All the live TV streaming services compared: Which has the best channel lineup?

 cnet.com  04/11/2019 16:01:00   David Katzmaier
20180726-153243

Each service offers a different mix of channels and pricing.

David Katzmaier/CNET

Deciding to cut the cable TV cord doesn't mean you have to give up live TV.

One way to watch live TV without cable is to connect an antenna. It's cheap (read: free) and effective, as long as you're willing to live with the handful of local channels available in your area. And assuming you get good reception.

If that's not good enough, and you're willing to shell out a monthly payment, you should check out a live TV streaming service. They deliver numerous familiar channels like ESPN, CNN, Fox News and TNT, as well as features like cloud DVRs and the ability to watch not only on TVs, but also on phones, tablets and computers.

Eight major services are available today: Hulu with Live TV, Google'sYouTube TV, Dish Network'sSling TV, Sony'sPlayStation Vue, AT&T'sDirecTV NowandWatch TV,Philoand Fubo TV. They cost $15 per month and up. Our full guide has all the details, but really, it's all about the channels.

The big chart: Top 100 channels compared (updated April 11, 2019)

The main difference between each service is their channel lineups. All of them offer different slates of channels for various prices.

None have as many channels as most traditional cable or satellite TV packages, especially when it comes to sports. On the other hand, maybe they have enough for you -- especially if you're saving a bunch of money every month by not paying the cable company for channels you don't watch.

Below you'll find a chart that shows the top 100 channels across all eight services. There are actually nine listed, because Sling TV has two different "base" tiers, Orange and Blue. And if you're wondering, I chose which "top" channels made the cut. Sorry AXS TV, Discovery Life, FYI, GSN and Universal HD.

Now playing: Watch this: Live TV streaming services for cord cutters: How to choose...

Some more stuff to know about the chart:

  • Yes = The channel is available on the cheapest pricing tier. That price is listed next to the service's name.
  • No = The channel isn't available at all on that service. One popular channel, PBS, isn't available on any service but I listed it anyway.
  • $ = The channel is available for an extra fee, either a la carte or as part of a more expensive package or add-on.
  • Regional sports networks -- channels devoted to showing regular-season games of particular pro baseball, basketball and/or hockey teams -- are not listed. That's a numeric disadvantage to services like YouTube TV and Fubo, which carry a lot of RSNs, and an advantage to Philo and AT&T, which don't offer any sports channels, period.
  • ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, MyNetworkTV and The CW networks are only available in certain cities, and availability varies widely per service. In some cities, some services only offer video-on-demand shows from the networks, not the live local channel itself. (Note: CBS is the parent company of CNET.)
  • PBS isn't available on any service (yet) but it's definitely a top channel, so it gets a row.
  • The chart columns are arranged in order of price, so if you can't see everything you want, try scrolling right.
  • Overwhelmed?An easier-to-grok Google Spreadsheet is here.
Channel YouTube TV ($50) DirecTV Now ($50) Hulu with Live TV ($45) Fubo TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Sling Blue ($25) Sling Orange ($25) Philo ($16) AT&T Watch TV ($15) Channel
Total channels 64 45 58 55 47 39 24 35 33 Total channels
ABC Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No No ABC
CBS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No CBS
Fox Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Fox
NBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No NBC
PBS No No No No No No No No No PBS
CW Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No CW
MyNetworkTV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No MyNetworkTV











