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All the live TV streaming services compared: Which has the best channel lineup?

David Katzmaier/CNET

With the runaway popularity of on-demand streaming video services like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Video and Hulu, more people are deciding to stop paying for cable TV. But just because you cut the cord doesn’t mean you have to give up live TV. Right now five major services offer live TV steamed over the Internet: Hulu with Live TV, Google’s YouTube TV, Dish Network’s Sling TV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue and AT&T’s DirecTV Now.

They cost £20 per month and up. Unlike standard cable or satellite plans, there’s no annual contract and you can cancel and re-up anytime. Of course, you’ll need a good broadband plan that can support HD video streaming, as well as a supported phone, tablet, computer and/or TV streaming device to actually watch on.

All of them offer different slates of channels for various prices. None have as many channels as most traditional cable or satellite TV packages, especially when it comes to sports, but maybe they have enough for you. And if you’re wondering which service has the most channels in its base package, that’s DirecTV Now with 58 out of 100.

The big chart: Top 100 channels compared

Chart updated May 20, 2018

Below you’ll find a chart that shows the top 100 channels across all five services. There are actually six 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, FYI, GSN and Universal HD. Some more stuff to know about the chart:

  • Yes = The live channel is available on the cheapest pricing tier (listed next to each service name).
  • No = The channel isn’t available at all on that service. One popular channel, PBS, isn’t available on any service but I listed it anyway.
  • £ = The channel is available for an extra fee, either a la carte or as part of a more-expensive package or add-on.
  • Most regional sports networks — channels devoted to showing regular season games of particular pro baseball, basketball and/or hockey teams — are not listed.
  • ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, MyNetworkTV and The CW networks only available in certain cities, and availability varies widely per service.

    In some cities, some services only offer video-on-demand shows from the networks, not the live local channel itself.

  • Overwhelmed? An easier-to-grok Google Spreadsheet is here.

Sling TV vs. DirecTV Now vs. YouTube TV vs.

Hulu vs.

PlayStation Vue: Top 100 channels compared


Channel

Total “Yes” channels:

ABC

CBS

Fox

NBC

A&E

AMC

Animal Planet

BBC America

BBC World News

BET

Big Ten Network

Bloomberg TV

Boomerang

Bravo

Cartoon Network/Adult Swim

CBS Sports Network

Cheddar

Cinemax

CMT

CNBC

CNN

Comedy Central

Cooking Channel

CSPAN

Destination America

Discovery Channel

Discovery Family

Discovery Life

Disney Channel

Disney Junior

Disney XD

DIY

E!

EPIX

ESPN

ESPN 2

ESPN 3

ESPNEWS

ESPNU

Food Network

Fox Business

Fox News

Fox Sports 1

Fox Sports 2

Freeform

FX

FX Movie Channel

FXX

Golf Channel

Hallmark

HBO

HGTV

History

HLN

IFC

Investigation Discovery

Lifetime

Lifetime Movie Network

MLB Network

MSNBC

MTV

MTV2

MyNetworkTV

Nat Geo Wild

National Geographic

NBA TV

NBC Sports Network

Newsy

NFL Network

NFL Red Zone

NHL Network

Nick Jr.

Nickelodeon

Nicktoons

OWN

Oxygen

Paramount Network

PBS

Science

SEC Network

Showtime

Starz

Sundance TV

Syfy

TBS

TCM

Telemundo

Tennis Channel

The CW

TLC

TNT

Travel Channel

TruTV

TV Land

Univision

USA Network

VH1

Viceland

WE tv

Weather Channel

Sling Orange (£20) Sling Blue (£25) DirecTV Now (£35) YouTube TV (£40) Hulu with Live TV (£40) PlayStation Vue (£40)
22 35 58 52 52 45
£ £ Yes Yes Yes Yes
No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
No No Yes No No Yes
Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
£ £ £ Yes No £
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No No £ No No No

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