Photos via FuboTV (Fair Use)
If you love sports, you need to check out FuboTV.
Cord-cutting has many benefits, but cable is still king when it comes to sports. Sure, there are ways to watch ESPN without cable, but those usually come with limited other sports options. At the moment, Sling TV is a sports fan’s best friend, emulating much of the cable TV experience for a fraction of the cost. However, a new contender is on the scene, ready to give it a run for its money by putting a broader focus on world sports. Its name is FuboTV, and if you love soccer and football, it deserves your attention.
What is FuboTV?
FuboTV is a streaming cable replacement service much like Sling TV. You pay a flat rate for streaming access to a set of TV channels, commercials and all. While Sling TV tries to recreate the standard American cable package, FuboTV is decidedly focused on sports, specifically soccer. In addition to its extensive sports options, FuboTV offers a range of popular non-sports related channels.
Users watch can watch via mobile or web apps and navigate through familiar grid style menus to explore FuboTV’s channel offerings. If you’ve ever channel surfed on cable, you’ll instantly be familiar with FuboTV.
How much does FuboTV cost?
FuboTV has three tiers of pricing, plus additional channel packages that can be added for an extra fee, not unlike Sling TV. After a recent price hike, FubuTV’s standard package costs $34.99 a month, with a two-month introductory rate of $19.99 a month and a seven-day free trial. This package includes 70-plus channels, along with local channels in supported areas. You can find a list of areas where local channels are supported here.
Two alternative packages are available, fubo Latino and fubo Portugues. Fubo Latino is $14.99 a month for 13 channels, while fubo Portugues is $19.99 a month for just five channels. While there is some overlap across the three packages, each one offers exclusives that we’ll discuss in a moment.
Add-on packages are also available, including a $8.99 a month Sports Plus package that adds 15 channels, a reduced-cost Portuguese Plus for $14.99, Mundo Plus for $5.99 a month, fubo Latino for $12.99 a month, and more. While this may seem strange at first, it’s important to note that FuboTV offers a range of programming no other streaming service offers.
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How does FuboTV work?
The one downside of subscribing to a growing service like FuboTV is the lack of options with which to use it. Many users are spoiled by being able to use their gaming console as a media center, and FuboTV’s lack of support on any major gaming device is one of its biggest drawbacks. But rest assured: There are still plenty of options.
FuboTV can be watched on your computer, iOS or Android devices, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and Roku devices. Users can watch on up to two devices simultaneously, so if the parents want to look at a movie in one room while the kids watch a program in the other, you’re set.
In early October, FuboTV officially became available on Apple TV, which is notable in that it comes with with up to 30 hours of cloud DVR storage (you can also purchase up to 500 hours as an add-on), as well more on-demand entertainment and the ability to watch replay shows that aired on major networks in the last 72 hours.
Computer users can stream via FuboTVs web viewer, while the rest of us need to download an app. FuboTV works about the same on each device, though the Roku app can be frustratingly slow at times. Still, provided you have a strong enough internet connection, FuboTV streams at 1080p HD. The service recommends at least 200mb down for best performance, but I tested it on a 100mb connection with no problems.
As we’ve previously mentioned, FuboTV sets itself apart from the competition by focusing on sports, but there are compromises to be made. FuboTV is the go-to choice for soccer fans, who will appreciate options like BeIN Sports, Football Report TV, Fox Soccer Plus, and Pac-12 prominently. FuboTV opens the door to streaming FIFA World Cup qualifiers, English Premier League, La Liga, Champions League, Europa League, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Liga MX, MLS, and more.
Over 20 of FuboTV’s Premiere channels focus on sports, though you won’t find ESPN among the offerings. That’s a big bite of missing content for fans of football and basketball, not to mention ESPN’s commentary, but at least you still get the NFL Network.
FuboTV’s more traditional channels are a hodgepodge of hits and odd exceptions. You get Bravo, FX, FXX, Nat Geo, USA, MSNBC, Fox News, SyFy, Food Network, Travel Channel, History, and other major cable options. If you love a favorite show, you’re not going to miss much, unless it’s on a Viacom channel. Viacom properties like MTV, Comedy Central, and VH1 aren’t included, so you’ll have to find another source for South Park and Love & Hip Hop.
Première also gives subscribers a handful of incredible, but lesser-known channels that might be a pleasant surprise for new viewers. Chiller, for example, specializes in thrillers, regularly showing horror classics you’ll never catch on Netflix. El Rey Network is similarly focused on action, exploitation, and wrestling (imagine if Spike TV was curated by a filmmaker like Robert Rodriguez). Fusion fills the pop culture gap MTV leaves behind, while Universal Kids softens the blow of missing Nickelodeon
Fubo Latino and Fubo Portugues are more expensive than Premier, especially when you consider one comes with 70-plus channels and the others come with 13 and five channels, respectively. The difference is these two packages offer channels that aren’t easy to find on internet streaming options.
Fubo Latino includes Univision, Univision TDN, Fox Deportes, UniMas, and Nat Geo Mundo among its channels. Meanwhile, Fubo Portugues comes with Benfica TV, a Portuguese sports channel; RTP International, the international service for Portuguese public broadcasting; and the soccer-focused GOL TV.
