Best TV Service Providers

Which one is right for you? Satellite TV, cable TV, fiber TV, or a streaming service?

Best Satellite TV
Dish
DISH
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$84.99
/mo
  • pro
    Available channels: 330
Best Cable TV
Xfinity
Xfinity TV
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Starts at
$20
/mo
  • pro
    Available channels: 185
Check Availability
filled red circle with the letter i cut out of the middle filled green circle with a check mark cut out in the middle
Best Fiber TV
Verizon
Verizon Fios TV
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starts at
$60
/mo
  • pro
    Available channels: 425
Best Live TV Streaming
Fubo TV
Fubo
4.8 out of 5 stars
4.75
Starts at
$79.99
/mo
  • pro
    Available channels: 259
Runner-Up Cable TV
Spectrum
Spectrum TV
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starts at
$39.99
/mo
  • pro
    Available channels: 170+
Check Availability
filled red circle with the letter i cut out of the middle filled green circle with a check mark cut out in the middle
Chantel Buchi
May 29, 2024
Icon Time To Read24 min read

The TV industry is constantly evolving, and with it comes a plethora of options by 2023—satellite TV, cable TV, fiber TV, live TV streaming, and on-demand streaming. 

Satellite TV takes the crown for those dwelling in rural areas or want 290+ channels. Cable TV is great for people who want traditional TV at a price that won’t break the bank. If you’re one of the lucky ones where fiber TV is offered, then you might enjoy 400+ channels with a guaranteed reliable connection.

If you don’t need 100s of channels and would rather save a little dough, live TV streaming is something to consider. Or, if you love binge-watching drama or crime TV series, there are loads of on-demand streaming services available. 

So between satellite, cable, fiber, live TV streaming, and on-demand streaming—which is the best TV provider for you?

What are the top TV service providers?
Provider
Monthly price
Available channels
Learn more
DishDISH$84.99-$114.99*190-290
XfinityXfinity TV$20-$68.510-185
VerizonVerizon Fios TV$60-$12969-425
Fubo TVFubo$79.99–$99.9965-260
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* All offers require credit qualification, 2-year commitment with early termination fee and eAutoPay.
Pricing for some packages are for the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1-year contract.
Price with Auto Pay + taxes & equip. charges
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What are the different types of TV service providers?

TV service providers offer a variety of plans, channel lineups, and technology to fit different families. We recommend checking out your options before deciding which is the best TV provider or streaming service for your needs.

But before you do, you should know what to look for when choosing a satellite, cable, fiber, or live TV streaming service.

Satellite TV

Satellite TV will give you a traditional TV feel with the option to have access to loads of channels and lots of sports extras or add-ons. It’s very widely available across the US, making this the best choice for rural areas

Most satellite TV providers also offer free installation, so you won’t have to worry about climbing onto your roof to install the satellite dish. If you’ve seen The Holiday with Vince Vaughn, then you understand what you could be avoiding.

Cable TV

A standard cable TV service will give you a decent dollar-to-channel ratio but with a few fees, and is more reliable than satellite because it's connected directly via cables underground.

Most cable TV services also provide either a no-contract option or a solid deal with a contract. You can also enjoy sufficient DVR storage space to avoid family … altercations.

Fiber TV

When looking for fiber optic cable, you should be guaranteed speed and reliability. 

You'll most likely get double the channels than you would with standard cable, and for a reasonable price. The only problem is it's not widely available across the US. But we’re crossing our fingers that it will be in the future.

Digital live TV streaming

A great live TV streaming service will give a smooth user experience with easy navigation to the TV guide, on-demand content, and your recordings. 

It does require an internet connection fast enough to handle your streaming, along with internet perusing, social media scrolling, and smart home devices.

As with all TV services, you'll want to take notice of the dollar-to-channel ratio. But bear in mind that you won't get access to as many channels as you would with satellite and cable TV (besides fuboTV).

But live TV streaming provides some of the lowest prices out there while still offering you a lot of the programming you're looking for. You can also stream your channels and recordings on-the-go.

On-demand streaming

Nowadays, a solid on-demand streaming service has a huge library of content (both network and original content) and an easy-to-use interface. 

Not all on-demand streaming services are created equal as they all have their purpose (for example, Disney+ gives you content from Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, etc. and Max releases Warner Bros. movies). And if you don't care for live sports or news, on-demand streaming services are the go-to for most people (although some might have a few live channels, such as Paramount+).

DISH: Best satellite TV provider

When it comes to satellite TV providers, the field narrows down to just two contenders that deserve a spot on your radar—DIRECTV and DISH.

DIRECTV flaunts an impressive number of perks and premium channel discounts, while DISH Network gives you a locked-in price for three whole years and more channels. If you're looking for the best all-around satellite TV provider, we choose DISH.

Dish
DISH
4 out of 5 stars
4
pro 3-year price guarantee
pro Tons of college sports coverage
pro Solid DVR
con Fewer premium channels included in packages than DIRECTV
Starts at
$84.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

With DISH TV, you'll pay the same price for the life of your 3-year contract. And after those three blissful years, your monthly bill goes up by $20–$30. 

DIRECTV's satellite service locks in your price for two years and then returns to the current rate at that time, but at least it doesn't have second-year price hikes anymore (thank goodness).

Calling all college sports aficionados—DISH has your back with all collegiate channels like the SEC, PAC-12, and Longhorn networks. 

And if you're a huge fan of the Utah Jazz, Milwaukee Bucks or Golden State Warriors, we've named DISH the best satellite TV option for watching NBA games.

