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Best streaming services for cord-cutters in 2020



Cable is too expensive. Providers like , , and offer basic packages for between $50 to $70 per month, but those prices can climb with hidden fees. 

And while it’s easier than ever to replace cable, many streaming services with live TV got more expensive in 2019, while one went completely kaput. For 2020, we’re breaking down how cable alternatives have changed and which might be right for you. 


Sling's got the cheapest starting price of the bunch.

Sling’s got the cheapest starting price of the bunch.

Image: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Sling has arguably been the best deal in the online cable sector for a while now. It’s a little cheaper than the others by offering Blue and Orange service tiers with different channel selections. They both have plenty to like, but you won’t get everything you want with just one, especially if you’re a sports fan. 

Unfortunately, it’s not as cheap as it used to be. Sling closed out 2019 by announcing a $5 per month price hike to all service tiers. That means Blue and Orange separately are $30 per month apiece, while the combined Blue+Orange option is now $45 per month. The price hike did add 10 hours of cloud DVR, to be fair.

That’s still a decent deal relative to some of the others on this list, but it’s creeping into cable pricing territory.

Still, Blue+Orange comes with a solid selection of big-name TV networks. News freaks can get their fixes with CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, while sports fans will be delighted by the presence of ESPN, FS1, NFL Network, and more. The only problem is that local affiliates like CBS, Fox, NBC, and ABC are limited to “select markets” on Sling, if they’re available at all.

You can always get those with a cheap antenna, but still. 

Hulu with Live TV

Lack of NFL Network aside, Hulu's sports selection is pretty comprehensive.

Lack of NFL Network aside, Hulu’s sports selection is pretty comprehensive.

If you’re willing to pay a little more, Hulu with Live TV might be an enticing package. You get 60 channels (including local affiliates), along with Hulu’s substantial streaming library, which includes older shows such as Frasier and King of the Hill.

Here’s the sad part: Hulu with Live TV also jacked up its price last year. It’s now $55 per month with no premium add-ons like HBO and Showtime, which are anywhere from $9 to $15 per month on top of the $55 you pay for the basic service. If you subscribed to every premium channel, your monthly bill would be $100.

At that point, you might want to check out what local cable companies are offering because that’s pretty expensive. Still, 60 live TV channels with access to Hulu, Showtime, HBO, Starz, and Cinemax is certainly a lot of content to chew on. 

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is an alright deal.

YouTube TV is an alright deal.

Image: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Of course Google has its fingers in the cable alternative pie. At the start of 2020, YouTube TV sits at the perfect intersection of pricing, content, and features. It’s not the cheapest or most expensive option, but you get decent value for what you pay.

The kicker is you have to pay more than you did a year ago. YouTube TV leaped from a monthly fee of $40 to $50 last year, making it a little less appealing. You still get more than 70 channels, including local networks and nearly every sports channel you could want, as well as unlimited DVR storage. 

At $40, that would be a steal. At $50, it’s merely a pretty good value. The nice part is that’s the only plan; you can add on a few premium networks like Starz or Showtime for extra money, but for the most part, $50 gets you everything you need. One last note: It doesn’t look like HBO loops into YouTube TV at all, so you’ll need another way to watch that if you go down this road.


I mean, yeah, AT&T TV Now definitely exists.

I mean, yeah, AT&T TV Now definitely exists.

Image: ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP via Getty Images

If you want fewer channels for more money, AT&T’s got you covered. The artist formerly known as DirecTV Now has been rebranded as AT&T TV Now, and it starts at $65 per month for more than 45 channels.

I wasn’t joking. At its most basic tier, you get fewer channels while spending more money than the options we already discussed. You get the news channels, some local affiliates, ESPN, FS1, and plenty of the other cable mainstays like TBS and Comedy Central. Aside from ESPN and FS1, sports coverage is pretty light.

You can spend $80 per month for more sports and entertainment channels, but that’s probably out of the question if you’re looking for a cable alternative. The only real selling point for AT&T Now is that even the basic service tier includes HBO for free, while the $80 tier also includes Cinemax.


fuboTV is a little more sports-oriented than the rest.

fuboTV is a little more sports-oriented than the rest.

Image: hisense/fubotv/canva

Most of these services include the basics and some have nearly everything, but it’s rare to find a service that completely satisfies the needs of sports fans.

The idea behind fuboTV is to be more appealing to sports fans, as the basic $55 per month package comes with FS1, NBC Sports Network, NFL Network, Big Ten Network, and other sports channels you usually have to pay extra to get. All told, you get 109 channels in that package, with the option to bump that up to 175 channels for $80 per month.

You also get 30 hours of cloud DVR with the basic package and 500 hours with the more expensive version. There’s just one major caveat to all of this: fuboTV doesn’t have any ESPN networks in any of its packages. In case you aren’t aware, ESPN is a pretty important source of sports coverage. Not having it in a streaming service marketed toward sports fans isn’t ideal.

Still, $55 per month for more than 100 channels and a decent amount of cloud DVR isn’t the worst deal in the world.

RIP, PlayStation Vue



As we’ve covered, 2019 brought tons of pricing and feature changes to the big streaming cable alternatives. It also, unfortunately, brought an end to one of the bigger names in the game. PlayStation Vue shuts down on Jan. 30.

Sony’s official Vue website/digital epitaph recommends YouTube TV as an alternative. We’ll let you decide what the best option is for you, but if nothing else, we hope this list helped you understand how many choices you have and how imperfect all of them are.

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