Do you want to watch every movie and TV show ever made? If your answer is yes, you’re going to need a good streaming service provider. However, with such a big selection of offers and packages online, how can you be sure you’ve chosen a good one?
Well, stay tuned for the top list of the five most popular streaming service providers on the market. Once you’re done reading this article, you’ll be able to choose the best one for you.
Not only that, but you’ll also be able to read about all of their benefits, drawbacks, and extra features. If you want to see who takes the crown as the best streaming service provider, keep on reading.
What Is Streaming?
With a live TV streaming service, you can transform any home into your own personal movie theater. You can watch whatever’s on TV, with an added bonus of rewinding shows or movies you want to watch again. Not only that, but you can also pause what you’re watching if you need a quick break.
In essence, you can have everything you had with your cable TV but also have some amazing features to go with that offer. Moreover, since most streaming service providers give trial periods, you’re not going to get stuck with some bad service for years. You can try out different providers to see which one works best for you.
Furthermore, a streaming service is usually much easier to set up compared to regular cable TV. All you have to do is choose which provider has the best services for you and buy them. Also, you can stream your content on various devices, such as TVs, laptops, tablets, and phones.
Now, out of the five contestants, let’s see which one claims the title of the best streaming service provider.
1. DIRECTV NOW — Best All-Around
If you’ve always wanted to try live TV streaming, DIRECTV NOW would be a great place to start. They offer a 7-day free trial, so you don’t have to commit to a long-term contract right away.
One of the reasons why DIRECTV won the best overall provider title is because of their amazing packages. On their website, they have a section of featured and other packages. When it comes to featured packages, they have two options — DIRECTV Plus and DIRECTV Max.
If you go with the Plus package, you will get access to over 45 channels, with HBO included. The Plus package is the smallest and cheapest package in their selection. Next, you can get the Max package with over 60 channels. Not only will you get HBO with this one, but you’ll also get Cinemax.
If you feel both of these packages are too small for you, no need to worry — there’s a lot more where that came from. You can also choose between the following:
- Entertainment — Over 65 channels, including ESPN, CNN, and HGTV.
- Choice — Over 85 channels, including the Travel channel, SCI, and OWN.
- Xtra — Over 105 channels, including Sundance TV, FXM, and FS2.
- Ultimate — Over 125 channels, including Starz Encore family, action, and classic.
- Optimo Más — Over 90 channels, including the Discovery Channel, ESPN Deportes, and Viendo Movies.
While they do have an amazing selection of channels, DIRECTV only has 20 hours of DVR storage. Not only that, but there’s no way to upgrade it and get more storage.
While this isn’t a problem for most people, if you’re someone who loves to save a lot of content to watch later, you might want to go with another provider.
- 7-day free trial
- Seven different packages
- Excellent selection of channels
- Not enough DVR storage space
2. Sling TV — Best Deal
Now, if you really want to get the best value for your money, Sling TV is the way to go. They offer great packages, amazing channel selections, and have a customizable offer.
With Sling TV, you can choose between three different packages — Orange, Blue, and Orange+Blue. Also, you get each of these to try on a 7-day free trial to see which one works best for you.
- Orange — Around 30 channels, including CNN, ESPN, and Disney.
- Blue — Around 45 channels, including AMC, BBC, and TNT.
- Orange+Blue — Over 50 channels, including Comedy Central, NFL Network, History.
Sling TV often has various discounts for their new customers as well. However, keep in mind that Sling Orange and Sling Blue don’t have the same channels. For example, while the Orange package has ESPN, Sling Blue only has the NFL Network.
Also, with the Orange package, you only get one stream per account. But if you go with the Blue one, you can have three.
On the other hand, you can totally customize your packages and pick and choose between different channels. A word to the wise here — practice self-control when looking at which channels to get. If you’re not careful, you can increase your monthly subscription bill pretty fast.
While neither package comes with the DVR included, you can pay a little extra and get 50 hours of storage.
When it comes to local TV, Sling’s selection isn’t that great. You don’t have access to CBS, and for channels like Fox, ABC, and NBC, you have a somewhat limited viewing access.
- Great selection of channels
- Best value for money
- Poor selection of local channels
- DVR storage isn’t included
3. Hulu with Live TV — Best for Binge-Watching
If you like to keep up with current TV shows and movies, Hulu should be one of your top picks. They offer excellent on-demand content and update their shows almost immediately as they come out.
Hulu only has one package that comes in two options — Hulu Limited with commercials and Hulu with TV, commercial-free. The package boasts over 60 channels; however, you can also get some of their add-ons and customize it.
Hulu with Live TV is compatible with so many devices and operating systems. Not only do they have have a big streaming library, but you can also watch a number of local channels, such as FOX, NBC, ABC, and many more.
