Best Live TV Streaming Service: Hulu vs. Sling vs. Vue vs. YouTube TV

Cam Secore
Updated 01/28/2019

After a year of testing, I determined YouTube TV is the best live TV streaming service because of its excellent stream quality and brilliant phone to casting experience. PlayStation Vue is my pick for people looking for a similar experience to traditional cable.

I’ll explain how I reached my conclusion by comparing four services (Hulu with Live TV vs. Sling vs. PlayStation Vue vs. YouTube TV) while evaluating six categories: stream quality, channels, interface, DVR, compatibility, and bonus features.

youtube tv vs hulu live

YouTube TV

  • Stream Quality: It’s impeccable. You can stream on three devices simultaneously.
  • Channels: You get your local sports teams and all local channels in almost any location.
  • Interface: The phone interface is fantastic and opens with content curated for you.
  • DVR: You get unlimited storage; six different people can have their own DVR.
  • Compatibility: There’s no Amazon Fire TV app, but most platforms have an app.
  • Bonus: Membership is simple; it’s $40/month for every channel.

Best for you if...

You want an experience that differs from traditional cable and don’t mind buying a Chromecast for $35. YouTube TV from a streaming device’s app is fine, but using the phone app with Chromecast is better. You'll get a perfect stream and all your local sports.

playstation vue vs sling

PlayStation Vue

  • Stream Quality: The streams are clean aside from a couple of local sports channels.
  • Channels: You get your local sports teams and all local channels in almost any location.
  • Interface: Vue looks like traditional cable with the ugly guide setup.
  • DVR: There’s unlimited DVR storage, but shows are only stored for 28 days.
  • Compatibility: It works with most devices, but the guide is glitchy on Fire TV and old Rokus.
  • Bonus: You’ll need to call customer service when you switch locations.

Best for you if...

You want an experience similar to cable for a lower cost, and you have an Apple TV or newer Roku device. With Vue, you’ll get the old-fashioned guide, excellent channel lineup, five simultaneous streams, high compatibility, and a reliable stream.

hulu live tv vs sling tv

Hulu Live TV

  • Stream Quality: The stream is unreliable, but it’s getting better.
  • Channels: AMC and some local sports channels are missing.
  • Interface: The interface is universal, but gets confusing with the nested menus.
  • DVR: You get 50 hours of DVR storage, but you can’t fast forward commercials.
  • Compatibility: It’s on Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, Xbox, iPhone, and Android.
  • Bonus: You get “Hulu Limited Commercials” for free, as well as two simultaneous streams.

Best for you if...

You’re willing to go without some local sports channels, deal with an occasionally glitchy stream, and use an app that's challenging to navigate. If you’re a regular Hulu member, it’ll only cost an additional $32/month. Hulu With Live TV isn’t ready for primetime yet.

hulu vs sling


  • Stream Quality: The stream works well on all channels.
  • Channels: You won’t get many local channels or local sports channels.
  • Interface: The interface is awful and tough to navigate.
  • DVR: There are no profiles, lots of restrictions, and only 50 hours of DVR storage.
  • Compatibility: No other live streaming service is more compatible than Sling.
  • Bonus: You can change locations as often as you’d like.

Best for you if...

You’re on a budget, can get the channels you need with the entry packages and don’t mind a subpar interface. You won’t find a better deal than $25/month. It might be your best bet if you’re a frequent traveler or if you’re not that into sports.

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Channel Lineups

Channel YouTube
Sling O
Sling B
A&E No No Yes Yes Yes
ABC Yes Yes Yes Bigger No
AMC Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Animal Planet No Yes Yes No No
BBC America Yes Yes No Yes Yes
BBC World Yes Bigger No Bigger Bigger
BET No No No Bigger Yes
Big Ten Network Yes Bigger Yes No No
Bloomberg TV No No No Yes Yes
Boomerang No Bigger Yes Bigger Bigger
Bravo Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Cartoon Network Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
CBS Yes Yes Yes No No
CBS Sports Yes Bigger Yes No No
Cheddar Yes No Yes Yes Yes
CMT No No No Bigger Bigger
CNBC Yes Yes Yes No Bigger
CNN Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Comedy Central No No No Yes Yes
Cooking Channel No Bigger No Bigger Bigger
CSPAN No No No No No
CW Yes No Yes No No
Destination Amer. No Yes Bigger No No
Discovery No Yes Yes No Yes
Discovery Family No Bigger Bigger No No
Discovery Life No Bigger Bigger No No
Disney Channel Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Disney Junior Yes Yes Yes Bigger No
Disney XD Yes Yes Yes Bigger No
DIY No Bigger No Bigger Bigger
E! Yes Yes Yes No Bigger
EPIX No Bigger No Bigger Bigger
ESPN Yes Yes Yes Yes No
ESPN 2 Yes Yes Yes Yes No
ESPN 3 No No No Yes No
ESPNEWS Yes Bigger Yes Bigger No
ESPNU Yes Bigger Yes Bigger No
Food Network No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Fox Business Yes Yes Yes No No
Fox News Yes Yes Yes No No
Fox Sports 1 Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Fox Sports 2 Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Freeform Yes Yes Yes Yes No
FX Yes Yes Yes No Yes
FX Movie Yes Bigger Yes No No
FXX Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Golf Channel Yes Bigger Yes No Bigger
Hallmark No Bigger No Bigger Bigger
HGTV No Yes Yes Yes Yes
History No No Yes Yes Yes
HLN Yes Yes Yes Bigger Bigger
IFC Yes Bigger No Yes Yes
Investigation No Yes No No No
Lifetime No No Yes Yes Yes
Lifetime Movie No No Yes Bigger Bigger
MLB Network Yes Bigger No No No
MSNBC Yes Yes Yes No Bigger
MTV No No No Bigger Bigger
MTV2 No No No Bigger Bigger
MyNetworkTV Yes Yes Yes No No
Nat Geo Wild Yes Bigger Yes No Yes
National Geo Yes Yes Yes No Yes
NBA TV Yes Bigger No Bigger Bigger
NBC Yes Yes Yes No Yes
NBC Sports Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Newsy Yes No No Yes Yes
NFL Network No Bigger No No Yes
NFL Red Zone No Bigger No No Bigger
NHL Network No No No Bigger Bigger
Nick Jr. No No No Bigger Yes
Nickelodeon No No No No No
Nicktoons No No No Bigger Bigger
OWN No Yes No No No
Oxygen Yes Yes Yes No Bigger
Science No Yes Bigger No No
SEC Network Yes Bigger Yes Bigger No
Sundance TV Yes Bigger No Bigger Bigger
Syfy Yes Yes Yes No Yes
TBS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Telemundo Yes Yes Yes No No
Tennis Channel Yes No No No No
TLC No Yes Yes No Yes
TNT Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Travel Channel No Yes Yes Yes Yes
TruTV Yes Yes Yes Bigger Yes
Turner Classic Yes Bigger Yes Bigger Bigger
TV Land No No No Bigger Bigger
Univision No No No No No
USA Yes Yes Yes No Yes
VH1 No No No Bigger Bigger
Viceland No No Yes Yes Yes
WE tv Yes Yes No Bigger Bigger
Weather No No No No No

My Experience

Every tech comparison I do is prompted by my curiosity, whether I’m looking for the best streaming device, best robot vacuum, etc.

This time, I wanted to get in on the cord-cutting trend and lower my monthly cable bill, so I set out to find the best live TV streaming service.

People are cutting the cord because cable TV has devolved into an overpriced mess. In most cases, you’re roped into a long, restrictive contract and pay for a bunch of garbage you don’t want while getting a subpar viewing experience and terrible customer service.

I was paying $90 for my cable package, which I only used to watch live sports. I prefer to use streaming services like Netflix, Showtime, and HBO to watch movies and shows.

Before I started my search, I decided I’d look for streaming services that met three fundamental requirements:

My requirements were:

  1. Access to the Celtics and Red Sox (Boston regional sports channels).
  2. Apple TV app.
  3. At least two concurrent streams allowed (preferably three).

Ideally, sports fans could pay for MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, or NFL Sunday Ticket to watch their local sports teams without blackouts or pay for any channel individually. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible, and it won’t ever happen.

TV needs to be reimagined, but for now, we’re stuck with the current landscape.

Sling and PlayStation Vue have been around for a couple of years. Since their inception, DirecTV, YouTube, and Hulu have released competing services.

Sling, DirecTV, and PlayStation Vue are taking a familiar cable-style product and making it streamable, while Hulu and YouTube have a different approach.

DirecTV is so bad that I’ve taken it out of this comparison post to keep things simple. It’s a clunky interface and never works correctly.

I’ve been using YouTube TV as my go-to service for eight months, but I tried the other four services for at least a week each too.

I’m sticking with YouTube TV with my Chromecast.

