Three Live Streaming TV Services Tie for First Place in U.S. News & World Report Analysis

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What’s the best live streaming TV service in 2022 according to U.S. News & World Report? According to its analysis, three services vie for the top honors: fuboTV, YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV.

One differentiator that probably didn’t make a big impact in its final tally is price: Both fuboTV and Hulu + Live TV start at $70 for a monthly subscription (with options to increase the fee) while YouTube TV is close behind at $65. 

Granularly, Hulu + LiveTV and YouTube TV garnered 4.1 stars while fuboTV came in at 4.0 but all three were considered the top contenders according to the publication. Trailing behind were SlingTV at 3.8, Philo at 3.7 and DirecTV Stream at 3.5.

As for Hulu + Live TV, U.S. News liked its unlimited DVR storage as well as its extensive library, which includes Disney+ and ESPN+ as part of its $70 monthly subscription. “That’s multiple libraries of original content and exclusive movies and TV series that no other live TV streaming service offers,” it said.

fuboTV, which has branded itself as a leading source of live sports streaming, was ranked the #1 Sports Streaming Service in the report, as well as tying for first among overall live TV streaming services. “It also offers a full range of entertainment channels, making it an appealing option for both devoted sports fans and general TV viewers,” they said. “With plans starting at $69.99 per month, it’s priced on the higher side of live-TV streaming services, but that price also includes up to 1,000 hours of cloud DVR storage and unlimited screens for simultaneous viewing at home.”

YouTube TV, which is most like Hulu + Live TV, differentiates itself from its competitor by offering a wider availability of broadcast channels (including PBS) as well as NBA TV and NFL Network and a lower-priced Spanish plan, U.S. News said. 

As for the also-rans, U.S. News says it likes Philo’s $25 monthly rate, calling it “a bargain for subscribers who are primarily looking for entertainment programming and aren’t interested in live sports or news.” Sling TV offers more live news and sports than Philo, including CNN and ESPN, but it doesn’t have the extensive sports programming of pricier live-TV streaming services and DirecTV Stream is the most expensive of the seven live streaming services. 

One factor also working against DirecTV Stream’s favor, however, is that, unlike the others on the list, it is more likely to get caught up in the ongoing retrans battles, resulting in loss of over-the-air channels. And despite the lack of daylight between monthly subscription rates among the leaders in the survey, picking the best live TV streaming service still comes down to price, U.S. News said. 

"Picking the right live-TV streaming service largely comes down to price. Smaller-scale services, Philo and Sling TV, may cost less than half of the monthly fee for pricier services like fuboTV and Hulu + Live TV."

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.