After a year of social distancing and sheltering in place, one thing is clear: Americans aren’t losing interest in at-home entertainment. Endless streaming content from services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max have brought joy, excitement, and conversation into our living rooms — and caused many to “cut the cable cord.” But if you still want to catch live programs, what are the best streaming services for live TV in 2021?
Don’t worry, Savetastic has you covered.
But not everything worth watching is available from a streaming platform. Whether you love live sports, want to keep up with the evening news or tune-in to this week’s Saturday Night Live, there is some content that’s best to consume live. But if you’re sick of your cable company, restrictive contracts and paying money for channels you don’t want, you may feel caught in a bind. Is cutting the cord worth it if it means giving up your favorite live TV programs?
Fortunately there’s a third option in the form of live TV streaming services. You no longer have to pay for a cable package to watch your favorite live show. Instead, you can subscribe to one of several live streaming services that offer many of the local, national and premium networks you prefer. So which service is right for you? Keep reading to learn about some of the best.
Hulu + Live TV
This is one of the best deals available, as it combines Hulu’s vast library of original and curated content with over 65 live channels. You’ll be able to access local networks like ESPN, CNN, Disney Channel, and many more previously available only to cable subscribers. Best of all, you’ll never have to worry about missing your favorite show, as Hulu makes programs available for on-demand streaming the day after they air. Start with a 7-day free trial to get a taste, and then subscribe for $65/month.
YouTubeTV takes the prize for most channel options of any live streaming service. Recently adding eight more channels to its lineup, including the NFL Network and your local PBS station, YouTubeTV now offers over 85 channels in all. Additionally, the cost of YouTubeTV includes unlimited DVR service, so you can record all your favorites and zip right through the commercials. All of this for only $65—the same price as Hulu + Live TV, but with twenty more channels. Of course there’s a trade-off. It’s the loss of Hulu’s extensive on-demand content, which means YouTubeTV isn’t the best choice for binge-watchers.
SlingTV offers two basic packages, both priced at $35. Sling says its Blue Plan is best for those who seek news and entertainment. With over 30 channels in all, Sling Blue is available across three devices and comes with 50 hours of DVR recording space.
Meanwhile, the Orange Plan is geared toward “families and sports fans,” offering a different lineup of 30+ channels that include Disney and ESPN. Orange is only available on one device at a time, but also comes with 50 free hours of DVR space. Still, neither plan has full access to local networks, like CBS or ABC, and suggests that viewers buy a digital antenna if they want to access their local stations. All of this is to say, it’s not a perfect alternative to a cable subscription, though it is one of the cheapest options available.
CNET refers to this streaming service as the “best for channel flippers.” That’s because the interface is designed to imitate typical cable service, allowing you to surf channels and discover what’s on. That said, the service is one of the priciest options, at $70/month, and will require you to pay more for attractive add-ons. For instance, you’ll have to pay $80/month to add DVR service or $85/month for greater access to sports channels. One nice perk, however, is that the $85 package comes with a yearlong HBO Max membership for free, which avails you to a deep catalog of original and curated films and series.
Though there are several other live TV streaming services available, these four really offer the best overall experience and depth of content. But it’s hard to compete with Hulu + Live TV, which combines the Emmy-winning power of Hulu entertainment with an extensive lineup of channels, all for the moderate price of $65.