Many people are leery about making to switch from cable to streaming. Do you want to cut the cord, but want to keep live sports, news, and originals? Two major pros for cutting the cord is saving money and not having contracts. In this post, you will learn about live TV streaming services that will give you the ability to watch local and national news as well as live sports and events. All you need is a streaming device or smart TV. Orange County Fiber can give you high-speed internet to seamlessly watch your favorite streaming services.
CNET's Top live TV Streaming Services
$64.99 / month
Best live TV streaming service overall
YouTube TV has more top channels than any competitor at this price and it's one of only two with local PBS stations. The basic $65 YouTube TV service also has the best cloud DVR of the bunch, including both unlimited storage and a generous nine months to watch recordings (most rivals offer 30 days). It offers the most of the features a cable service can give you. The service is also the only one to offer surround sound on live broadcasts.
The video streaming service has a $20 monthly add-on which, while it doesn't add any channels, lets you watch 4K livestreams and a small amount of on-demand content. Given a lack of 4K content still, it's not a great value, though it also adds an unlimited number of simultaneous streams (up from three).
If you want the best service available and don't mind paying for it, then YouTube TV is the one to get. However, if you just want to save money over a traditional cable subscription, Sling TV is the superior TV streaming bargain.
Top channels not available: A&E, History, Lifetime.
Sling TV Blue or Orange
$35.00 / month
Best TV streaming on a budget
At $35 Sling TV Blue may cost $10 more than Philo, but it has better channels, more options and a comparatively better live TV streaming interface, so it's worth the extra money in our opinion. And Sling is still dirt-cheap compared to most other streaming services, let alone cable.
Sling is cheaper than premium services like YouTube TV and Hulu Plus Live TV, because it has very few local stations (no local ABC or CBS stations, and availability of local Fox and NBC is very limited). Sling offers not one but two $35-per-month live TV streaming channel packages, Sling Orange and Sling Blue. While some live TV channels are available on both, the two differ significantly with other channel offerings: Orange is basically the ESPN/Disney package, while Blue is the Fox/NBC package and offers more channels overall.
Top channels not available on Sling Blue: ABC, CBS, Animal Planet, Disney Channel, ESPN, Nickelodeon. Fox and NBC are only available in select major cities.
Top channels not available on Sling Orange: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Animal Planet, Bravo, CNBC, Discovery Channel, Bravo, Fox News, Fox Sports 1, FX, MSNBC, USA Network.
Hulu (with ads) + Live TV
$49.99 / month
Best on demand
With Hulu + Live TV you can have access to Disney+ and ESPN+, plus a new unlimited DVR. While its channel selection still isn't as robust as YouTube TV and FuboTV, it's Hulu's significant catalog of on-demand content which helps set it apart. Exclusive titles such as The Handmaid's Tale and Only Murders in the Building give it a content advantage no other service can match.
Hulu also has a no ad package at $75.99 / month. Learn more about Hulu's plans.
Top channels not available: AMC, BBC America, MLB Network, NBA TV
$74.99 / month
Best for channel flippers & sports fans
Now on its fourth name in three years, DirecTV Stream is also one of the most expensive at $70 (equal with Hulu Plus Live TV and FuboTV). The service does have its pluses though -- for example, it includes the flipper-friendly ability to swipe left and right to change channels. It's also offering unlimited DVR capability to new users, while existing subscribers need to pay an extra $10 a month.
Additionally DirecTV Stream includes some channels the other services can't, including almost 250 local PBS stations. For cord-cutters who want to follow their local NBA or MLB team, DirecTV Stream's $90 Choice package is our live TV streaming pick because it has access to more regional sports networks than the competition. Although you'll want to make sure your channel is included, and not available on one of the other preferred picks, before you pony up.
Top channels not available in base package: MLB Network, NFL Network, Travel Channel.
Philo is a inexpensive live TV streaming service with a variety of channels, but lacks sports channels, local stations, and big-name news networks.
FuboTV offers a wide selection of channels and its sports focus makes it attractive to soccer fans or NBA, NHL, and MLB fans.
Since the TV streaming services offer a different mix of channels, the first step is to decide which one carries your "can't miss" cable channels and shows. The live TV streaming service lineups can be in constant flux as networks try to secure access to popular channels.
Broadly, each of these streaming services can be broken down into two main groups:
Budget - with prices ranging between $25 and $35 and few or no local channels
Premium - with prices from $65 and up including local channels and cloud DVRs.
It is important to have fast, reliable high-speed internet to support the devices using the streaming services. Orange County Fiber offers 100/100 mbps at $54.95 / month. Learn more about Orange County Fiber's plans.
Is an Indoor or Outdoor Antenna an Option?
An affordable indoor antenna hooked up to your TV will let you watch free TV over the air from any channel you receive in your local broadcast area. Antennas cost as little as $10. See CNET's comparison of indoor antennas here. You can also add a hardware DVR such as the Amazon Fire TV Recast or TiVo Edge for an Antenna. Then you can record those live TV antenna channels, play them back and skip commercials, just like on a standard cable TV DVR. Here's CNET's roundup of the best OTA DVRs for cord-cutters.
You can always combine an antenna for live local channels and an on-demand service such as Netflix and Hulu. That option will allow you to watch live programming for free and have a choice of on-demand content.
Source: CNET by Ty Pendlebury & David Katzmaier
Live TV Streaming Services Channel Comparison
The streaming services list is for information purposes only. Orange County Fiber is not affiliated with any of these other companies listed. Streaming prices could vary. Please visit the streaming service's website to verify the subscription price and details.