There are endless possibilities to keep yourself entertained and busy in today’s world. Be it streaming movies, on-demand programs, live sporting events, or binge-watching TV series, you can’t distance yourself. The long work hours and stress we face day in and day out need some sort of therapy. And there is no better way to revitalize yourself for the next day without these entertainment domes.
In recent years, people are more inclined towards cord-cutting and opting for streaming services that deliver on-demand programs, popular TV shows, live sports events, and movies. Paid and free streaming services are widely accessible to people around the globe. However, paid streaming services to deliver premium features such as downloading movies and TV shows for offline viewing, DVR, and on-demand shows, are on the rise.
Streaming service might seem new to many readers, as they are prone to traditional cable services and can’t think of upgrading. However, with so many pros and few cons, some of the readers may change their minds due to the convenience, flexibility, and affordability it offers. Before we dive deep into streaming TV providers, let us first make you understand what Streaming TV service is and how does it work.
What is Streaming TV and How Does it Work?
Streaming TV, unlike satellite, antenna, or cable, is delivered through an internet connection. The minimum internet speed required is 25Mbps to stream seamlessly on multiple devices. In case, you want to stream TV on your cell phone, you also need to consider data caps. If the minimum data cap exceeds, you might end up paying more apart from what you are already paying. Depending on the service provider, the prices may vary on additional usage of data.
Generally, the Streaming TV service is quite competitive as compared to cable or satellite connection. Moreover, the streaming TV service is suitable for viewers who know exactly what they like to watch at any given time at a much lesser cost.
Free and Paid Popular Streaming TV Services
|Paid Streaming Services||Free Live Streaming Services|
|Philo Streaming TV||YouTube Live|
|Sling Streaming TV||Twitch|
|HBO||Redbox free Live TV|
|CBS All Access||Vudu|
|Hulu Streaming Services||The Roku Channel|
|Amazon Prime Video|
Pros and Cons of Streaming TV
The majority of people following the footsteps of masses decided to cut the cord. The reasons are plenty, but whopping monthly bills and long term commitments end up in sheer frustration leading to cord-cutting. Before you pull out scissors from your drawer, make sure to consider the pros and cons of streaming TV.
Pros of Streaming TV
Lesser Bills than Satellite or Cable TV
One of the reasons you are considering streaming TV over cable or satellite TV is the monthly bill. Most of the viewers aren’t likely to watch all the TV channels offered by cable or satellite TV – yet they pay bills for the channels and services that are not best utilized on their behalf. If you are one of those, there is no better way to save some hard-earned money and put it in your piggy bank.
Unlike cable or satellite TV, Streaming TV offers much flexibility and convenience. If for any reason you missed your favorite show, streaming TV service has got you covered. Be it Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Hulu, you have access to thousands of on-demand titles, including movies, TV shows, documentaries, and much more. Watch anytime and anywhere without any hassle.
You can’t afford to pay on services that offer you crap. The same goes for streaming TV services. They offer you a free trial so that you can dig deep into it and decide whether it is worth your investment, or wastage of money. Normally, a 7 or 30 days trial is offered by streaming TV services, which is more than enough to help you decide. Make sure to sign up for free trial before you pay the full amount.
You hate it, in fact, everyone hates to commit for a long time. If you are moving around from town to town now and then, you can’t afford to commit for a longer period. The majority of satellite and cable TV comes with a contract and if you decide to opt-out before the given period, be ready to pay a hefty amount.
But that’s not the case when it comes to streaming TV. Once you have subscribed to the services, no matter, where you move, you can access it anywhere from any part of the world (provided an internet connection). Streaming TV is dependent on an internet connection that delivers high download speed and unlimited data cap. You can check some of the best internet service providers including Cox, Xfinity, Spectrum, and Mediacom to get an idea about the packages and plans they offer.
No Equipment Required
You know how sloppy it gets when you have to pay for installation and equipment charges for cable or satellite TV. But that’s not the case of streaming TV. All you need is a stable and high-speed internet connection not less than 25Mbps. No need to upgrade your equipment or pay hefty fees on rentals. Stream as you go on your preferred device simply by logging in.
