Hulu vs. YouTube TV vs. Sling TV vs. DirecTV Now vs. PlayStation Vue: Channel lineups compared

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David Katzmaier/CNET

With the runaway popularity of on-demand streaming video services like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Video and Hulu, more people are deciding to stop paying for cable TV. But just because you cut the cord doesn’t mean you have to give up live TV.

Right now five major services offer live TV steamed over the Internet: Hulu with Live TV, Google’s YouTube TV, Dish Network’s Sling TV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue and AT&T’s DirecTV Now. They cost $20 per month and up.

Unlike standard cable or satellite plans, there’s no annual contract and you can cancel and re-up anytime. Of course, you’ll need a good broadband plan that can support HD video streaming, as well as a supported phone, tablet, computer and/or TV streaming device to actually watch on.

All of them offer different slates of channels for various prices. None have as many channels as most traditional cable or satellite TV packages, especially when it comes to sports, but maybe they have enough for you.

And if you’re wondering which service has the most channels in its base package, that’s DirecTV Now with 58 out of 100. 

The big chart: Top 100 channels compared

Chart updated May 20, 2018

Below you’ll find a chart that shows the top 100 channels across all five services. There are actually six listed because Sling TV has two different “base” tiers, Orange and Blue. And if you’re wondering, I chose which “top” channels made the cut. Sorry AXS TV, FYI, GSN and Universal HD.

Some more stuff to know about the chart: 

  • Yes = The live channel is available on the cheapest pricing tier (listed next to each service name).
  • No = The channel isn’t available at all on that service. One popular channel, PBS, isn’t available on any service but I listed it anyway.
  • $ = The channel is available for an extra fee, either a la carte or as part of a more-expensive package or add-on.
  • Most regional sports networks — channels devoted to showing regular season games of particular pro baseball, basketball and/or hockey teams — are not listed.
  • ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, MyNetworkTV and The CW networks only available in certain cities, and availability varies widely per service. In some cities, some services only offer video-on-demand shows from the networks, not the live local channel itself.
  • Overwhelmed? An easier-to-grok Google Spreadsheet is here.

Sling TV vs. DirecTV Now vs. YouTube TV vs. Hulu vs. PlayStation Vue: Top 100 channels compared

Channel Sling Orange ($20) Sling Blue ($25) DirecTV Now ($35) YouTube TV ($40) Hulu with Live TV ($40) PlayStation Vue ($40)
Total “Yes” channels: 22 35 58 52 52 45
ABC $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
CBS No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
NBC No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
A&E Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
AMC Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Animal Planet No No Yes No No Yes
BBC America Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
BBC World News $ $ $ Yes No $
BET $ Yes Yes No No No
Big Ten Network No No $ No Yes $
Bloomberg TV Yes Yes Yes No No No
Boomerang $ $ $ No Yes $
Bravo No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cartoon Network/Adult Swim Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
CBS Sports Network No No $ Yes Yes $
Cheddar Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Cinemax $ $ $ No $ $
CMT $ $ Yes No No No
CNBC No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
CNN Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Comedy Central Yes Yes Yes No No No
Cooking Channel $ $ $ No No $
CSPAN No No Yes No No No
Destination America No No $ No No Yes
Discovery Channel No No Yes No No Yes
Discovery Family No No $ No No $
Discovery Life No No $ No No $
Disney Channel Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Disney Junior $ No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Disney XD $ No Yes Yes Yes Yes
DIY $ $ $ No No $
E! No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
EPIX $ $ No No No $
ESPN Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
ESPN 2 Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
ESPN 3 Yes No No No No No
ESPNEWS $ No $ Yes Yes $
ESPNU $ No $ Yes Yes $
Food Network Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Fox Business No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox News No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox Sports 1 No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox Sports 2 No Yes $ Yes Yes Yes
Freeform Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
FX No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
FX Movie Channel No No $ Yes Yes $
FXX No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Golf Channel No $ $ Yes Yes $
Hallmark $ $ Yes No No $
HBO $ $ $ No $ $
HGTV Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
History Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
HLN $ $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
IFC Yes Yes $ Yes No $
Investigation Discovery No No Yes No No Yes
Lifetime Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Lifetime Movie Network No No $ No Yes No
MLB Network No No $ Yes No $
MSNBC No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes
MTV $ $ Yes No No No
MTV2 $ $ Yes No No No
MyNetworkTV No No No Yes No Yes
Nat Geo Wild No Yes $ Yes Yes $
National Geographic No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
NBA TV $ $ $ Yes No $
NBC Sports Network No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Newsy Yes Yes No Yes No No
NFL Network No Yes No No No $
NFL Red Zone No $ No No No $
NHL Network $ $ $ No No No
Nick Jr. No Yes Yes No No No
Nickelodeon No No Yes No No No
Nicktoons $ $ $ No No No
OWN No No $ No No Yes
Oxygen No $ $ No Yes Yes
Paramount Network $ $ Yes No No No
PBS No No No No No No
Science No No $ No No Yes
SEC Network $ No $ Yes Yes $
Showtime $ $ $ $ $ $
Starz $ $ $ No No No
Sundance TV $ $ $ Yes No $
Syfy No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
TBS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
TCM $ $ Yes Yes Yes $
Telemundo No No Yes Yes Yes No
Tennis Channel No No $ Yes No No
The CW No No No Yes Yes No
TLC No No Yes No No Yes
TNT Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Travel Channel Yes Yes $ No Yes Yes
TruTV $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
TV Land $ $ Yes No No No
Univision $ Yes Yes No No No
USA Network No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
VH1 $ $ Yes No No No
Viceland Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
WE tv $ $ Yes Yes No Yes
Weather Channel No No $ No No No

Best TVs right now: The past year’s best sets, all in one place.

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