Also, Hulu is pretty flexible when it comes to their subscription. Once you sign up, you’ll be able to change and even cancel your subscription any time you want. Of course, you can also sign up for the 7-day free trial to see if Hulu with Live TV is a good fit for you.
There are five add-ons you can choose from:
- Unlimited Streams — You can stream content from multiple devices at the same time.
- Enhanced Cloud DVR — You can get 200 hours of DVR storage, compared to the 50 hours you start off with.
- Premium Network Add-on — Includes HBO, STARZ, and Cinemax.
- Entertainment Networks Add-on — Includes FYI, Discovery Life, and Lifetime Movies.
- Español Networks Add-on — Includes ESPN Deportes, Discovery Familia, and NBC Universo.
Keep in mind that, while these add-ons are great to have, they can also increase your monthly subscription charges.
- Great selection of channels, including local ones
- Customizable package
- Big streaming library
- Add-ons can significantly increase your subscription charges
4. YouTube TV — Best DVR Storage
In case you didn’t know, YouTube actually has a great offer when it comes to streaming services. They have unlimited DVR storage and plenty of channels to choose from.
YouTube TV only has one subscription package that boasts 73 channels. Also, YouTube has integrated its entire streaming library on YouTube TV, so you have access to so much content. And not only that, but you also get YouTube Red included with your subscription.
However, while you have access to some amazing shows with YouTube Red, you won’t be able to watch content without ads.
Next, let’s talk about their DVR storage. You have no limitations to how much content you can download. All of your movies and shows will stay in your DVR storage for nine months.
After the nine months, they will just delete themselves from your library. Also, you get six accounts per household and up to three simultaneous streams.
YouTube TV is compatible with most TV brands, including Samsung, LG, Sharp, and many more. You can get YouTube TV on a 7-day free trial, and you can cancel your subscription any time you want.
Now, while you do have YouTube’s amazing streaming library, the channel selection is a lot smaller compared to other service providers like DIRECTV and Sling. Also, since it’s a relatively new service, it’s not available for some states in the U.S.
- You have access to YouTube’s streaming library
- YouTube Red is included
- Unlimited DVR storage
- Poor channel selection
5. PlayStation Vue — High-Quality Streaming
The final contestant for the title of the best service provider is PlayStation Vue. With high-quality streaming and a ton of channels to choose from, let’s see what makes PlayStation’s offer so unique.
With the PlayStation Vue, you can choose between four different packages:
- Access — Comes with 49 channels, including AMC, NBC on Demand, and ESPN.
- Core — Comes with 65 channels, including Sundance TV, beIN Sports, and BTN.
- Elite — Comes with 88 channels, including BabyTV, BBC World News, and CNBC World.
- Ultra — Comes with over 90 channels, including HBO and Showtime.
In addition to the pre-selected packages, you can also add multi-channel plans. You can get the Sports Pack, Español Pack, and many more. However, be careful when choosing any of these multi-channel plans as they can significantly increase your monthly charges.
Also, for every package level, you get up to five streams. Moreover, you can stream the content on various devices, and you don’t even need a PlayStation console to watch.
Next, let’s talk about storage. With the PlayStation Vue, you get 28 days of unlimited DVR storage. While it is less storage time compared to YouTube TV, it’s still much better compared to what you would get with other streaming service providers.
However, where PlayStation Vue falls short is its free trial and package prices. First, you only get a 5-day trial. And even though this is enough to see if the package works for you, it’s still less than all of the other providers give you.
- Four packages
- Great selection of channels
- Unlimited DVR storage for 28 days
- Shorter trial period
- Multi-channel plans are expensive
Now, let’s talk about some honorable mentions. While they didn’t make it on the top five list, depending on what you need, these could also work great for you.
1. CBS All Access
With 10,000 episodes to stream at any moment, CBS All Access is a great choice for all binge-watchers out there. You’ll also have access to some of their original shows, such as “Tell Me A Story” and “The Twilight Zone.”
You should get fuboTV if you really enjoy watching sports channels. They have four different packages, starting with 83 channels. Some of the add-ons you can choose from are:
- Adventure Plus
- International Sports Plus
- Fubo Cycling
With Philo, you have access to unlimited DVR storage for 30 days. They offer 58 channels, and all new customers get a discount when they join. Also, they allow for up to three streams at the same time.
There you have it — the best live TV streaming service providers right now. While they all have amazing channels and add-on plans, at the end of the day, it depends on what’s most important to you.
If you want the best channel selection — go with DIRECTV. On the other hand, if you love watching all the latest shows, you can check out Hulu with Live TV. And if storage is important to you, look into getting a YouTube TV subscription.
Whichever of these providers you decide to go with, you can rest assured that you’ve made a good decision. Also, always take advantage of the free trial to see what works best for you before you commit to any long-term contract.