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Battle of the Live Channels: YouTube TV, Sling, Hulu Live and More Compared

Our breakdown of which live TV streaming services offer the highest amount of popular channels.

Kourtnee Jackson Senior Editor
Kourtnee covers TV streaming services and home entertainment news and reviews at CNET. She previously worked as an entertainment reporter at Showbiz Cheat Sheet where she wrote about film, television, music, celebrities, and streaming platforms.
Expertise Cord-cutting | TV and music streaming services | Netflix | Disney Plus | Max | Anime | Interviews | Entertainment Credentials
  • Though Kourtnee hasn't won any journalism awards yet, she's been a Netflix streaming subscriber since 2012 and knows the magic of its hidden codes.
David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
Kourtnee Jackson
David Katzmaier
7 min read
See at Hulu
Hulu movies and TV shows
Hulu Plus Live TV
Best streaming bundle
See at YouTube TV
Youtube TV streaming service
YouTube TV
Best channel selection
See at Sling TV
Sling TV
Best bargain
See at DirecTV
DirecTV Stream
Best for channel flippers, sports fans

Consider a live TV streaming service if you're thinking about cutting the cable cord. These platforms offer competitive pricing and diverse channel selections, and some options allow you to watch sports networks, premium channels or prime-time TV. And if you prefer not to be tied down with a contract, these apps could be more appealing. Not only do they offer a wider range of channels compared with antennas, but they also provide the convenience of watching on your desktop or mobile device. 

Currently, you can choose from six major services (smaller platforms aren't listed here): YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TVSling TVDirecTV StreamFubo and Philo. But what really counts is the variety of channels they offer, right? That's why we've carefully reviewed these services and put together a list of the ones that give you the most bang for your buck.

Read more: Best Sports Streaming Service for 2024

The Big Chart: Top 100 channels compared, updated June 2024

The main difference between the services is their channel selection. All of them offer different lineups of channels for various prices. 

Below you'll find a chart that shows the top 100 channels across all six services, but note that not each service has a worthy 100. There are actually seven 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.

Beginning June 12, Philo is offering a new package for newcomers that costs $28 per month and bundles in AMC Plus. If you're a current customer, you can keep your current plan and still pay $25. 

But if you're a sports fan, there's good news: Fubo now offers the YES Network at no extra charge if you want to watch the Brooklyn Nets or New York Yankees. And Hulu's live TV offering now includes the MLB Network. But Fubo also lost a suite of Warner Bros. Discovery channels, and that could be a deal-breaker for some folks. You can no longer watch networks such as Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, HGTV, Food Network, OWN, Investigation Discovery, TLC, Magnolia Network, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network or the Travel Channel.

But if you want to get rid of cable, there are numerous live TV streaming choices available. Sling TV's basic packages are $40 in most cities. But costs continue to go up. Fubo's price for its basic plan is $80, which is the same price as DirecTV Stream's base plan. YouTube TV costs $73 per month, while Hulu's live TV service now costs $77 a month with ads and $90 without ads. Those changes are reflected in the chart below where applicable. 

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 -- local channels devoted to showing regular-season games of particular pro baseball, basketball and hockey teams -- are not listed. DirecTV Stream's $120 tier has the most RSNs by far, but a few are available on other services. See our NBA and NHL streaming guides for details.
  • Local ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, MyNetworkTV and The CW networks are not available in every city. Since availability of these channels varies, you'll want to check the service's website to verify that it carries your local network.
  • Local PBS stations are only currently available on YouTube TV, DirecTV Stream, and Hulu Live. Again, you'll want to check local availability.
  • Sling Blue subscribers in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and San Francisco must now pay $45 per month, but have access to local ABC, Fox and NBC channels. Customers in Fresno, Houston and Raleigh now have both ABC and Fox on their Blue or Orange-and-Blue subscriptions at no extra charge. This is not reflected in the chart. Check Sling's site to see which local channels are available in your area.
  • Fubo subscribers may find that the ACC Network and SEC Network are included with their package at no extra cost. Check availability for your state.
  • 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-understand Google Spreadsheet is here.

