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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, and Hulu with Live TV offers a dozen sports options. But if you love soccer and football, or you’re looking for a way to watch the World Cup online, FuboTV 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 – $44.99/mo
- Fubo Extra – $49.99/mo
- Fubo Latino – $17.99/mo
- Fubo Portugues – $19.99/mo
FuboTV has four 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 $44.99 a month, and a seven-day free trial. This package includes 85-plus channels, along with local channels in supported areas. You can find a list of areas where local channels are supported here.
FuboTV has just added a new level called Fubo Extra. For $44.99 a month, you get an additional 20 channels, including BBC World News, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, and Telemundo.
Two alternative packages are also 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, which 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.
Fubo only has one movie channel, Showtime, available. For $10.99 per month, subscribers get access to all nine of Showtime’s different channels and on-demand access to its streaming library of movies, documentaries, and original series.
While this a la carte method may seem strange at first, it’s important to note that FuboTV offers a range of programming no other streaming service offers. If you’re a fan of international sports, FuboTV truly can’t be beaten. You can find a complete listing of channels and add-ons for the service on the FuboTV website.
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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 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. The Roku app used to be frustratingly slow at times, but a recent update has fixed the problem. 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 the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, English Premier League, La Liga, Champions League, Europa League, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Liga MX, MLS, and more. Here’s a complete breakdown of FuboTV channels.
Over 20 of FuboTV’s standard 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/FXM, Nat Geo, USA, SyFy, Bravo, 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. When it comes to cable news, your options are sadly split right down the ideological divide. Moderate voices like CNN aren’t included, leaving you with just MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News, and FOX Business.
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.
Fubo Português 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.
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.
4. Local channels
FuboTV is heavily invested in providing local stations to its subscribers, adding a steady stream of new markets over the last year. FuboTV can offer Fox to 91 percent of U.S. households, NBC to 74 percent, and CBS to 70 percent. Fox local channels are available in all of the top 50 markets in the country while NBC coverage is included in 42 of the top 50 markets. CBS coverage is close, with 35 of the top 50 markets in the US represented. If local TV is important to you, FuboTV is worth your consideration.
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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 80-plus channels with its Premier package, compared to Sling TVs 50-plus channels on its Orange + Blue package. While Sling’s top package is $5 cheaper than FuboTV, it comes with 30 fewer channels. The catch is those extra channels are almost entirely in the form of sports options that aren’t ESPN. That being said, FuboTV smokes Sling TV when it comes to soccer and offers a wider range of sports options than the competition.
Sling TV is also currently available on more platforms. If you have a gaming system, it probably works on it, with the notable exception of PS4, thanks to Sony’s PS Vue network.
Ultimately, both services offer great products for your money, and both come with a free trial. There’s a lot to like with FuboTV, and it’s only gotten 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.
After a recent price increase, FuboTV is now more expensive than Hulu with Live TV. Hulu with Live TV starts at $39.99 while FuboTV is $44.99. Interestingly, both services offer similar packages 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). FuboTV, on the other hand, only offers one premium movie channel, Showtime, for $10.99 per month.
There are of course differences in packages. Hulu with Live TV includes major players like CNN, Cartoon Network, Disney, and four channels of ESPN. FuboTV trades those options for improved international sports channels. When it comes to sports on Hulu, your international options are wildly limited, but you make up for it with access to the NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB.
Interestingly when it comes to navigation, FuboTV is the clear winner. Hulu with Live TV’s app is a cluttered mess, but FuboTV makes navigation a breeze. For example, if you want to quickly look at what movies are available, FuboTV lets you do that with three clicks. Hulu, meanwhile, asks you to navigate to an entirely different sub-menu.
Hulu ultimately has more options, but FuboTV gives it a run for its money when it comes to ease of use.
Of all the services, DirecTV Now is the biggest threat to FuboTV thanks to its incredible interface and selection. FuboTV is still more intuitive to use, but DirecTV Now’s familiar guide will appeal to longtime cable users. With its price increase, FuboTV is more expensive than DirecTV Now, starting at $44.99 for 80-plus channels compared to DirecTV’s 60-plus channels for $35.99. DirecTV Now also offers far more channel packages, with up to 120-plus channels available for a price.
DirecTV Now’s basic channel listing reads like a who’s-who of cable, serving up everything from ESPN to Viacom networks. If you want a mix of music, sports, news, and entertainment programming, it’s hard to beat DirecTV’s selection, especially when it’s $10 cheaper than FuboTV. On the other hand, DirecTV Now’s international sports offerings are sadly underwhelming. It’s a matter of what’s important to you.
Movies is another area where DirecTV Now has a leg up. FuboTV currently only offers Showtime as premium add-on. DirecTV Now, meanwhile, boasts Showtime, Starz, HBO, and Cinemax, with the latter two only costing $5 a month. That’s a steal.
Each service provides a great app, but at the moment FuboTV offers DVR where DirecTV Now does not. DirecTV has promised the feature is coming in Spring 2018, but no exact date has been set yet.
FuboTV is a wonderful service, but unless you’re a major international sports fan, DirecTV Now is the clear winner.
Is FuboTV worth it?
I tested FuboTV on Roku, iOS, and the system’s web player. Each device was tested on a 100/mb connection. All three apps have been dramatically improved since I first used the service. If you’ve used FuboTV before but disliked the interface, I recommend giving it another shot as things have improved considerably. Streaming is quicker and your picture quality is more consistent, whether you’re watching the news or a UEFA Europa League soccer match.
The updated apps make finding the content you’re looking for easier than ever. In our original review of the service, I recommended watching on iOS and casting to your TV. Now the FuboTV apps are worthy of their own use.
The Roku app has been updated, and the results are night and day. I tested the Roku app on the most recent Roku Streaming Stick+ and a TCL Roku TV. You may ask yourself “why would you do that?” The answer: Different Roku devices work differently since Roku updated its lineup last year. If you bought a Roku stick in late 2017, it’s more powerful than one you bought before that.
On both the older and newer devices FuboTV ran like a dream. There were two instances when watching on the TCL TV where the video and audio got out of sync. However, in each case the issue only arrived after several hours of streaming. In each case, reloading the channel fixed the issue. This problem did not pop up at all on the 2017 Roku Streaming Stick+.
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.
There is a very specific audience for FuboTV, but with each passing improvement, that audience is getting bigger. I can’t overstate how much better the FuboTV app has gotten in the past year. It honestly makes me excited to see where they go next.
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John-Michael Bond is a tech reporter and culture writer for Daily Dot. A longtime cord-cutter and early adopter, he's an expert on streaming services (Hulu with Live TV), devices (Roku, Amazon Fire), and anime. A former staff writer for TUAW, he's knowledgeable on all things Apple and Android. You can also also find him regularly performing standup comedy in Los Angeles.