The Best Live TV Streaming Services in 2024

More and more cable subscribers are choosing to cut the cord. Cable is expensive and limited, and these days, there are plenty of platforms that can give you access to live content on your smart TV

With so many options out there, the question is, how do you choose? Well, we’ve taken a close look at all the major cord-cutting services to see exactly what they have to offer and where they fall short. We’ve selected the best of the best for our list of the 10 best live TV streaming platforms. We’ve also listed their pros and cons, to make it easier for you to choose the right service for your needs.  

Live streaming on your smart TV is great, but streaming with a VPN is even better. No matter which live TV streaming service you choose, CyberGhost’s VPN encryption helps you bypass activity-based ISP throttling and stream in high quality.

Is Cord Cutting Right for You?

Millions of cable subscribers decide to cut the cord each year. The cost of cable TV, its lack of usability, and failure to meet viewers’ needs are just a few of the reasons regularly cited by defectors. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of cable alternatives on the market and most of them are cheaper than traditional cable. That said, you may need more than one service to get all of the programming you want, which can add to costs and the complexity of using these services.

Another benefit is that live TV streaming services often don’t require you to lock yourself into a fixed-term contract. This, along with the fact that you can watch programming across a range of devices (and in a range of places), means that you get much greater flexibility than cable. 

In the same vein, many live TV streaming services come bundled with on-demand content. This means that you can watch live broadcasts for in-the-moment entertainment or access content when it’s most convenient for you. If you’re looking to lower costs, get a better variety of things to watch, or watch shows and movies wherever you go, live TV streaming services make more sense than traditional cable.

What Should You Look For in a Live TV Streaming Service for Your Smart TV?

There’s a lot to consider when choosing from the variety of cable alternatives on offer. Ultimately, the package and provider you will want to choose will depend on your individual wants and needs.

Here are a couple of things you’ll want to look for when choosing a live TV streaming service:

    • Channels: Streaming services offer access to a variety of content from popular TV networks. Check that the one you’re interested in has the shows, movies, news, and other live programming you want to watch.
    • Price: There are plenty of free and paid live TV streaming services on the market. It’s wise to weigh what you’ll pay against the access you’ll get to decide if you’re getting a good deal.
    • Quality: Look at the maximum quality you can stream in as well as user reviews to determine how likely you are to get that quality – and whether you’ll have to put up with loads of buffering – before settling on one of the cable alternatives.
    • Devices: A big benefit of live TV streaming is that you can watch shows and movies on your smart TV and other devices. Investigate which devices each service supports to ensure you can take your entertainment with you wherever you go.
    • Simultaneous streams: Your lifestyle and viewing habits might dictate that you need to be able to stream on more than one device at the same time. Verify that your chosen cable alternative has this capability before signing up.
    • VPN compatibility: To ensure you can stream safely when you’re at home, work, school, or traveling abroad, you’ll want to be sure that your live TV streaming service can be used with a VPN.

CyberGhost VPN has a global fleet of ultra-fast VPN servers that allow you to watch live TV securely in the highest quality available, without any buffering. We also give you unlimited bandwidth, so you can binge-watch as much as you like.

The 10 Best Live TV Streaming Services and Cable Alternatives in 2024

1. YouTube TV: Best for Channel Variety

Screenshot of the YouTube TV homepage

YouTube has been a major force in changing how we consume content over the past two decades. So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the video sharing giant is looking to cut itself a piece of the live TV streaming pie. 

A YouTube TV subscription is relatively pricey, but it gives you access to more than 100 base channels, which include local TV, news, sports, and entertainment options. If it’s variety you’re after, YouTube TV might be the streaming service for you.

ProsCons
👍 Huge variety of channels👎 Expensive ($72.99/month)
👍 Unlimited DVR storage for recordings👎 Difficult to hop between channels
👍 Loads of additional channels available👎 4K streaming costs an additional $10/month

2. Hulu + Live TV: Best for Live and On-Demand Content

Screenshot showing a four-way split screen of the Hulu + Live library and TV guides for ESPN+
Image source: Hulu

Hulu + Live TV has a great balance between live and on-demand content. You’ll get access to all of your favorite Hulu Original TV series and movies, along with more than 85 live channels as well as Disney+ and ESPN+. 

You can stream content in up to 1080p (or Full HD) and can record as much live content you like to watch later. Keep in mind, though, that your live TV programming will be ad-supported if you go for the basic package.

ProsCons
👍 85+ live channels available👎 No free trial
👍 Includes ad-supported Disney+, ESPN+ and regional channels👎 Expensive ($76.99/month)
👍 Unlimited DVR storage for recordings👎 No regional sports included 

3. Fubo: Best for Sport

fubo homepage screenshot

Sports fanatics looking for a cable alternative that gives them access to loads of live games and related content will love fubo. There’s a pretty decent selection of other channels, too. The streaming service has 100 live TV channels, including ABC, NBC, CBS.

