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Explore your options.
Sling TV is the undisputed leader in live TV streaming. It offers the most flexibility, a budget-minded price point, and some of the best channel packages around. In the last year or so, Sling TV has also added the ability to order some pay-per-view events, more premium channel offerings, and the ability to rent movies, making it a compelling alternative to cable. But there are plenty of Sling TV competitors, and each of them has its own selling points worth considering. Here’s what you need to know about each one.
Sling TV competitors
- Cost: $44.95 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and iOS and Android devices
- Hulu local channels: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the CW (check your local availability here)
Hulu with Live TV is the most comprehensive streaming service out there. Not only do you get more than 50 channels of live TV—including Syfy, Freeform, and a better selection of local channels than what you’ll find on Sling TV—but each subscription comes with free access to Hulu’s on-demand library. That means you can watch thousands of movies and all your favorite shows when you can’t find something to watch on TV, not to mention critically acclaimed Hulu original series like The Handmaid’s Tale. (Here’s the complete list of Hulu Live TV channels.)
Why it’s better than Sling TV: No service can compete with Hulu when it comes to on-demand entertainment. (Here are our picks for the best movies on Hulu, Hulu documentaries, anime, and the must-see Hulu original series.) Hulu is also the only live TV service that works with Nintendo Switch.
Why it’s not: While Hulu offers HBO and Showtime, it’s still lacking premium channels like NFL RedZone, subscription services NBA League Pass, and pay-per-view events. Sling TV also offers more flexibility with its channel packages.
- Cost: $16 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Philo devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, iOS and Android devices
Sling TV used to be the cheapest option for live TV streaming. Then Philo came out and undercut the market. For just $16 per month, you’ll get AMC, HGTV, Comedy Central, BBC America, and some entertainment options you’d have to upgrade with Sling TV to receive. (Here are all of Philo’s channels)
Why it’s better than Sling TV: It’s significantly cheaper, and it comes with free cloud DVR, which costs an extra $5 per month with Sling TV.
Why it’s not: Philo offers only a fraction of what you’ll find on Sling TV, and it lacks local channels and premium upgrades.
- Cost: $39.99 for your first month and $44.99 per month thereafter (after a 7-day free trial)
- FuboTV devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV, iOS and Android devices
- FuboTV local channels: Fox, NBC, CBS (check local availability here)
FuboTV is best known as a streaming service for sports, but it’s so much more than that. In addition to specialty sports options like NBA TV, NFL Network, Big Ten Network, and beIN Sports, FuboTV offers family favorites like HGTV, History, Hallmark Channel, and Syfy. While Sling TV offers add-on packages that cater to Spanish-speaking viewers, no one offers more for bilingual families than FuboTV. (Here’s the complete FuboTV channels list.)
Why it’s better than Sling TV: FuboTV is the best service for international soccer, and it offers three-day replay for games and 30 hours of free cloud DVR. It’s also starting to experiment with 4K channels.
Why it’s not: The major flaw with FuboTV is that it lacks ABC and ESPN channels, which is an instant deal-breaker for many. Sling TV is also more convenient, giving you a way to order UFC fights and rent movies all from one place.
- Cost: $44.99-$79.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- PlayStation Vue devices: PlayStation 3 and 4, Roku, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast, Kodi, iOS and Android devices
- PS Vue local channels: NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a PlayStation to use PlayStation Vue. In fact, it’s the only streaming service that’s Kodi-compatible. PlayStation Vue offers a similar collection of channels to other services, with its entry-level package offering ESPN, Syfy, and AMC, in addition to local channels. (Here are all of PlayStation Vue channels.) Plus, you can stream on up to five devices at once (compared to just four with Sling Orange + Blue), and there’s unlimited cloud DVR.
Why it’s better than Sling TV: PlayStation Vue offers a great user experience, especially if you’re streaming from a PlayStation console.
Why it’s not: PlayStation Vue is one of the more expensive options on the market, and it lacks a lot of the premium add-ons and other features you’ll find on other services.
5) YouTube TV
- Cost: $40 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- YouTube TV devices: Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox One, iOS and Android devices
- YouTube TV local channels: NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, the CW (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
YouTube TV offers a comprehensive solution for quitting cable. Its channel package is incredibly well-rounded, covering sports essentials (ESPN, FS1), college networks (Big Ten Network), news (BBC World News, Fox News, CNN), and plenty of entertainment (AMC, Disney, Bravo). Unlike Sling TV, YouTube TV offers all of the local channels you need, even the CW. (You can find the full list of YouTube TV channels here.)
Why it’s better than Sling TV: You can add up to six accounts per household, and each one of those accounts gets unlimited cloud DVR. Even better: You can fast-forward through ads in recorded programs.
Why it’s not: What you see is pretty much what you get. YouTube TV lacks a lot of the premium upgrades you’ll find with other services.
6) DirecTV Now
- Cost: $40-$75 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- DirecTV Now devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Amazon Fire Stick
- Local channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, the CW (enter your ZIP code here to check local availability)
DirecTV Now is basically DirecTV without the contracts and hassle. DirecTV Now offers five different channel packages, including one that caters specifically to Spanish-speaking viewers. You’ll find pretty much every channel you could hope for—you just might have to upgrade to get it. With DirecTV now, you can also add HBO for just $5 more per month. (You can view the full DirecTV Now channels list here.)
Why it’s better than Sling TV: No service offers more channels than DirecTV Now, with its largest package, Gotta Have It, boasting more than 125 channels. AT&T Unlimited customers can also save $25 a month off every DirecTV Now package.
Why it’s not: There’s a lot of filler with DirecTV Now, especially in some of the bigger packages, and Sling TV offers a cheaper entry point for a basic package.
New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2018 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for a specific channel, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, Starz, Sundance TV, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, Willow, AMC, FX, Fox News, Freeform, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, FS1, TBS, TNT, Tennis Channel, Golf Channel, Syfy, HGTV, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Bravo, Lifetime, Discovery, PBS, the CW, BBC, CSPAN, NBA TV, MTV, Comedy Central, Food Network, TLC, HLN, A&E, Animal Planet, National Geographic, the Weather Channel, the History Channel, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube. If you’re on the move, here’s how to watch Fox Sports Go and live stream NBC Sports.
Austin Powell is the managing editor of the Daily Dot. His work focuses on the intersection of entertainment and technology. He previously served as a music columnist for the Austin Chronicle and is the co-author of The Austin Chronicle Music Anthology.