Nowadays it is easy to cut the string. With a new generation of streaming TV apps, you get the same service that a traditional cable subscription offers at a fraction of the price. After some extensive testing, we believe we've found the absolute best cordless cutting apps.
You can use these apps on your Smart TV, Laptop, Desktop and most set-top boxes, but we focus on the experience offer on mobile. Nonetheless, we evaluated the apps based on a combination of all their features. We are aware that channel design is probably your main concern. For this reason, we have added a clear chart to compare bids. Following the two diagrams below, you can scroll down to read our reviews for each individual service.
- Price: The price for the lowest and highest level offered by each service, with no add-on packages. For apps with only one option, like YouTube TV and Hulu with live TV, we have placed the price in the base tier.
- Channels: The number of channels included in each plan.
- Number of available plans: The number of subscription levels offered by the service. For some, a higher number might be better here, as it offers more options. For others, a lower number might be better, as there are fewer nickel-and-diming and confusing schemes to choose from.
- Important channels: Using data from Statista, we have created a list of the most considered channels in cable networks. With this information we counted the number of available channels in each app. Complete Overview
- Premium Movie Channels: There are four major premium movie channels: HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and STARZ. Typically, access requires an additional monthly fee, but some apps include one or more channels.
- Regional Sports: Whether you can use regional sports networks like Fox Sports to watch your local teams with this service
- Regional Sports Outside the Network: The ability to watch local sports outside the region , PlayStation Vue lets you watch your local sports channels when you're away from home.
- Free Trial: How long is the free trial for new users? All but PlayStation Vue offer a seven-day trial
- DVR Storage: The ability to record live TV to watch later. All five services offer a DVR, but the amount of memory varies. We listed the highest available storage option for the Cloud DVR service, but note that some of these services may charge an additional monthly fee for the maximum storage tier.
- DVR Storage Expiration: How long DVR recordings remain in memory before they expire and are automatically removed.
- Fast Forward Commercials: The ability to rewind through commercials while watching stored recordings
- Number of contemporaneous streams: The maximum number of unique streams that can occur at the same time. With the same account, you can see how many members of your household can see a different channel.
- Max. Resolution: The resolution of live television. Most channels output at 720p, with only a few channels supporting 1080p. In addition, most sports channels support 60 frames per second (fps), which is ideal because the video is smoother thanks to the doubling of the standard number of pictures.
- Audio Format: The highest available audio quality for live television. Only DirecTV Now offers 5.1 surround sound on some channels
- Rewind Live TV: The ability to control the playback of live television. Pause and rewind should be available at all times, while fast forward should only be available during the actual live feed.
- Video on Demand: Access to Video-on-Demand Content (VOD). VOD works much like streaming services like Netflix and is managed by the networks and does not contain skippable commercials.
- Apple TV: Has official support for Apple TV.
- Chromecast: Has official support for Chromecast and Google Cast devices.
- Android TV: Officially supports Android TV sets
- Fire TV: Officially supports Fire TV sets such as Amazon Fire Stick
- Roku: Officially supports Roku products such as the Roku Streaming stick
- TV Everywhere: Many channels have their own mobile apps that require access to your cable provider's access data. While most networks have an app, not all networks can use the credentials of a streaming cable app. The higher the number, the higher the likelihood that your favorite channel will be supported. Check out this link to see specific apps.
One of the key factors in finding the right streaming cable service is the channel setup, so we've created a quick overview of the channels that are important to each service. Yellow highlighted items indicate that you need to pay extra (more than one basic package) to access this channel.
While DirecTV Now is the newest service on our list, it seems that AT & T T (the new owners of DirecTV) study their competition thoroughly before entering this market. The result is a well-balanced app with 134 channels at the highest level and the second lowest base level.
When it comes to channels, DirecTV Now is your best choice. Not only does the base option offer 72 channels (the highest on our list), 30 of the 32 "important channels" are available, which is the highest among the apps on our list.