Cons of Streaming TV
Availability of Channel Lineup
One of the biggest drawbacks of streaming TV is that it does not offer as many channels, as you would get in case of cable TV or satellite TV. Some of the streaming TV providers offer a limited channel lineup, but they are not close to any cable or satellite service. If you love to watch live sporting events, streaming TV is not made for you.
Moreover, finding local channels including sports and other regional channels can also be challenging. For instance, networks like PBS are not available to live stream on any of the services.
Dependency on Internet Connection
Streaming TV requires a stable internet connection with unlimited data caps and high speed. If you are lucky enough, you will find some of the best internet service providers to offer you unlimited data caps with plenty of speed to help you stream on multiple devices (not less than 4K HD).
However, do not be overjoyed because with luxuries you have to pay the price. You guessed it right (whooping internet bills that would put a dent on your budget).
One of the major drawbacks of streaming TV services is that they place restrictions on the number of devices to stream simultaneously. For instance, if you want to add more devices, you need to pay extra. Make sure that you opt for the plan that meets your household requirements.
Live TV Streaming Plans
|Streaming Service||Price Range||Channels Offered||Best for|
|AT&T TV Now||$64-$135/month||45-125||HBO Included|
|Hulu + Live TV||$54.99-$60.99/month||60||Hulu Experience with Live Channels|
|Philo||$20/month||58||Budget entertainment programming|
|YouTube TV||$49.99/mo.||70||Unlimited DVR|
On-demand Streaming TV Plans
|Streaming Service||Price Range||Channels Offered||Best for|
|Apple TV+||$4.99/month||6||Apple Fans|
|CBS All Access||$5.99-$9.99/month||2||CBS Shows|
|Disney+||$6.99/month or $69.99/year||4||Families|
|ESPN+||$4.99/month||3||Sports & documentaries|
|HBO Now||$14.99/month||3||Movies & premium shows|
|Hulu||$5.99-$11.99/month||2||Original shows and network shows|
|Amazon Prime Video||$12.99/month||3||Movies and original shows|
|Showtime||$7.99-$10.99/month||3||Movies & original shows|
What is the Difference between Live TV Streaming and On-Demand Streaming?
The on-demand streaming model is quite popular these days as people find it convenient to choose their schedule to watch their favorite shows and movies. You can watch a movie or a show by clicking on the menu, selecting the desired show, and play. Watch anytime and anywhere on your schedule.
Live TV Streaming is quite the opposite of on-demand streaming. You can watch content on a real-time schedule. Just scroll through the list of channels just like you would do in case of satellite or cable connection and select the show that is on air.
Satellite and Cable TV are still a better choice as it allows live streaming services like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV. It means that you are going to taste the two in one package.
Internet Speed for Live Streaming
If you have decided to cut the cord, and give a chance to live to stream, make sure to read the section carefully.
For video streaming services like Sling TV, Hulu, and Netflix, you need at least 25Mbps of internet download speeds. It is the minimum requirement if you can’t compromise on quality less than 4K HD or ultra HD.
If you have subscribed to internet speed ranging from 10Mbps to 18Mbps, you can live stream in video formats like HD or SD. If there are multiple users and devices, make sure to purchase a plan more than 25Mbps and closer to 50Mbps at least.
When it comes to internet speed, it is usually measured in Mbps (Mega Bits per Second). You can also run a speed test to find whether you are getting enough download speeds as advertised by your internet service provider.
However, you may find buffering issues, even if you opt for high-speed internet. It is because you don’t have enough bandwidth for every user in the house.
Single User Internet Speed Recommendations
|Minimum Speed Requirements||Quality of Video|
|18-25 Mbps||Ultra HD Video (UHD, 4K and HDR)|
|10-18 Mbps||HD Video|
|1-10 Mbps||SD Video|
How Do I Speed up My Video Streaming?
Internet speed requirements differ from one user to the other. For multiple users and devices in a household, you need to consider the types of media you need to play. For instance, online gaming and 4K TV shows require higher download speeds as compared to normal web browsing, socializing, or checking emails.
