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

How the top 100 channels stack up on every cord-cutting live TV service in the US.

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In March 2019 DirecTV Now raised its price to $50 per month and dropped a bunch of channels.

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 the details.

The big chart: Top 100 channels compared (updated March 14, 2019)

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.

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.

Now playing: Watch this: How to cut the cord like a pro
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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 are 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.
  • 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. 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) YouTube TV ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Fubo TV ($45) DirecTV Now ($50) Channel
Total channels: 33 35 24 37 56 58 47 55 38 Total channels
ABC No No No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes 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











A&E Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No A&E
AMC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No AMC
Animal Planet Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes No No Animal Planet
BBC America Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No BBC America
BBC World News Yes Yes $ $ Yes No $ $ No BBC World News
BET Yes Yes $ Yes No No No No No BET
Big Ten Network No No No No Yes Yes $ Yes $ Big Ten Network
Bloomberg TV No No Yes Yes No No No No No Bloomberg TV
Boomerang Yes No $ $ No Yes $ Yes Yes Boomerang
Bravo No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Bravo
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($16) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) YouTube TV ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Fubo TV ($45) DirecTV Now ($50) 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 No Cheddar
Cinemax No No No No No $ $ No $ Cinemax
CMT No Yes $ $ No No No No No 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 No No No No Comedy Central
Cooking Channel No $ $ $ No No $ $ No Cooking Channel
C-SPAN No No No No No No No No No C-SPAN
Destination America No $ $ $ No No Yes No No Destination America
Discovery Channel Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No No Discovery Channel
Disney Channel No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Disney Channel
Disney Junior No No $ No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Disney Junior
Disney XD No No $ No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Disney XD
DIY No Yes $ $ No No $ $ No DIY
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($16) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) YouTube TV ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Fubo TV ($45) DirecTV Now ($50) Channel
E! No No No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes E!
EPIX No No $ $ No No $ No No EPIX
ESPN No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes ESPN
ESPN 2 No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes ESPN 2
ESPNEWS No No $ No Yes Yes $ No $ ESPNEWS
ESPNU No No $ No Yes Yes $ No $ ESPNU
Food Network Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No 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 No Yes 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
Golf Channel No No No $ Yes Yes $ Yes $ Golf Channel
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($16) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) YouTube TV ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Fubo TV ($45) DirecTV Now ($50) Channel
Hallmark Yes Yes $ $ No No $ Yes Yes Hallmark
HBO No No No No No $ $ No Yes HBO
HGTV Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No HGTV
History Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No History
HLN Yes No $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes HLN
IFC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No $ Yes No IFC
Investigation Discovery Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Investigation Discovery
Lifetime Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No Lifetime
Lifetime Movie Network Yes Yes $ $ No No No Yes No Lifetime Movie Network
Motor Trend Yes Yes Yes No No Yes $ Yes No Motor Trend
MLB Network No No No No Yes No $ No No MLB Network
MSNBC No No No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes MSNBC
MTV No Yes $ $ No No No No No MTV
MTV2 Yes Yes $ $ No No No No No MTV2
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($16) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) YouTube TV ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Fubo TV ($45) DirecTV Now ($50) Channel
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 $ $ Yes No $ Yes No NBA TV
NBC Sports Network No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes NBC Sports Network
Newsy No No Yes Yes Yes No No No No Newsy
NFL Network No No No Yes No No $ Yes No NFL Network
NFL Red Zone No No No $ No No $ $ No NFL Red Zone
NHL Network No No $ $ No No No No No NHL Network
Nick Jr. No Yes $ Yes No No No No No Nick Jr.
Nickelodeon No Yes No No No No No No No Nickelodeon
Nicktoons Yes $ $ $ No No No No No Nicktoons
OWN Yes Yes No No No No Yes No No OWN
Oxygen No No No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Oxygen
Paramount Network No Yes $ $ No No No No No Paramount Network
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($16) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) YouTube TV ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Fubo TV ($45) DirecTV Now ($50) Channel
Science No Yes No No No No Yes No No Science
SEC Network No No $ No Yes Yes $ No $ SEC Network
Showtime No No $ $ $ $ $ $ $ Showtime
Smithsonian No No No No Yes Yes No Yes No Smithsonian
Starz No No $ $ $ No No No $ Starz
Sundance TV Yes Yes $ $ Yes No $ Yes No Sundance TV
Syfy No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Syfy
Tastemade No Yes No No Yes No $ No No Tastemade
TBS Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes TBS
Telemundo No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Telemundo
Tennis Channel No No No No Yes No $ No No Tennis Channel
TLC Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No No TLC
TNT Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes TNT
Travel Channel No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Travel Channel
TruTV Yes No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes TruTV
Turner Classic Movies Yes No $ $ Yes Yes $ Yes Yes Turner Classic Movies
TV Land No Yes $ $ No No No No No TV Land
Univision No No No No No No No Yes No Univision
USA Network No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes USA Network
VH1 Yes Yes $ $ No No No No No VH1
Viceland Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No Viceland
WE tv Yes Yes $ $ Yes No Yes Yes No WE tv
Weather Channel No No No No No No No Yes No Weather Channel
Channel AT&T Watch TV ($15) Philo ($16) Sling Orange ($25) Sling Blue ($25) YouTube TV ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($45) PS Vue ($45) Fubo TV ($45) DirecTV Now ($50) Channel

Originally published Nov. 28, 2016.
Update, March 14, 2019: Adds latest pricing.