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TVs

Everything in the live-TV-streaming universe: Channel lineups compared

Hulu, YouTube, Sling TV, DirecTV and PlayStation Vue are all vying for your cord-cutting dollar. Here's how their channel lineups stack up.

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And then there were five.

With the runaway popularity of on-demand streaming video services like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Video and Hulu, more and 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 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 of them offer as many channels as traditional cable TV packages, especially when it comes to sports, but maybe they have enough for you. 

The big chart: TV channel lineups compared

Chart updated July 7, 2017 with HBO and Cinemax on Hulu.

Below you'll find a chart that compares channel lineups for all five services. It's arranged in alphabetical order by channel name, grouped roughly into three quality tiers, with more popular channels listed toward the top.

Hulu and YouTube TV have just one package, so we've denoted available channels with a simple Yes or No (or "Coming Soon" for certain channels that have been announced but aren't yet available). The others offer more channels to people who pay more money, so for them we've listed the names of their packages, if the channel is available, instead of "Yes."

The cheapest (base) packages for each service are called:

  • Sling TV: Orange ($20/month), Blue ($25/month)
  • DirecTV Now: Live a Little ($35/month)
  • PlayStation Vue: Access ($40/month)

See the Notes section below for more details.

(Disclaimer: CNET is a division of CBS, which also owns several of the TV networks listed below, including CBS, Showtime, Pop and CBS Sports.)

Hulu vs. YouTube TV vs. Sling TV vs. DirecTV Now vs. PlayStation Vue (top 169 channels)

