What Is the Best TV Streaming Service?Updated July 15, 2022 Connectivity
Swapping traditional cable or satellite TV for TV streaming services has become popular over the last several years. Some of the best TV streaming services like Sling TV and Disney Plus offer on-demand and live TV streaming to give viewers more of what they want to see when it fits their schedule. Not sure where to start? Find out more about the best TV streaming service platforms on the market.
17 Best TV Streaming Services
- YouTube, YouTube Premium, and YouTube TV
- HBO Max
- Disney Plus
- Paramount Plus
- Frndly TV
- Amazon Prime Video
- Fubo TV
- Apple TV Plus
- DIRECTV Stream
- Hulu / Hulu Plus Live TV
- Pluto TV
- Sling TV
- Acorn TV
Do you still know anyone who has cable TV or satellite television? It's becoming rarer to find any households still using these services to watch live sports, Comedy Central, or other popular programming. Instead, many individuals and families have moved to streaming TV on devices like a Fire TV Stick, Roku, or Apple TV.
Convenience is a big part of it, with the best streaming service platforms allowing people to watch their shows and movies when it fits their schedule. A streaming service with live TV usually offers recording so that no one has to miss their favorite episode or sporting event.
However, many streaming TV service platforms have popped up over the years, making it difficult to decide on the best options. It's a good idea to research the pricing, channel options, and other features of popular services, like YouTube TV and Amazon Prime Video, to determine which fit your entertainment needs best.
What Is a Cord Cutter?
Over the past decade or so, you've probably heard the term "cord cutter" when others talk about their television service or how they watch their favorite shows. But what does it mean?
Cord-cutting is one of the biggest movements to affect the television space. A cord-cutter is someone who gets rid of their traditional TV service, like satellite or cable, in favor of TV streaming services, like Netflix or Hulu. Rather than use an antenna, satellite dish, or cable box to get their live sports channels or favorite local channels, they opt for a TV streaming service that provides access to on-demand programming or live TV streaming.
The benefit of the best TV streaming service options is that they can be more affordable than traditional cable or satellite TV. Some of the best TV streaming service platforms even have their own original programming that you can't find even with a cable service offering unlimited DVR.
However, one problem cord cutters can run into is finding affordable internet home connectivity services, which are a must for streaming. It becomes necessary to look for the best internet providers with reliable and affordable internet available in the cord cutter's location.
If you want to cut the cord but are having trouble finding internet service that can support your live TV streaming service demands, see if you're eligible for assistance. The Affordable Connectivity Program gives discounts of up to $30 for most eligible households toward qualifying internet services.
17 Best TV Streaming Services
Although this isn't an exhaustive list of TV streaming service options, it includes some of the best TV streaming service platforms available to date to help you in your search.
Netflix is one of the most well-known TV streaming services today. Although it started as a DVD subscription service, it now provides digital content you can access through your chosen streaming device.
Netflix's original programming, like Selling Sunset, Umbrella Academy, and Squid Game is one of its biggest draws, allowing subscribers to watch content they can't see anywhere else. Subscribers also love its documentaries, which cover everything from murder mysteries to celebrity stories.
Pricing for Netflix is monthly starting at $9.99 and increasing to $19.99 if you want to watch on up to four screens simultaneously and have Ultra HD streaming.
2. YouTube, YouTube Premium, and YouTube TV
YouTube has given internet users a free platform for watching video content in just about every category possible for years. However, it's more recently expanded into YouTube Premium, a payable service that includes ad-free videos, video downloads, and background play for $11.99/month.
If you're interested only in streaming TV, though, you'll want YouTube TV instead. This is YouTube's latest service with on-demand and live TV from top channels like MTV, Disney, CBS, and ESPN.
YouTube TV provides a base plan for $64.99/month with unlimited DVR space and a Spanish plan with Spanish-only networks for $34.99/month.
Peacock is one of the best TV streaming service options that includes a free plan for those who don't need the extras. Free plans include limited ads and Peacock's select list of free movies and television.
Paid plans start at $4.99/month with limited ads to $9.99/month for ad-free streaming. Part of the reason Peacock is much cheaper than other streaming services is that it doesn't have cloud DVR storage or offer as many on-demand programs.
Still, you can catch popular live events, like Sunday Night Football and WWE wrestling, with a paid plan.