If you work as a freelancer or have other members who love to watch movies, you may need to upgrade your internet plan to make sure your connection does not slow down.
Upgrade Your Internet Plan
The majority of internet users get internet speed of around 100Mbps. Some internet service providers even offer speeds up to 1Gbps or more. The 100Mbps download speed is enough for streaming content in HD on multiple devices. You still need to make sure that the internet does not slow down when everyone is simultaneously connected to the same network.
Make sure to check your internet speed using a speed test to confirm that you get speed as advertised by the ISP. Upload speed is not as crucial as download speed for streaming unless you are playing online games, live streaming from Twitch, or uploading your Vlogs on YouTube, Facebook or Vimeo. Generally, upload speed is important if you need to upload heavy files or high definition videos through file-sharing programs.
Upgrade Your Equipment
After subscribing to high-speed internet plans, you may still face buffering issues. For this, you need to replace your existing modem or router with a new one. If you own an older model provided by ISP, make sure to buy your own not only to fix the buffering issues but also to save on rental fees charged every month. Even after upgrading your existing equipment, you face slow streaming, make sure to get a dedicated streaming device.
Best Live Streaming Services 2020
With ever-increasing prices of cable or satellite TV, you can still manage to watch your favorite TV channels like ESPN, Nickelodeon, ABC, CNN, and NBC through live streaming services. Ditch your cable or satellite TV connection and subscribe to live streaming services. Here are some of the popular live TV streaming service for cord-cutters in 2020.
YouTube TV is one of the most popular live streaming services in 2020, offering more LIVE channels than competitors for the base plan. You can watch all-time favorite local channels including NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS. YouTube TV is the only live streaming service with local PBS channels.
YouTube also offers the best cloud DVR with unlimited storage and up to nine months to watch recordings. The user-friendly interface is easy to understand without any gimmicks or complexities. Even a 5 years old kid can easily find programs and shows to watch. The best part of YouTube TV is that most of the features resemble that of cable service. For one single price and package, you can enjoy the live streaming of your favorite channels. No hidden charges – just one package for all your entertainment needs.
Unlike any other cable or streaming service, you get everything without any hidden charges on cancellation, DVR, rental box, local channels, sports, and HD fees. Save as much as $70 per month with YouTube TV.
YouTube TV requires no setup; all you need is to start your YouTube TV trial and bid farewell to hidden charges and top box fees. Record your favorite shows and never run out of space. Moreover, you can also share it with your friends and family members up to six accounts.
YouTube TV allows 3 simultaneous streams along with personalized recommendations and guide customization.
If for some reason you are not satisfied with the services, you can cancel your subscription anytime. No contract bindings or hidden charges. Start watching and glue on your TV screens within minutes.
Some of the most popular YouTube TV channels lists include ABC, ESPN, Fox, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, HGTV, Food Network, TNT, CNN, Disney Fox Sports, and AMC.
YouTube TV Pros and Cons
- Channel offerings for sports lovers, news and entertainment
- No hidden cost or long term contracts
- Easy to use interface
- DVR features
- Channel offerings for sports lovers, news and entertainment
- Limited parental control options
Sling TV is one of the most popular streaming TV providers that costs more than Philo and AT&T Watch TV. However, the channel lineup and better interface justify the price. The best thing is that it is a cheap streaming TV provider as compared to other streaming platforms.
For instance, Sling is much economical than Hulu plus Live TV and YouTube TV, due to its few local channels offering. It has two channel packages like Sling Blue and Sling Orange that costs $30 per month. Both Sling Orange and Sling Blue offer different channel offerings, but the Orange comprises of ESPN/Disney package while the Sling Blue offers Fox/NBC package. Sling interface is quite easy to navigate and allows you to explore options without muddling the screen. One of the drawbacks of Sling TV except lack of locals is its hidden Live Pause.
|Sling TV Packages||Sling TV Cost||Sling TV Channels|
|Sling Orange||$30 per month||AMC, Food Network, CNN|
|Sling Blue||$30 per month||Viceland, USA, El Rey, FX|
|Sling Orange + Sling Blue||$45 per month||NFL Network, History, Comedy Central|
Sling TV Pros and Cons
- A myriad of channel offerings
- Movie rentals
- Reliable streams
- Flexible subscription options
- Limited local and regional channels
- Confusing add-ons option
- Interface and app is not up to the mark
AT&T Watch TV
If you are hunting for dirt-cheap options, there is no better deal than AT&T Watch TV. Especially, if you are a die-hard lover of sports, you can subscribe to Watch TV without giving a second thought.