A&E No No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes A&E
AMC Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes AMC
Animal Planet Yes No Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes Animal Planet
BBC America Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes BBC America
BBC World News Yes No No $ $ $ $ Yes Yes BBC World News
BET No Yes No No No Yes $ Yes Yes BET
Big Ten Network Yes $ Yes Yes $ No No No No Big Ten Network
Bloomberg TV No No No No No Yes Yes No No Bloomberg TV
Boomerang No Yes Yes Yes $ $ $ No Yes Boomerang
Bravo Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Bravo
Channel YouTube TV ($50) DirecTV Now ($50) Hulu with Live TV ($45) Fubo TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Sling Blue ($25) Sling Orange ($25) Philo ($16) AT&T Watch TV ($15) Channel
Cartoon Network Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Cartoon Network
CBS Sports Network Yes $ Yes Yes $ No No No No CBS Sports Network
Cheddar Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Cheddar
Cinemax No $ $ No $ No No No No Cinemax
CMT No $ No No No $ $ Yes No CMT
CNBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $ No No No CNBC
CNN Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes CNN
Comedy Central No Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Comedy Central
Cooking Channel No No No $ $ $ $ $ No Cooking Channel
C-SPAN No No No No No No No No No C-SPAN
Destination America No No No No Yes $ $ $ No Destination America
Discovery Channel Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Discovery Channel
Disney Channel Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No No Disney Channel
Disney Junior Yes Yes Yes No Yes No $ No No Disney Junior
Disney XD Yes Yes Yes No Yes No $ No No Disney XD
DIY No No No $ $ $ $ Yes No DIY
Channel YouTube TV ($50) DirecTV Now ($50) Hulu with Live TV ($45) Fubo TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Sling Blue ($25) Sling Orange ($25) Philo ($16) AT&T Watch TV ($15) Channel
E! Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No E!
EPIX No No No No $ $ $ No No EPIX
ESPN Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No No ESPN
ESPN 2 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No No ESPN 2
ESPNEWS Yes $ Yes No $ No $ No No ESPNEWS
ESPNU Yes $ Yes No $ No $ No No ESPNU
Food Network Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Food Network
Fox Business Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No Fox Business
Fox News Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No Fox News
Fox Sports 1 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Fox Sports 1
Fox Sports 2 Yes $ Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Fox Sports 2
Freeform Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No No Freeform
FX Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No FX
FX Movie Channel Yes Yes Yes Yes $ No No No No FX Movie Channel
FXX Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No FXX
Golf Channel Yes $ Yes Yes $ $ No No No Golf Channel
Channel YouTube TV ($50) DirecTV Now ($50) Hulu with Live TV ($45) Fubo TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Sling Blue ($25) Sling Orange ($25) Philo ($16) AT&T Watch TV ($15) Channel
Hallmark No Yes No Yes $ $ $ Yes Yes Hallmark
HBO No Yes $ No $ No No No No HBO
HGTV Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes HGTV
History No No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes History
HLN Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $ $ No Yes HLN
IFC Yes No No Yes $ Yes Yes Yes Yes IFC
Investigation Discovery Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Investigation Discovery
Lifetime No No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Lifetime
Lifetime Movie Network No No No Yes No $ $ Yes Yes Lifetime Movie Network
Motor Trend Yes No Yes Yes $ No Yes Yes Yes Motor Trend
MLB Network Yes No No No $ No $ No No MLB Network
MSNBC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $ No No No MSNBC
MTV No Yes No No No $ $ Yes No MTV
MTV2 No No No No No $ $ Yes Yes MTV2
Channel YouTube TV ($50) DirecTV Now ($50) Hulu with Live TV ($45) Fubo TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Sling Blue ($25) Sling Orange ($25) Philo ($16) AT&T Watch TV ($15) Channel
National Geographic Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No National Geographic
Nat Geo Wild Yes Yes Yes Yes $ Yes No No No Nat Geo Wild
NBA TV Yes No No Yes $ $ $ No No NBA TV
NBC Sports Network Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No NBC Sports Network
Newsy Yes No No No No Yes Yes No No Newsy
NFL Network No No No Yes $ Yes No No No NFL Network
NFL Red Zone No No No $ $ $ No No No NFL Red Zone
NHL Network No No No No No $ $ No No NHL Network
Nick Jr. No Yes No No No Yes $ Yes No Nick Jr.
Nickelodeon No Yes No No No No No Yes No Nickelodeon
Nicktoons No No No No No $ $ $ Yes Nicktoons
OWN No No No No Yes No No Yes Yes OWN
Oxygen Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $ No No No Oxygen
Paramount Network No $ No No No Yes $ Yes No Paramount Network
Channel YouTube TV ($50) DirecTV Now ($50) Hulu with Live TV ($45) Fubo TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Sling Blue ($25) Sling Orange ($25) Philo ($16) AT&T Watch TV ($15) Channel
Science No No No No Yes $ $ Yes No Science
SEC Network Yes $ Yes No $ No $ No No SEC Network
Showtime $ $ $ $ $ $ $ No No Showtime
Smithsonian Yes No Yes Yes No No No No No Smithsonian
Starz $ $ No No No $ $ No No Starz
Sundance TV Yes No No Yes $ $ $ Yes Yes Sundance TV
Syfy Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Syfy
Tastemade Yes No No No $ No No Yes No Tastemade
TBS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes TBS
Telemundo Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No Telemundo
Tennis Channel Yes No No No $ $ $ No No Tennis Channel
TLC Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes TLC
TNT Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes TNT
Travel Channel Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Travel Channel
TruTV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $ No Yes TruTV
Turner Classic Movies Yes Yes Yes Yes $ $ $ No Yes Turner Classic Movies
TV Land No $ No No No $ $ Yes No TV Land
Univision No No No Yes No No No No No Univision
USA Network Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No USA Network
VH1 No Yes No No No $ $ Yes Yes VH1
Viceland No No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Viceland
WE tv Yes No No Yes Yes $ $ Yes Yes WE tv
Weather Channel No No No Yes No No No No No Weather Channel
Channel YouTube TV ($50) DirecTV Now ($50) Hulu with Live TV ($45) Fubo TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Sling Blue ($25) Sling Orange ($25) Philo ($16) AT&T Watch TV ($15) Channel

Originally published Nov. 28, 2016.
Update, April 11, 2019: Adds latest channels and pricing.

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