DISH's top plan offers about 50 fewer channels than DIRECTV's top satellite plan but 105 more channels than DIRECTV's top internet plan. That means you'll get almost double the channels with DISH for almost $50 less. 

Already have DIRECTV and looking to switch?
Deals

If you're interested in swapping out your DIRECTV service for DISH, these perks could be yours:

  •  $300 prepaid Mastercard
  • 3-year TV price guarantee
  • Eligibility to receive rewards for each eligible DISH subscriber
  • Eligibility to participate in a DISH contest for big prizes

Use offer code DTV2DISH to get the deal here.

DISH’s Hopper 3 DVR

DISH also has the best DVR available. The Hopper 3 Smart DVR lets you record up to 16 shows at once, and you can record 8x times more HD content (2,000 hours) than the Genie from DIRECTV (200 hours).

However, keep in mind that the Hopper Duo and Hopper 2 (with 125—500 hours of DVR storage) is your only choice unless you get three or more set-top boxes. You'll have to pay an extra $5–10 per month for the Hopper 3 and an additional $7 per month for each added 4K Joey receiver.

We think it's worth the upgrade to the Hopper, though. Along with all the other excellent Hopper features, DISH has integrated Amazon Alexa voice commands into its DVR experience.

No longer must you sift through the couch cushions to find your lost remote. You can simply tell Alexa to turn on This Is Us and cry your eyes out with the rest of us.

How much do DISH TV packages cost per month?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
America's Top 120$84.99/mo.^190
America's Top 120 Plus$99.99/mo.190
America's Top 200$104.99/mo.^240+
America's Top 250$114.99/mo.^290+
^ All offers require credit qualification, 2-year commitment with early termination fee and eAutoPay. Prices include Hopper Duo for qualifying customers.

Xfinity: Best all-around cable provider

There are several cable TV options out there, but across the board, cable television providers suffer from not being available everywhere. 

Xfinity is the best cable TV provider because it's widely available across the country, reliable, and decently priced.

Xfinity
Xfinity TV
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
pro Affordable package prices
pro Popular channels included in the basic package
pro Available to most Americans
con Additional fees*
Starts at
$20.00/mo.
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

With the entry-level package starting at only $20 a month, and the Popular TV starting at $50 with more than 125 channels, Xfinity wins our "best all-around package" award out of all our recommended TV providers.

The channel selection for Xfinity's Popular TV package is pretty similar to DISH's base-level package (including channels like ESPN, TNT, Food Network, and Disney Channel).

When you upgrade to Xfinity's Ultimate TV plan, you'll get Cartoon Network, Cooking Channel, Disney Junior, FX Movie Channel, and Paramount Pictures.

If you're an NFL fanatic, you'll like Xfinity because it's one of the best options for the NFL RedZone Channel. So, if you decide to become an Xfinity customer and order this channel, you'll be set to watch all of the exciting moments of Sunday's games.

Xfinity’s monthly fees

Sigh. The thing we all dread: fees.

And Xfinity has plenty of fees to watch out for, such as regional sports fees (up to $13.35 per month), broadcast TV fees (up to $26.15 per month), DVR fees ($0–$20 per month), and a fee for each TV box ($7.50 per month).

They can really start to add up quickly on top of your base price, so we recommend you double-check how much your total monthly price will be during the checkout process before you commit.

Xfinity no longer holds you down with a contract 

Xfinity TV no longer requires you to sign a 1-year contract! 

Besides the fees, the contract was another downside to Xfinity TV. But now that there is no term agreement to sign, this cable TV provider just went up a few points in our book. 

Even without a contract that sometimes brings your monthly price down, you might also notice Xfinity's prices still beat out many cable TV providers.

Read our full review of Xfinity for more details on packages, equipment, and channel lineups.

How much do Xfinity TV packages cost?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
Choice TV$20/mo.°10+
Popular TV$50/mo.**125+
Ultimate TV$68.5/mo.**185+
° No term contract. Broadcast TV fee extra; price subj to change. Taxes and equipment not included.
** No term contract. Broadcast TV fee and regional sports fee extra; price subj to change. Taxes and equipment not included.

Verizon Fios TV: Best for fast, fiber cable TV

As of right now, there aren't too many fiber cable TV providers out there, and only a few areas can reap the benefits of a fiber-optic connection. 

Verizon Fios is the number one fiber TV provider we recommend, and it will guarantee you speed, reliability, and a ton of channels.

Verizon
Verizon Fios TV
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
pro Fiber-optic connection
pro No contract required
pro Channel customization
con Limited availability
Starts at
$85.00/mo.
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Verizon Fios TV uses a fiber-optic connection, which is actually a faster connection speed than traditional cable. It's super convenient when you're connecting multiple devices, bundling your TV and internet together, and for those who want a faster upload and download time.

In short, Fios is good for bigger families, people who work or go to school from home, and families that use the internet constantly.

Verizon Fios TV doesn't require an annual contract. So you can cancel your service if you move, switch over to a live TV streaming service, or want to cut back on bills.

Verizon Fios TV is only of the only services to offer channel customization

One of Verizon's entry-level plans, Fios TV Test Drive, allows you to, you guessed it, "test drive" Verizon Fios TV. For the same price as the Your Fios TV plan, you can watch for 60 days and Verizon will recommend the best plan for you based on your viewing history.

Verizon's Your Fios TV package also has a unique way of personalizing. You get to choose your top five channels, and Fios will recommend a channel lineup for you based on your choices. (We've noticed it's pretty good at creating a channel lineup just for you.)

The Most Fios TV plan gives you the most channels you could possibly get with any TV provider: 425 channels! We would hands down recommend this TV service over many others, but it’s only available in less than 15% of the country. 