Philo vs. Sling TV vs. Fubo vs. YouTube TV vs. DirecTV Stream vs. Hulu: Top 100 channels compared

Channel Philo ($28)Sling Orange ($40)Sling Blue ($40)YouTube TV ($73)Hulu with Live TV ($77)DirecTV Stream ($80)Fubo ($80)
Total channels: 42243578755746
ABC NoNoNoYesYesYesYes
CBS NoNoNoYesYesYesYes
Fox NoNoYesYesYesYesYes
NBC NoNoYesYesYesYesYes
PBS NoNoNoYesYesYesNo
CW NoNoNoYesYesYes (limited)Yes
MyNetworkTV NoNoNoYesYesYesNo
Channel Philo ($28)Sling Orange ($40)Sling Blue ($40)YouTube TV ($73)Hulu with Live TV ($77)DirecTV Stream ($80)Fubo ($80)
A&E YesYesYesNoYes$No
ACC Network No$NoYesYes$Yes
Accuweather YesNoNoNoNoYesYes
AMC YesYesYesYesNoYesNo
Animal Planet YesNoNoYesYesYesNo
BBC America YesYesYesYesNoYesNo
BBC World News Yes$$YesNo$No
BET YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Big Ten Network NoNo$YesYes$Yes
Bloomberg TV NoYesYesNoYesYesYes
Boomerang No$$No$YesNo
Bravo NoNoYesYesYesYesYes
Channel Philo ($28)Sling Orange ($40)Sling Blue ($40)YouTube TV ($73)Hulu with Live TV ($77)DirecTV Stream ($80)Fubo ($80)
Cartoon Network NoYesYesYesYesYesNo
CBS Sports Network NoNoNoYesYes$Yes
Cheddar YesNoNoYesYes$Yes
Cinemax NoNoNo$$$No
CMT Yes$$YesYesYesYes
CNBC NoNo$YesYesYesYes
CNN NoYesYesYesYesYesNo
Comedy Central YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Cooking Channel Yes$$No$$$
Destination America Yes$$No$$$
Discovery Channel YesNoYesYesYesYesNo
Disney Channel NoYesNoYesYesYesYes
Disney Junior No$NoYesYesYesYes
Disney XD No$NoYesYesYesYes
E! NoNoYesYesYesYesYes
ESPN NoYesNoYesYesYesYes
ESPN 2 NoYesNoYesYesYesYes
ESPNU No$NoYesYes$$
Channel Philo ($28)Sling Orange ($40)Sling Blue ($40)YouTube TV ($73)Hulu with Live TV ($77)DirecTV Stream ($80)Fubo ($80)
Food Network YesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Fox Business NoNo$YesYesYesYes
Fox News NoNoYesYesYesYesYes
FS1 NoNoYesYesYesYesYes
FS2 NoNo$YesYes$Yes
Freeform NoYesNoYesYesYesYes
FX NoNoYesYesYesYesYes
FX Movies NoNo$YesYes$$
FXX NoNo$YesYesYesYes
FYI Yes$$NoYes$No
Golf Channel NoNo$YesYes$Yes
Hallmark Yes$$YesYesYesYes
HBO/Max NoNoNo$$$No
HGTV YesYesYesYesYesYesNo
History YesYesYesNoYes$No
HLN No$YesYesYesYesNo
IFC YesYesYesYesNoYesNo
Investigation Discovery YesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Lifetime YesYesYesNoYes$No
Lifetime Movie Network Yes$$NoYes$No
Channel Philo ($28)Sling Orange ($40)Sling Blue ($40)YouTube TV ($73)Hulu with Live TV ($77)DirecTV Stream ($80)FuboTV ($80)
Magnolia Network Yes$$YesYes$No
MGM+ $$$$No$No
MLB Network No$$NoYes$$
Motor Trend YesYesNoYesYesYesNo
MSNBC NoNoYesYesYesYesYes
MTV Yes$$YesYesYesYes
MTV2 Yes$$Yes$Yes$
National Geographic NoNoYesYesYesYesYes
Nat Geo Wild NoNo$YesYes$$
NBA TV No$$YesNo$$
NFL Network NoNoYesYesYes$Yes
NFL Red Zone NoNo$$$No$
NHL Network No$$NoNo$$
Nickelodeon YesNoNoYesYesYesYes
Nick Jr. YesYesYesYesYes$Yes
Nicktoons Yes$$Yes$$$
OWN YesNoNoYesYes$No
Oxygen NoNo$YesYes$Yes
Paramount Network Yes$$YesYesYesYes
Science Yes$$No$$$
Channel Philo ($28)Sling Orange ($40)Sling Blue ($40)YouTube TV ($73)Hulu with Live TV ($77)DirecTV Stream ($80)FuboTV ($80)
SEC Network No$NoYesYes$$
Showtime No$$$$$$
Smithsonian YesNoNoYesYes$Yes
Starz $$$$$$$
Sundance TV Yes$$YesNoYesNo
Syfy NoNoYesYesYesYesYes
Tastemade Yes$$YesNo$Yes
TBS NoYesYesYesYesYesNo
TCM No$$YesYesYesNo
TeenNick Yes$$Yes$Yes$
Telemundo NoNoNoYesYes$Yes
Tennis Channel No$$NoNo$$
TLC YesNoYesYesYesYesNo
TNT NoYesYesYesYesYesNo
Travel Channel YesYesYesYesYes$No
TruTV No$YesYesYesYesNo
TV Land Yes$$YesYesYesYes
USA Network NoNoYesYesYesYesYes
VH1 Yes$$YesYesYesYes
Vice YesYesYesNoYes$No
WE tv Yes$$YesNoYesNo
Channel Philo ($28)Sling Orange ($40)Sling Blue ($40)YouTube TV ($73)Hulu with Live TV ($77)DirecTV Stream ($80)FuboTV ($80)
James Martin/CNET

