03-fubo
Sarah Tew/CNET

In the future, live TV streaming services like YouTube TV, Sling TV and FuboTV are what live television is going to look like. No set-top box (although AT&T TV seems to think it's a necessity), and instead all of your live TV shows will be streamed over the internet. To differentiate itself from rivals, FuboTV touts a sports-centric focus offering the ability to view some in 4K, including the Super Bowl. The service offers a lot of non-sports content too, including plenty of the most popular channels. At $55 monthly, though, it is one of the most expensive options.

FuboTV

CNET may get a commission from these offers.

Like

  • FuboTV offers a solid selection of channels with a sports bent.
  • Fans of soccer will find plenty to love.
  • It's the only such service that streams events in 4K.
  • Using Roku's fast-forward key to zip through categories is fun.

Don't Like

  • The DVR only offers 30 hours by default
  • For a sports-centric service, the lack of ESPN and ABC is troubling.
  • It's more expensive than YouTube TV and not as capable.

Like all live TV streaming services, FuboTV offers a free trial period (one week) and theoretically if you wanted to sign up for a one-off event, you could always cancel afterward and not pay a dime.

FuboTV does what it's supposed to do, but it's not a great value because of the channels it's missing -- namely ABC local stations and, in a major omission for a sports-centric service, ESPN. At this price, most people are better off getting YouTube TV. 

What is FuboTV?

fubotv-1

The home screen of FuboTV

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

FuboTV launched in January 2015 as a soccer (er, football) streaming service and has expanded its reach with an extensive list of channels. Of our top 100 channels Fubo has 65, second only to YouTube TV with 67. FuboTV branches out into most categories including crime, drama and movies, but its sports origins are still apparent. For example, on the home page, after the 4K spotlight, the final row is a list of football games, mostly UK soccer at the time of our review.

While Fubo does offer live 4K sports programming it's only for a select number of events, including the Super Bowl and The Westminster Dog Show in February and the NCAA basketball tournament (March Madness) next month. You can find which events  are coming up in 4K on FuboTV here. While it's regularly updated, it's not the most glamorous or easy-to-find list -- as it's buried deep on Fubo's support page. 

There are some channels missing, however. Firstly, the lack of ABC is weird for a service that charges $55 a month -- every other premium live TV streamer carries ABC local channels live. And despite its sports heritage, the omission of both ESPN and recently, Fox's regional sports networks is also pretty glaring. Fubo also recently dropped FX and FX Movies, although it does carry Fox News. The chart at the end of this article has a full comparison of how FuboTV's channel lineup fares against competitors.

The cloud DVR comes with just 30 hours of recording by default, although users can boost this to 500 hours for an extra $9.99 a month. By comparison, YouTube TV's DVR has unlimited storage. I found that I filled Fubo's 30-hour limit without trying at all, so I would recommend upgrading -- especially if you record entire TV series or games from your favorite teams.

What's it like to use?

fubotv-2
Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The options across the top of the home screen are myriad: Search, Home, Sports, Shows, Movies, Guide, Recordings and Account. It's too much and feels cluttered. YouTube TV offers five options but they're grouped in a much less visually demanding way, with account and search collected as smaller icons in the corner.

Most of these menu options summon a Netflix-like grid, which groups similar types of content, and the navigation speed varied according to platform. I used the interface on the most popular devices including Roku, Fire TV Stick ($40 at Amazon), Apple TV ($179 at Apple), iOS and the Chrome browser. I found that while the mobile and browser versions worked as expected, the TV iterations varied, and some were a little rough around the edges. 

I liked Roku best for browsing -- it was responsive and let me use the fast-forward key to zip through the thumbnails. Roku weirdly lacked a progress bar from some on-demand content (SyFy and BBC America for example) so it was hard to know how far forward or back I was going.

Now playing: Watch this: Live TV streaming services for cord cutters: How to choose...
2:44

The Apple TV offered an unusually sloppy experience -- at times the Apple TV remote felt too sensitive, and it was easy to scroll up or down too far with a single press. Similarly, search was hit or miss -- you need to have the mic button appear on the screen while on the Search page or else attempting a voice search pulls you out into the Apple TV interface. Meanwhile, I found that its competitor, YouTube TV, offers a much more tightly integrated Siri experience -- press the mic button and it searches within YouTube.

My least favorite Fubo platform was the standard Amazon Fire TV Stick, and this is likely due to the hardware itself -- the first giveaway was the lack of a fast-forward capability that Roku offers. Scrolling, whether it up and down or left and right was laggy, with a noticeable stutter and each thumbnail would take a couple of seconds to appear. The newer Fire TV 4K was better, but it still lacks Alexa integration for quick voice searches.