The flaw of fiber-optic cable is the availability

The biggest downside about this oh-so-great TV service is it's available in only nine states. Maybe Verizon won't be so shy and will venture out to other states one day.

If you live in one of these East Coast states, check if Verizon Fios is offered in your city:

  • Delaware
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Pennsylvania
How much do Verizon Fios TV packages cost per month?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
Fios TV Test Drive$85/mo.425+
Your Fios TV$85/mo.125+
More Fios TV$109/mo.300+
The Most Fios TV$129/mo.425+
Price with Auto Pay + taxes & equip. charges

fuboTV: Best live TV streaming service

If you're looking to cut the cord or want to save some money, a live TV streaming provider is a great alternative to cable or satellite TV. 

fuboTV takes the crown for the best live TV streaming service. fuboTV has the best dollar-to-channel ratio, offers over 100 channels, and provides more sports channels than any other TV service in the industry. It's also one of our top picks for streaming NFL games this 2024 season.

Fubo TV
Fubo
4.8 out of 5 stars
4.75
pro Lots of sports channels along with family favorites
pro Spanish-language package option
con Doesn't have TNT for NBA fans
Starts at
$79.99/mo.
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Over time, fuboTV has renamed itself as an all-around live TV streaming service for the whole family rather than just sports fans. But it still towers over the competition when it comes to sports.

fuboTV caters to all types of sports fans. You'll get channels like ESPN, Big Ten Network, PAC-12 Networks, Tennis Channel, TUDN, and Zona Fútbol.

You'll also get all major national sports channels like NFL Network, MLB Network, NBA TV, and NHL Network.

Check out the channel lineup to see all 160+ channels you could get.

Your kids will be able to watch Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, your teen can watch Lifetime, and your spouse can watch HGTV or FOX News with fuboTV.

Honestly, fuboTV has little to no faults compared to its competitors. It has the best dollar-to-channel ratio, gives you access to lots of channels, and has the smoothest interface and user experience. But, although fuboTV is one of the best services for sports, it's not perfect for NBA-watching. It doesn't have TNT.

If your Abuelito wants to watch sports in Spanish, fuboTV has a Latino package for $33 per month with 65 Spanish-language channels.

How much does fuboTV cost per month?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
Pro$79.99/mo.††190+
Elite$89.99/mo.††259+
Latino$32.99/mo.††65
†† Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
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Hulu: Best for cord-cutters and those without live TV channels

If you've chosen to cut ties with your cable or satellite TV provider and you still need The Bachelor in your life, Hulu will be the best on-demand streaming service for you.

Hulu
Hulu
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
pro Releases recently-aired TV shows within hours
pro Produces excellent Original content
con You have to pay extra for no interruptions
Starts at
$7.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

If you don't have access to live television but want to watch the latest episode of Chicago P.D. or The Voice before you read about spoilers, then Hulu is what you're looking for.

Hulu releases lots of recently broadcasted TV shows on its platform within hours. So when Abbott Elementary airs on Wednesday night, you'll find that episode ready for you to watch while you have your bagel and coffee.

You'll find other new episodes on Hulu from TV shows like Celebrity Jeopardy, The Amazing Race, The Bachelor, The Masked Singer, Hideous Houses, The Simpsons, 60 Minutes, and Survivor.

And the only place you'll find Futurama and Bender is with Hulu.

On top of all that, Hulu is a big competitor in the streaming world when it comes to Original content.

Some outstanding series and movies are the following:

  • Only Murders In the Building with Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez
  • Nine Perfect Strangers with Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy
  • The Kardashians
  • The Bear
  • Letterkenny
  • The Dropout
  • Dopesick

Hulu was the first to include an ad-supported tier for those who want to save

Hulu does this thing where you have to pay $10 more to exclude ads from your binge-watching marathon. But Hulu is no longer alone in giving you the option for a cheaper route if you can patiently wait through a few ads.

If you can budget $5–$7 extra, we highly suggest the "Disney+ bundle."  You get Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+ at a greater discount than if you buy these services separately. 

How much does Hulu cost per month?
Plan
Price
Details
Hulu$7.99/mo.‡‡
Hulu (no ads)$17.99/mo.^^
Disney Bundle Trio Basic$14.99/mo.°°
Disney Bundle Trio Premium$19.99/mo.°°
‡‡ 30 day free trial, then 7.99/mo. includes ads
^^ Hulu (No Ads) excludes a few shows that play with ads before and after the video.
°° To sign up this plan, eligible subscribers will need to complete sign up through Hulu, and not already have the Disney Bundle, a standalone Disney+ subscription, or the ESPN+ Add-on.

DIRECTV: Best for premium channels

DIRECTV charges a pretty penny for its channel counts, but you'll get up to 340+ channels for news, entertainment, lifestyle, movies, kids, and music with this satellite TV service. 

Directv
DIRECTV
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
pro More HD channels than any other TV service
pro Satellite and internet packages
con More expensive than DISH with fewer channels
Starts at
$69.99/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

DIRECTV offers all of the channels one could want, including close to 20 sports channels, and MAX, STARZ, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®, CINEMAX, and HBO channels.

To make your entertainment grander, DIRECTV offers à-la-carte programming for most major sports leagues, including:

If you want to know more about which channels each DIRECTV package carries, check out our full DIRECTV review.

DIRECTV’s Genie DVR

DIRECTV also offers more high-definition (HD) channels than any other TV service, and its satellite DVR can record up to 200 hours of HD video content. Plus, your recordings never expire.