When it comes to add-ons, Mundo Plus gives viewers five Spanish language channels for $5.99 a month, while fubo Latino and Portuguese Plus give Premiere subscribers the channels they’re missing from those separate packages. It can be a little confusing without looking at a diagram, but FuboTV’s ordering page is clear and easy to understand.
How to watch NFL RedZone on FuboTV
Add-on packages do their best to fill in the blanks when included channels fall short. Sports fans longing for the NFL can pick up NFL RedZone from the NFL Network as part of FuboTV’s Sport Plus add-on package, which also includes the Fight Network, Fox College Sports Atlantic, Central, and Pacific among its 15 offerings. When added to the Fubo Premier package, it brings your monthly total to $43.98, which is still a pretty good deal, all things considered.
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In addition to basic streaming services, all FuboTV subscribers get access to a number of special features.
1. Cloud DVR
Every FuboTV subscriber gets access to 30 hours of free cloud DVR recording space. These programs can be watched on any of your FuboTV-enabled devices. You can record any show, even ones that have already started when you set them to record. Additional Cloud DVR space can be purchased for $9.99 a month, upping your space to 500 hours of saved content.
One of FuboTVs biggest features is Lookback. In addition to typical on-demand options like shows and movies, Lookback allows subscribers to watch anything that has aired on the service in the past 72 hours. That includes sporting events, a massive added value for anyone who has a favorite team but works weird hours. The one catch is you can’t use fast forward or rewind while watching Lookback content. Sorry, you have to look at the ads.
3. TV apps
Finally, if you find you dislike FuboTVs native app, your account information can be used to log into a wide range of different networks proprietary apps. Bravo Now, FX, MSNBC, Syfy, Univision, and VICELAND are just a few of the networks with apps that allow for FuboTV logins. That’s a nice workaround for users who like to watch programming on their gaming consoles, though the lack of a FuboTV app for Xbox or PlayStation is still a sore point. You can see a complete list of supported apps right here.
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FuboTV vs Sling TV
Whether you try FuboTV largely depends on if you miss cable TV and what your needs are. Sling TV is still king for recreating your standard cable package, thanks to the presence of big names like Disney (ESPN) and Viacom (Comedy Central/MTV/etc.) in the channel listings. However, not everyone needs those channels.
FuboTV offers 79 channels with its Premier package, and while it is a little more expensive than a Sling TV Blue or Orange subscription, it isn’t as expensive at Sling TV’s Blue + Orange option while providing more channels. Fubo Latino and Fubo Portugues offer incredible options for non-English-speaking homes, but Sling TV has a wider range of add-ons. Sling TV options like Spanish, Caribe, Espana, Sudamerica, Hind, Tamil, Telugu, Chinese, Francais, Deutsch, Italiano, Polish, and Arabic make it the go-to source for bilingual online TV streaming.
That being said FuboTV smokes Sling TV when it comes to soccer and offers a wider range of sports options than the competition. You just have to make the ESPN sacrifice. Ultimately, both services offer great products for your money. Sling TV is currently easier to use for everyone. If you have a system, it probably works on it, with the notable exception of PS4, thanks to Sony’s Vue network.
Thankfully both services come with a free trial, letting you test the water before plunking down your hard-earned money. There’s a lot to like with FuboTV, and it’s only been getting better since its launch. It will be interesting to look back in a year and see how these competitors have differentiated themselves from one another. At the moment, they’re both well worth your consideration.
FuboTV vs Hulu with Live TV
After a recent price increase, FuboTV now costs the same as Hulu with Live TV ($39.99), and both services offer a similar package of entertainment and news channels. The difference is that Hulu with TV comes with complimentary access to Hulu’s entire streaming catalog (albeit with limited commercials), meaning you can watch movies, TV shows, anime, scary movies, documentaries, and must-see Hulu originals on-demand. Hulu also makes it easy to add premium cable channels, offering HBO ($14.99 per month), Cinemax ($9.99 per month), and Showtime ($8.99 per month). But Hulu can’t compete with FuboTV when it comes to international sports, and quite frankly, no one else can either.
Is FuboTV worth it?
I tested FuboTV on Roku, iOS, and the system’s web player. All three apps worked well, though the web player and iOS had the best experiences. Streaming is quick, clear, and consistent, whether you’re watching an old episode of Batman or a UEFA Europa League soccer match. The interface makes it simple to quickly switch between your Cloud DVR, sports channels, and entertainment options. I highly recommend watching on iOS or the web viewer and then casting to your TV if that’s an option.
The Roku app works but suffers from the same problems as other many Roku apps. Roku’s overall interface is in need of an update, and navigating FuboTV can feel a little clunky and slow at times on the device. FuboTV’s Roku app is still in beta and it shows. Cloud DVR doesn’t currently work with Roku, and its menus are just a simple grid.
FuboTV’s Roku app also shows the service’s focus on sports. Each sport gets its own individual listing, but your normal channels, even big ones like Food Network, are all shoved into the catch-all category “channels.” The Roku menus are sort of ugly, but you get descriptions of what’s playing on each channel and when you hit play looks great. Again, I tested these three options on a 100mb down internet setup. If you have a slower connection you may have a different experience.
So, is FuboTV worth it? It really depends on how much you watch sports. If you’re a soccer or football fan, there’s no better option on the market right now. But for everything else, it’s hard to compete with the flexibility of SlingTV and competitors like DirecTV Now.
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