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DirecTV Now, Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu and more: Live TV channels compared

Sling TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, Hulu, PlayStation Vue, Philo, AT&T Watch TV and Fubo TV are all vying for your cord-cutting dollar. Here's how the top 100 channels stack up.

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DirecTV Now has more top channels than any other live TV service.

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 TV 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 DirecTV Now and Watch TVPhilo and Fubo TV. They cost $15 per month and up. Our full guide has all of the details.

The big chart: Top 100 channels compared

The main difference between each service is their channel lineups. 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. 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.

Now playing: Watch this: How to cut the cord like a pro
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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, 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.
  • 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 disadvantage on the chart to Fubo TV, which carries more RSNs than anyone, and an advantage to Philo, which doesn't offer any sports channels, period.
  • 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. (Note: CBS is the parent company of CNET.)
  • PBS isn't available on any service (yet) but it's definitely a top channel, so it gets a row.
  • Overwhelmed? An easier-to-grok Google Spreadsheet is here.

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

Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($16) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) DirecTV Now ($40) YouTube TV ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Fubo TV ($45)
Total channels: 33 35 24 37 61 55 58 48 55
ABC No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
CBS No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
NBC No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
PBS No No No No No No No No No
CW No No No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes
My Network TV No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes










A&E Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
AMC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Animal Planet Yes Yes No No Yes No Yes Yes No
BBC America Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
BBC World News Yes Yes $ $ $ Yes No $ $
BET Yes Yes $ Yes Yes No No No No
Big Ten Network No No No No $ Yes Yes $ Yes
Bloomberg TV Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Boomerang No No $ $ $ No Yes $ Yes
Bravo No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($16) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) DirecTV Now ($40) YouTube TV ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Fubo TV ($45)
Cartoon Network Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
CBS Sports Network No No No No $ Yes Yes $ Yes
Cheddar No Yes Yes Yes $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cinemax No No No No $ No $ $ No
CMT No Yes $ $ Yes No No No No
CNBC No No No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
CNN Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Comedy Central Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Cooking Channel No $ $ $ $ No No $ $
C-SPAN No No No No Yes No No No No
Destination America No $ $ $ $ No No Yes No
Discovery Channel Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Disney Channel No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Disney Junior No No $ No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Disney XD No No $ No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
DIY No Yes $ $ $ No No $ $
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($16) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) DirecTV Now ($40) YouTube TV ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Fubo TV ($45)
E! No No No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
EPIX No No $ $ No No No $ No
ESPN No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
ESPN 2 No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
ESPNEWS No No $ No $ Yes Yes $ No
ESPNU No No $ No $ Yes Yes $ No
Food Network Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Fox Business No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox News No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox Sports 1 No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox Sports 2 No No No Yes $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
Freeform No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
FX No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
FX Movie Channel No No No No $ Yes Yes $ Yes
FXX No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Golf Channel No No No $ $ Yes Yes $ Yes
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($16) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) DirecTV Now ($40) YouTube TV ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Fubo TV ($45)
Hallmark Yes Yes $ $ Yes No No $ Yes
HBO No No No No $ No $ $ No
HGTV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
History Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
HLN Yes No $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
IFC Yes Yes Yes Yes $ Yes No $ Yes
ID Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Lifetime Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
Lifetime Movie Network Yes Yes $ $ $ No No No Yes
Motor Trend Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes $ Yes
MLB Network No No No No $ Yes No $ No
MSNBC No No No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
MTV No Yes $ $ Yes No No No No
MTV2 Yes Yes $ $ Yes No No No No
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($16) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) DirecTV Now ($40) YouTube TV ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Fubo TV ($45)
National Geographic No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nat Geo Wild No No No Yes $ Yes Yes $ Yes
NBA TV No No $ $ $ Yes No $ Yes
NBC Sports Network No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Newsy No No Yes Yes No Yes No No No
NFL Network No No No Yes $ No No $ Yes
NFL Red Zone No No No $ No No No $ $
NHL Network No No $ $ $ No No No No
Nick Jr. No Yes $ Yes Yes No No No No
Nickelodeon No Yes No No Yes No No No No
Nicktoons Yes $ $ $ $ No No No No
OWN Yes Yes No No $ No No Yes No
Oxygen No No No $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
Paramount Network No Yes $ $ Yes No No No No
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($16) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) DirecTV Now ($40) YouTube TV ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Fubo TV ($45)
Science No Yes No No $ No No Yes No
SEC Network No No $ No $ Yes Yes $ No
Showtime No No $ $ $ $ $ $ $
Smithsonian No No No No No Yes Yes
Yes
Starz No No $ $ $ $ No No No
Sundance TV Yes Yes $ $ $ Yes No $ Yes
Syfy No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tastemade No Yes No No No No No Yes No
TBS Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Telemundo No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tennis Channel No No No No $ Yes No $ No
TLC Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
TNT Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Travel Channel No Yes Yes Yes $ No Yes Yes Yes
TruTV Yes No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Turner Classic Movies Yes No $ $ Yes Yes Yes $ Yes
TV Land No Yes $ $ Yes No No No No
Univision No No No No Yes No No No Yes
USA Network No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
VH1 Yes Yes $ $ Yes No No No No
Viceland Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
WE tv Yes Yes $ $ Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Weather Channel No No No No $ No No No Yes
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($16) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) DirecTV Now ($40) YouTube TV ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Fubo TV ($45)

Originally published Nov. 28, 2016.
Updated, Feb. 5, 2019.

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