YouTube TV


Stream Quality (A):

  • The stream quality is impeccable.
  • YouTube TV uses 60 frames per second for sports channels to avoid choppiness.
  • This is the only service with which you can see and change your picture’s resolution while a show’s playing.
  • You can watch on three separate devices at the same time.

Channels (A):

  • You’ll get your local sports teams in almost any location. The sports setup is excellent. It lists all of your local teams with the full schedule and standings. You can click one button to record every game, no matter the channel.
  • Turner channels were missing for the first year of YouTube TV, but now their channel lineup can stack up with any streaming service.
  • I get live versions of all my local channels (CBS, FOX, ABC, NBC) and in most cases, you should too.

Interface (A):

  • The interface on the phone is amazing and is loaded with on-demand content. It’s set up with three tabs: Library (your DVR), Home (a way of finding stuff to watch through searching and curation), and Live (a beautifully set up guide). Once you find what you want to watch, you can Cast or AirPlay it to a TV. Casting works flawlessly.
  • YouTube TV opens on the Home tab with a “Top Picks For You,” regardless of what device you use. The Home tab learns your patterns and shows you what it thinks you’ll like. Since I watch mostly sports, my “Top Picks For You” always has a few live games. I rarely have to go to the guide to find them. It’s simple and beautiful.
  • Apple TV, Xbox and Roku apps were released in February. The streaming device apps are useful and get better with new software fixes, but they’ve got nothing on the fantastic phone app. I’d prefer to use the phone app and AirPlay to Apple TV or Cast to Chromecast.
  • You can pause live TV, and if you’re behind live (from pausing), you can fast forward.
  • Streaming inside Chrome and Firefox is great.
  • You can get notifications on your phone when your shows are on.

DVR & On-Demand (B):

  • YouTube TV’s Cloud DVR gives you unlimited storage, and your content is stored for nine months.
  • You can skip commercials when there’s no on-demand version available.
  • YouTube’s DVR has a catch: your recordings are sometimes overwritten with the on-demand version. While the commercials are shorter with on-demand than live TV, you can’t skip them. In my experience, CBS is the only channel that I found that was affected. Most other channels record normally, with commercials, which you can fast forward. You typically have a 24-hour window before the on-demand version is posted, so watch your shows quickly if you want it to be ad-free!
  • On-demand and DVR recordings are easy to find, sort and watch. I love the interface on the phone and the streaming device apps. Rather than displaying shows by the date they were aired, it orders them by season and episode number.
  • You get six accounts, and everyone gets their own account for DVR.

Compatibility (C):

  • There’s no Amazon Fire TV app and it won’t be coming anytime soon due to Amazon and Google’s beef.
  • There are apps on Apple TV, Roku, Android TV, Xbox, and newer Samsung & LG smart TVs. The best way to use YouTube TV is to find the content on the phone app and cast that content to your streaming device.

Bonus (A):

  • Membership is simple; it’s $40/month for every channel with no complicated tiers.
  • You can log on from a different location without issue, as long as you log on from your home zip code once a month.
  • You get YouTube Red Originals for free.

PlayStation Vue


Stream Quality (B):

  • PlayStation Vue is the most polished live service around.
  • I had clean streams on every channel except my local sports channels, which was frustrating. It made me wonder if all of the live streaming services struggled to stream the local sports channels. But that hypothesis was disproved when YouTube TV gave me a perfect NESN and CSNNE stream.
  • You can stream with five devices at once with any of the packages.

Channels (A):

  • Vue offers Fox and Comcast regional sports channels (depending on your location), and they have specialty sports networks like NESN and YES.
  • I get live versions of all of my local channels (CBS, FOX, ABC, NBC) and in most cases, you should too.

Interface (B):

  • Vue looks like traditional cable with the ugly guide setup. (You might like it, but I don’t want to be reminded of the terrible cable experience of the past).
  • You can set it up so that your favorite channels show up first on the guide list.
  • You can watch from your web browser without downloading an app.
  • The search feature is great.
  • After a live show’s over, there’s a four-second pause before the new show starts back up. That’s cool, but here’s where it became an issue for me: unlike shows, sports go over their scheduled time all the time. For example, I was watching the Sox, and it went into extra innings. Once the scheduled three hours had eclipsed, Vue thought a different show was on because that’s what the guide said, but the game was still on. It broke up the flow of the game.

DVR & On-Demand (C):

Compatibility (B-):

  • It’s compatible with almost all devices, but I’ve found the guide is glitchy on Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices made before 2017.
  • It’s compatible with Apple TV, just like the others, but it’s the only live service where DVR content goes into the TV App.

Bonus (D):

  • Sony should’ve called it “Vue” instead of PlayStation Vue. It creates confusion, and it’s poor branding. For a long time, I didn’t know you could watch PlayStation Vue on non-PlayStation devices, and other people don’t realize that either.
  • You can’t use it away from home without calling customer support.
  • It’s $5/month more than YouTube TV if you want your regional sports channels.

Hulu Live TV


Stream Quality (C):

  • 60 frames per second is critical for watching sports because otherwise, there’s a lag in action. I noticed with sports there was a significant latency issue when the screen moved quickly.
  • Luckily, Hulu started rolling out 60fps on half of their channels, and it looks like more are coming.

Channels (B-):

  • Hulu has most of the regional sports channels, including YES Network for Yankees fans, but they don’t have NESN.
  • There’s no AMC, but other than that, it has all of the basic channels.
  • I get live versions of all of my local channels (CBS, FOX, ABC, NBC) and, in most cases, you should too.

Interface (C):

  • Hulu with Live TV is a different take on television. I admire their boldness. They use huge, eye-catching fonts and focus on getting content in front of you through a curation process, rather than just showing channel names. (Keep in mind, it’s not traditional, so it might take some getting used to).
  • You get a universal experience on all the apps. It’s perfectly synced and beautiful.
  • Hulu is nice to look at but not easy to use.
    • You can get so deep into their threaded menu that you can’t find your way back. There’s no easy way to go home.
    • There’s no guide, which is fine, but there’s no easy way to see what’s on now and what’ll be on in the future from the same channel.
    • I don’t mind the interface/menus overall, but I know most will hate it (especially channel surfers) because it’s unconventional.
  • You can pause TV, but once you do, you can’t fast forward.
  • The home screen recommends new shows to watch, and it’s great at doing it.
  • There are push updates you can turn on to alert you when to watch a certain game. Let’s say a guy is in the 8th inning of a no-hitter in a game you wouldn’t usually care about. Hypothetically, Hulu would alert you, and with one tap you could watch the end of that game.

DVR & On-Demand (B):

  • You get 50 hours of DVR storage, but you can’t fast forward commercials with the standard $40/month package. For an extra $15/month you get Enhanced Cloud DVR and can skip all commercials.
  • If you’re looking to skip commercials with Hulu, your best bet is Hulu With Live TV, plus an additional $4 for “Hulu No Commercials.” You’ll have commercials with recorded programs, but on-demand (which is all shows from NBC, ABC, FOX) will be commercial free.

Compatibility (B+):

  • Hulu is on Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, Xbox, iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, and the app works as intended everywhere.

Bonus (B):

  • You can change your location four times per year. You’ll need that feature if you’re a frequent traveler. With DirecTV and Vue, if you’re in a different city, you can’t even open the app without calling customer support and telling them you’ve moved. For instance, I was trying out live TV services while on vacation in Milwaukee but used my New Hampshire zip code to sign up. I couldn’t use it. I called to change my location, but once I got back to New Hampshire, I lost service again.
  • You only get two simultaneous streams. It’s an additional $15 for unlimited streams.
  • You get “Hulu Limited Commercials” for free (this is the original Hulu that most people know of for $8/month).

Stream Quality (A):

  • You can change the stream’s video quality by adjusting the bandwidth allowance. Typically, you’d want your streaming service to determine the Internet strength on its own, then stream with the best possible quality. But sometimes, you might want to lower the quality so you can have multiple concurrent streams.
  • ESPN streams at 60 frames per second to eliminate choppiness, but all other channels are only 30fps.
  • You can pause live TV on most channels.
  • If you sign up for Sling Orange, you can watch three streams at once.

Channels (F):

  • Sling TV might be your best bet if you’re NOT into sports and still want cable. Sling Blue and Sling Orange are $25/month each, or you can get them together for $40/month. Sling broke up channels into small packages. (Compare the packages here).
  • You might be able to catch your sports teams with Sling, but it’s not likely you’ll see everything. They only have some of the regional Comcast channels (SN Mid-Atlantic, CSN Chicago, CSN California, and CSN Bay Area). With Sling, I couldn’t watch the Celtics, Bruins, or Sox.
  • You can’t get your all of your local channels (CBS, FOX, ABC, NBC) in most cases. For me, the only local channel I get is NBC and FOX On-Demand.

