TV Streaming Services - Compared

 2018 Live TV Streaming Services

2018 Live TV Streaming Services

Hulu Live TV vs. DirecTV NOW vs. Sling TV vs. YouTube TV vs. PlayStation Vue

Cable TV subscriptions are getting expensive and some cable companies, like Comcast, are getting downright ugly by not giving you faster internet if you don't subscribe to their cable TV package.

The TV streaming service market has gotten crowded lately which is a good thing for competition but can make choosing one more difficult.

If you're tired of overpaying for cable, I've put together the following guide to help you choose which one is best for you.

The top Live TV streaming services are offered by Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV.

Pricing

While most of the plans run about $40, Sling TV is the least expensive option of the bunch but adding channel packages can add up quickly. 

DirecTV Now could be a great option if you're an AT&T Wireless subscriber since they will give you a monthly bill credit for up to $15 a month with their Unlimited plan.

Channels

Each of the providers offers the most popular cable networks like ESPN, CNN, HGTV, FX, Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT, SYFY, USA and Disney Channel but that's where the similarities end.

If you watch a certain channel not listed above, you will need to dig into each service’s offering.

Sling TV, for example, doesn't offer Fox News while the rest of them do. DirecTV NOW is the only service provider that offers MTV and VH1 (if you're into that sort of thing) and PlayStation Vue and Sling TV don't offer the CW.

While you can always use an antenna to get local channels, you'll want to check each providers website to see what local channels are available in the apps in your area.

DVR

With DVR, you can record shows as they air and play them back later. You can also fast forward and rewind.

Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV and PlayStation Vue all include DVR. There are limitations though; PlayStation limits your storage for only 28 days, and Hulu is capped at 50 hours unless you pay extra.

DirecTV NOW only includes DVR on certain devices, while Sling TV charges extra.

Simultaneous Streams

The number of simultaneous streams means how many devices can be watching a show or movie at the same time.

Sling TV only allows one steam at a time and charges $5 more for additional streams.

DirecTV NOW and Hulu give you 2 steams but Hulu has the option to add unlimited streams for $15 more a month.

YouTube TV will allow for 3 streams at a time while PlayStation will give you up to 5, but only if you have a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 3.

Premium Channels

All of the providers offer SHOWTIME as an add-on but if you want the most movie options, Sling TV is the winner with five premium channels and FX and FXX available on the base plans as well as the Hollywood Extra plan with Sundance TV and REELZ.

DirecTV NOW has HBO for only $5 which is steal and Hulu is offering six months of HBO for only $5 right now as well.

Compatible Devices

When it comes to availability, this is the most important part of the decision making process. In order to watch any of these services you need a compatible device.

All of the services will work with Roku but Hulu with Live TV has the most compatible devices. That includes compatibility with Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch and certain Samsung TV models made since 2017.

Which is Best?

I personally think Hulu with Live TV is the best value for the channels included and supported devices but with all the add-ons and Premium channels you can top out at $95 a month which is basically the cable bill you were looking to escape.

When it comes down to it, it all really depends on what shows and channels you can't live without. Each of us has different taste in entertainment and one size doesn't fit all. It also depends on what devices you have and where you plan on watching.