Speaking of search functions, Fubo predictably falls short of YouTube TV on every platform. Using "Super Bowl" as my search term brought up 25 different programs -- mostly pregame events -- none of which were the game itself. I had to search for "49ers" to get the game. Searching Super Bowl on YouTube TV put the correct event at the very top.

Should you get it?

FuboTV is enjoyable enough and it offers a number of different channels, but for the money there is some very tough competition. If you're a hardcore sports fan, and particularly of soccer, it could be worthwhile to sign up for at least a week and try it out. At the end of the day, though, FuboTV's deficiencies outnumber its advantages: compared to its closest competitor YouTube TV, it's more expensive, harder to use and offers less channels.

Live TV streaming services compared

Channel YouTube TV ($50) Hulu with Live TV ($55) Fubo TV ($55) AT&T TV Now ($65)
Total channels: 67 59 65 43
ABC Yes Yes No Yes
CBS Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox Yes Yes Yes Yes
NBC Yes Yes Yes Yes
PBS Yes No No No
CW Yes Yes Yes Yes
MyNetworkTV Yes Yes Yes Yes





A&E No Yes Yes $
ACC Network Yes Yes No No
AMC Yes No Yes $
Animal Planet Yes Yes Yes $
BBC America Yes No Yes $
BBC World News Yes No $ $
BET No No Yes $
Big Ten Network Yes Yes Yes $
Bloomberg TV No No No $
Boomerang No Yes $ $
Bravo Yes Yes Yes $
Cartoon Network Yes Yes Yes Yes
CBS Sports Network Yes Yes Yes $
Cheddar Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cinemax No $ No $
CMT No No Yes $
CNBC Yes Yes Yes Yes
CNN Yes Yes Yes Yes
Comedy Central No No Yes Yes
Cooking Channel No $ $ $
Destination America No $ $ $
Discovery Channel Yes Yes Yes $
Disney Channel Yes Yes No Yes
Disney Junior Yes Yes No Yes
Disney XD Yes Yes No Yes
DIY No $ $ $
E! Yes Yes Yes Yes
EPIX $ No No No
ESPN Yes Yes No Yes
ESPN 2 Yes Yes No Yes
ESPNews Yes Yes No $
ESPNU Yes Yes No $
Food Network Yes Yes Yes $
Fox Business Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox News Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox Sports 1 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox Sports 2 Yes Yes Yes $
Freeform Yes Yes No Yes
FX Yes Yes No Yes
FX Movies Yes Yes No Yes
FXX Yes Yes No Yes
FYI No $ Yes $
Golf Channel Yes Yes Yes $
Hallmark No No Yes Yes
HBO No $ No Yes
HGTV Yes Yes Yes $
History No Yes Yes $
HLN Yes Yes Yes Yes
IFC Yes No Yes $
Investigation Discovery Yes Yes Yes $
Lifetime No Yes Yes $
Lifetime Movie Network No $ Yes $
MLB Network Yes No No $
Motor Trend Yes Yes Yes $
MSNBC Yes Yes Yes Yes
MTV No No Yes Yes
MTV2 No No $ $
National Geographic Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nat Geo Wild Yes Yes Yes Yes
NBA TV Yes No Yes $
NBC Sports Network Yes Yes Yes Yes
Newsy Yes No $ No
NFL Network No No Yes No
NFL Red Zone No No $ No
NHL Network No No No $
Nickelodeon No No Yes Yes
Nick Jr. No No Yes Yes
Nicktoons No No $ $
OWN Yes No Yes $
Oxygen Yes Yes Yes Yes
Paramount Network No No Yes $
Science No $ $ $
SEC Network Yes Yes No $
Showtime $ $ $ $
Smithsonian Yes Yes Yes No
Starz $ $ No $
Sundance TV Yes No Yes $
Syfy Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tastemade Yes No No No
TBS Yes Yes Yes Yes
TCM Yes Yes Yes Yes
Telemundo Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tennis Channel Yes No $ $
TLC Yes Yes Yes $
TNT Yes Yes Yes Yes
Travel Channel Yes Yes Yes $
TruTV Yes Yes Yes Yes
TV Land No No Yes $
Univision No No Yes $
USA Network Yes Yes Yes Yes
VH1 No No Yes Yes
Viceland No Yes Yes $
WE tv Yes No Yes $