Interface (D):

  • They don’t have a traditional guide with a grid, which is fine, but scrolling through channels and lineups isn’t easy. The interface is awful.

DVR & On-Demand (F):

  • You get 50 hours of storage for an additional $5/month, and you can protect shows from being deleted.
  • You can’t record any Disney channels (including ESPN).
  • Fox channels can’t be recorded, but you can watch them on-demand with commercials.
  • There aren’t many local channels on Sling, so while you can record, I’m not sure there’s anything worth recording.
  • There are no profiles. You’re stuck with a DVR and settings that’s a combination of every household member’s preferences.

Compatibility (A):

  • No other live streaming service is more compatible than Sling. Name a device and Sling is compatible with it.

Bonus (C):

  • You can log on from any location in the U.S. without issue. That’s excellent if you’re on the road a lot. Another benefit of no location preference is that it’s easier to share your account. (I’m not advocating sharing an account but realize a lot of people do it. Some providers like HBO don’t care, but some do).
  • I tried Sling’s 7-day trial. I didn’t plan on keeping it. On day 9, I realized I’d forgotten to cancel. I was charged $60. Sling has a strict no-refund policy. At the very least, I should be given a prorated refund for the 28 unused days. I had already deleted the app and had no intention of using the service again. The situation is completely my fault; I knew the rules going in and spaced it. Unfortunately, it is the norm in old-school business sectors without much competition (cable and phone).


  • Joyce glynn says:

    Hi, I watch only a few stations on tv. I don’t want a monthly bill. I think there is something that attaches to back of tv, right? Any help please.

    • Cam Secore says:

      You should be able to pick up some local channels for free (CBS, Fox, PBS, etc) in some locations. But you’ll need an antenna.

  • Chris says:

    Hey dude. Was wondering if you have tried directv now? Any feedback??

    • Cam Secore says:

      It’s so bad that I took it out of this comparison. Bad interface and the streams almost never work.

      • Michael says:


        I’m evaluating both. My take is that DirectvNow has better streaming quality across the board (roku). Moreover, I did a side by side comparison on a desktop computer. In both cases I found that DTN was better in that either the stream quality was better and/or no choppiness.

        • Cam Secore says:

          One anecdote from me and one from you. Either could be right. The internet is on my side, but DirecTV might’ve cleaned up since I last tried because they’ve been in the streaming business close to two years now.

        • Marilyn Walker says:

          Ever since they merged with ATT my on demand feature was not available. I called and was told it was a known software issue that they were “working on”. 6 months later they were still “working on it” I asked why should I continue to pay full price for a service I wasn’t getting fully? The CSR actually told me that the “on demand” feature was actually a bonus and wasn’t included in what I was paying. Really?
          Bought Firesticks for every TV, cancelled DirecTV, added Hulu Live…done

      • Alex says:

        I just want to say I have been a Directv Now user since it first came out. This week I was convinced I was done with it because of the streaming issues. I was watching this on my Amazon Fire sticks and Amazon Fire Cube. I wondered if it ran any better on the roku devices so I went out to Walmart and picked up a Roku Ultra. Well I am glad I did because it is night and day difference. The directv now apps loads almost instantly and the channels play so much better.

  • GARY R says:

    I like your independent top research and friendly cusumer concern in your writing .

    • Cam Secore says:

      Thank you! I think my independence on this site is my biggest advantage. No media company is telling me how or what to write.

  • Brian says:

    Thanks for the reviews. I’m looking to cut the cord. I’m heavily favoring YouTube TV. I bought a Chromecast and a Roku streaming stick (both not for a 4K TV). While I understand Chromecast should be better for YouTube TV (both google products), the Roku remote may be better overall to help control power and volume on my TV and make for a better experience—especially for my wife who is less tech savvy. Do you agree with this or do you think Chromecast for YouTube TV is much better than a Roku stick? Thanks

    • Cam Secore says:

      There’s nothing wrong with YouTube TV and Roku together. But with the Chromecast it’s a much better experience. I have faith that your wife can figure it out. It’s just one button to cast.

  • Misty says:

    Thank you for taking the time to do the research on these TV outlets. I do have a question. Currently, we have direct tv. However, it is crazy expensive and we are looking for ways to save some money. I personally don’t watch much tv, but I do like having the basic local channels and a few additional ones. We do have an apple tv, Netflix, fire stick, and a sony smart tv. I’m trying to figure out what would be the best option for my family. My kids tend to watch more tv on their iphones. Where I prefer watching on the actual tv itself. We did the trial for sling, but I find it’s a little too complicated, and maybe just not very user friendly for me anyway. It could be that I’m just used to the “easy” way of how cable is set up with guide, etc. With all that in mind, what service do you suggest for us? I’m curious to know your opinion since you have tested all these out.

    Thank you..

    • Cam Secore says:

      Like I said, if you’re looking for the traditional TV experience, give PlayStation Vue a try!

      • Michael says:

        Cam can you watch and/or record (and if so how many at one time) live local TV on the PlayStation Vue.

        • Cam Secore says:

          You can record as many things as you want at a time with all these services.

  • TFaith065 says:

    I have a Shield TV and 2 Fire TV’s 2nd Gen. The reason I never went beyond a trial with YouTube. Not really in the mood to buy 2 more Shield TV’s. They’re just so good though. I git tired of Vue, DTVN on a special deal is pissing me off. You can’t even pause TV. Sling is missing somethings..

    I might just get some more Shield TV’s and go YouTube but no NHL Network that I’m aware of.. Hmm.

  • Robin Violet says:

    Im a totally non-tech senior. WHile Im staying in a different location for awhile, Im renting out my home as a vacation rental so I need TV. I bought a new TV a couple of years ago- and cant even remember what kind it was. Anyway, I get cable internet (only choice in my rural location) but cant afford the TV cable so I discontinued it. I have read your reviews but am still confused. Was going to buy a firestick tomorrow at the Amazon prime day but now not sure. Would you mind talking in very simple terms knowing I dont understand any of this which device should I buy to plug into the TV and which service to get so that it is easy for my helper to set up and so that my guests (and I) can get basic and some basic “cable” TV channels? If it is anything fancy, the guests will have their own laptops and use their own service. BUt having “cable TV” like service is a must for me. What Im saying is that having live TV is important. While I dont remember much about the TV and am not there to examine it, it does have things like netflix etc to click on. Hope this is enough info for you to give me a clear recommendation. Thanks alot.

    • Cam Secore says:

      I still recommend Roku Stick for your case. You’ll need an streaming service to go with it too. Playstation Vue is probably your best bet for $40/month.

      • robert jones says:

        im 74 and own a sony smart tv and stream with hulu on and off for a year with roku express. ive tried directtv now ,yuk,hulu still the best so far spectrum was awful,and that’s as far as ive got. ive saved bout 50$ a month verses cable. works well

  • Anthony says:

    I’m using direct tv now and it’s always some issue. I’m a big sports person. What service do you recommend for sports and with football soon arriving do you think you tube tv will get Redzone?

    • Cam Secore says:

      I’d probably go with PlayStation Vue because they should have Redzone when football’s back.

  • Jennifer says:

    We just got Amazon firesticks but I realize I cant exactly get rid of my cable through optimum just yet. It appears I cant watch any episodes of say food network or animal planet or discovery channel without my optimum user name and password….anyway around this?

    • Cam Secore says:

      Nope. Not legally anyways. You’ll need a streaming service from this post to get channels that resemble cable.

  • Ish says:

    what do you think about philo?
    I got it for $16 per rmonth

    • Cam Secore says:

      Philo doesn’t have local channels (Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC), ESPN, or any regional sports channels, so it’ll be useless for most people. But if you don’t like sports or network shows, it might be worth a look, but I can’t speak to its interface.

      • Helpful Hanna says:

        I LOVE Philo and I get all my local channelsmoff antenna. Very happy people live here who watch a good deal of TV!

  • JASON says:

    We are leaning towards the Vue 2nd top package. We need the most cartoons when my sons not gaming,and sports live streams. Were we live rural our internet sucks. Anyway to boost that? Will it be worth getting livestream? Also can we stream on 3 tvs at once with any of these live streaming options? Looking for the best quality/cable close option.

    • Cam Secore says:

      PlayStation Vue allows for five streams at once and sounds like it’d be a good fit. But if you already have bad internet, this live TV streaming is not the way to go, especially if you’re going to have three TVs at once. Why are you leaving cable? What’s your biggest beef? Can you upgrade your internet to a different provider? With that much going on at your place, you’ll want at least 50 Mbps to keep everything smooth.

