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Hulu vs. YouTube TV vs. Sling TV vs. DirecTV Stream channels


The live TV streaming landscape is changing in terms of pricing and channel lineups, bridging the gap between cable packages. However, if you’re someone who prefers the freedom of contract-free live streaming apps, there’s hope. These platforms not only offer a wider range of channels compared to an antenna, but also provide the convenience of watching on desktops and mobile devices.

Currently, there are six major streamers in the rotation: YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, Sling TV, DirecTV Stream, Fubo and Philo. What truly matters is the channels they offer, though, and that’s why we’ve taken the time to sift through these services and compile a list of the ones that provide the best lineups for the cost.

Read more: Best Sports Streaming Service for 2023

The Big Chart: Top 100 channels compared, updated December 2023

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. 

Plenty of live TV streaming choices are available to anyone who wants to cut the cable cord. Sling TV’s basic packages are $40 in most cities. But costs have increased everywhere. YouTube TV is now $73 per month. Fubo’s base bundle is $75, and DirecTV Stream increased its plan subscriptions as well. Those changes are reflected in the chart below where applicable. Hulu’s live TV service now costs $77 a month with ads and $90 without ads, making it the most expensive option for a basic plan.

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 $100 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 carries your local network.
  • Local PBS stations are only currently available on YouTube TV and DirecTV Stream, and some have been added to Hulu. Again, you’ll want to check local availability.
  • Sling Blue subscribers in 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 ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) YouTube TV ($73) Fubo ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75) Hulu with Live TV ($77)
Total channels: 42 24 35 79 56 62 74
ABC No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
CBS No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
NBC No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
PBS No No No Yes No Yes No
CW No No No Yes Yes Yes (limited) Yes
MyNetworkTV No No No Yes No Yes Yes
Channel Philo ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) YouTube TV ($73) Fubo ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75) Hulu with Live TV ($77)
A&E Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
ACC Network No $ No Yes Yes $ Yes
Accuweather Yes No No No Yes Yes No
AMC Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Adult Swim No No No Yes No Yes Yes
Animal Planet Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
BBC America Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
BBC World News Yes $ $ Yes No $ No
BET Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Big Ten Network No No $ Yes Yes $ Yes
Bloomberg TV No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Boomerang No $ $ No No Yes $
Bravo No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Channel Philo ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) YouTube TV ($73) Fubo ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75) Hulu with Live TV ($77)
Cartoon Network No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
CBS Sports Network No No No Yes Yes $ Yes
Cheddar Yes No No Yes Yes $ Yes
Cinemax No No No $ No $ $
CMT Yes $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
CNBC No No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
CNN No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Comedy Central Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cooking Channel Yes $ $ No $ $ $
Destination America Yes $ $ No $ $ $
Discovery Channel Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Disney Channel No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Disney Junior No $ No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Disney XD No $ No Yes Yes Yes Yes
E! No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ESPN No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
ESPN 2 No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
ESPNEWS No $ No Yes $ $ Yes
ESPNU No $ No Yes $ $ Yes
Channel Philo ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) YouTube TV ($73) Fubo ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75) Hulu with Live TV ($77)
Food Network Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox Business No No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox News No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
FS1 No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
FS2 No No $ Yes Yes $ Yes
Freeform No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
FX No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
FX Movies No No $ Yes $ $ Yes
FXX No No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
FYI Yes $ $ No No $ Yes
Golf Channel No No $ Yes Yes $ Yes
Hallmark Yes $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
HBO/Max No No No $ No $ $
HGTV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
History Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
HLN No $ Yes Yes No Yes Yes
IFC Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Investigation Discovery Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lifetime Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
Lifetime Movie Network Yes $ $ No No $ Yes
Channel Philo ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) YouTube TV ($73) Fubo ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75) Hulu with Live TV ($77)
Magnolia Network Yes $ $ Yes Yes $ Yes
MGM+ (formerly EPIX) $ $ $ $ No $ No
MLB Network No $ $ No $ $ No
Motor Trend Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
MSNBC No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
MTV Yes $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
MTV2 Yes $ $ Yes $ Yes $
National Geographic No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nat Geo Wild No No $ Yes $ $ Yes
NBA TV No $ $ Yes $ $ No
NFL Network No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes
NFL Red Zone No No $ $ $ No $
NHL Network No $ $ No $ $ No
Nickelodeon Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nick Jr. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $ Yes
Nicktoons Yes $ $ Yes $ $ $
OWN Yes No No Yes Yes $ Yes
Oxygen No No $ Yes Yes $ Yes
Paramount Network Yes $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
Science Yes $ $ No $ $ $
Channel Philo ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) YouTube TV ($73) Fubo ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75) Hulu with Live TV ($77)
SEC Network No $ No Yes $ $ Yes
Showtime No $ $ $ $ $ $
Smithsonian Yes No No Yes Yes $ Yes
Starz $ $ $ $ $ $ $
Sundance TV Yes $ $ Yes No Yes No
Syfy No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tastemade Yes $ $ Yes Yes $ No
TBS No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
TCM No $ $ Yes No Yes Yes
TeenNick Yes $ $ Yes $ Yes $
Telemundo No No No Yes Yes $ Yes
Tennis Channel No $ $ No $ $ No
TLC Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
TNT No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Travel Channel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $ Yes
TruTV No $ Yes Yes No Yes Yes
TV Land Yes $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
USA Network No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
VH1 Yes $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
Vice Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
WE tv Yes $ $ Yes No Yes No
Channel Philo ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) YouTube TV ($73) Fubo ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75) Hulu with Live TV ($77)

Hulu movies and TV shows
James Martin/CNET

A 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 and Fubo, yet it’s Hulu’s significant catalog of on-demand content which sets it apart. Exclusive titles such as The Handmaid’s Tale, The Orville 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.

031-sling-2020-blue-orange
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 go for $40 per month, and you can combine them for a monthly rate of $55. 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. Read our Sling TV review.

5-directv-now
Sarah Tew/CNET

DirecTV Stream is no longer the most expensive, but 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 the other services can’t, including nearly 250 PBS stations nationwide. The $75 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 $100 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.

fubotv-1
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, with NFL Network and optional RedZone. In 2023, Fubo will offer 19 Bally Sports RSNs with a new package that includes the lineup. The biggest hole in Fubo’s lineup is the lack of Turner networks, including 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 same $75 price tag, makes it less attractive than YouTube TV for most viewers. Read our Fubo review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

At $25 Philo is 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 AMC, 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.



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