So whether you're tuning in to see Jalen Hurts connect with AJ Brown, or you just want to marvel at the realistic zombie makeup on The Walking Dead, you can expect a crystal-clear picture for both live TV and recorded shows off your Gemini Air receiver.

DIRECTV’s biggest downfall

Third-year price hikes are a real caveat. DIRECTV will raise the price to its current prevailing rate at a month-to-month basis for the remainder of your contract after two years.

We're torn on this policy. On the one hand, you get a pretty good deal for the first two years of service. But on the other hand, you're subject to any price hikes unless you cancel your service or sign up for another contract.

It's a pretty big knock on DIRECTV. But as long as you're aware of the change up-front, you can prepare for it.

How much does DIRECTV via satellite cost per month?
Plan
Price
Satellite TV channel count
Details
ENTERTAINMENT $69.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees***75+
CHOICE™ $74.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees†††105+
ULTIMATE $104.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees†††140+
PREMIER™ $149.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees†††150+
*** w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. is extra and applies.
††† w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. and Regional Sports Fee up to $13.99/mo. are extra & apply.

Cable TV runner-ups

These cable TV services earned a spot on our favorite cable TV providers list—which we think is a pretty big deal. So do our Moms. 

Each provider has its purpose and qualities, such as specific location and channel lineups. We give a break down on each one below. 

How do the runner-up cable TV services compare?
Provider
Price
TV channel count
Details
Spectrum$39.99-$64.99‡‡‡145-150
Optimum logo$35-$12550-420
Cox$56-$146^^^75-250
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
‡‡‡ Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter.
^^^ Prices exclude taxes, surcharges, usage-based charges, certain equipment, and other fees or charges, which are subject to change.

Spectrum: Best no-contract option

Spectrum TV® is available in 41 states, and we really like the pricing of its mid-level package. It's a bonus that this cable provider also offers an affordable stream option and doesn't require a contract whatsoever.

Spectrum
Spectrum TV
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
pro Inexpensive package
pro Good bargain for premium channels
con DVR storage is unclear
Starts at
$39.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

The Spectrum TV® Select package costs $70 per month and nets you some great channels (ABC, ESPN, CNN, and HGTV). 

Spectrum's new TV Stream package costs just $40 per month and offers mostly popular entertainment and news channels (A&E, CNN, HGTV, MTV, and Cartoon Network). For more niche news channels and any sports channels, though, you'll wanna go with Spectrum TV® Select.

With TV Select, not only will you get channels for sports, movies, and news, but you’ll also get thousands of on-demand titles that you can watch whenever you’d like—whether it be Saturday night in your living room or on a road trip.

Spectrum no longer raises its prices after your first year of service, so your monthly price will revert to standard rates once your 12-month contract is up.

And if you're a fan of premium channels, you get Disney+ free for 12 months with the Spectrum TV® Select plan.

Spectrum’s DVR storage is unspecified

Spectrum's website and checkout don't specify how much DVR storage you will receive with the service, but it could be about only 30 HD hours. If this is the case, Spectrum's DVR is the weakest in the TV industry.

But the good news is that you only have to pay $5 per month for the DVR service, or $10 for DVR service on two or more HD set-top boxes.

That DVR fee might be the cheapest in the TV industry.

How much do Spectrum TV packages cost per month?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
Spectrum TV® Stream$39.99/mo80+
Spectrum TV® Select $69.99/mo. for 12 mos.°°°155+
TV Stream Latino24.9945+
Spectrum Mi Plan Latino$39.99/mo. for 12 mos.****170+
°°° * Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum TV Select Signature promotion price is $59.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr 1. Taxes, fees, and surcharges (broadcast surcharge up to $23.20/mo) extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra.
**** * Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum Mi Plan Latino: Price is $39.99/mo for yr 1; standard rates apply after yr 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges (broadcast surcharge up to $23.20/mo) extra and subject to change during and after the term; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra.

Optimum TV: Offers the most channels

Optimum was named one of the best for basic cable because its dollar-to-channel ratio is excellent, and this TV provider offers lots of channels similar to satellite TV.

Optimum
Optimum Cable TV
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
pro It offers loads of popular channels
pro Only two fees to worry about
con Only available in five states
Starts at
$35
/mo
Data as of 05/08/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

All of Optimum's TV plans come with your favorite channels like ESPN, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, Hallmark, and FOX News.

The best part about Optimum is you get more than 220 of these great channels for just $85 per month, which is one of the best deals we've seen in the cable TV industry.

As you upgrade, you'll get more sports, movie, and entertainment channels for the whole family to enjoy. You can even get over 400 channels for a lower price than satellite TV and without a contract.

Optimum charges two fees with its TV service

Optimum TV requires you to pay two monthly fees that you'd normally see with any traditional TV provider: 

  • TV box ($0–$10/month for each)
  • Cloud DVR storage ($8.00–$20.00)

And Optimum installs your TV service for free. But we do have to warn you that during the checkout process, we noticed Optimum TV won't offer its customers TV service unless you order Internet service, as well. Its download speeds range from 300–5,000 Mbps.

Optimum TV's availability favors five East coast states

Unfortunately, Optimum is only available in five states, so you'll want to check this availability map to see if your city is serviced by this cable TV provider.

Optimum TV is available in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

Optimum may have fewer fees, but Xfinity TV is available in 2x more states.

How much do Optimum TV packages cost per month?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
Basic TV$35/mo.††††50+
Core TV$85/mo.††††220+
Select TV$105/mo.††††340+
Premier TV$125/mo.††††420+
†††† Offer for new residential customers. Plus taxes, fees and other charges. Includes Auto Pay and Paperless Billing.
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Cox TV: Best for customization

Cox TV gives you a personalized checkout experience you can't find with another cable TV provider. Bundle TV, internet, smart home automation, and a landline for the simplicity of one bill.