AT&T Watch TV offers both on-demand and live TV so that you can watch the latest shows on air and a complete lineup of your favorite TV serials and movies. For less than Netflix’s premium, you can watch favorite cable channels. AT&T Watch TV offers only one plan that meets the need of someone looking for a handful of entertainment, lifestyle, kids and family, and news channels. However, you do not get a cloud DVR to record your favorite episodes to watch later – so make sure to watch as the show goes on air.
AT&T Watch TV has 15,000 on-demand shows, giving no chance to run out of content – especially during the COVID-19 lockdown. For individuals who are all alone and have no one to share streaming services can find it an affordable option without any doubt.
AT&T Watch TV is a great option for individuals who don’t want to share the stream with anyone. The base price is much competitive but the add-ons will jolt your budget. Providers like Hulu + Live TV offer add-ons for just $3-$5 per month, but that’s not what you should expect from AT&T Watch TV.
|AT&T WatchTV Add-ons||Price|
|HBO||$17.99 per month|
|CINEMAX||$13.99 per month|
|Showtime||$13.99 per month|
|Starz||$13.99 per month|
If you have subscribed to AT&T Unlimited and More Premium phone plan, you can select one premium channel without bearing the extra cost. Catch on the latest and trending movies and on-demand TV series, missing in the basic plan.
AT&T WatchTV’s interface is similar to DirecTV Now – another live streaming TV service by AT&T. Although DirecTV Now is expensive, the interface is something to appreciate. If you go to the Watch Now page, you will be given on-demand recommendations and the last thing you watched. In case you want to surf channels, there is no better place to be apart from AT&T WatchTV.
Watch your favorite shows later and keep track of it through My Library. All the shows you have bookmarked will be shown here. In the Discovery Page, you will come across on-demand movies and TV shows. To make browsing easier, the genres are divided into subsections. You can find plenty of categories that suit your taste.
AT&T Watch TV channels include Discovery Channel, Cartoon Network, Bloomberg, BBC World News, TBS, History, Motor Trend, TV Land, MTV, and much more.
AT&T Watch TV Pros and Cons
- Lowest price, suitable for individuals
- User-friendly interface
- AT&T Unlimited discounts
- Only one stream available
- No sports channels
- Incompatible with ROKU
- No DVR Recordings
- Expensive add-ons
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV, one of the most popular streaming services where you get the chance to watch live TV channels, premium channels add-on, and a huge library of on-demand content. If you are thinking of recording your favorite shows, Hulu + Live TV offers DVR service, but with limited storage and lesser channels.
Hulu Plus Live TV offers everything that you pay for – no more, no less. Price is justified as compared to other streaming service providers. The best part is you can get rid of those annoying ads, unlike other streaming platforms. For sports lovers, the good news is that they can bundle it with ESPN. While for those having little devils roaming here and there can bundle up with Disney+ to keep them busy and away from messing up clean floors and dining table. Bundling both will cost you only $61 which is way lesser than if you subscribe individually.
|Hulu Plans||Price||Channel Count|
|Hulu + Live TV (limited ads)||$54.99/mo.||60+|
|Hulu + Live TV (no ads)||$60.99/mo.||60+|
Hulu + Live TV comes with no contract at all. Cancel anytime without paying those hefty charges. Switch to any other streaming service, without bearing the extra burden. However, you should check some additional charges (optional) before subscribing to Hulu Plus Live TV.
|Enhanced DVR up to 200 hours||$9.99 per month|
|Unlimited Screens||$9.99 per month|
|Enhanced DVR + unlimited screens||$14.98 per month|
Hulu TV Channels depend on your Zip code, particularly when it comes to local channels. Make sure to check the channels you will get in your area. But rest assured, you will get unlimited loads of your favorite channels. Some of the channels include Fox News, TNT, Animal Planet, CNN, Discovery Channel, MSNBC, Food Network, National Geographic, and Disney Channel.