For $79.99 per month, you’ll be able to stream more than 100 channels of live TV. You can also  get seven additional sports channels (NBA TV, MLB Network, NHL Network, Tennis Channel, ACC Network, ESPNU, ESPN News) if you opt for a quarterly subscription.

ProsCons
👍 Loads of sports channels👎 Most live streams are limited to 720p
👍 Stream multiple channels on one screen, simultaneously👎 No access to TNT and TBS
👍 Reliable streaming and some 4K content👎 Fire TV and Android TV apps can be challenging to use

4. Peacock: Best for Budget Streamers

Peacock live TV guide page screenshot

Peacock is the streaming platform from NBC. This means that you’ll find a bunch of live news and sports broadcasts via NBC News Now, NBC Sports and NFL Channel. You’ll also be able to access local news channels affiliated with NBC.

When it comes to great value for money, Peacock is a big winner. The platform is one of the most affordable live TV streaming services out there. Budget-conscious streamers can sign up and start watching shows and movies for just $5.99 per month.

ProsCons
👍 Affordable (subscriptions start at $5.99/month)👎 No free trial
👍 Plenty of movies and network TV shows available on demand👎 Limited live TV offerings
👍 Exclusive NBCUniversal content👎 Constantly changing content library

5. Amazon Prime Video: Best for Kids’ Content

Screenshot of Amazon Prime Video’s Live TV library

Cord cutters with little ones will find everything they need and more on Amazon Prime Video. You can stream popular kids’ shows like Peppa Pig, iCarly, Spongebob Squarepants, and PAW Patrol live. 

Besides the kids selection, you can watch Thursday Night Football and WNBA games in real time. Plus, you’ll get access to an impressive library of TV shows and movies, including Amazon Prime originals like The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and Fleabag

ProsCons
👍 Kids shows stream live 24/7👎 Clunky interface
👍 Comes free with an Amazon Prime membership👎 All live TV features ads
👍 Option to purchase movies and series👎 Very easy to accidentally buy titles when browsing the library

6. DStv Stream: Best for World News

DStv TV Guide screenshot

Sub-Saharan African broadcasting network DStv has an excellent selection of news channels. Anyone who wants to be in the know can get a view of what’s going on worldwide via BBC World News, CNN, Sky News, Al Jazeera, and RT with a DStv Premium subscription. You’ll also get Newzroom Afrika, which covers stories from across the African continent.

In addition to the news channels, DStv Stream offers a wide range of live TV streaming, with plenty of sports, reality and kids’ shows, and documentaries for just $45 per month. Bonus: DStv will throw Showmax, its video-on-demand service, in for free.

ProsCons
👍 Wide selection of international news channels👎 Maximum of 2 concurrent streams
👍 Low monthly cost👎 Stream quality usually maxes out at 720p
👍 Loads of additional channels available👎 Only available in sub-Saharan Africa

7. BBC iPlayer: Best for British Programming

Screenshot of BBC iPlayer live TV Guide

The best of British broadcasting undoubtedly comes from the BBC. Since 2007, viewers in the UK have been able to access all of the best UK TV shows and movies live and on demand via BBC iPlayer

Whether you’re invested in following the fictional lives of the EastEnders, want to see how the Antiques Roadshow team values family heirlooms, or keen to catch up on celebrity gossip with The Graham Norton Show, BBC iPlayer has all the British programming you could want.

ProsCons
👍 Free with a UK TV License👎 Only available in the UK
👍 Restart live shows if you tune in late👎 Rewinding can cause playback issues
👍 Stream a range of shows in 4K👎 Most titles only stream in 720p

8. Sling TV: Best for Reality Entertainment

Screenshot of Sling TV live sports channel library.
Image source: Sling TV

The Sling TV Blue package gives you access to 40 channels, including 14 exclusive entertainment and news channels. If you’re a fan of Bravo, TLC, Discovery, E!, truTV, and other reality-forward broadcasters, this is likely the cable alternative for you.

Although it’s one of the best value live TV streaming services on the market – subscriptions start at just $40 per month – figuring out which plan is best for you can be tricky. Of course, you can simply combine the Blue and Orange base packages for $55 per month to get access to all 44 channels on offer.

ProsCons
👍 Excellent TV guide functionality👎 Lags slightly behind truly live TV
👍 Wide array of smart TVs supported👎 Package offering can be confusing
👍 50 hours of DVR storage👎 Accessing local ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS channels requires a physical antenna

9. Now: Best for Movies

Now live TV Guide page screenshot
Image source: Google Play Store

Now is the cable alternative from British broadcaster Sky. The live TV streaming service provider’s Cinema Membership is the best deal for movie buffs or just anyone who wants to catch the latest blockbusters as they release.

The movie-focused package starts at £9.99 (around $13) per month and gives you access to the 10 Sky Cinema stations as well as more than 1,000 on-demand titles. That said, if you want to watch movies in Full HD (1080p), you’ll need to add Boost to your subscription for £6 ($7.50) per month.