Cox
Contour TV Starter
2.8 out of 5 stars
2.75
pro Bundle TV, internet, smart home automation, and a landline
pro Cox TV has DVR options the family would like
pro Cox TV has pricey TV plans
con It's only available in 19 states in the US
Starts at
$61/mo.

Cox Communications gives you the option to bundle TV, internet, smart home automation, and a home phone at checkout. There are about four steps for signing up for each service—including selecting a plan, choosing your equipment, and add-ons.

You create your service, Cox delivers.

In a nutshell, you'll want the Starter TV plan if you just want local channels, the Preferred TV plan if you want popular channels like Disney Channel and Fox News, the Preferred Plus TV plan for popular channels, and a few premium channels like HBO, STARZ, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®, and Cinemax, or the Ultimate TV package if you want all of the above plus MGM+, premium sports packages, and movie packs in your lineup.

Cox’s DVR can record up to 24 shows at once

Cox has a DVR any big household could benefit from—a DVR that can record 24 shows to be exact. No other TV provider comes close to that!

The Essential and Preferred DVR service each gives you 250 hours of DVR storage space (but Essential lets you record two shows simultaneously while Preferred lets you record six).

And the Ultimate DVR service is, well, pretty ultimate. This is the one that lets you record 24 shows at once, and it gives you and the fam 1,000 hours of DVR storage.

How much are Cox’s DVR service fees?

  • Essential DVR service: $13.50/mo. (for one year)
  • Preferred DVR service: $20.00/mo.
  • Ultimate DVR service: $30.00/mo.

Cox TV’s pricing brings it down to the bottom of our cable TV list

Cox TV is on the pricier side of the cable TV services with its high dollar-to-channel ratio.

Xfinity TV gives you 125+ channels for $80 per month, making that $35 cheaper than Cox TV's Preferred plan. 

You could get local channels for $61 per month, but if that sounds like too much, consider an HD antenna to get your local channels for free.

Cox's availability isn't so wide across the US, but if your area only offers Cox TV, it's not a bad option for bundling four services in one.

How much do Cox TV packages cost per month?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
Contour TV Starter$61/mo.‡‡‡‡75+
Contour TV Preferred$115/mo.‡‡‡‡170+
Contour TV Ultimate$152/mo.‡‡‡‡250+
‡‡‡‡ Pricing for 1 year

Live TV streaming runner-ups

Live TV streaming services give you live channels, on-demand content, and the ability to record TV shows and movies.

These live TV streaming services are the best behind fuboTV, and each is unique. We’ll get into the details to see which one you should subscribe to.

Keep in mind these prices don't include internet service charges (which you'll need to stream), but you can check those out in our best internet for streaming article.

How do the runner-up live TV streaming providers compare?
Provider
Monthly price
Available channels
Learn more
YouTubeTV$72.99/mo.††100+
Hulu$69.99-$89.9975-85
Sling$40-$5532-46
Directv stream correct logo (2023)$69.99-$159.99^^^^90-185
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
†† Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
^^^^ Plus taxes. Req's purchase of Device. New customers only.

YouTube TV: Second-best live TV streaming service

YouTube TV is one of our favorite live TV streaming services on the market and is a very close second to fuboTV.

YouTube TV is well-rounded with a decent number of channels (including some major sports channels) and many add-ons for everyone in the family. Like fuboTV, YouTube TV is one of our top picks for streaming NFL games. And in 2024, this will be home to NFL SUNDAY TICKET.

YouTubeTV
YouTube TV
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
pro Unlimited cloud DVR storage
pro A lineup with almost all of the popular channels
con Missing a few key channels
Starts at
$72.99/mo.
Data as of 04/20/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

With YouTube TV, you get the best of all things TV and streaming have to offer: live TV channels, on-demand movies, full seasons of popular TV shows, unlimited DVR space, YouTube videos, and the latest news clips.

Unlimited DVR space means you can literally record anything and everything you want. You also get a robust channel lineup with lots of top lifestyle and entertainment channels. 

You even get major sports channels like NFL Network and NBA TV. MLB Network was once included, but YouTube TV's deal with MLB Network ended in January 2023, so you won't find that channel on YouTube TV anymore.

You can also get add-ons like the NFL RedZone Channel, NBA League Pass, Sundance Now, Acorn TV, and more.

All this easily makes YouTube TV one of the best streaming services available.

PS: If you're looking for a service to stream all NBA games, YouTube TV is our number one pick. You can find more options in our How to Stream NBA Games Live piece.

YouTube TV doesn’t have all the channels under the sun

YouTube TV is missing a few channels some of us might "need.” We understand. A few of those channels include History Channel, MLB Network, Tennis Channel, and PAC-12 Network.

That means you'll have to miss out on Alone, Wimbledon, and some intense college football games.

But we have to say we're proud of YouTube TV for adding the three Hallmark channels to its lineup. Now, they are one of the best live TV streaming services for your Hallmark-movie fix

How much does YouTube TV cost?
Provider
Monthly price
Available channels
Learn more
YouTube TV$72.99/mo.††100+
Spanish Plan$34.99/mo.°°°°30+
†† Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
°°°° No long term contract. Cancel anytime.

Hulu + Live TV: Best bundle for the family

Hulu + Live TV's service now includes the Disney+ bundle! This means you don't need to opt-in or order Disney+ and ESPN+ separately. How can we say no?

