Here’s What I Learned From Trying All Of The Live TV Streaming Services
For over three years now, I managed to live without cable TV. I made the decision to cut the cord when I moved to Maine, mostly because I just couldn't justify the expense. I don't really watch a lot of TV, and cable just seems way overpriced. So I've been paying less than $20 a month for Netflix, Hulu, and the occasional On Demand movie. But recently, I decided to check out some of the many live streaming TV services that are now available. They're all less expensive than traditional cable, but which service provider is really the best? Several of them offer a free trial, but be careful...if you don't unsubscribe before the trial is over, you'll be billed for a month of service! I've done several free trials over the past couple of months, and here's what I found:
65 channels - $40/mo
Upon signing up for the free trial, I wasn't able to get the service to work on my Roku, computer, or phone. I called and spoke with someone from their tech service department, and they told me that they were in the middle of a national outage. Wow, great timing! I googled it, and found several users complaining about outages. Once it came back up and I was able to sample the service, it wasn't bad. But the outage spooked me...so I'm passing on this one.
68 channels - $40/mo
The first thing I noticed about YouTube TV is that it has NESN, which means I can watch Red Sox games this summer! Other notable features include a decent amount of channels, an easy to use interface, and unlimited DVR. Seems like it will be tough to beat this one, but I'm still going to try the rest, just to be sure.
Hulu + Live TV
60+ channels - $45/mo
I've already been a Hulu subscriber for several years now, to watch their on demand content. Trying their live TV add on was nice, because I could watch the content I normally do, and switch over to live TV without leaving the app. It was great to see that they offer all of the local channels, but unfortunately no NESN. And at $45 a month, it's one of the most expensive providers.
54 channels - $40/mo
Sling TV seems to be a pretty respectable option...for people who live close enough to their local TV stations to pick them up with an antenna. They offer 54 channels, but no locals, and no NESN.
85 channels - $45/mo
This one seemed pretty sketchy to me. When I entered my credit card number for the free trial, I got a message that said it appeared to be fraudulent. I googled this message from them, and started to find several people saying that their card was charged before the end of the free trial, and they couldn't get their money back. I also noticed that there was no ABC, and I need my WMTW! I didn't even try this one.
50 channels - $45/mo
This was one of the most expensive services I tried. The interface seemed ok, but for some reason, it kept logging me out when I watched it on a PC.
44 channels - $16/mo
This service is competitive because it's one of the lowest priced. However, no local channels...so you would need an antenna for ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. Because of this, I didn't even try this one.
AT&T Watch Now
37 channels - $15/mo
Similar to Philo - low price, but no local channels. Again, didn't bother trying because of no locals.
CONCLUSION: For me, YouTube TV makes the most sense. It has all of the local channels, it includes NESN, so I can watch the Red Sox, it comes with an unlimited DVR, and it has a straightforward interface on my phone, desktop computer, and on my Roku. Maybe your priorities are different, so what's best for me might not be best for you. But for me, YouTube TV checks all of the boxes!