DirecTV Now is the only app offering Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio for Apple TV devices. In addition, it also supports a maximum resolution of 1080p at 60 frames per second. Both features require the channels to support the technology, but it's good to know that the app is future-proof. Note that the last feature is only available in beta.
DirecTV's Most Affordable Offer Now is the Mid-Tier Plan, known as Just Right plan. With this plan you get 92 channels at $ 50 per month. No other plan on our list equals this channel-to-dollar ratio (1.84). The closest plan is YouTube TV with 1.75 channels per dollar.
As With All Things DirecTV Now not perfect. It's the only app on our list that limits Chromecast support to Android devices. Only two simultaneous streams are available for free, with the third costing an additional $ 5 per month
There is no Android TV app, which is unfortunate. However, the biggest disadvantage is that you can not fast-forward or rewind live TV on mobile devices. Instead, you can only pause, and pressing "Play" will return to the live feed, skipping anything you missed.
DirecTV Now is an excellent value for cable cutters. It has a wide range of channels, many of which are expected from traditional cable providers. With support for 1080p @ 60 fps and 5.1 surround sound, DirecTV Now is on its own when television is slowly catching up. It is because of this value and feature set that we recommend it as the best choice for those who go away from their expensive cable bill.
Sling TV is the best choice if the price has the highest priority. While Sling TV is not without mistakes, it offers the lowest prices and the widest range of plans, packages and add-on channels. This makes it easy to pay the lowest price to get exactly the desired channel layout.
Sling TV launches at just $ 20 / month, second to none on any other app on our list (the nearest competitor price starts at $ 35 / Month). There are two basic levels to choose from and the second option only increases by $ 5. In fact, the most expensive plan is the same price as the base plan for other apps on our list. However, things can get pretty complicated quickly.
Sling TV has two basic animal plans: Sling Orange and Sling Blue. Sling Orange is the cheapest floor plan and offers 31 channels. However, Sling Blue ($ 25) has a different channel setup and does not include the channels in Sling Orange. So, if one of your must-have channels is at the orange level and another is at the blue level, you must purchase both base level plans for $ 40 a month. And that's before you start talking add-ons.
The two-plan systems lead to more problems – for example, the number of simultaneous streams. Technically, Sling Orange allows only one stream, while Sling Blue three is allowed. The way to get four streams is to buy the Sling Orange + Blue plan and use the maximum number of streams of both plans. What that means when a person sees a Sling Orange channel (like ESPN), no one else can see that channel at the same time. Instead, they are limited to three streams of Sling Blue channels.
Sling TV is also the only app that charges for accessing the cloud DVR service. You'll need to spend an additional $ 5 in addition to the monthly fees for accessing the DVR, which has a huge limitation – you can not record Disney-owned channels, including ABC, Disney Channel, and ESPN.
However, Sling TV is not all bad. There are a number of advantages over the competition. For example, Sling TV is one of two apps on our list that does not erase recordings stored on the Cloud DVR. Sling TV is also one of only three apps that offers access to all four premium movie channels.
If you want to save the most money on your TV bill, Sling TV is your best bet – as long as the channels you are after "are on the right level." It offers an unrivaled price and few features. Although it makes several compromises, This may be forgiven for its flexibility.
Next up is YouTube TV. The service, created by Google, offers live television at $ 40 a month. There are no multiple offers – just a plan at a price.While YouTube TV is very popular, there is a shortage of channels for channel selection, even though this is offset by the best sports package available on a basic level.
Let's start with the channels: YouTube TV has the second highest number of channels in a base level, but it has the lowest number of channels l important channels. So if you use many channels, you may have difficulty finding something to watch.
YouTube TV also has the weakest selection of premium movie channels. The only available add-on is Showtime. At shows like Game of Thrones on HBO and Power on STARZ, lack of support is a major drawback. Google is trying to make up for this by including YouTube Red ($ 9.99 / month), but the original content is still growing.
However, where YouTube TV really shines is in its sports content. With the exception of NFL Network, all major sports channels are included in the base price of $ 40 / month. You can even put your favorite teams in the limelight and have all their games recorded automatically.