Sure, YouTube TV is great, but it is one of the priciest options for live-tv and cable alternative streaming services and requires a Google log-in. After the most recent price increase this summer, viewers may be ready to explore what other options are available. Here we give an overview of what YouTube TV is, what the competition is offering in terms of access to local network channels, live TV, cable channel access, and more to pin down the best alternative service. For a more detailed and in-depth comparison of features, check out our review of the best live TV streaming services.
Starting price: $69.99 a month ($70.99 with Hulu ad-free) Offers a 1-week free trial.
Perhaps the Best replacement for YouTube TV is Hulu Live TV. Hulu recently raised its price last year to $69.99 a month so it’s the same YouTube TV and includes more than 65 major channels, plus live TV with access to numerous local channels (ou can see all the channels offered in your area by entering your zip code on this Hulu Page).
Also, users get access to all of Hulu’s On-Demand Streaming Library. This includes Hulu’s original shows, like The Handmaid’s Tale, Little Fires Everywhere, and The Great. Hulu’s on-demand offerings are vastly superior to what you’ll find on YouTube TV’s on-demand library. It should be noted that the On-Demand isn’t ad-free at the price of $69.99, although it can be for $82.99. Hulu Live TV offers six user accounts, with two simultaneous screens and 50 hours of Cloud DVR (additional hours available as an add-on). All the major premiums are available as an add-on, including a bundled discount if adding Showtime and Starz together.
- Over 60 broadcast and cable-based channels (including premium channels like HBO)
- Live stream of local ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox in nearly all markets
- The basic package comes with 50 hours of cloud DVR storage with the ability to upgrade if needed.
- Watch on two screens at once. You can upgrade to unlimited screens for $14.99 per month. This upgrade also gives you three screens while away from your home network.
- Comes with six customizable profiles
- Includes entire Hulu streaming library
For more details, check out our full review of Hulu.
Starting price: $64.99 a month with a 1-week free trial.
FuboTV is also a neck-and-neck competitor with YouTube TV and probably offers a bit more for the same price. The base package comes in at $64.99 a month and offers more channels at 112, in addition to offering all the local networks (plus Univision, which YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV don’t have). The Familyl package comes with up to three screens streaming and 250 hours of Cloud DVR. While fuboTV offers more channels overall—and even more options at the Elite $79.99 tier—its weak point might be premiums. The only premium add-on options available are Showtime and AMC Premiere. However, since add-ons are usually the same price as subscribing directly to a channel, it’s not hard to get those a la carte, even if it means the inconvenience of multiple apps.
- ESPN, FS1, and more are available in fuboTV’s channel lineup
- You can watch on three screens at the same time
- 250 hours of cloud DVR storage
- The FuboTV app is available on major platforms, including Apple TV, AndroidTV, Roku, and Amazon FireTV.
Starting price: $55 a month
Formerly DirectTV Now, DIRECTV STREAM Now offers several pricing tiers, and, not surprising given its origins, is most like a traditional cable subscription in its wide range of packages. The base package is $55 a month and starts with 45 channels, plus at least the big four local networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox) in most markets. While it is possible to get almost any cable channel through DIRECTV STREAM Now, there are different offerings per pricing tier, so you may rapidly find yourself in an expensive package to get everything you want. The most competitive to YouTube Live is probably the second tier, Max, which has over 60 channels, including HBO, for $80 a month. Starting at even the base level, subscribers get cloud storage of 500 hours and the ability to stream on three screens simultaneously.
- watch 3 streams simultaneously per subscription
- a cloud-based DVR
- channels like CNN, AMC, HGTV, Discovery, and more
- supported on Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Amazon FireTV, and more
You can check out everything this service offers by reading our DIRECTV STREAM Now review.
Starting price: $30 a month with a 3-day free trial
An a la carte cable alternative, Sling offers several different cable channel packages and custom add-on bundles, at a variety of price points. The two base packages, Blue and Orange, each run $30 a month and have different combinations of traditional cable channels. There are also options to bundle the two packages or to add in premiums (Showtime, Starz, and Epix as a group). DVR capability is only available as an add-on, and for a limited number of hours. While Sling can be a decent alternative to someone looking to get a handful of select cable channels, their live TV options for local and network broadcast channels are slim, and most markets require an antenna to access. Sling does offer a package that includes an antenna and Air TV Player, which merges the signal into the Sling app for use at home and on mobile devices. So while affordable, Sling doesn’t have many features that YouTube TV offers. It isn’t very easy to get local channels, and, honestly, their most recent website update makes even going through the a la carte options to build a package you want unwieldy.
- access to CNN, AMC, History Channel, A&E, and other channels on Sling TV
- Sling also offers on-demand and a cloud DVR
- You can stream up to three devices simultaneously on the Sling Blue plan. The Orange plan limits you to 1 stream at a time.
- Supported on Windows and Mac PCs and laptops, Android and iOS devices, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Nexus player, Xbox One, 4th Generation Apple TV, Chromecast, and more.
- Includes a cloud DVR along with other great features.
For details on Slings service offerings and the difference between them, check out our review of Sling TV.
Starting price: $45 a month (currently $40) after a 3-day free trial
Vidgo is a newer over-the-top live TV streaming service with a heavy emphasis on watching TV as a social experience. The base package offers more than 65 channels, with several major sports networks, and can connect with and download up to 30 different channel apps for free with the subscription. There are limits to its features. Primarily it doesn’t have full DVR options, but rather a 24-hour playback on live streams from the channels available (although access to the individual apps alleviates that need somewhat). Local options are also very slim, with only the ABC family of channels readily available. Plus, Fox and MyTV in a select number of regions, and no NBC or CBS channel. Its big unique feature is Social TV, which gives viewers the option to sync up and participate in social viewing parties where you can engage in commentary and discussion with friends while watching simultaneously.
Vidgo doesn’t force you into a contract, and you can cancel any time. They do offer a 3-day free trial, which you can cancel within the first three days at no charge.
Vidgo is supported on Android, iOS, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Fire TV. You can also stream the service on up to 3 devices at the same time. You can also use your Vidgo user credentials to unlock the Fox News Go app. We have the full details in our guide to Vidgo’s live streaming service.
Starting price: $25 per month with a 1-week free trial
Philo is a relatively affordable alternative if you’re just looking for live TV access to major cable channels. Philo’s subscription package is priced at only $20, which gives users access to 60 channels, ranging from entertainment to news and lifestyle. Philo comes with unlimited DVR hours, and recordings are kept up to 30 days, as well as the ability to stream on three devices simultaneously. However, it does not offer any local channels, almost no sports, and Epix and Starz are the only premium add-on options.
Best YouTube TV Alternatives
Overall, the choice really comes down to Hulu Live TV and fuboTV as equivalent alternatives to YouTube TV. Both offer live TV streaming of both major cable networks as well as the full range of local broadcast networks. While fubTV has more channels and better DVR services, assuming Hulu Live TV has the networks you prefer, it is slightly more affordable and has the benefit of including all the Hulu programming, as well as a wider range of premium add-ons that are more in line with YouTube’s offerings.
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