Cutting The Cable Cord: 5 Live TV Streaming Services

Have you cut the cord yet? Of course, I’m referring to the cable cord! Paying for cable TV can seem a lot like a landline phone these days; often times it is just another unnecessary expense with a contract that leaves everyone feeling frustrated.People often joke by saying, “There’s an app for that!” when referring to just about, well, everything. There’s certainly plenty of apps for watching live  TV!

The good news is, cutting cable doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice live TV entirely. The bad news is, there are a lot of options for streaming services which can feel overwhelming! Shortly after our first daughter was born, my husband and I needed to cut some expenses, and the high cable bill was the first to go. We have been utilizing various streaming services for the last six years and we have no regrets about making the cut!

There are several options when it comes to live streaming and I’ve rounded up the five most popular ones here. This list does not include every option and like most things in the world of technology, these plans and services are always evolving and changing to suit their customers’ needs.

Cutting The Cable Cord: 5 Live TV Streaming Services

Hulu Live

Cost: $45 a month
Best for: Hulu subscribers who want live TV
What to watch it on: Roku, FireTV, AppleTV, Chromecast, Xbox, and select smart TVs
Parental controls: Yes
Pros: Hulu Live provides subscribers with more than 50 live and on-demand channels. It allows for two devices to stream simultaneously. Hulu also has a huge on-demand library for exclusive hit shows like The Handmaid’s Tale.
Cons:  DVR, unlimited screens, and commercial-free options are only available for an additional fee: $14.99 a month.

YouTube TV

Cost: $40 a month
Best for: People who want the best overall channel lineup for the money and unlimited DVR
What to watch it on: smart TVs, Roku, AppleTV, Chromecast, Xbox, and Android devices
Parental controls: No
Pros: Provides over 50 network channels plus all four local news channels and sports. It also has unlimited DVR storage at no extra cost. Since we live in Iowa and are Hawkeye fans, the Big Ten Network is a must, which is included here!
Cons: Your recorded items on the DVR can only be saved for up to nine months and they can be replaced by on-demand versions.

DirecTV Now

Cost: $50-70 per month depending on the package
Best for: People who want to watch HBO and also have live TV
What to watch it on: Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, smart TVs, Android devices
Parental Controls: No
Pros: HBO is included and it’s an add-on with other streaming services. It’s setup to have a familiar TV-like menu. There are also discounts available for AT&T Wireless customers.
Cons: DVR is very limited and recorded items are only available for 30 days. This is now one of the more expensive streaming options with fewer channels. 

Sling TV:

Cost: $25-40 depending on the package, numerous $5 mini packages you can add on
Best for: People who want to supplement what they already get with an antenna
What to watch it on: Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, and select smart TVs
Parental controls: Yes
Pros: One of the cheapest multi-channel live TV streaming services, but it has few local stations.
Cons: DVR is an extra $5 to add it on and you’re limited to only 50 hours of recording space. Plus, you can only stream to one device at a time.

PlayStation Vue

Cost: $40-80 per month depending on the package
Best for: PS4 owners and people who want to skip commercials
What to watch it on: PS4, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire, Android devices, and Chromecast
Parental controls: No
Pros: DVR has unlimited storage and you can split-screen multiple channels at once (but only on the PS4).
Cons: Recorded items are deleted after 28 days. These are some of the more expensive plans with fewer channels compared to other streaming services.

We have personally tried all of these and YouTube TV is by far our favorite. It rarely has connection issues and we can easily navigate the menu between the live TV and recorded library. We had several difficulties with DirecTV Now. It was often choppy or would be unavailable entirely and we had several billing issues.

Whichever streaming service you decide to use, all five of these offer free trials for various amounts of time. Plus once you commit, unlike regular cable, there are no contracts, so you can cancel the service at any time!

Whether you want just the basics or a little bit extra, there’s likely a streaming service to suit your needs so you can cut the cord and still enjoy live cable TV whether you’re at home or on the go!


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Katie is a born and raised Iowa Hawkeye who moved from a small town to Iowa City to attend college at the University of Iowa. There she met her husband, Jordan, while they were both active leadership members in Dance Marathon. Once they graduated, they got married and planted roots in Cedar Rapids. Together they are raising the trifecta of three little ones: Everly (5), Elsie (3), and Emmett (1). They keep her busy by constantly going from one activity and snack to the next! Katie is a firm believer that leggings are real pants and popcorn with M&Ms is its own food category. When she has a spare minute, she documents her mamahood journey, family activities, DIY crafts, and favorite products over on her personal blog Mama E Plus Three.