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AT&T Now vs. YouTube TV vs. Sling TV vs. Hulu and more: Live TV channels compared

Updated September 1, 2019: How the top 100 channels stack up on every cord-cutting live TV service in the US.

live-tv-streaming
David Katzmaier/CNET

Deciding to cut the cable TV cord doesn't mean you have to give up live TV. One way to watch live shows without cable is to connect an antenna. It's cheap (read: free) and effective, as long as you're willing to live with the handful of local channels available in your area. And assuming you get good reception.

If that's not good enough, and you're willing to shell out a monthly payment, you should check out a live TV streaming service. They deliver numerous familiar channels like ESPN, CNN, Fox News and TNT, as well as features like cloud DVRs and the ability to watch not only on TVs but also on phones, tablets and computers.

Eight major services are available today: Hulu with Live TV, Google's YouTube TV, Dish Network's Sling TV, Sony's PlayStation Vue, AT&T's AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now, not to be confused with AT&T TV) and Watch TVPhilo and Fubo TV. They cost $15 per month and up. Our full guide has all the details, but really, it's all about the channels.

The big chart: Top 100 channels compared (updated September 1, 2019)

The main difference between each service is their channel lineups. All of them offer different slates of channels for various prices. 

Most don't have as many channels as traditional cable or satellite TV packages. On the other hand, maybe they have enough for you -- especially if you're saving a bunch of money every month by not paying the cable company for channels you don't watch.

Below you'll find a chart that shows the top 100 channels across all eight services. There are actually nine 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.

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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 -- channels devoted to showing regular-season games of particular pro baseball, basketball and/or hockey teams -- are not listed. That's a numeric disadvantage to services like YouTube TV and Fubo, which carry a lot of RSNs, and an advantage to Philo and AT&T, which don't offer any sports channels, period. 
  • ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, MyNetworkTV and The CW networks are not available in every city and availability of these local channels varies widely per service (Note that CBS is the parent company of CNET). In some cities, some services only offer video-on-demand shows from the networks, not the live local channel itself. 
  • PBS isn't yet available on any service but it's definitely a top channel, so it gets a row. Later this year, however, YouTube TV will be the first service to add local PBS stations
  • 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-grok Google Spreadsheet is here.

AT&T Watch TV vs. Philo vs. Sling TV vs. Hulu vs. AT&T TV Now vs. PS Vue vs. YouTube TV vs. Fubo: Top 100 channels compared

Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($20) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) Hulu with Live TV ($45) AT&T TV Now ($50) PS Vue ($50) YouTube TV ($50) Fubo TV ($55) Channel
Total channels: 37 39 24 39 59 44 47 65 66 Total channels:
ABC No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No ABC
CBS No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes CBS
Fox No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Fox
NBC No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes NBC
PBS No No No No No No No No No PBS
CW No No No No Yes Yes No Yes Yes CW
MyNetworkTV No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes MyNetworkTV
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($20) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) Hulu with Live TV ($45) AT&T TV Now ($50) PS Vue ($50) YouTube TV ($50) Fubo TV ($55) Channel
A&E Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $ No No Yes A&E
ACC Network No No $ No Yes No $ Yes No ACC Network
AMC Yes Yes Yes Yes No $ Yes Yes Yes AMC
Animal Planet Yes Yes No No Yes $ Yes Yes No Animal Planet
BBC America Yes Yes Yes Yes No $ Yes Yes Yes BBC America
BBC World News Yes Yes $ $ No $ $ Yes $ BBC World News
BET Yes Yes $ Yes No $ No No Yes BET
Big Ten Network No No No No Yes $ $ Yes Yes Big Ten Network
Bloomberg TV No No Yes Yes No $ No No No Bloomberg TV
Boomerang Yes No $ $ Yes Yes $ No $ Boomerang
Bravo No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Bravo
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($20) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) Hulu with Live TV ($45) AT&T TV Now ($50) PS Vue ($50) YouTube TV ($50) Fubo TV ($55) Channel
Cartoon Network Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Cartoon Network
CBS Sports Network No No No No Yes $ $ Yes Yes CBS Sports Network
Cheddar No Yes Yes Yes Yes $ Yes Yes Yes Cheddar
Cinemax No No No No $ $ $ No No Cinemax
CMT No Yes $ $ No $ No No Yes CMT
CNBC No No No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes CNBC
CNN Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes CNN
Comedy Central Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes Comedy Central
Cooking Channel No Yes $ $ No $ $ No $ Cooking Channel
Destination America No Yes $ $ No $ Yes No $ Destination America
Discovery Channel Yes Yes No Yes Yes $ Yes Yes Yes Discovery Channel
Disney Channel No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Disney Channel
Disney Junior No No $ No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Disney Junior
Disney XD No No $ No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Disney XD
DIY No Yes $ $ No $ $ No $ DIY
E! No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes E!
EPIX No No $ $ No No $ $ No EPIX
ESPN No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No ESPN
ESPN 2 No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No ESPN 2
ESPNEWS No No $ No Yes $ $ Yes No ESPNEWS
ESPNU No No $ No Yes $ $ Yes No ESPNU
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($20) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) Hulu with Live TV ($45) AT&T TV Now ($50) PS Vue ($50) YouTube TV ($50) Fubo TV ($55) Channel
Food Network Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $ Yes Yes Yes Food Network
Fox Business No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Fox Business
Fox News No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Fox News
Fox Sports 1 No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Fox Sports 1
Fox Sports 2 No No No Yes Yes $ Yes Yes Yes Fox Sports 2
Freeform No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Freeform
FX No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes FX
FX Movie Channel No No No No Yes Yes $ Yes Yes FX Movie Channel
FXX No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes FXX
FYI Yes Yes $ $ No $ No No Yes FYI
Golf Channel No No No $ Yes $ $ Yes Yes Golf Channel
Hallmark Yes Yes $ $ No Yes $ No Yes Hallmark
HBO No No No No $ Yes $ No No HBO
HGTV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $ Yes Yes Yes HGTV
History Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $ No No Yes History
HLN Yes No $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes HLN
IFC Yes Yes Yes Yes No $ $ Yes Yes IFC
Investigation Discovery Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $ Yes Yes Yes Investigation Discovery
Lifetime Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $ No No Yes Lifetime
Lifetime Movie Network Yes Yes $ $ No $ No No Yes Lifetime Movie Network
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($20) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) Hulu with Live TV ($45) AT&T TV Now ($50) PS Vue ($50) YouTube TV ($50) Fubo TV ($55) Channel
MLB Network No No $ $ No $ $ Yes No MLB Network
Motor Trend Yes Yes Yes No Yes $ $ Yes Yes Motor Trend
MSNBC No No No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes MSNBC
MTV Yes Yes $ $ No Yes No No Yes MTV
MTV2 Yes Yes $ $ No $ No No $ MTV2
National Geographic No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes National Geographic
Nat Geo Wild No No No Yes Yes Yes $ Yes Yes Nat Geo Wild
NBA TV No No $ $ No $ $ Yes Yes NBA TV
NBC Sports Network No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes NBC Sports Network
Newsy No No Yes Yes No No No Yes $ Newsy
NFL Network No No No Yes No No $ No Yes NFL Network
NFL Red Zone No No No $ No No $ No $ NFL Red Zone
NHL Network No No $ $ No $ $ No No NHL Network
Nickelodeon Yes Yes No No No Yes No No Yes Nickelodeon
Nick Jr. No Yes $ Yes No Yes No No Yes Nick Jr.
Nicktoons Yes Yes $ $ No $ No No $ Nicktoons
OWN Yes Yes No No No $ Yes No No OWN
Oxygen No No No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Oxygen
Paramount Network No Yes $ Yes No $ No No Yes Paramount Network
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($20) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) Hulu with Live TV ($45) AT&T TV Now ($50) PS Vue ($50) YouTube TV ($50) Fubo TV ($55) Channel
Science No Yes $ $ No $ Yes No $ Science
SEC Network No No $ No Yes $ $ Yes No SEC Network
Showtime No No $ $ $ $ $ $ $ Showtime
Smithsonian No No No No Yes No $ Yes Yes Smithsonian
Starz No No $ $ No $ No $ No Starz
Sundance TV Yes Yes $ $ No $ $ Yes Yes Sundance TV
Syfy No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Syfy
Tastemade No Yes No No No No $ Yes No Tastemade
TBS Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes TBS
TCM Yes No $ $ Yes Yes $ Yes Yes TCM
Telemundo No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Telemundo
Tennis Channel No No $ $ No $ $ Yes $ Tennis Channel
TLC Yes Yes No Yes Yes $ Yes Yes Yes TLC
TNT Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes TNT
Travel Channel No Yes Yes Yes Yes $ Yes Yes Yes Travel Channel
TruTV Yes No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes TruTV
TV Land Yes Yes $ $ No $ No No Yes TV Land
Univision No No No No No $ No No Yes Univision
USA Network No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes USA Network
VH1 Yes Yes $ $ No Yes No No Yes VH1
Viceland Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $ No No Yes Viceland
WE tv Yes Yes $ $ No $ Yes Yes Yes WE tv
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($20) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) Hulu with Live TV ($45) AT&T TV Now ($50) PS Vue ($50) YouTube TV ($50) Fubo TV ($55) Channel

Originally published Nov. 28, 2016.
Update, September 1, 2019: DirecTV Now changes name to AT&T TV Now, ACC Network added, The Weather Channel removed, new links and stories added.