  • Michael L says:

    Thanks for the excellent, and clear overview of all the TV streaming options. I am a recent cable tv cutter who signed up for 2 months of Sling TV. Your review of their service is bang on. It’s not easy to sort all this out!
    After reading all your unbiased reviews and rates of the numerous streaming services, I decided to have no tv at all, streaming or otherwise. I feel better already! …. now, back to my book, hobbies, visiting, …going outside,…..

    • Cam Secore says:

      Seems like you’re having second thoughts if you’re on this site, no?

      • Michael L says:

        Yes, I suppose your correct about second thoughts (not as easy to break the TV thing as I thought). Must be a slight case of post dissonance! That said, I am surprised how much current, free, news coverage is on YouTube.
        I came upon your site by chance, as I was looking for more info about YouTube TV.. while my cable TV bill was creeping up, it wasn’t the bill as much as the fact that even with minimal package choices, there was hundreds of channels I had no interest in, yet had to pay for.
        The upward creeping cost of streaming services is forecast soon to be an issue with consumers, just as today’s cable costs are today. Thanks again for your thorough coverage (and ability to write well!)

        • Cam Secore says:

          Thanks for the kind words! Yeah, YouTube is amazing. It’s how most young people, myself included, consume news now.

  • Sandra says:

    Thank you for all of this! My household is not into sports. My daddy does like the trinity broadcast (like jimmy swaggart) and pbs. Which would be a better fit (in your opinion) between Hulu and Sling with Roku. Streaming like 3 TVs in the same House.

    • Cam Secore says:

      PBS isn’t on any of these. I’d stick to cable.

      • Bruce says:

        For people concerned about PBS, you can stream PBS on demand with PBS Passport. It comes with any PBS station membership of $60 or more annually, which IMHO is not too much to ask if you really care about PBS. I don’t know what the extent of programming availability is yet.

  • Val says:

    Hi. Unfortunately in zipcode 39503, YouTube TV is not supported in my area. I’ve had nothing but bad experiences with att Uverse and Direct TV. Please tell me there’s a workaround or another way I could still get YouTube TV in my area. Thanks in advance.

    • Cam Secore says:

      There’s nothing wrong with Playstation Vue in the mean time. You could mask your IP, but that’d mean you won’t get your local channels, so I’d just wait.

  • Canon says:

    On the surface, it would seem we actually have choices. I too have tested the Hulu, Direct TV, and Playstation Vue to try to find that perfect mix of television. Sadly, they all lack something, as seen in this article. Direct TV offers everything I would want at the basic tier, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and Paramount, but it is so painfully slow to navigate with grey menus on Roku stick (2017), and hardly tolerable on the Amazon Fire stick (2017). Hulu Live streaming interface is terrible and difficult to navigate. Since Hulu has the live option now, it seems that their streaming library has demolished greatly to the point it doesn’t seem worth maintaining that service. Hulu’s original content is minimal. Then there is Playstation Vue, which offers CBS, NBC, and Fox, and no Paramount or ABC (Wheel of Fortune), but offers the premium Redzone. I wouldn’t be surprised that in the end, I’ll spend more money in cord cutting by trying out the various Amazon, Roku, and Apple devices with the many services. So far unsatisfied, having to flip from one device to another for different apps and back to TV for ABC. Don’t get me started on the wars between the products. A great YouTube app is available for Roku and no-name Android devices, but not Amazon. As for the CBS Premier, which I believe could be considered live TV, I tried it. If you like Star Trek great, but any other programming why bother. As for the CBS app itself, it was clunky and difficult, didn’t remember where you left off in the series or episode. Thank you for the articles and a place to sound off our opinions.

    • Cam Secore says:

      Like I said, there’s no perfect solution. And a lot of people will find live TV streaming isn’t for them yet.

  • Guy in Palm Springs says:

    Thank you for your excellent detailed reviews of the top cable-replacement services.

    My issue is with ad-skipping. It’s so easy on cable/DVR. Just record the show, watch it, then when an ad appears, just fast forward–watching the show speed along quickly–and press play when the ads are over to re-start the show. And for pausing, just press pause, then either hit pause or play to re-start.

    I use a new Roku TV, have 3.5 Mbps (willing to upgrade to 100) and cannot get YouTube TV in my zip.

    So, Cam, which of the leading streaming services offering a DVR (and on-demand, if able to ad-skip) have “visual FF” so you know when to re-start your stream in order to by pass ads.

    Thank you for your help!

  • Doug says:

    I have a couple of smart TVs for a family of 5. I am tired of the $200 a month Spectrum bill. We have one Roku and two Fire sticks. We are big time college football fans and have parties every Saturday to watch our favorite team. Two of our kids will graduate HS this year and next. Which one will work better for us to watch football but when the kids leave able to take it with them? I know we will have to keep Spectrum internet but that’s maybe $70/month.

  • Jessica Holt says:

    Hi there! I appreciate this review and loads of information. Was wondering if it’s possibly to get NFL Redzone with the YouTube Tv option?

    • Cam Secore says:

      I believe Playstation Vue and DirecTV Now are the only services that offer Redzone.

  • Kurt says:

    Thanks for doing the leg work on this research. We are going to cut the cord and are looking for the best value and service. The question I have is that when I look at YouTubeTv and look up my area code it says that it is not available in my area. Does that mean the service as a whole or just that I can’t get local channels. I know that I can download it onto my game devices but don’t want to waste my time if it isn’t going to work. Thanks!

    • Cam Secore says:

      YouTube TV isn’t available in a few areas, and apparently yours is still one of them. This means you can’t get YouTube TV unless you want to use a VPN, which I don’t suggest. Try Vue instead!

  • Butch Papeljon says:

    Your review on sling is a little off. Just on the sports part. I think this package is very sports friendly. It’s how I’m watching football every weekend.

    • Cam Secore says:

      All these services will have everything you need football wise. Sling has none of the regional sports channels, so if you like a particular baseball, hockey, basketball team, they most likely don’t have it.

  • Erin says:

    this information is so helpful. there are so many choices out there that it is hard to discern what is best. is there a similar platform via Xbox one like PlayStation Vue?

    • Cam Secore says:

      Sling is the most similar and not bad if it has the channels you want, but you might want to consider a Roku Streaming Stick for $40 if your heart’s set on Vue.

  • Michael says:

    This was an excellent comparison, and to boot, you’re a Boston sports fan! So a few things I need answered about YouTube Live TV that I don’t see in your write up.

    First, can I record the Patriots games and if so, can the recording be extended (or does it know to record the entire game and not cut out after the three hour time slot is up)?

    Second, I don’t see HBO listed in the line ups. Is there a way to subscribe to HBO and then watch it through the service? And assuming there is, can I record shows like Real Time and Last Week Tonight?

    Third, you mention no Amazon TV app. So if I want to watch Amazon programs not available elsewhere, does that mean I need to have Amazon TV streaming device plugged in to the TV (or a smart tv with the app built in) in order to watch those shows?

    Finally, based on some good reviews, I was thinking of purchasing the Amazon Cube to control my TV. Is that compatible with the YouTube TV?

    Thanks so much.

    • Cam Secore says:

      1. I’m not sure how YouTube’s doing it, but they record the entire game, no matter how long it goes. I’m guessing they pull the scores in real-time and note when the games done, It’s cool!

      2. It’s better to buy HBO’s standalone product, HBO NOW for $15/month than bundling it with anything.

      3. I said YouTube TV is not compatible with Amazon devices (Fire TV, etc.) because Google and Amazon have beef with each other. You can use the Amazon Video app on any streaming device that has it.

      4. This goes back to the last question: no, it’s not. I suggest you go with an Apple TV, but Roku is an option too:

      5. You’ll get the Boston Fox, CBS, NBC channels.

  • Sharon Gonzales says:

    I am totally “stupid” in all of this. Cut off Dish and not liking the antenna! I do not currently have internet but do have a phone with unlimited everything. Do not know how to use with TV but have smart TV. Can you please suggest what I need to get regular TV and some other channels? ( I do need to figure it out before GAME OF THRONES comes back!!) I have been told Roku is a little better than fire stick but your saying I can use both?? I have 3 TV’s that I’d like to work. Should I get internet and if yes what kind is good for what I want?? Thank you soooo much!

    • Cam Secore says:

      You can stream any of these services from this post with Roku or Fire TV, but I like Roku devices better. Your smart TV probably has Sling and Hulu apps if you don’t want to buy another device. You’re going to need internet that’s at least 20/mbps to get a quality stream. If Game of Thrones is all you care about, just get HBO NOW for $15/month. If you want more than HBO, I recommend YouTube TV with Roku.