Hulu
Hulu + Live TV
4 out of 5 stars
4
pro Massive on-demand streaming catalog, including excellent Originals
pro Hulu + Live TV comes with Disney+ and ESPN+
con Limited cloud DVR storage space
Starts at
$69.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Hulu + Live TV gives you the best of both worlds: live TV channels and even more on-demand streaming. Along with over 85 channels, you get access to Hulu's entire streaming library.

As far as live channels are concerned, you get all the essentials, like ABC, ESPN, FOX, Food Network, and HGTV.

Nothing good on TV? Catch up on This is Us, The Bachelor, or Rick and Morty. You'll also get access to well-known originals, such as Little Fires Everywhere, The Handmaid's Tale, Only Murders In the Building, and Letterkenny.

Now, Hulu Live makes it possible for you to stream all of the Disney princess movies and sports analysis shows with Disney+ and ESPN+. (And heads up for any UFC fans who might be reading, UFC PPV is exclusively on ESPN+).

Rest assured, you won't run out of stuff to watch with this improved live TV streaming service.

Hulu Live’s DVR storage space is now one of the best

Hulu + Live TV's cloud DVR used to store only 50 hours! We're happy this live TV streaming service made the change to unlimited DVR storage.

So now, you can record every Modern Family episode because you just can't enough of Phil and every series of Friends to have on standby when you need a laugh.

How much does Hulu + Live TV cost per month?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
Live TV Only$75.99/mo.††85+
Hulu (With Ads) + Live TV, Disney+ (With Ads) and ESPN+ (With Ads)$69.99/mo.85+
Hulu (With Ads) + Live TV, Disney+ (No Ads) and ESPN+ (With Ads)$81.99/mo.85+
Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV, Disney+ (No Ads) and ESPN+ (With Ads)$89.99/mo.85
†† Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Access to Disney+ and ESPN+ through our Live TV plans is not available for subscribers who are billed by T-Mobile.

Sling TV: Best budget pick

If you're looking to save some cash for that much-need summer vacation but still want to stream your favorite live TV channels, Sling TV might have a channel lineup you'll be happy with.

Sling
Sling TV
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
pro Low entry price
pro The choice to upgrade your Cloud DVR for only $5
con Fewer channels than its competitors
Starts at
$40.00/mo.

Sling TV truly understands what cord-cutting is all about—saving money without missing your favorite shows. Starting at $40 per month, Sling packages provide the best bargains around. Granted, Sling TV's channel selection is smaller, but it also goes for quality over quantity.

We recommend Sling Orange if you want more kids and lifestyle channels (like Disney Channel and Comedy Central), and you'll like Sling Blue if you want a TV package with more news and sports channels (like FOX News and NFL Network).

Sling Orange + Blue only gives you six more channels than the Sling Blue plan, but you'll get the Disney Channel, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, Motortrend, and Freeform.

With a low entry price comes a smaller selection of channels. In fact, you get almost 50% more channels with YouTube TV or Hulu Live.

We're still in the camp that Sling gives you quality over quantity, and you can add over 20 different channel packages for $5 to $13 each.

You'll have to pay an extra $5 more per month for the 200-hour cloud DVR. But if 50 hours is enough for you, then that means more savings for you.

How much does Sling TV cost per month?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
Sling Orange$40/mo.††32
Sling Blue$40/mo.††40
Sling Orange + Sling Blue Services$55/mo.††46
†† Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

DIRECTV via Internet: Best for traditional TV experience

DIRECTV now offers its TV packages via satellite or internet connection. Its internet streaming service is the most expensive live TV streaming service, but we recommend it if you like DIRECTV’s traditional TV experience.

Directv stream correct logo (2023)
DIRECTV via Internet
3 out of 5 stars
3
pro More channels than satellite plans
pro It's a streaming version of DIRECTV
con Pricey service
Starts at
$69.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

DIRECTV includes premium channels in all of its streaming packages. With any plan, you'll get Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®, Max, STARZ, MGM+, and CINEMAX® in your lineup free for the first 3 months.

Since DIRECTV's internet packages are the live TV streaming version of DIRECTV's satellite service, you can enjoy the traditional TV experience without installing a satellite dish. Instead, you'll receive a set-top box and voice-activated remote control.

DIRECTV's internet prices could be lower

DIRECTV's internet service is the priciest live TV streaming service we review. If you like the idea of the traditional TV experience as well as the premium channels you get with DIRECTV's streaming plans, the price tag might be worth it.

It truly is the streamable version of DIRECTV, which comes with satellite TV pricing.

How much does DIRECTV via internet cost per month?
Plan
Price
Satellite TV channel count
Internet TV channel count
Details
ENTERTAINMENT $69.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees***75+90+
CHOICE™ $74.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees†††105+125+
ULTIMATE $104.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees†††140+160+
PREMIER™ $149.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees†††150+185+
*** w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. is extra and applies.
††† w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. and Regional Sports Fee up to $13.99/mo. are extra & apply.

New approved residential customers, price incl. TV pkg & equip. fees for first TV. Add’l fees may apply to non-qualified customers. Early agmt termination fee applies ($20/mo.) & add’l fee(s) may apply if equip. not returned. Credit card req’d. Restr’s apply. $19.95 activation & equipment lease req’d for satellite customers. Equipment lease req’d for DIRECTV via Internet customers in some sales channels.

On-demand streaming service runner-ups

An on-demand streaming service gives you a massive library of content (both network and Original content) that you can stream at any time of the day. You won’t be able to watch live channels, but you’ll be saving a buttload of money.

Watch Ted Lasso while you’re waiting for your car to be serviced, or distract your kids with Spongebob Square Pants while you’re grocery shopping. 