Pros and Cons of Hulu + Live TV
- Affordable Prices
- Huge collection of original content
- Limited channel lineup
- Pricey DVR and multiple streams
AT&T TV Now
AT&T TV Now was formerly known as DirecTV has plenty of premium features that other streaming platforms lack i.e. it includes HBO and Cinemax in the price. Whether you are a fan of Game of Thrones or not, HBO is still a premium option.
Surely a great distraction created by AT&T TV Now, however, comes with a hefty price, which starts at $65 per month – and on top of that, it misses the top channels other providers offer at a much cheaper price.
|AT&T TV Now Plan||AT&T TV Now Price||TV Channel Count|
|AT&T TV Now Plus||$65||45+|
|AT&T TV Now Max||$80||60+|
|AT&T TV Now Entertainment||$93||65+|
|AT&T TV Now Choice||$110||85+|
|AT&T TV Now Xtra||$124||105+|
|AT&T TV Now Ultimate||$135||125+|
|AT&T TV Now Optimo Mas||$86||90+|
AT&T TV Now also comes with a DVR storage that allows you to store 500 hours of content. The DVR recordings can be saved up to 30 days. Although it is not even close to YouTube TV’s unlimited storage for up to 9 months, still a great option as compared to Sling that only offers 50 hours of storage for $5 per month.
Pros and Cons of AT&T TV Now
- HBO and Cinemax included in the plan
- 500 hours of DVR storage
- Reliable performance
- Highly expensive
- Disappointing apps
- Bland DVR
- Restricted channel packages
Philo isn’t a preferred choice among cord-cutters, still, it has gained popularity over the years. Like we have discussed before that most of the streaming TV providers like DirecTV Now offer a wide range of channels and plenty of add-on options to mimic cable TV. If you are looking forward to a bunch of channels and add-ons, just stop right here – Philo is not going to fulfill your needs. Philo focuses mainly on Lifestyle Networks to offer you channels that you would get with cable TV. However, the prices are much lower than that of cable TV.
Philo is no doubt the most affordable option when it comes to streaming services. Your monthly bills won’t break the bank – costs you no more than dining out in a restaurant. Philo does not offer much of the variety – still you can get at least 58 channels, depending on the area you live in.
For instance, for merely $20 per month, Philo offers you 58 channels, up to 3 simultaneous streams, and no premium channel. If you are busy and not much into watching TV, Philo is not going to disappoint you. At least for the price you pay for.
One of the best things about Philo is that you don’t need to pay upfront. Yes, that’s right, Philo won’t ask you for a credit card. Just enter your phone number, relax on a comfortable couch, and start binge-watching shows instantly.
After the 7 days trial is over, you will get free access for five more days – just to make sure you have checked whether it suits you or not. After five days of extended trial, Philo will ask you to enter your credit card details and pay for it.
As mentioned earlier, Philo offers a lifestyle channel lineup, which includes Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, Animal Planet, and American Heroes. However, if you want to hook to the news channel like CNN or enjoy watching live football on your TV, Philo is not for you. Philo channels lineup does not include any popular sports channel including ESPN. However, if you are fond of watching scrumptious recipes from around the world, Philo won’t disappoint you. You can watch Food Network day in and day out.
Pros and Cons of Philo
- Affordable pricing plan as compared to other streaming services
- Three simultaneous streams
- Easy to use apps
- Extended trial
- Live channels are not available
- No personalized recommendations
- 60fps support remains absent
Cord-cutting is not as bright as it looks. The expectation and reality might vary from one person to another. You have to compromise on many things as streaming services don’t offer as much as that of satellite or cable TV. Before you ditch your cable or satellite connection, make sure to analyze the sacrifices you have to make.