  • Bill Allen says:

    Thank you for your research. Last week I bought a LG 4K Smart TV and now exploring streaming as opposed to using my cable provider. You Tube looks the best following your comments. We are especially interested in sports and local TV. However my wife has interests in channels like LIfetime, Hallmark, History, Discovery, Food HGTV. I don’t see them on the You Tube channel guide. How would I get those channels if I cut the cord? Appreciate your comments. Thanks Bill

    • Cam Secore says:

      That’s the thing.. If you require lots of channels or specific ones, sometimes it’s better to stick with cable because there’s no way to buy them individually. But look into one of Playstation Vue’s bigger packages and they should have you covered.

  • Linda says:

    Thank you for all your research on this subject… much appreciated. I am presently going through trial periods on some of these streaming services but would like to know which would be best for someone who definitely does NOT want to watch commercials. Basically we watch the major networks ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and MSNBC… which of these streaming services give you the option to skip commercials and record these shows. I am willing to pay for this option. Thank you for any help you can be with this.

    • Cam Secore says:

      It sounds like you don’t need live TV. I’d look into the regular Hulu With No Commercials for $12/month. You’ll be able to watch all your shows the day after they air, commercial free.

      • Michael Calicchio says:

        Thanks for all your input. It gets confusing. I am looking for myself and also my non tech parents. They want local tv but have an antenna so could stay with that but my Mom wants hallmark and lifetime and my Dad wants ESPN and FS1. I think that would help him get The Packers Badgers and Brewers, they live in Milwaukee. I myself live in Nashville. I need to be able to record local stations and 4 at a time so I may just get a Tivo for that. sling and directv now seem to get ESPN and FS1 .

        • Cam Secore says:

          Yeah, if Hallmark is a requirement for your parents, Sling is probably the best bet. For yourself, you’d be good with any of these services.

  • Terry says:

    Have Hulu live. Works good, but has cut off numerous times while watching live football games. Not doing this on other live channels. Is this just Hulu’s weakness, or is there anything I can do to stop this from happening, eg, a better modum and/or router? I have internet 100Mbps.

    • Cam Secore says:

      It’s definitely Hulu’s weakness. But I’d check your exact internet speed from your streaming device’s location. 100/Mbps is plenty but maybe you’re not getting that in the TVs location and this could be fixed with a mesh router setup.

  • Stacia says:

    This post on No More Cable alternatives was exactly what I needed!! Thank you for doing all the hard work.

  • Rus says:

    with Hulu Live TV, can will I still have access to the streaming Library that I had on Hulu? In other words, can I watch whole “seasons” of TV programs, or it is only Live tv?

    Also, CBS is not available in my area. Anyway I can gain access to it?

    • Cam Secore says:

      The original Hulu comes with the new “Hulu with Live TV,” so you’re set there. For CBS, you might be able to pick it up free via an antenna. That’s probably your best bet if CBS isn’t included in a streaming package that you want.

  • GregC says:

    Must have read nearly 100 articles about streaming and streaming programs comparisons, cord-cutting, etc. from years 2015 to 2018 — but this article is by far the most straight-forward and comprehensive.

    In 2016 – 2017 I tried Sling TV (best value but clunky interface and lacking some content I wanted, also had some buffering and related issues). In 2018 I tried Hulu Live TV. Their upgraded interface was nice (but too many layers, as Cam mentioned in the article) and this service definitely had the content mix I was seeking (local channels, sports, lots of on-demand content of older TV shows) — but the streaming and app is still very subpar. Besides buffering issues, it has glitches such as simply tossing you out of the app at random, not putting a channel (or app, if you prefer…) in the Most Recently Viewed list — even when you had just clicked on and watched that channel!, etc.

    Based on Cam’s insightful review, I will now try either You Tube TV or Vue. Since stability is becoming an issue for me even over content – I may try You Tube first since Cam (and several other sites) consider this service to currently be the most stable of all the services.

  • Scott K. says:

    I live in Wisconsin but would like to be able to get Chicago local stations. Not sure how to mask IP Address or should I subscribe with a Chicagoan friends address. I currently subscribed to YouTube and very satisfied. Great review

    • Cam Secore says:

      My girlfriend’s from Wisconsin! You’ll need a VPN to mask your IP, which will cost more money. Even if you subscribe with a friend’s address if you’re not regularly signing on, every 30 days, from that Chicago location, it won’t work.

      • Scott K says:

        But if they do sign in every 30 days from the Chicago location will it work and will I be able to get chicago sports viewing

  • Dave says:

    I have one firestick (guessing need to get another for 2nd tv) a friend just got Sling (he says.. only for NFL Network) & uses a digital antenna for local stations.. This all sounds good to me as football & local stations are desired as well, but also looking for HBO & Showtime.. & would like to have channels like Bravo, Discovery, History, AxsTV, and others… If you’re me, what all are you buying & setting up ?
    Please advise.
    Much appreciated !!

    • Cam Secore says:

      You’ll need Playstation Vue for cable channels for $45/month. You can buy HBO individually with HBO Now for $15/month and Showtime is around $11/month.

  • D. Coates says:

    Does YouTube TV work as well on Roku? I already own a Roku. Thanks

  • heywally says:

    Thanks Cam. You mention the impeccable stream via (not available to me yet) – do they offer 1080p resolution on the live TV feeds? That is one of the problems I have with all of the streaming services; they still aren’t as good as the cable signal that I get from my local Charter people.

    • Cam Secore says:

      It’s 1080p and crispy.

      • heywally says:

        Thanks, will check. I just “re-upped” with cable TV from Charter (had to file an FCC complaint to get my Tivo/cablecard setup properly “paired”) because of a good deal (in concert with my internet service from them) that wasn’t that more than any of the streaming services I’ve looked into. Plus, the cable here and Tivo DVR beat out any streaming service I could find. But as I mentioned, youtube not available here. Look forward to dumping Charter, both cable and internet, eventually.

  • Deedge says:

    We’ve been streaming by Roku for over a year now. Have a vacation home in another state so we’ve kept cable at our permanent home & use that account with the Roku at the vacation home.GOAL: we will drop Spectrum cable at home and stream with Roku both places & use a streaming service.
    1. What streaming service is best for travel between two homes?
    2. What streaming service would (best) carry NASCAR & Indy Car? We would have to get both the Fox Sports Network and NBCSN.

    Thank you!

    • Cam Secore says:

      I’d go with YouTube TV in your case! It has Fox Sports Network and NBCSN and is travel friendly.

  • Ness express says:

    Not a big tech guy here and we just moved into my new home and am dropping my dish network, tired of paying a lot for channels we don’t watch.

    – We watch local news, local Chicago sports teams during the year, ESPN, history, food network etc. don’t need HBO or special programming.
    – We are also Netflix and our amazon prime members.

    We are trying to decide if Hulu, Sling or You tube live is the way to go.

    • Cam Secore says:

      It looks like Hulu is your best bet. If you don’t need the History Channel, I’d go with PlayStation Vue.

  • Jeff P says:

    One minor update to the Hulu evaluation above, as they now include a live guide (have since earlier this summer), at least in my market. You can “record” shows directly from the guide which was a significant improvement in trying to navigate around their interface. Streaming quality continues to be spotty, though.

  • Victor Smith says:

    I have used Directv Now, Sling tv, Youtube Tv & Hulu live tv. I left directv now, because it would drop the stream quite a bit, the same with Sling. I left YouTube TV because I have Hulu at the $8 plan and added the live option. Hulu however, still has a bad habit of dropping the stream or the video gets ahead of the sound, forcing me to exit and come back. Thinking about going back to YouTube TV, even if I loose Hgtv,History and any other Scripps owed channels.

  • Deborah says:

    Moving soon leaving dishnet behind. Trying to figure out best setup for me. I have a roku. Want to be able to watch tv channels but especially want pac12 network, local stations, ESPN and best way to watch starz
    (Trying to figure out best internet also)

    • Cam Secore says:

      You’re probably better off sticking to traditional cable/dish. Streaming isn’t for everyone. BUT if you want to go this route and think Pac-12 Network is a necessity, Sling is your only option.

  • Robert Arutunian says:

    YouTube TV seems decent but understand dvr recordings convert to on demand that will not allow fast forwarding commercials. Since I watch much dvr content considering PlayStation Vue. Better option for me?

    • Cam Secore says:

      Unfortunately, most of these services tend to do that if you don’t watch the shows right away. YouTube TV’s a little worse, but if DVR is important, traditional cable may be your best bet.

  • Micki says:

    When you say that Vue can’t be viewed outside your home, what does that mean exactly? I live in a large city. If I’m on the train, I can’t use the app on my phone? If I go to my parents’ in the burbs, I can’t watch on my app? That seems really dumb. But, maybe I just don’t understand.

    • Cam Secore says:

      Short: You’ll be fine at your parents’ house or the train.

      Long: You need to be within reasonable distance of your town/city. I don’t know the specific rules. My guess is that you have to be in the same area of the major city that you’re closest to. For example, I live in New Hampshire, and Vue would probably work if I went to Boston because I get the Boston area channels currently in NH.