Each on-demand streaming service is unique in its own way. For example, Disney+ gives you content from Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, and more. And Hulu has network shows available to stream the day after they air on television.

How do the runner-up on-demand streaming services compare?
Service
Monthly price
Details
Disney Plus$7.99–$10.99
Max$9.99–$15.99
PeacockTV$5.99–$11.99/mo.
ESPN Plus$9.99
Amazon Prime$8.99–$14.99
Paramount+$5.99-$11.99
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Change plans anytime.

Disney+: Most family-friendly on-demand service

Disney+ is the best on-demand streaming service for families and one of the best for kids. You can enjoy heart-warming nostalgic movies—like The Sandlot or The Lion King—and your kids can enjoy, well, everything.

Disney Plus
Disney+
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
pro Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, and National Geographic content
pro Family-friendly Originals
con You won't find NBC, CBS, or other network shows
Starts at
$7.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Disney+ delivers content that will make your day just a little brighter. Enjoy Disney movies and TV shows, Marvel superheroes, Pixar productions, The Simpsons, and Star Wars movies.

Throw on Moana or Toy Story when the kids eat lunch, watch Holes to bring back memories, or binge-watch all of the Iron Man movies if that's more your thing.

If you want to check out something new, you'll find great Originals in Disney+'s on-demand library.

Currently, some of the most popular Originals are Elemental, Goosebumps, and Loki (so we don’t blame you if you’re feeling a little bit of FOMO).

Under the Originals tab of Disney+’s homepage, you’ll also find Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Hawkeye.

Disney+ might not be the only service you subscribe to.

If you need your CBS, ESPN, HGTV, or Food Network shows in on-demand form, you won't find it with Disney+.

But luckily, you can easily bundle Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu or Hulu + Live TV! (PS: we named this one of our favorite money-saving bundles.)

Another on-demand streaming service that can fill the content gap is Peacock. Peacock will give you all of your NBC shows, such as The Voice (you can even get this service for free).

Or if you're more of a Love Island fan, you'll benefit more with Paramount+, which will give you Paramount+ content from more networks like Comedy Central and BET.

And lastly, if you're a lifestyle and entertainment type of fan, you'll like Discovery+ because you'll get on-demand content from networks such as Food Network, HGTV, and TLC.

How much does Disney+ cost per month?
Plan
Price
Details
Disney+ Basic (With Ads)$7.99/mo.
Disney+ Premium (No Ads)$13.99/mo.
Disney+ (No Ads) Annual$139.99/yr.
U.S. residents, 18+ only. Access content from each service separately. Location data required to watch certain content. Offer valid for eligible subscribers only.

Max: Best for newly-released Warner Bros. movies

If you want to enjoy Warner Bros. movies from the quiet comfort of your home rather than a crowded theater, Max (formerly HBO Max) has got you covered.

(HBO) Max logo black
Max (formerly HBO Max)
4 out of 5 stars
4
pro Home to new Warner Bros. movies
pro Library with original Max content
con Not as many titles as the other services
Starts at
$9.99/mo.
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

If you enjoy shows like The Last of Us, Succession, Strike, Father of the Bride, and Barry, Max is a must. Not to mention, all Warner Bros. productions live on this streaming service. 

You can find old HBO favorites like Insecure and Game of Thrones in your library. You'll also find Max Originals like House of the Dragon and The White Lotus.

On top of these great Originals, you'll find classic TV shows like Friends, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and The Big Bang Theory.

And on December 15th, you can stream Greta Gerwig's Barbie on Max from your very own Dreamhouse.

Max has half the titles Netflix does

We love the content Max has in its library, but you could say you might "run out of things to watch."

Max has 2,500 titles, while Netflix has nearly 6,500.

Max might not be a streaming service that you can live off of if you had to choose one, but it's certainly a great addition to your streaming apps.

How much does Max cost?
Plan
Price
Details
Max™ (With Ads)$9.99/mo.
Max™ (Ad-Free)$15.99/mo.
Max™ (With Ads) Annual$99.99/yr.
Max™ (Ad-Free) Annual$149.99/yr.

NBCUniversal Peacock: Best for money-saving cord-cutters

Peacock has been ruffling the feathers of the streaming service game, and they’ve recently become an excellent streaming service. Peacock has live channels for news, sports, and NBC programming fans and 80,000+ hours of excellent on-demand content.

PeacockTV
Peacock TV
4 out of 5 stars
4
pro Has a $6 per month plan
pro Access to a few live channels
con Not a cable TV replacement
Starts at
$5.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

We like how Peacock offers two different tiers depending on your budget— $5.99 or $11.99 per month.

Both plans give you access to 80,000+ hours of movies and TV shows, but when you upgrade to Premium Plus, you can enjoy all of the content with zero commercials. And the Premium plan throws in your local NBC channel. 

Sports fans will benefit from either plan because you’ll get access to live sporting events, such as Sunday Night Football, Premier League, and WWE.

Peacock’s channels

Peacock gives you access to NBC Sports, NBC News NOW, Telemundo, Sky News, and custom channels playing NBC content on loop.

For example, Peacock has 24/7 replay channels of Dateline, Love Island, Saturday Night Live, and Jimmy Fallon. And with NBC Sports, you’ll be able to stream Sunday Night Football or any sporting events that air on NBC (past subscribers got to stream Super Bowl 2022 and the 2022 Winter Olympics).

But Peacock is not a cable replacement because you won’t get your local channels. You also won’t get your Disney Channel, HGTV, Food Network, or CNN like you would with a TV provider.

