if you’re not happy with the service.

On top of that, nearly all live TV streaming services offer free trials. Take advantage of them!

If you’re thinking about canceling cable or satellite TV, test out live TV streaming services first. Only cancel once you’ve found one or more live TV streaming services that you like.

Learn more in my step-by-step guide to cutting the cord here.


More Streaming TV Content From Michael Saves:

8 thoughts on “The Best Live TV Streaming Services to Replace Cable in 2021”

  1. We have YouTube tv and have had at least tried all of the other services and yttv has a very good setup and a ton of channels but we find ourselves watching the same couple of shows over and dale and it just seems like we are overpaying for a lot of content we aren’t watching. Probably going to Philo and staying there. $20, dvr, on demand, and most of the shows we watch all the time.

  2. We have YouTube tv and have had at least tried all of the other services and yttv has a very good setup and a ton of channels but we find ourselves watching the same couple of shows over and over and it just seems like we are overpaying for a lot of content we aren’t watching. Probably going to Philo and staying there. $20, dvr, on demand, and most of the shows we watch all the time.

  3. We have a COX Cable Bundle contract here in Arizona. It includes TV, Internet and land line. We pay $190/mo. There are a lot of options out there.

    We do not need sports. We mostly watch local channels along with Netflix, Amazon Prime and a host of cable networks like Lifetime, FOOD Network, AMC, USA and the like.

    Is seems every time I look for alternatives to cut the cord, so to speak, our savings is not enough to justify the change.

    For example, I was looking at the AT&T TV $70/mo plan for TV content. They said if I want to keep the land line it would be $20/mo and I may have to have an different carrier (Century Link) for my internet. That would be $50/mo. So with that option I’m looking at about $140/mo. Not a great savings IMHO.

    To me cutting the cable, in my case, means dropping the internet and no land line.

    What would you suggest as an alternative?

  4. I currently have AT&T U-Verse and Fiber Internet. I pay roughly $140 a month for the services and equipment rental. I don’t watch cable at all. But I do need internet service. I was looking to sign-up for Hulu+Live TV so I could still enjoy the occasional sitcom, ESPN sporting event, watch the Cubs on the Marquee Network, and enjoy Bears games using the “Live TV” feature. I planned on using these services via wireless connection through either an LG or Samsung TV. I plan to hang the TV on the wall on the outside of my house for tailgating. Does Hulu+Live TV provide this service? Will I be able to watch games, if they’re on live TV (via Fox, CBS, NBC, etc) or will I need some sort of sports package? Since I live in Chicago, I’d only be interested in watching the Bears – and they’re always on a major network when they play. I just don’t want any hiccups …. I believe the $64.99 a month charge, plus a $39.99 a month charge for AT&T Fiber, would be cost effective for me – if I wanted to cut the cord. I guess my question is whether or not there are hidden charges to be able to do this (watch live sports outside through Hulu). Thanks.

  5. Hello. I just discovered you and you are fantastic!!
    Such a breath of knowledge!

    I am cutting the cord as of next month ( I have Fios currently)
    I really can do with Sling TV and Locast for my local stations
    However, I hate watching live tv and always “dvr” my programs
    How do I dvr shows on Locast
    Sling said they have something but it does not seem to dvr
    Any suggestions

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