Hulu Live vs. Sling TV vs. YouTube TV and More: Top Channels Compared – CNET

Tech News

Products You May Like

Live TV streaming services may prove to be a more economical option when compared to monthly cable bills, despite the close competition between the two. These streaming apps not only offer a larger variety of channels than antennas but also the convenience of streaming on mobile phones and computers.

There are six primary services available currently: YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TVSling TVDirecTV StreamFubo and Philo. Our comprehensive live-TV streaming guide provides details about prices and features, but the channels they offer is what it’s all about. That’s why we’ve sifted through these services to compile a list of which ones offer the top lineups.

Read more: Best Sports Streaming Service for 2023

The Big Chart: Top 100 channels compared, updated May 2023

The main difference between the services is their channel selection. All of them offer different lineups of channels for various prices. 

Below you’ll find a chart that shows the top 100 channels across all six services, but note that not each service has a worthy 100. There are actually seven listed because Sling TV has two different “base” tiers, Orange and Blue. And if you’re wondering, I chose which “top” channels made the cut. Sorry, AXS TV, Discovery Life, GSN and Universal HD. 

Plenty of live TV streaming choices are available to anyone who wants to cut the cable cord. Sling TV’s basic packages are $40 in most citiesDirecTV Stream expanded its PBS channel availability, and YouTube TV and Hulu added the Hallmark network. But costs have increased everywhere. YouTube TV is now $73 per month. Hulu Plus Live TV offers three price plans for its service: $70 per month with ads, $83 without ads and $69 a month for live TV only (no on-demand videos). Fubo upped the price of its base bundle to $75, and DirecTV Stream increased its plan subscriptions as well. Those changes are reflected in the chart below where applicable.

Some more stuff to know about the chart: 

  • Yes = The channel is available on the cheapest pricing tier. That price is listed next to the service’s name.
  • No = The channel isn’t available at all on that service. 
  • $ = The channel is available for an extra fee, either a la carte or as part of a more expensive package or add-on.
  • Regional sports networks — local channels devoted to showing regular-season games of particular pro baseball, basketball and hockey teams — are not listed. DirecTV Stream’s $100 tier has the most RSNs by far, but a few are available on other services. See our NBA and NHL streaming guides for details.
  • Local ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, MyNetworkTV and The CW networks are not available in every city. Since availability of these channels varies, you’ll want to check the service’s website to make sure it carries your local network.
  • Local PBS stations are only currently available on YouTube TV and DirecTV Stream. Again you’ll want to check local availability.
  • Sling Blue subscribers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and San Francisco must now pay $45 per month, but have access to local ABC, Fox and NBC channels. Customers in Fresno, Houston and Raleigh now have both ABC and Fox on their Blue or Orange-and-Blue subscriptions at no extra charge. This is not reflected in the chart.
  • Fubo subscribers may find that the ACC Network and SEC Network are included with their package at no extra cost. Check availability for your state.
  • The chart columns are arranged in order of price, so if you can’t see everything you want, try scrolling right.
  • Overwhelmed? An easier-to-understand Google Spreadsheet is here.

Philo vs. Sling TV vs. Fubo vs. Hulu vs. YouTube TV vs. DirecTV Stream: Top 100 channels compared

Channel Philo ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($70) YouTube TV ($73) Fubo ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75)
Total channels: 42 24 35 73 77 56 62
ABC No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
CBS No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
NBC No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
PBS No No No No Yes No Yes
CW No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
MyNetworkTV No No No Yes Yes No Yes
Channel Philo ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($70) YouTube TV ($73) Fubo ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75)
A&E Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
ACC Network No $ No Yes Yes Yes $
Accuweather Yes No No No No Yes Yes
AMC Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
Animal Planet Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
BBC America Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
BBC World News Yes $ $ No Yes No $
BET Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Big Ten Network No No $ Yes Yes Yes $
Bloomberg TV No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Boomerang No $ $ Yes No No Yes
Bravo No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Channel Philo ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($70) YouTube TV ($73) Fubo ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75)
Cartoon Network No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
CBS Sports Network No No No Yes Yes Yes $
Cheddar Yes No No Yes Yes Yes $
Cinemax No No No $ $ No $
CMT Yes $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
CNBC No No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
CNN No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Comedy Central Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cooking Channel Yes $ $ $ No $ $
Destination America Yes $ $ $ No $ $
Discovery Channel Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Disney Channel No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Disney Junior No $ No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Disney XD No $ No Yes Yes Yes Yes
E! No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ESPN No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
ESPN 2 No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
ESPNEWS No $ No Yes Yes $ $
ESPNU No $ No Yes Yes $ $
Channel Philo ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($70) YouTube TV ($73) Fubo ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75)
Food Network Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox Business No No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox News No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
FS1 No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
FS2 No No $ Yes Yes Yes $
Freeform No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
FX No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
FX Movies No No $ Yes Yes $ $
FXX No No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
FYI Yes $ $ Yes No No $
Golf Channel No No $ Yes Yes Yes $
Hallmark Yes $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
HBO/HBO Max No No No $ $ No $
HGTV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
History Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
HLN No $ Yes Yes Yes No Yes
IFC Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
Investigation Discovery Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lifetime Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
Lifetime Movie Network Yes $ $ Yes No No $
Channel Philo ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($70) YouTube TV ($73) Fubo ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75)
Magnolia Network Yes $ $ $ No Yes $
MGM+ (formerly EPIX) $ $ $ No $ No $
MLB Network No $ $ No No $ $
Motor Trend Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
MSNBC No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
MTV Yes $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
MTV2 Yes $ $ $ Yes $ Yes
National Geographic No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nat Geo Wild No No $ Yes Yes $ $
NBA TV No $ $ No Yes $ $
NFL Network No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
NFL Red Zone No No $ $ $ $ No
NHL Network No $ $ No No $ $
Nickelodeon Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nick Jr. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $
Nicktoons Yes $ $ $ Yes $ $
OWN Yes No No Yes Yes Yes $
Oxygen No No $ Yes Yes Yes $
Paramount Network Yes $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
Science Yes $ $ $ No $ $
Channel Philo ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($70) YouTube TV ($73) Fubo ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75)
SEC Network No $ No Yes Yes $ $
Showtime No $ $ $ $ $ $
Smithsonian Yes No No Yes Yes Yes $
Starz $ $ $ $ $ $ $
Sundance TV Yes $ $ No Yes No Yes
Syfy No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tastemade Yes $ $ No Yes Yes $
TBS No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
TCM No $ $ Yes Yes No Yes
TeenNick Yes $ $ $ Yes $ Yes
Telemundo No No No Yes Yes Yes $
Tennis Channel No $ $ No No $ $
TLC Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
TNT No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Travel Channel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $
TruTV No $ Yes Yes Yes No Yes
TV Land Yes $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
USA Network No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
VH1 Yes $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
Vice Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
WE tv Yes $ $ No Yes No Yes
Channel Philo ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($70) YouTube TV ($73) Fubo ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75)