  • Joan Garcia says:

    Cam, Thanks for this article. Like others, I cut the cord and was fed up with rising cable costs for channels I never watch. I’ve tried YouTube TV, Sling, DirecTV Now & PlayStation Vue trials. I’ using YouTube TV for 17 months. It’s the best, easy to use and the DVR is great! However, they won’t carry my favorites (History, Food, BET, OWN, etc.). I’ve contacted YouTube TV asking them to include those channels, but they won’t. So I had to add Philo to get my favorite channels!

  • Bob says:

    Great article. One question: Do any of the services allow for rewinding live TV? I often like to rewind something if I don’t hear it correctly or want to to see/hear it again.
    Thanks a lot.

  • Dale says:

    GREAT GREAT REVIEW. I have Hulu but am so frustrated with them. Gave them 6 months and ready to bail. no message boards to seek help, poor streaming a lot of the time w/500mps dl speed. sometimes just says “no content available now. try again later.” My neighbors all want me to evaluate and I honestly couldn’t recommend it. None are younger than 50 and wouldn’t have the patience I’ve had. I’m trying Youtubetv.

    • Cam Secore says:

      Good luck, Dale!

    • Dale says:

      First: what is with commercials and streaming TV? Can’t ff? Ridiculous. However, HULU skips ads with on-demand shows (extra $4/mo) but YouTubeTV doesn’t. YT lets u FF recorded content before the on-demand version is released 1 day later, HULU does not. So for live tv I’ve switched to YT but keeping HULU for on-demand ($8/mo). HULU also has more on-demand episodes where it seems YT has limited of the same program, i.e. The Last Ship: HULU has ALL episodes, YT starts 1/2 way through season 4.

  • Chris Fox says:

    Love your unbiased approach. I read everything and tried to make the best decision for my family and went with YoutubeTV. I’m 48 years old, and have recorded shows on VCRs since college, then on DVRs (currently running TiVo) for the past 12 or so years. In other words, I haven’t watched a commercial or ad in over 20 years. I just skip past them. Last night I was trying to watch some episodes of Late Night with Stephen Colbert and despite paying $40 for the youtubeTV service, was unable to skip!?

    • Cam Secore says:

      Yeah, this was covered fully in the post. When recording on those local channels, you need to watch before the on demand version is published.

      • Chris Fox says:

        Yup see that now. So looking at this strictly from the lens of commercial skipping capability which service you think would offer the best experience? Hulu Limited Commercials?

  • Paul says:

    I’m considering Vue and its 3 to 5 simultaneous streaming ability, but if you read the small print in the support area of the site, “You can only stream Vue on one TV-connected device (set-top box or stick) at a time while outside your home area. Meaning you cannot stream Vue from inside and outside your home area at the same time.” So I couldn’t share with my family member who is 10 miles away? Or is home area defined as broader than the four walls of your home? What do you think Cam?

    • Cam Secore says:

      You should test it with their free trial. These services aren’t meant to be shared and shouldn’t be, but I’m guessing it’d work in your situation.

      • Paul says:

        Thanks Cam. We’ll test it. What I think is that when you first subscribe, you have up to 3 simultaneous streams that can be in home or outside of home. IF you set a device as your home device, you get 2 more simultaneous streams, so 5, but all must be in home (or home area). That seems to be what I read in various places on the PS site, so seems legit. But I’ll let you and the community know what happens! Thanks for the quick response. Love the site.

        • Cam Secore says:

          Thanks, Paul!

        • Paul says:

          I have an update. We tested the Playstation Vue accessibility just after signing up and you cannot share an account outside of your home location whether you set your home device or not. We have chosen not to set our home device since we don’t need more than 3 devices going in the house at the same time, but the time may come. We are highly satisfied with Playstation Vue for the number of good channels including sports, home, local (we get CBS which we can’t find anywhere else, and Fox local)

  • Darby says:

    I want to cut the cord. Using Spectrum for cable. My question is about using my Tivo Roamio (not the Bolt) a great DVR, and an Apple Airport Extreme, (discontinued, butOK) as my router. Just bought an antenna for the local channels.Only watch 18 channels,HBO,SHO,AMZN, NFLX,no sports. I record many shows and movies for later viewing. Tivo is great for that. It even has an ad skip feature. However, do I need to replace it or will it stream just fine? Seems like most folks are using Roku.

  • Darby says:

    One more question: I’d like to take your advice and sign up for PlayStationVue.
    Tivo is not listed on their website as a supported device. Is that really true?

    Your site is such a great resource for those of us who are not tech savie. Thank you!!

  • Ace says:

    I’m not sure how you give Sling an F for channels, but YouTube an A, when Sling is only missing 24 mostly minor channels on the entire list compared to YouTube missing 41 most hugely popular channels. It seems like your channel grading is geared more towards Sports and local channels, so those who care about neither are left not getting the whole picture. Can you explain more on why you graded Sling channels the way you did. I’d love to understand.

    • Cam Secore says:

      Most people that I know want a live service for sports. If you don’t need sports, a combination of Hulu and Netflix for $8 each would make more sense. I’m sorry that my free content and research isn’t up to your standards.

      • Scott says:

        You shouldn’t take comments so personal. Nothing about what Ace asked warranted a snarky response like that. There are other comments where you seem to get defensive where there’s no need.

        • Cam Secore says:

          Thanks for stopping by, Scott.

        • Debbie says:

          Geez, I think Cam is crazy patient with all the repetitive questions asked in different formats. All of us are interested in an individualized answer to our special needs. I’ve read through all posts above and think “man is this guy generous with his time!” He clearly stated that he has a sports bias, so why bust him for favoring platforms which are more sports friendly?

          Thanks, Cam!!!!

  • Joe M says:


    I currently have Dish, however I am looking at these streaming options. Red Sox fan for many years, however I live in Florida. I can get the MLB package on Dish. Is there anything like this on any of these other services? My wife is good with most of the live tv packages on Vue or YouTube.

    • Cam Secore says:

      You won’t be able to get the Sox from Florida with any of these live services, but MLB.TV is your answer. It’s around $100/year and will work with most streaming devices.

  • Nova says:

    Trying to understand the difference between what each company needs for the internet connection to get locals. Who absolutely needs/requires a static IP address vs a dynamic IP address? Thanks for your guidance through the technical lingo!

    • Cam Secore says:

      Your IP address shouldn’t matter with any of these services. As long as the IP is coming from your area.

  • GFGirl says:

    Hi Cam, We would like to cut the cord and try Hulu live and Philo to watch regular tv, Mtv and Bravo. Would those work together? Also any chance you have a suggestion on a tv for Hulu live? We went to Best Buy and the TV they suggested for us wasn’t actually compatible with Hulu live. I mssgd Samsung directly and they corrected him.

  • GrammaJune says:

    You have an amazing amount of information on your sites but I’m still very confused about a lot of things. For instance – to need or not need an antenna. On one of your posts the question was asked – do I need 4 sticks and 4 antennas for 4 TVs. Your answer was yes. Most reviews don’t even mention the need of an antenna and reviews of specific services, including yours, say you can stream on several devices at once. My son-in- law doesn’t need a stick on his second TV – which is Smart.

    • Cam Secore says:

      You don’t need an antenna to use a streaming device.

      You don’t need an antenna to use one of these live TV streaming services.

      You don’t need a streaming device if you have a smart TV (although I still recommend it in lots of cases).

      Let me know what you’re trying to accomplish, and I’ll point you in the right direction.

      • GrammaJune says:

        Thanks for your quick answer. I have a smart TV – Viseo. For the most part I don’t need to stream from more than one device at a time, since I live alone, but was curious about it. But my daughter visits periodically and has a Mac laptop. Would she be able to stream something on her laptop while I watch something else on TV? I’m considering the PlayStation Vue plan. I think I would need the Roku stick for that.

        • Cam Secore says:

          Roku would be great. And yes, your daughter would be able to stream from her laptop at the same time if you give her access to your PlayStation Vue account information.

  • Philip Forgione says:

    Well done … by far the best site I’ve found that really breaks down the various options including their pros and cons. I will say though that you still need to check what options and channels you’ll actually get in your zip code because they vary. For example, here in San Diego there is no offering of youtube tv yet.

  • Felix says:

    I trust your judgement. Situation.. alone, going to buy a new 43” tv. I want to buy the right one that supports either Hulu or YouTube plug ins. I have a strong woman ip (AT&T). What TV do you advise me to purchase?

    • Cam Secore says:

      TCL is making killer smart TVs with Roku built in ( They’re a great option!

      But if you’re not going that way, I’d get a non-smart TV, then buy a Roku Stick to go with it.