If you’re looking for a service that is easy on the wallet, has a few channels, and loads of quality on-demand content (and you’re excited to watch season 4 of Yellowstone), Peacock might be your next subscription.

How much does NBCUniversal Peacock cost per month?
Plan
Price
Details
Peacock Premium $5.99/mo.
Peacock Premium Plus$11.99/mo.
Due to streaming rights, a small amount of programming will still contain ads (Peacock channels, events and a few shows and movies).

Amazon Prime Video: Delivers the most perks

Amazon Prime Video gives you a few perks you'll likely want in your life, especially access to an on-demand streaming library and free Prime shipping.

3 out of 5 stars
3
pro Access to over 12,000 titles
pro Extra perks on top of the streaming library
con Confusing interface
Starts at
$8.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Amazon Prime Video is a unique on-demand streaming service because your monthly payment gets you more than just access to streamable content.

This streaming service is great for kid's shows, for movie night (I Love You, Man or Hancock), and for Original content you can't find anywhere else (Coming 2 America, and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power).

The other perks you'll get with Amazon Prime Video include free 2-day Prime shipping (just in case you tend to buy last-minute gifts), rent and buy movies, access to Amazon Music, and a free Kindle book each month.

So stream, buy, listen, and read all you want for $15 per month.

Prime Video doesn’t have a smooth, user-friendly interface

Because Amazon Prime Video was a shopping experience before it was a streaming service, the interface is a bit confusing.

You won't get a smooth experience like you will with dedicated on-demand streaming services, so you'll just have to learn your way around the app.

How much does Amazon Prime Video cost?
Requires Amazon Prime subscription. Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Subject to auto-renew. May be subject to sales tax in some states.

Paramount+: Best for CBS and Paramount content

Paramount+ has an on-demand library filled with content multiple networks, such as CBS, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon.

Paramount+
Paramount+
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
pro Content from many favorite networks
pro Access to live CBS channels
con The live TV channels are only available in some areas
Starts at
$5.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

With Paramount+, you'll find your favorite past CBS shows like Big Brother, The Brady Bunch, Survivor, and FBI. You'll also be able to watch Paramount Pictures movies like Tulsa King and Mayor of Kingstown during your relaxing weekends.

CBS produces so many great TV shows, so they created an app to put it all in one place for you. And now, Paramount+ provides you with even more.

In the Paramount+ library, you're also going to find classic and original content from MTV, Comedy Central, The Smithsonian Channel, Nickelodeon, and BET.

So on a Friday night, you'll also be able to stream Good Burger 2, Special Ops: Lioness, Yellowjackets, Paw Patrol, and Spongebob Square Pants.

Paramount+ has a library filled with 45,000 TV episodes and movies. 

And last but definitely not least, you'll be able to watch 1,000 live sporting events annually.

Paramount+ allows you to watch live CBS television channels with the Premium subscription: your local CBS station, CBSN, CBS Sports HQ, and ET Live.

But you'll have to live in an area where CBS is available. We recommend you sign up for Paramount+'s free trial to see if you like what it offers.

How much does Paramount+ cost per month?
Plan
Price
Details
Essential (without SHOWTIME)$5.99/mo.
Paramount+ with SHOWTIME$11.99/mo.
Cancel at any time. Free trials are for new subscribers only.

Recap: Which is the best TV service provider?

  • DISH has better pricing than DIRECTV and has a killer DVR in the Hopper 3. DISH is excellent for those who live in rural areas or want loads of channels. This satellite TV provider offers plans ranging from $80–$115/month with 190–290+ channels.
  • Xfinity offers the best all-around service with affordable pricing, great channel lineups, and the X1 DVR. It struggles with pricey monthly fees, though. Xfinity gives you a great deal with $20–$70 plans for 10–185 channels without a contract
  • Verizon Fios TV will give you up to 425 channels! And this fiber-optic technology provides a fast, reliable network for both TV and internet. If this provider is in your area, we very much recommend it. Get 125+ for as low as $85, or get that load of 425 channels for $129 a month.
  • fuboTV is not only one of the best streaming services for sports, but fuboTV now has lots of news, lifestyle, and kids channels, as well. Get close to 50 sports channels with the Elite plan at $90/mo. or order the Pro plan for $10 less for over 40 sports channels along with family channels. This live TV streaming service also has great plans for Spanish speakers who love watching their fútbol for $33/month.
  • Hulu is one of the best streaming services for cord-cutters or streaming fanatics. It gives you next-day access to TV episodes that aired the night before on live television, like The Bachelorette and The Amazon Race. You can also get the ultimate streaming bundle for $5–$7 more with Disney+ and ESPN+

Methodology

We compare and rank TV service providers based on five key factors:

  1. Channels
  2. Price
  3. Availability
  4. Contracts
  5. Equipment

To decide which TV providers are worth your attention, we have put loads of hours and a handful of years into our research. (I mean, this page is close to 8,000 words long).

We have personally tested out all of these services to come up with our own analysis of if the provider is worth your attention or who might benefit most from said service. Our experience has also helped us accurately rank a service amongst the competitors.

And finally, we have put in all of this effort to give you our true review of each cable and satellite provider, live TV streaming service, and on-demand streaming service.

Chantel Buchi
Written by
Chantel Buchi
Chantel is all about finding the best tv or streaming service to watch as many football games as possible to keep her Fantasy Football team in check. Prior to being a TV and Streaming Tech Reporter for Reviews.org, she worked for NFL Network and The Alliance of American Football. Before that, she received a B.A. of Communication at the University of Utah and an M.S. in Sports Journalism at USC. Go Utes and Fight On. Contact her at chantel@reviews.org

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