4. HBO Max
HBO Max might be your best TV streaming service if movies take precedence over TV shows for you. It still has plenty of TV content, including trending shows like Euphoria and The Gilded Age, but its focus on movies is what attracts many of its subscribers.
That includes movies that are still in theaters. Occasionally. HBO Max releases brand-new, still-in-theater movies to subscribers at no extra cost to watch in the comfort of their homes.
Plans start at $9.99/month or $99.99/year, while ad-free pricing goes up to $14.99/month or $149.99/year.
5. Disney Plus
Disney fans looking for a TV service for their kids or their nostalgic kid at heart might choose Disney Plus. Families can enjoy original TV shows, documentaries, and movies for subscribers only, while also reminiscing with many of their favorites, including the Toy Story series, The Lion King, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
You can also binge National Geographic, Marvel, and Star Wars content.
Disney Plus also finds ways to make its service super affordable to families. Its solo pricing starts at $7.99/month, but you can also bundle it with Hulu and ESPN+ for just $19.99/month.
6. Paramount Plus
Starting at just $4.99/month, Paramount Plus is an entertainment-focused TV streaming service with content from CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, Smithsonian Channel, and Nickelodeon. The seemingly odd mixture actually pairs well together, giving subscribers a unique mix of family-friendly shows, trending reality TV, and engaging movies and documentaries.
On-demand programming also streams ad-free with a $9.99/month Premium plan, and subscribers can watch on up to three devices at a time.
7. Frndly TV
Frndly TV seeks to compete with other similar options with live TV streaming, cloud-based DVR, and on-demand programming at a fraction of the cost. With plans from just $6.99-$10.99/month, customers can watch over 40 channels, like Lifetime, Outdoor Channel, and A&E.
Frndly TV also features unlimited DVR storage and 72 hours of watch time after a show or movie airs. Keep any recording you have for up to nine months to give you plenty of time to catch up. This streaming service is available on Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV, or you can use your iOS or Android app to stream.
8. Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime subscribers get automatic access to Amazon Prime Video, the online retailer's streaming service platform. Watch Amazon Originals, like The Lake, Lorena, and The Outlaws. Or, stick with the stuff you know and love, including Top Gun, Twilight, and Clueless.
A large portion of Amazon Prime Video's catalog is 100% free to Amazon Prime Video members, but you can also rent or buy new movies or shows that aren't included for special deals available only to subscribers. Some rentals are as low as $0.99.
If you're not an Amazon Prime subscriber, that's okay. You can still get the service for $8.99/month. Or, get all the savings of Amazon Prime, including Amazon Prime Video, for $14.99/month.
The streaming service does not have live TV, but it does sometimes have live events.
9. Fubo TV
Fubo TV is one of the best TV streaming service options for people who love sports. With this subscription service, you'll get more than 200 channels, depending on what's available in your area, including ESPN, ESPN2, NHL Network, and NBA TV.
There's more than just sports, though, so don't worry if you're not a fan. Favorites like TLC, HGTV, Nick Jr., and Logo are also available.
Fubo TV has four plans to choose from, including an all-Spanish plan for $33/month. Other plans are $69.99-$99.99/month, depending on the channels you want. The highest-tier plan includes Sports Plus and live and on-demand SHOWTIME programming.
10. Apple TV Plus
Apple TV is Apple's TV streaming device, while Apple TV Plus is Apple's TV streaming service featuring all Apple Originals. It may not be as well-known as other streaming services yet, but it's sure to make moves with its rising-in-popularity hits like Ted Lasso and The Morning Show.
The service is available on any Apple device plus others, like Roku and Google TV.
Because its library isn't as vast as other TV streaming options, Apple TV Plus is an affordable $4.99/month. Plus, you can often get it for free for a limited time when you purchase select Apple products, so be sure to look for deals attached to your new devices or subscriptions.
11. DIRECTV Stream
Once most well-known for its satellite TV, DIRECTV now has a streaming service called DIRECTV Stream. Although satellite is still available through the company, DIRECTV Stream gives more modern TV-viewing services through live and on-demand television.
Depending on your package, you'll get more than 140 channels, including movie favorites like Showtime and HBO Max. With even the lowest tier, subscribers get CBS, ESPN, NBC, and other must-have channels.
