YouTube TV vs. Sling TV vs. DirecTV Now vs. Hulu and more: Live TV channels compared

YouTube TV vs. Sling TV vs. DirecTV Now vs. Hulu and more: Live TV channels compared

Deciding to cut the cable TV cord doesn’t mean you have to give up live TV. One way to watch live shows without cable is to connect an antenna. It’s cheap and effective, as long as you’re willing to live with the handful of local channels available in your area. And assuming you get good reception.

If that’s not good enough, and you’re willing to shell out a monthly payment, you should check out a live TV streaming service. They deliver numerous familiar channels like ESPN, CNN, Fox News and TNT, as well as features like cloud DVRs and the ability to watch not only on TVs, but also on phones, tablets and computers.


Eight major services are available today: Hulu with Live TV, Google’s YouTube TV, Dish Network’s Sling TV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue, AT&T’s DirecTV Now and Watch TV, Philo and Fubo TV. They cost $15 per month and up. Our full guide has all the details, but really, it’s all about the channels.

The big chart: Top 100 channels compared (updated August 9, 2019)
The main difference between each service is their channel lineups. All of them offer different slates of channels for various prices.

Most don’t have as many channels as traditional cable or satellite TV packages. On the other hand, maybe they have enough for you — especially if you’re saving a bunch of money every month by not paying the cable company for channels you don’t watch.

Below you’ll find a chart that shows the top 100 channels across all eight services. There are actually nine 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.

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 — channels devoted to showing regular-season games of particular pro baseball, basketball and/or hockey teams — are not listed. That’s a numeric disadvantage to services like YouTube TV and Fubo, which carry a lot of RSNs, and an advantage to Philo and AT&T, which don’t offer any sports channels, period.
  • ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, MyNetworkTV and The CW networks are not available in every city and availability of these local channels varies widely per service (Note that CBS is the parent company of CNET). In some cities, some services only offer video-on-demand shows from the networks, not the live local channel itself.
  • PBS isn’t yet available on any service but it’s definitely a top channel, so it gets a row. Later this year, however, YouTube TV will be the first service to add local PBS stations.
  • The chart columns are arranged in order of price, so if you can’t see everything you want, try scrolling right….Read more>>