series of price hikes has brought a number of additional channels to Hulu, including PBS and access to Disney Plus and ESPN Plus, at a $77 price tag. Its channel selection isn't as robust as YouTube TV, yet it's Hulu's significant catalog of on-demand content which sets it apart. Exclusive titles such as Shōgun, The Bear and Only Murders in the Building give it a content advantage no other service can match. 

Live TV subscribers also receive unlimited DVR that includes fast-forwarding and on-demand playback -- at no additional cost. It's a move that has aligned Hulu with its competitors in terms of features, but the channel lineup may still be a deciding factor. For example, the platform recently lost Sinclair-owned ABC affiliate channels. It's $4 more than YouTube TV which has more channels, but the access to Disney Plus and ESPN Plus may make it a more appealing choice for you. Read our Hulu Plus Live TV review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

With an excellent channel selection, easy-to-use interface and best-in-class cloud DVR, the $73 per month YouTube TV is one of the best cable TV replacements. It offers a $20 4K upgrade, but the downside is there isn't much to watch at present unless you watch select channels. If you don't mind paying a bit more than the Sling TVs of the world, or want to watch live NBA games, YouTube TV offers a high standard of live TV streaming. Read our YouTube TV review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you want to save a little money and don't mind missing out on local channels, Sling TV is the best of the budget services. Its Orange and Blue packages start at $40 per month, and you can combine them for a monthly rate of $55 ($60 in some regions). The Orange option nets you one stream, while Blue gives you three. It's not as comprehensive or as easy to navigate as YouTube, but with a bit of work, including adding an antenna or an AirTV 2 DVR, it's an unbeatable value. We'll also add that the service offers local channels such as ABC and CBS in some regions where the monthly rate is $45. Read our Sling TV review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

DirecTV Stream is tied with Fubo as the most expensive, and its stiffest competition is still Hulu Plus Live TV and YouTube TV. The service does have its pluses, though -- for example, it includes the flipper-friendly ability to swipe left and right to change channels. Additionally, it includes some channels some other services can't, including nearly 250 PBS stations nationwide. The $80 Entertainment package may suit your needs with its 75-plus channels. But for cord-cutters who want to follow their local NBA or MLB team, DirecTV Stream's $109 Choice package is our live TV streaming pick because it has access to more regional sports networks than the competition. Nonetheless, you'll want to make sure your channel is included here, and not available on one of our preferred picks, before you pony up. Read our DirecTV Stream review.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

There's a lot to like about Fubo -- it offers a wide selection of channels and its sports focus makes it especially attractive to soccer fans or NBA, NHL and MLB fans who live in an area served by one of Fubo's RSNs. It's also a great choice for NFL fans, since it's one of three services, alongside YouTube TV and Hulu, that offer NFL Network and optional RedZone. As of February 2024, Fubo is charging more for its service and access to Bally Sports RSNs. The biggest hole in Fubo's lineup is the lack of Warner Bros. Discovery networks, including HGTV, Food Network, Cartoon Network, CNN, TNT and TBS -- especially since the latter two carry a lot of sports content, in particular NBA, NHL and MLB. Those missing channels, and the $80 price tag, makes it less attractive than YouTube TV for most viewers. Read our Fubo review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Philo is raising its price from $25 to $28 for new subscribers and adding an AMC Plus bundle, and it's still a cheap live TV streaming service with a variety of channels. But it lacks sports channels, local stations and big-name news networks -- although Cheddar and BBC news are available. Philo offers bread-and-butter cable staples like Comedy Channel, Nickelodeon and Magnolia Network, and specializes in lifestyle and reality programming. It's also one of the cheapest live services that streams Paramount, home of Yellowstone, and it includes a cloud DVR and optional add-ons from Epix and Starz. We think most people are better off paying another $15 for Sling TV's superior service, but if Philo has every channel you want, it's a decent deal. Read our Philo review.