Channel Hulu with Live TV YouTube TV Sling TV Package DirecTV Now Package PlayStation Vue Package
A&E Yes No Orange, Blue Live a Little No
ABC Yes Yes Broadcast extra Yes Yes
AMC No Yes Orange, Blue Live a Little Access
BBC America No Yes Orange, Blue Live a Little Access
Bravo Yes Yes Blue Live a Little Access
Cartoon Network/Adult Swim Yes No Orange, Blue Live a Little Access
CBS Yes Yes No No Yes
Cinemax Premium No Premium Premium Premium
CNN Yes No Orange, Blue Live a Little Access
Comedy Central No No Orange, Blue Live a Little No
CSPAN No No No Live a Little No
Disney Channel Yes Yes Orange Live a Little Access
ESPN Yes Yes Orange Live a Little Access
ESPN 2 Yes Yes Orange Live a Little Access
ESPNEWS Yes Yes Sports extra (Orange only) Just Right Core
Fox Yes Yes Blue Yes Yes
Fox News Yes Yes No Live a Little Access
FX Yes Yes Blue Live a Little Access
HBO Premium No Premium Premium Premium, Ultra
HGTV Yes No Orange, Blue Live a Little Access
History Yes No Orange, Blue Live a Little No
Lifetime Yes No Orange, Blue Live a Little No
MLB Network No No No Just Right Core
MSNBC Yes Yes News extra (Blue only) Live a Little Access
MTV No No Comedy extra Live a Little No
NBA TV No No Sports extra Go Big Core
NBC Yes Yes Blue Yes Yes
NFL Network No No Blue No Core
NFL Red Zone No No Sports extra (Blue only) No Premium
NHL Network No No Blue Go Big No
Nickelodeon No No No Live a Little No
PBS No No No No No
Showtime Premium Premium Premium No Premium, Elite
Starz No No Premium Gotta Have It No
Syfy Yes Yes Blue Live a Little Access
TBS Yes No Orange, Blue Live a Little Access
The CW No Yes No No No
The Weather Channel No No No Just Right No
TNT Yes No Orange, Blue Live a Little Access
USA Network Yes Yes Blue Live a Little Access
Animal Planet No No No Live a Little Access
BBC World News No Yes News extra Go Big Elite
BET No No Blue (Orange: Lifestyle extra) Live a Little No
Boomerang Yes No Kids extra Gotta Have It Elite
CBS Sports Network Yes Yes No No No
CMT No No Comedy extra Live a Little No
CNBC Yes Yes News extra (Blue only) Live a Little Access
Cooking Channel No No Lifestyle extra Just Right Elite
Destination America No No No Go Big Access
Discovery Channel No No No Live a Little Access
Discovery Family No No No Go Big Access
Discovery Life No No No Go Big Elite
Disney Junior Yes Yes Kids extra (Orange only) Live a Little Access
Disney XD Yes Yes Kids extra (Orange only) Live a Little Access
DIY No No Lifestyle extra Go Big Access
E! Yes Yes Lifestyle extra (Blue only) Live a Little Access
Encore No No No Gotta Have It No
EPIX No No Hollywood extra No No
EPIX Hits No No Hollywood extra No Premium, Elite
ESPN 3 No Coming soon Orange No No
ESPN Deportes No No Spanish TV extra (Orange only) No Elite
ESPNU Yes Yes Sports extra (Orange only) Just Right Core
Food Network Yes No Orange, Blue Live a Little Access
Fox Business Yes Yes No Live a Little Access
Fox College Sports No No No No Elite
Fox Sports 1 Yes Yes Blue Live a Little Access
Fox Sports 2 Yes Yes Blue Go Big Access
Freeform Yes Yes Orange Live a Little Access
FXX Yes Yes Blue Live a Little Access
Golf Channel Yes Yes Sports extra (Blue only) Go Big Core
Hallmark No No Lifestyle extra Live a Little No
HLN Yes No News extra Live a Little Access
IFC No Yes Orange, Blue Just Right Core
Investigation Discovery No No No Live a Little Access
Ion No No No No No
Lifetime Movie Network Yes No Lifestyle extra Go Big No
MTV2 No No Comedy extra Live a Little No
National Geographic Yes Yes Blue Live a Little Access
NBC Sports Network Yes Yes Blue Just Right Access
Nick Jr. No No Blue Live a Little No
Nicktoons No No Kids extra (Blue only) Just Right No
OWN No No No Just Right Access
Science No No No Just Right Access
SEC Network Yes Yes Sports extra (Orange only) Just Right Core
Spike No No Comedy extra Live a Little No
Sundance TV No Yes Hollywood extra Go Big Core
TCM Yes No Hollywood extra Live a Little Core
Telemundo Yes Yes No Live a Little No
Tennis Channel No No No Go Big No
TLC No No No Live a Little Access
Travel Channel Yes No Orange, Blue Just Right Access
TV Land No No Comedy extra Live a Little No
Univision No No Blue (Orange: Broadcast extra) Live a Little No
VH1 No No Lifestyle extra Live a Little No
American Heroes No No No Go Big Elite
Audience No No No Live a Little No
AXS TV No No Orange, Blue Live a Little No
Baby First No No No Live a Little No
Baby TV No No Kids extra No No
beIN Sports No No Sports extra No No
Big Ten Network Yes No No Just Right Core
Bloomberg TV No No Base Live a Little No
Campus Insiders No No Sports extra No No
Centric No No No Go Big No
Cheddar No No Orange, Blue No No
Chiller Yes Yes No Gotta Have It Elite
CNBC World No No No Just Right Elite
CNN International Yes No No No No
Comedy.TV No No No Just Right No
CSPAN 2 No No No Live a Little No
Duck TV No No Kids extra No No
El Rey Network No No Orange, Blue Gotta Have It No
EPIX Drive-in No No Hollywood extra No No
EPIX2 No No Hollywood extra No No
ESPN Bases Loaded No No Sports extra (Orange only) No No
ESPN Buzzer Beater No No Sports extra (Orange only) No No
ESPN Goal Line No No Sports extra (Orange only) No No
Euro News No No World News extra No No
Flama No No Orange, Blue No No
France 24 No No World News extra No No
Fuse No No No Just Right No
Fusion No No World News extra Just Right Elite
FX Movie Channel Yes Yes No Go Big Elite
FYI Yes No Lifestyle extra Go Big No
Galavision No No Orange, Blue Live a Little No
GSN No No Comedy extra Just Right No
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries No No LIfestyle extra Live a Little No
HDNet Movies No No Hollywood extra No No
Hi-Yah No No No No Elite
HSN No No No No No
Impact No No No No Elite
JusticeCentral.TV No No No Just Right No
Local Now No Coming soon Orange, Blue No No
LOGO No No Comedy extra Go Big No
Machinima No No No No Elite
Maker No No Orange, Blue No No
MGM-HD No No No No Elite
Motors TV No No Sports extra No No
MTV Classic No No No Go Big No
Nat Geo Wild Yes Yes Blue Go Big Elite
NDTV 24/7 No No World News extra No No
NECN Yes No No No Core
News 18 India No No World News extra No No
Newsy No No Orange, Blue No No
ONE World Sports No No No No Elite
Outside Television No No Sports extra No Elite
Oxygen Yes Yes Lifestyle extra (Blue only) Go Big Access
Poker Central No No No No Elite
Polaris No No Orange, Blue No Elite
POP Yes No No No Access
QVC No No No No No
Revolt No No No Go Big No
RFD TV No No No Live a Little No
Russia Today No No World News extra No No
Shudder No Premium, coming soon No No No
Sprout Yes Yes No Go Big Elite
Sundance Now No Premium, coming soon No No No
Teen Knick No No Kids extra (Blue only) Live a Little No
truTV Yes No Blue (Orange: Comedy extra Live a Little Access
TVG No No No Go Big No
Universal HD No Yes No No Elite
Universo No Yes No Go Big No
Univision Deportes No No Sports extra Gotta Have It No
Univision Mas No No Blue (Orange: Broadcast extra) Just Right No
Velocity HD No No No Live a Little Elite
Vibrant TV No No Lifestyle extra No No
Viceland Yes No Orange, Blue Live a Little No
WE tv No Yes Lifestyle extra Live a Little Access
WeatherNation No No No Live a Little No

Chart notes:

  • ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC networks only available in certain cities.
  • Most RSNs (Regional Sports Networks) not listed; varies per locality
  • Premium = Available for an additional monthly fee beyond base package
  • Sling TV package key: Orange = $20/month, Blue = $25/month, Other "extras" = another $5 /month each (Sports extra with Blue is $10), Broacast Extra: ABC, Univision and Univision Mas available to Sling Orange subscribers in select cities
  • DirecTV Now package key: Live a Little = $35/month, Just Right = $50/month, Go Big = $60/month, Gotta Have It = $70/month
  • PlayStation Vue package key: Access = $40/month, Core = $45/month, Elite = $55/month, Ultra = $75/month