DIRECTV Stream includes unlimited cloud DVR storage to help you always catch up with your top shows and movies.
12. Hulu / Hulu Plus Live TV
Hulu used to be a streaming service just for on-demand TV. However, it switched over to offering live TV a few years ago to be more competitive with other TV streaming services doing just that. Customers can now choose between Hulu's on-demand service or Hulu Plus Live TV.
With a Hulu-only subscription, customers can watch Hulu's massive selection of original and non-original programming, including family-friendly movies and shows, classics, and currently trending TV and movies. Packages start at $6.99/month.
The Hulu Plus Live TV service is $69.99/month, and it includes ESPN+ and Disney Plus. Channels vary by location but typically include ABC, Food Network, NBC News, Disney Channel, and ESPN, to name a few.
Freevee is another best TV streaming service from Amazon, except that it's 100% free, even for people who don't have Amazon Prime. The ad-supported, free service has premium TV shows and movies that are ideal for filling in gaps when you're all caught up on your other shows.
Stream Freevee content on your Amazon Fire TV Stick, PS4/PS5, Samsung Smart TV, and other devices. The app is also available on the App Store and Google Play for streaming on mobile devices.
Even though there's no monthly subscription fee, there's still Freevee original content that isn't available anywhere else, like Troppo and Timewasters.
14. Pluto TV
Find a new TV show or movie to watch without signing up for another TV streaming service with Pluto TV. The free service includes select shows and movies across hundreds of exclusive channels. Watch Baywatch reruns on the Baywatch channel, catch RuVealed on Logo for Pluto TV, or stream live CNN news.
Pluto TV is supported on multiple streaming devices, including Amazon Fire TV, Android Play Store, iOS Apple App Store, and Roku. You can also use the desktop app to watch wherever you bring your laptop.
15. Sling TV
Sling TV is one of the best TV streaming service options for customizable plans, helping you watch your favorite TV shows for an affordable rate that fits your budget. The base service provides 31 channels, like TBS, Freeform, and Vice, plus 50 hours of DVR storage. Channels on premium plans include E!, Discovery Channel, and NFL Network.
Atop your base plan, you can choose optional add-ons, like Lifestyle Extra or Kids Extra, which pack on more channels that fit your add-on's theme. Or, choose a four-pack of extras for just $13 more per month. Base plans start at $35/month, and add-ons range from $3-$21/month.
16. Acorn TV
Acorn TV is a bit different from others on our list of the best TV streaming service options because it focuses on the best of British TV. If you enjoy watching British favorites, like Bloodlands, New Worlds, and Murdoch Mysteries, then this service is for you.
Start with a free trial to test out the service for seven days. Then, Acorn TV is just $6.99/month or $69.99/year.
For just $25/month, Philo lets subscribers get popular channels like A&E, CMT, and VH1. The live and on-demand TV service provides unlimited DVR storage for up to one year, giving you ample amount of time to watch the shows and movies you love.
A subscription to Philo includes streaming on up to three devices simultaneously and up to ten profiles on one account, so everyone can organize their channels and save their shows separately from other household members.
How To Watch Streaming Content
Did you know that there are dozens of ways to stream TV and movie content as a cord-cutter? Whether you want to watch sports favorites like the NFL Network or NBA TV, or your favorite weekly TV show on-demand when you get home from work, a streaming device and streaming service can help you do it.
A streaming device is a piece of equipment that connects to the internet to help you stream using your chosen on-demand or live TV streaming service. The Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV devices, NVIDIA Shield TV, and Apple TV are some of the most popular options to date.
TV-streamers can also connect to their computers, phones, tablets, and other mobile devices to watch via a mobile or desktop app. Blu-Ray players and modern video game systems usually have streaming capabilities, too.
Best TV Streaming Service Options
Our list of the best TV streaming service options isn't all-encompassing, so you may find plenty of other worthy contenders in your search for your ideal service. Still, we believe this list includes some of the best services for most people, offering a range of features, content, and budgets.
Some households combine a few TV streaming services to have more options available when they want to relax with a show or movie. To save money, be careful about adding services that overlap many of the same channels.
You can also check with other services you already pay for, like your mobile phone plan, to see if your company has deals on select TV streaming services. For example, some AT&T unlimited plans include HBO Max at no extra charge.