Hulu movies and TV shows

James Martin/CNET

series of price hikes has brought a number of additional channels to Hulu, including PBS and access to Disney Plus and ESPN Plus, at a $70 price tag. Its channel selection isn’t as robust as YouTube TV and Fubo, yet it’s Hulu’s significant catalog of on-demand content which sets it apart. Exclusive titles such as The Handmaid’s Tale, The Orville and Only Murders in the Building give it a content advantage no other service can match. 

Live TV subscribers also receive unlimited DVR that includes fast-forwarding and on-demand playback — at no additional cost. It’s a move that has aligned Hulu with its competitors in terms of features, but the channel lineup may still be a deciding factor. For example, the platform recently lost Sinclair-owned ABC affiliate channels. But, Hulu Live TV is a better value as it’s $3 less than YouTube TV and is our top choice for live TV streaming. Read our Hulu Plus Live TV review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

With an excellent channel selection, easy-to-use interface and best-in-class cloud DVR, the $73 per month YouTube TV is one of the best cable TV replacements. It offers a $20 4K upgrade, but the downside is there isn’t much to watch at present unless you watch select channels. If you don’t mind paying a bit more than the Sling TVs of the world, or want to watch live NBA games, YouTube TV offers a high standard of live TV streaming. Read our YouTube TV review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you want to save a little money, and don’t mind missing out on local channels, Sling TV is the best of the budget services. Its Orange and Blue packages go for $40 per month, and you can combine them for a monthly rate of $55. The Orange option nets you one stream, while Blue gives you three. Rather than run a free trial, Sling offers a 50% discount for your first month. It’s not as comprehensive or as easy to navigate as YouTube but with a bit of work, including adding an antenna or an AirTV 2 DVR, it’s an unbeatable value. Read our Sling TV review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

DirecTV Stream is tied for the most expensive at $75, beating Hulu Plus Live TV and YouTube TV. The service does have its pluses, though — for example, it includes the flipper-friendly ability to swipe left and right to change channels. Additionally, it includes some channels the other services can’t, including nearly 250 PBS stations nationwide. The $75 Entertainment package may suit your needs with its 75-plus channels. But for cord-cutters who want to follow their local NBA or MLB team, DirecTV Stream’s $100 Choice package is our live TV streaming pick because it has access to more regional sports networks than the competition. Nonetheless, you’ll want to make sure your channel is included here, and not available on one of our preferred picks, before you pony up. Read our DirecTV Stream review.

fubotv-1

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

There’s a lot to like about Fubo — it offers a wide selection of channels and its sports focus makes it especially attractive to soccer fans or NBA, NHL and MLB fans who live in an area served by one of Fubo’s RSNs. It’s also a great choice for NFL fans since it’s one of three services, alongside YouTube TV and Hulu, with NFL Network and optional RedZone. In 2023, Fubo will offer 19 Bally Sports RSNs with a new package that includes the lineup. The biggest hole in Fubo’s lineup is the lack of Turner networks, including CNN, TNT and TBS — especially since the latter two carry a lot of sports content, in particular NBA, NHL and MLB. Those missing channels, and the same $75 price tag, makes it less attractive than YouTube TV for most viewers. Read our Fubo review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

At $25 Philo is still a cheap live TV streaming service with a variety of channels, but it lacks sports channels, local stations and big-name news networks — although Cheddar and BBC news are available. Philo offers bread-and-butter cable staples like AMC, Comedy Channel, Nickelodeon and Magnolia Network, and specializes in lifestyle and reality programming. It’s also one of the cheapest live services that streams Paramount, home of Yellowstone, and it includes a cloud DVR and optional add-ons from Epix and Starz. We think most people are better off paying another $15 for Sling TV’s superior service, but if Philo has every channel you want, it’s a decent deal. Read our Philo review.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

The new iPad Pro looks like a winner
Startup Blueprint: TC Disrupt 2024 Builders Stage agenda sneak peek!
Best Dog Food Delivery Services for 2024 – CNET
These 12 States Are Banning the Sale of Gas-Powered Cars – CNET
18 Cool Things Metal Gear Solid 2 Doesn’t Outright Tell You

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *