The 8 Best TV Streaming Apps of 2023

Read about the costs and offerings of the best tv streaming apps

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Best TV Streaming Apps

Lifewire / Design by Amelia Manley

​When you cut the cord and free yourself from the limitations of a monthly cable subscription, it's all too easy to find yourself adrift in an unfamiliar sea of on-demand online content. Streaming sites like Netflix offer a ton of great television shows and movies that you can watch at any time, but where do you go to stream live television?

Each of these streaming services allows you to watch live TV right in your internet browser, and many of them also work with phones, video game consoles, and other devices. Some are better if you like sports, some offer a dizzying array of channels, and others offer great options for budget-minded cord cutters.

 Best TV Streaming Apps of 2023

Best Overall: YouTube TV

youtube tv streaming

 youtube tv streaming

Key Specs

  • Cost: $64.99 per month
  • Number of Channels: 85+
  • Add-ons: Showtime, Fox Soccer Plus, and STARZ

Why We Chose It

YouTubeTV includes all of the major television networks, plus unlimited DVR cloud storage to record your favorite live shows.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Unlimited recording and storage on YouTubeTV's own Cloud DVR

  • Lots of networks included in the plan

  • Easy to watch on tablets via a browser or the YouTube TV mobile app. TV requires a streaming device or smart TV

Cons
  • Some "holes" in programming; no HBO or Discovery Channel

  • Can't fast-forward through the commercials on some of the recorded content in the Cloud DVR

Overview

YouTube TV offers all the major networks and dozens of additional cable channels, so it's average in terms of cost and coverage. It also includes access to YouTube Originals. The service works on Android, iOS, Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One, compatible smart TVs, PC (via web browser).

One of the big things that YouTube TV has going for it is unlimited digital video recorder (DVR) cloud storage, which means you can record as many shows as you want, and access them from any device, without any extra charges. Three shows can be watched at the same time.

YouTube TV also includes access to shows like Cobra Kai that are normally only available to YouTube Premium subscribers.

Best to Replace Cable: DirecTV Stream

DirecTV Stream logo.

DirecTV

Key Specs

  • Cost: $69.99 per month to $139.99 per month
  • Number of Channels: 65+ channels to 140+ channels
  • Add-ons: HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and STARZ

Why We Chose It

DirecTV Stream is the best option to replace a cable subscription, offering the most live TV channels of all streaming services (but they come with a higher cost).

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Easy to sign up

  • Available with an internet connection and a smart device

  • No set-top box needed

  • No hidden costs

Cons
  • Few local channels

  • Internet connection must be high-speed for streaming

  • Not as large a channel selection as with cable or satellite TV

Overview

If you want a direct replacement for your high-end cable or satellite television subscription, then DirecTV Stream (previously AT&T TV Now) is probably the only streaming service that will even come close to satisfying you.

This streaming service offers more live streaming channels than any other service, with 140+ included in its premium subscription. However, the standard subscription includes fewer channels than some competitors for a higher monthly cost.

AT&T customers are sometimes eligible for specific bonuses. The service works on Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, Android, iOS, compatible smart TVs, PC (via web browser), and two shows can be watched at the same time.

Best for Sports Fans: fuboTV

fubotv

 fubotv

Key Specs

  • Cost: $64.99
  • Number of Channels: 100+
  • Add-ons: Additional DVR storage, family share plan, and Showtime, plus packages for international sports, sports, adventure, Portuguese language, Spanish language, and cycling

Why We Chose It

fuboTV is a great choice for sports fans, offering college, national, and international sports along with major television networks.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Generous selection of live sports and on-demand programming

  • Robust DVR functionality

  • Covers college, national, and international sports

Cons
  • No original content

  • Doesn't work with VPNs

Overview

While fuboTV offers a decent selection of live television channels, the real selling point of the service is sports. Most other services offer some sports channels, but fuboTV has some, like GOL TV, that you can't find elsewhere.

If watching live sports on the internet is your primary goal, then fuboTV is probably going to knock it out of the park. It's also a great choice if you want to watch either Spanish or Portuguese language sports channels. That said, it doesn't work with VPNs, which might be a knock against it if you're hoping to utilize one.

fuboTV is available to stream on Android, iOS, Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, Android TV, PC (via web browser). Three shows can be watched at once, but additional streams are available for an extra charge.

Best for General Entertainment: Sling TV

sling tv

 sling tv

Key Specs

  • Cost: $40 to $55 per month
  • Number of Channels: 31 to 47
  • Add-ons: Cloud DVR, HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Showtime, Epix, and packages for kids, news, lifestyle, NBA League, and multiple languages

Why We Chose It

Sling TV is more affordable than many other live TV streaming services, providing major networks and sports with options to upgrade with specific packages.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Good selection of national networks

  • Plans are customizable

  • Low entry fee

  • Offers 50-hour Cloud DVR (or 200 for an extra fee)

Cons
  • Little (or no) local programming

  • Weak search feature

  • Lacks interactive programming guide

  • No offline playback

Overview

Sling TV offers a whole lot of options, so it's a good choice for anyone who's really looking to tailor their experience. The budget-priced Orange plan is one of the least expensive options out there, offering 31 channels and 50 hours of DVR storage.

This service is a good choice for anyone who wants access to both sports and general entertainment channels. The optional sports package adds the NHL network, NBA TV, and ESPNU, and another optional add-on brings NBA League Pass to the table.

Sling TV is available to stream on Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, Android TV, iOS, Android, Xbox One, compatible smart TVs, and PC (via web browser). Subscribers to Sling Orange can only watch one show at a time, but Sling Blue allows up to three shows simultaneously.

Best for Bundling: Hulu With Live TV

hulu

 hulu

Key Specs

  • Cost: $64.99 per month
  • Number of Channels: 65+
  • Add-ons: Enhanced DVR, additional concurrent streams, premium channels (HBO, Cinemax, Showtime)

Why We Chose It

Hulu With Live TV can bring live channels to a streaming service you already use, or it can be purchased on its own for an average monthly cost.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Comes with Hulu's entire library of on-demand and original content

  • Compatible with many platforms and smart devices

  • 50-hour cloud DVR

  • 1-month free trial

Cons
  • Difficult-to-use interface

  • Offers fewer channels than its competitors

  • Extra charges for commercial-free service, extended cloud DVR, and unlimited screens

Overview

Hulu is one of the oldest and most trusted names in the streaming world, but the basic service doesn't include live television. Hulu With Live TV is an additional subscription, above and beyond the regular subscription, that adds access to live television channels.

If you're already a long-time Hulu subscriber, then this is a great way to seamlessly add a live television option to a service you already use regularly.

Hulu With Live TV is available to stream on Android, iOS, Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, Xbox 360, compatible smart TVs, and PC (via web browser). Two shows can be watched at once, but additional streams are available for an added monthly charge.

Best Budget: Philo

philo tv

 philo tv

Key Specs

  • Cost: $25 per month
  • Number of Channels: 60+ channels
  • Add-ons: Epix and STARZ

Why We Chose It

Philo is the best budget live TV streaming service for a standard lineup of channels, and it's a great pick if the specific channels you're interested in are available (though it's not recommended for sports fans).

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Inexpensive live television streaming service

  • Three simultaneous streams

  • No restrictions on ad-skipping

Cons
  • A poor choice for sports fans

  • Doesn't carry ABC, CBS, NBC, or FOX programming

  • No way to filter the catalog by genres

Overview

Philo is the most affordable multi-channel streaming service that offers live television, but it also has the fewest options and the sparsest lineup. Its plan doesn't include either ESPN or Fox Sports, for instance.

If you're looking for a cheap way to watch live television online and Philo has the channels you're looking for, then it's a great choice. The service is available to stream on iOS, Android, Roku, Chrome, and PC (via web browser) and allows you to stream three different shows at a time.

Best for Exclusive CBS Shows: Paramount+

Paramount+

 Paramount+

Key Specs

  • Cost: $4.99 to $9.99 per month
  • Number of Channels: 4
  • Add-ons: Showtime, plus a commercial-free option for $9.99 (allows content downloading for offline watching)

Why We Chose It

Paramount+ isn't the best choice for a variety of live TV channels, but it does provide access to exclusive CBS shows that are popular among many fans.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Original and classic content from CBS, BET, MTV, and more.

  • Breaking news and live sports.

  • New Paramount films debut on the service.

  • Service plans 50 new original series in the next two years.

Cons
  • Price increased from what its previous incarnation, CBS All Access, charged.

  • Ad-supported version won't include live local CBS stations.

Overview

Unlike the other options for watching live television online, Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) doesn't provide a ton of different channels. Its live TV options only include CBS, CBSN, CBS Sports HQ, and ET Live.

The main draw for Paramount+ is that it provides access to a number of exclusive, online-only CBS shows. For instance, the only way to watch Star Trek: Discovery is to sign up for Paramount+.

Paramount+ is an expansion of its previous incarnation, CBS All Access. In addition to its CBS content, Paramount+ adds exclusive streaming content from Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, and the Smithsonian Channel. There are also hundreds of Paramount movies and a ton of live sports, original content, and reboots.

If you're a fan of a lot of CBS shows and streaming new Paramount movie releases sounds fun, the inexpensive price tag makes Paramount+ a great deal.

Paramount+ allows three shows to be streamed at the same time, and it's available via Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android, Roku, Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, LG, Samsung, Vizio, Xfinity, computer with Chrome or Firefox web browsers.

Best for Add-Ons: Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video

Key Specs

  • Cost: $14.99 per month or $139 per year
  • Number of Channels: Must be purchased separately
  • Add-ons: HBO, Starz, BET, AMC, Showtime, Cinemax, Discovery, PBS, BBC, and more

Why We Chose It

Amazon Prime Video doesn't offer live TV channels in its standard subscription, but it does have great add-on options for users who want specific channels.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Reasonable prices for specific add-ons

  • Bundled with standard Amazon Prime subscription

Cons
  • Live TV channels must be purchased separately

Overview

Amazon Prime Video is included in a standard Amazon Prime subscription, so users get all the perks of Prime with one payment. However, its live TV options are better for customers that want specific channels rather than a full catalog.

Most live TV channels on Amazon Prime must be purchased separately, like HBO, Starz, BET, AMC, Showtime, Cinemax, Discovery, PBS, BBC, and more. Subscribers can often get these channels cheaper as add-ons to Prime than by purchasing subscriptions to them elsewhere, so Prime is still a good option depending on what you'd like to watch.

Plans start at $14.99 per month or $139 per year for most subscribers, but students and qualified government assistance recipients can sign up for cheaper rates ($7.49 per month or $6.99 per month, respectively).

Amazon Prime Video is available on smart TVs, gaming consoles, Amazon Fire TV, and mobile phones and tablets.

Final Verdict

YouTube TV is our best overall pick for TV streaming apps because it offers a significant number of channels and unlimited DVR cloud storage for a reasonable cost. While some services are better for sports fans or specific networks, YouTube TV covers the most categories. Additionally, this service is available to stream on smart TVs, gaming consoles, smartphones, and tablets, making it easily accessible for most users.

Guide to Choosing the Best TV Streaming Apps

Not all streaming services offer the same channels and perks. When deciding which TV streaming app is best for you, consider the following factors:

  • Monthly price: While some apps are cheaper than others, the monthly price for any particular service may have a better overall value for your household than others. Determine which channels you want and compare prices for the apps that offer them.
  • Streaming devices: You may be streaming on a smart TV, using Chromecast or Airplay to cast from your phone, watching via a tablet, or streaming from your gaming console to the television. Ensure that the app of your choice is compatible with your devices before purchasing.
  • Add-ons: Some services offer add-ons to bring the overall cost of other subscriptions down when you sign up. For example, you can bundle Hulu With Live TV with other apps like Disney+ for a reasonable monthly price.
  • Multiple users: If your household has more than one family member using the service at a time, opt for services that include this feature without charging extra.

Compare the Best TV Streaming Apps

Company Cost Number of Channels Add-ons
YouTube TV
Best Overall
$64.99 per month 85+ Showtime, Fox Soccer Plus, and STARZ
DirecTV Stream
Best to Replace Cable
$69.99 per month to $139.99 per month 65+ channels to 140+ channels HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and STARZ
fuboTV
Best for Sports Fans
$64.99 100+ DVR storage, family share plan, and Showtime, plus packages for international sports, sports, adventure, Portuguese language, Spanish language, and cycling
Sling TV
Best for General Entertainment
$40 to $55 per month 31 to 47 Cloud DVR, HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Showtime, Epix, and packages for kids, news, lifestyle, NBA League, and multiple languages
Hulu With Live TV
Best for Bundling
$64.99 per month 65+ Enhanced DVR, additional concurrent streams, premium channels (HBO, Cinemax, Showtime)
Philo
Best Budget
$25 per month 60+ channels 60+ channels
Paramount+
Best for Exclusive CBS Shows
$4.99 to $9.99 per month 4 Showtime, plus a commercial-free option for $9.99 (allows content downloading for offline watching)
Amazon Prime Video
Best for Add-Ons
$14.99 per month or $139 per year Must be purchased separately HBO, Starz, BET, AMC, Showtime, Cinemax, Discovery, PBS, BBC, and more

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best TV Streaming App?

The best TV streaming app depends on the channels you'd like to access. For example, YouTube TV offers most major television networks and plenty of live sports. If you're interested in purchasing a single channel or a smaller bundle of channels, options like Paramount+ or Philo may suit your needs. For sports fans, fuboTV is best for streaming the most games.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Stream Live TV?

Philo is the cheapest live TV streaming service with a substantial number of channels. However, options like YouTube TV, Sling, fuboTV, and Philo include significantly more. For a smaller budget with a few specific channels, you can opt for Paramount+ or add-ons to Amazon Prime.

How Can I Stream TV Channels for Free?

Providers like Sling Free, Pluto TV, and Tubi TV offer live TV channels for free. Many news networks also provide their live content for free online (but streaming capabilities may vary based on your devices).

Which TV App Has the Most Channels?

DirecTV Stream has the most channels, including 140+ with its premium subscription. YouTube TV and fuboTV include a wide variety of channels (85+ or 100+) for a lower price.

Methodology

To determine the best TV streaming apps, we compared popular options based on their price, availability of channels, specific channels included, add-ons, and overall value. Most apps include the major networks in their subscriptions, but some only include a few specific channels or require individual purchases (though these typically have a much lower monthly cost).

We also compared apps based on the number of shows that can be watched at one time, which allows multiple users in a household to use the same service simultaneously without a higher cost. Because most TV streaming apps do not include every channel that a user may want to view, it's important for subscribers to carefully read the available channels and ensure the streaming service of their choice offers the networks they desire.

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