  • Michael says:

    Let’s say the game I want to watch is broadcast from 7 to 10 pm. I want to watch it from the beginning starting at 9 pm. I want to fast forward between plays and during commercials.

    I have an Amazon Fire Stick, but I’d be willing to buy something else. I want to watch on a TV, as well as on a Windows laptop.

    It sounds like none of the services provide that, right?

  • Paul says:

    Cam, I’m back and I just wanted to say ‘thanks’ for your reviews and recommendations. We went from Sling, Netflix, and Hulu (with a Roku) to Playstation Vue and Hulu (with a Roku) – still trying to convince my wife to drop that too since PSV comes with most Hulu stuff we watch. It’s the closest thing to the cable experience which you said and we agree and like. The menus are simple, unlimited DVR great, and the channels are great. Missing A&E but that’s the only downside for us. Thanks!

    • Paul says:

      Oh – and I shared your site with the community board we’re a member of, so over 17k more possible users coming your way 🙂 Thanks again.

      • Cam Secore says:

        I think you’re the first person to come back and actually share their experience after commenting. You’re the man! Thank you!

  • Jessica Lynn Murray says:

    Hi there! We’re looking to get rid of our cable and we’re looking at streaming options. My husband is a die hard San Jose Sharks fan and his only request is that we have the NHL network. Is Sling the only option with this channel?

  • GrammaJune says:

    I’m back with more questions. Thanks for your previous help. I don’t have a 4K TV but read one review which actually is a year old (Nov. 2017) which says…..
    “While the Streaming Stick only has internal Wi-Fi, the Stick+ has an external wireless antenna embedded in the microUSB cable. Roku says this should provide up to four times the range of the 2016 Streaming Stick.”
    True? I’m willing to pay extra if it will give me better connection. Not sure what the microUSB cable is.

    • Cam Secore says:

      The WiFi antenna for Roku Stick+ is located on the cord, rather than the base of the stick. It definitely can be an advantage in unique circumstances, but it’s mostly marketing speak. If your WiFi gets good reception by the TV, you’re fine and don’t need Stick+.

  • Janet says:

    I just bought the TCL with built in ROKU that you mentioned above. Currently connected with an ethernet cord to my Comcast internet. I’m hoping to get rid of Comcast TV & phone, but keep internet, altho some say it will skyrocket when I try to cut it. I want to get live news, Chicago Cubs, network programs, ideally HGTV. I’m in NW Indiana, 100 m. from Chicago. Do I need an antenna? TV has Hulu, Sling, CBS All News ready to activate. Have only tried a bit of them and all had some droppage.

    • Cam Secore says:

      An antenna will get you local channels, but it won’t get you cable channels. You’ll need one of these service in this post for $40/month to get the channels you listed and they’re all compatible with your Roku TV.

  • Janet says:

    Another question. A few posts back you said a streaming device isn’t needed if you have a smart tv, although you still recommend. Can you spell that out a little more? Thanks for all the research and info. So helpful.

    • Cam Secore says:

      There are thousands of smart TVs, I can’t vouch for or try all of them. Most I’ve tried are terrible. The only one that I trust and have tested are Roku TVs by TCL. Bottom line: don’t pay extra just because it’s a “smart” TV. Get the best deal on the best TV you can find, even if it’s not smart.

  • Hemanshu says:

    I have dish network and going to drop them with mothly >$100. I have one challenge, I need to sream international channels and I see that only Sling has that. I like YouTube but I don’t believe they offer that. So I may need to have Chromecast and have the sling app for streaming international channels. Your thoughts?

  • Mohammed says:

    Thanks for the great review Cam.
    I am mainly concerned about watching English Premier League (NBCSN and NBC) and champions league (TNT), which i guess are offered on YouTube TV. However i have 2 questions
    1. What internet speed do you recommend? And do i need unlimited date? Assuming that i watch roughly about 10 hrs a week.
    2. Do i need anything besides Chromecast and the youtube TV app on my google phone?
    Thank you so much

    • Cam Secore says:

      1. YouTube TV recommends 7/mbps, but I’d shoot for at least 20/mbps in your house, that way you can have other people using the internet at the same time and it leaves room for other variances.

      2. All you need: Chromecast, TV, internet, phone with YouTUbe TV app.

  • Bruce says:

    Thought I would give you tube tv a try and its great EXCEPT, during a live broadcast of a football game on espn It will pause for a commercial break regardless of where they are in the game. It might be 2nd down and 3 then guess what, Its time for a commercial break. and depending on the length of the break you miss out on what happened during THEIR break. For this reason and this reason only, I have discontinued you tube tv. If you don’t mind missing out on a few plays, enjoy. Its great.

    • Cam Secore says:

      If you missed a play, which can happen here and there, that’s on the network (ESPN, CBS, NBC, FOX), not the provider. This will and does happen with any TV service, cable included.

  • Kirsten says:

    Hi Cam,

    We have Hulu live now and really enjoy it but my when we watch live our Roku restarts on its own, especially during sports, very frustrating. Any idea if PlayStation Vue would do that also? Is that a Roku problem or Hulu? Thanks for any help and advice you can give!

  • GrammaJune says:

    I just bought a Roku Stick and am reading Roku’s support page, before I install it, that has almost everything you’d want to know about Roku but I still have some questions. I don’t understand about the Roku Channel Store. If, say I want to get Hulu or Playstation Vue do I have to “buy” it from the Store? In other words, how do I add free channels or get subscriptions to streaming services?

    • Cam Secore says:

      You can download any app from their app store for free. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you sign in with your credentials.

  • Bruce says:

    You Tube TV is a great solution, but if you don’t have a compatible device then I don’t see any options to cast from Samsung device (phone or tablet) to the TV. Does anyone have any help besides buying a roku?

  • Bruce says:

    Agreed, I bought Roku Premium and I’m surprisingly impressed. I appreciate the great work you are doing here. Happy New Year!

  • Jessa B. says:

    I purchased 2 Amazon Fire Sticks after family suggested they are just as good as Roku and were on sale for Christmas. I am now realizing that youtube TV would be better for our needs; my husband’s only request for TV is the ability to watch local basketball and baseball games in Northern California. Go KINGS! 😀

    Is any way for me to stream youtube TV to my Android and then use Android TV to speak to my Fire Stick??? Am I completely misunderstanding how these all speak to one another?

    • Cam Secore says:

      There’s no way to natively cast from your phone to Fire TV that I know of. You could potentially use Firefox on Fire TV to stream YouTube TV, but that’s going to be a mess.

      Your best bet is to buy Roku Stick or PlayStation Vue.

      • Jessa B. says:

        Thank you for your reply! We have an Xbox One, but I went with Hulu TV as I already have the $8 account, and we can get our regional sports games through it. Yay! Seriously, thank you for doing all of the leg work for all of us and getting this info to us…I really appreciate it! Happy New Year!

  • Jessa B. says:

    Also, thank you for this comparison and all of the work you did to bring this information to all of us!

  • Ed H says:

    Thanks for all the very helpful info. Would appreciate it if future reviews could include comparison of cable channels. YouTube doesn’t have things like Discovery, History, Science, and Hallmark (though it does have Smithsonian) and charges extra for AMC. Oth animals are less of a concern for me is I have good digital TV reception where I am. For a guy like me who wants more of the traditional cable channels like these I’m thinking sling is the best deal for the money. Your thoughts? I do like

  • Linda says:

    Hey Cam,I have satellite,and thinking of getting rid of it. I have a inside antenna,and a roku premiere.What streaming service would you recommend that I get so I can get channels bravo,tvld,hgtv,tlc and ifc.Also,one that has a dvr. I live in Asheboro,NC Thanks

  • Jenn says:

    Hi Cam, we are thinking about getting rid of cable but my biggest reason not to is the DVR part of cable. We usually only watch local channels and is usually always on DVR
    . I was debating between the FireTV Recast and the Tablo 4 tuner DVR with wifi. But as was reading your info I came across the YouTube TV which has the DVR included. Do you have a recommendation on which way we should go? Thanks!!

    • Cam Secore says:

      YouTube TV is my recommendation for everyone, unless you provide me with different circumstances for your situation.

      • Jenn says:

        Thank you!

        • Debbie says:

          Cam, can I hire you for all my tech needs??
          Read thru all your posts and b/c I am 3258026 years old, my head is swimming! I have an Amazon Prime account that doesn’t work on my 6 year old TV w/o a streaming device. I pay for Netflex. The only stations I care about are MSNBC, Create (PBS) and fball on holidays so the kids will still come for dinner. I love to binge watch TV series. I don’t mind commercials on MSNBC but couldn’t tolerate them on series. Which combo? In Bay Area CA

        • Cam Secore says:

          I appreciate your kind words! Your best bet is probably PlayStation Vue, but keep in mind PBS isn’t on any of these streaming services. You’ll have to pick up with an antenna.

  • Lulu says:

    Excellent review! We cut the cord a few months ago and saving close to $100 a month. Not a lot you can get in West Texas. We do sling($25) and Hulu ($6). I would like to move to either one but can’t get what I like (mytv or gsn) even on the Hulu $40.

  • Debbie says:

    Hi Cam, Making a decision today. Any last minute help? Thanks so much for your expertise! Overwhelming!

  • Merlene says:

    This site is amazing. So informative. I’m ready to cut the cord. I have a Sony TV. I bought a good antenna. I already have Chromecast and a Free trial of Sling- may switch to YouTube.
    My question: Is there anything that will enable me to use ONLY my TV’s remote for Sling or YouTube, etc? ( like I can for Netflix and Amazon Prime)? Using my phone as a remote is not going to work for me.

  • Redheadedstranger says:

    On your recommendation I signed up for YouTube TV. Apparently my Samsung TV is too old and cannot get an app for it. The only app I have available is Hulu. Is Hulu different from Hulu Live? Do you have any suggestions for how I deal with this? I do not want to buy a new TV.

  • Roman says:

    I got question on pekan Tv
    Do you know anything about that?

    • Cam Secore says:

      Most of those IPTV services are illegal and not available on streaming devices. Give it a try if you don’t care.

  • Joe says:

    Great reviews, Cam!

    It sounds like YT TV is my best bet, but I want to confirm..
    I’m away from home > 9 nts/mon. I NEED to be able to watch live/recorded sports (mostly soccer, golf, football). I will sign in from home > 1x/mon..

    Can I then watch live/recorded TV on my iPad while out of town? Country?
    Can I sign into apps (NBCsports, WatchESPN, etc) with the YT credentials and have direct access to their content?


  • Tommy says:

    Good article. We are a little too far out from DC & Baltimore to get good antenna reception. Tried Directv Now , but way too much buffering and could not get NBC Sports Washington in $40 package. Sampled Youtube tv and liked it very much except could not see program descriptions in the grid (maybe we needed to adjust a setting). Some lifestyle networks (HGTV, Food) missing. No buffering with Youtube. Sampling Hulu with live tv now. A little buffering. Can’t access via our tv; must use Roku.

  • Macin1jd says:

    Hello Cam,
    You have my attention! However, I have a q. I am considering the YouTube option you mentioned, however, I have a daughter in College that resides here in the Detroit area but is off to College during fall to spring. Would this work if sh was on my account? It’s the once a month from the registered zip code that bothers me. She leaves the last weekend of August and returns start of December, then back in January until end of May. What do you think? How can I get her service?

    • Cam Secore says:

      She will be fine. The 30 day rule is to retain local channels (CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC) from your city. I don’t know how far you are from Detroit, but she can use your account that would presumably be used by you in your zip code? Don’t over complicate things.

  • Bruce says:

    First Cam, thanks for the excellent and unbiased review . If you pause a live show, how long can you pause it for and can you then fast forward through the commercials?

    • Cam Secore says:

      It varies with each service. On YouTube TV, you’ve got an unlimited amount of time.

  • Ra says:

    Great reviews Cam

    I have Sling on Ruku and I do get a grid… and have had one for quite some time…. you might want to update that on the review.

    • Michael says:

      Hey Ra. I am looking to get some sort of streaming setup. How do you like Sling. My parents have never even had cable and was thinking about sling on Roku for them. not tech savy. I myself watch a lot of local recorded shows so I may have to add a Tivo also to record 4 shows at a time. then maybe add sling or youtube or something to get more sports. any advice would be great

  • John M. says:

    Great work Cam,

    I haven’t seen this discussed yet. If you cut out cable, how do you replace the On-Demand movies that cable provides. I mean the very recent ones that are right out of the theatre. Streaming systems like Netflix, HBO offer somewhat older movies.

    • Cam Secore says:

      On demand shows and movies are available on all these services. I don’t think you’d find the content any different. Unless you’re talking about on demand PPV movies.

      • John M. says:

        Yes I should have said, I am talking about the PPV movies. A $7 movie at home (fresh out of the theatre) is a better deal than a $50 trip to the movies.

  • Michael says:

    Ok the more I read the more confused I get. LOL. First I will probably get a TiVo OTA for ease of recording and fast forwarding local stations. Then I will maybe add on. looking to watch Wisconsin teams I am in TN Tivo intergrates several apps. will I still need a roku or firestick even on a smart tv. Looking for my parents also. They want local TV have antenna now. Mom- Hallmark and lifetime Dad local sports ESPN BTN FS1FS2 mostly to get packers brewers bucks badgers when its not on local.

  • JC says:

    Cam – This is a terrific comparison site. The best out there. I’d like to encourage you to try Directv NOW again. It’s not perfect, and its DVR is still bad, but it is much better than when launched. It’s channel selection is by far the best – your selection, YouTube, doesn’t have HGTV which is a must for me. Also, bundling HBO is $5, far superior to the $15 standalone you recommend.

    • Cam Secore says:

      People get confused enough with four options (there are over 200 comment questions), I can’t add a fifth. Which do I delete?

      • JC says:

        I am suggesting you try it again. You might revise your comment about why you eliminated it and determine that it is better than one of the other services, especially for someone who likes a good channel selection and doesn’t mostly care about local sports.

  • Don says:

    Hi, thanks for all the good research! I am looking to cut the Spectrum cable and currently have Netflix. What is your opinion for a combination of Hulu, Amazon Fire, and Netflix to get a “close to cable” experience for viewing sports and movies?

    • Cam Secore says:

      It wouldn’t resemble anything close to cable. You’d have no sports at all and not be able to watch anything live.

  • Don says:

    Great! Thank you.

  • Phil says:

    Nice job Cam! Hey can I get the golf channel on the playstaion vue or do I have to pay extra?

    • Cam Secore says:

      The Golf Channel is free with Hulu and YouTube TV. You’ll need the Core package for $50/month with Vue to get it.

  • Gerry says:

    Hi Cam, Thanks for your reviews. I purchased Spectrum tv app. It pixelates and then rebuffers especially for live tv. Should I try Youtube TV? WIll it be compatible with my 2015 smart Samsung? Or Should I buy ROKU ? Will that improve getting the Spectrum app. ? It is a bit cheaper than Youtube. Thanks for your advice. Gerry

  • Marty says:

    YouTube TV is missing so many important channels: HGTV, Animal Planet, Comedy Central, Discovery, A&E, Food Network, TLC, the list goes on and on.

    But here’s the thing — Philo has every one of the channels that YouTube TV is missing, for only $16/mo! And YouTube TV + Philo is still only $56/mo. combined, which is still less than I’d end up paying with other services, once I’d paid extra for features.

    Might be worth including. I almost picked DirecTV or Fubo Now before I figured that out.

  • shiz says:

    Hi Cam,

    One question about your comment (under bonus section for Youtube TV): “You can log on from a different location without issue, as long as you log on from your home zip code once a month.” I live in NY.

    My parents and sister live in Boston. I grew up there and would prefer to have NESN and local sports for major networks (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC). Since I live in NY, i get local NY sports and YES network.

    continued below… (ran out of space)

    • shiz says:

      …. (continued from above)

      Would I be able to have my parents or sister log into my account from Boston once a month in order to keep watching the local Boston sports teams or will that not work? If it won’t work, why?

  • Mark says:

    Best site for info on cord cutting. My questin (s) I currently have dtv,, and don’t want to cancel until I try a few streaming services to see which works best for me, will use free trial period. My question ,I have fairly new tv with multiple hdmi ports, when I plug RUKO in, which port would I use? When I do turn on tv now with direct tv, I do see “hdmi 1” on screen for a second. Also, do I need to use tv remote to switch input for hdmi when I want to use ruko and then back to dtv input ?

    • Cam Secore says:

      You can use any unused HDMI port for your Roku. You can turn on your TV with the Roku remote and it’ll put the tv on the proper input.

  • Tom says:

    What are your thoughts on Engarde TV?

  • Tom says:

    I live in Arizona, but I’m from Minnesota. How can I get both local channels? Phoenix and Minneapolis.

    • Cam Secore says:

      You can’t. You’ll only be able to get Arizona local channels. Unless you want to pay for a VPN and two streaming services.

  • Janice says:

    Hi Cam. Glad I found your web site, as I have learned a lot. I live in the Boston viewing area and am cutting the cord on Comcast/Xfinity, but unfortunately I still have to pay those creeps for my wireless connection. My question is, are there any other good wireless services I can use so I can get rid of Comcast altogether? Thanks, Janice

    • Cam Secore says:

      I’m sure you have other internet options in your area, you’d have to look that up because I don’t know your zip code, but they’ll all suck. Welcome the world of fun oligopolies!

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