ProsCons
👍 Well-priced packages👎 Standard stream quality is 720p
👍 60+ streaming devices supported👎 No free trial
👍 Stream on up to 3 devices simultaneously👎 No pausing or recording live TV

10. Paramount+: Best for Awards Season

Screenshot of the Paramount+ home screen

From cable network giant CBS, Paramount+ is the streaming service to have if you want to watch many of the high-profile film and TV events that take place in the first six months of each year. 

The Paramount+ Essential plan will set you back $5.99 per month and will give you access to live streams of the Grammy Awards, Tony Awards, Kids’ Choice Awards, MTV Movie & TV Awards, and the MTV VMAs. There’s also a bunch of Academy Award-related content on offer around the time of the Oscars.

ProsCons
👍 Watch major award shows live👎 Local CBS channel access requires premium subscription
👍 Plans start at $5.99👎 Few must-see original titles
👍 Early releases of Paramount movies👎 Quick turnover of shows and movies

4 Benefits of Using a VPN with Your Smart TV

The best way to immerse yourself in the storytelling of originals – or stream live shows and events – from platforms like YouTube TV, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video is by watching on your smart TV

For the best experience, though, you’ll want to stream with a VPN. Here’s why:

1. Change Your IP Address

Changing your IP address isn’t just useful when you want to unblock streaming sites on a portable device while traveling abroad or connected to a restricted network. It’s also a great way to protect yourself against data leaks. 

If cybercriminals happen to attack while you’re streaming, all they’ll see is the IP address associated with your VPN. The result is that you stay completely anonymous and safe from data leaks.

2. Minimize Buffering

Your ISP might deliberately slow your connection speed when they see that you’re streaming. Which means that you might have to sit through buffering when trying to watch live TV series or movies.

VPNs create a private tunnel between your device and the internet to hide your activity. Your ISP – and anyone else who might want to monitor what you’re doing online – can’t see what’s happening in that tunnel and therefore won’t be able to throttle your speeds based on that.

3. Stream Shows Safely

You need to connect your smart TV to the internet to be able to stream live TV on it. When your device is connected to the internet, it’s vulnerable to cyberattacks that can compromise your privacy and security.

A VPN encrypts your internet traffic. The data sent between your computer and the VPN server is scrambled into an indecipherable code that bad actors can’t crack. This means that your private data is protected from malicious attacks.

4. Bypass Network Restrictions

When you try to connect to a live TV streaming service via a smart TV in a college dorm or office lounge, you might find that you’re barred from accessing these platforms. That’s likely because streaming sites will have been banned to conserve bandwidth.

This is another place where encryption comes into play. Securing your internet connection with a VPN hides your activity from your network administrator. When they can’t see what you’re doing while you’re online, they can’t restrict your access to live TV streaming sites. 

Why CyberGhost Is the Best VPN for Smart TVs

CyberGhost VPN allows you to stream on your smart TV without restrictions. We have a fleet of streaming-optimized servers that you can use to get smooth access to your favorite streaming platforms. You won’t have to worry about being cut off in the middle of your binge-watching session either, because you get unlimited VPN data transfer. 

If you find that your connection seems to slow when you’re streaming TV, CyberGhost VPN can help with that. Your ISP might deliberately throttle your connection speeds when it sees that you’re streaming. Our military-grade encryption secures your internet connection so that your ISP can’t see that you’re streaming and penalize you because of it.

We have native smart TV apps for Android TV and Amazon Fire TV. For devices that don’t support VPNs, you can easily configure CyberGhost VPN on your router for full protection, or set up Smart DNS to simply change your virtual location.

CyberGhost VPN: The Smart Choice for Live TV Streaming

Even when you cut the cord and switch to a cable alternative, you can still enjoy live TV with one of the many streaming services on the market. 

Whether you’re looking for sports matches, kids’ content, reality shows, or anything in between, streaming live TV will make your inner couch potato grin. And that grin will turn into a full-blown smile when you stream on your smart TV with CyberGhost VPN

We have streaming-optimized servers for many of the best live streaming TV services out there, and our VPN encrypts your traffic so that no one can snoop on your activity. So you can sit back, relax, and stream your favorite shows and movies without any worries about buffering or data leaks. 

FAQ

What is the best streaming service?

For the best combination of on-demand and live TV streaming, you’ll likely want to go with Hulu + Live TV. You’ll get news, sports, and entertainment channels along with ESPN+ and Disney+.

What is the best app for cord-cutters?

There are a variety of great apps for anyone who wants to cancel their cable subscription. The one you choose will depend on your viewing preferences. For example, if you like live sports, Fubo might be best, but Sling TV might be better if you’re into reality shows.

What is the best live streaming service?

YouTube TV has the best channel variety out of all of the live streaming services. DStv gives you access to world news and Amazon Prime Video live streams great kids’ shows. The best live streaming service for you will hinge on your location and preferences.

What are the benefits of cutting the cord?

There are a couple of great benefits to canceling your cable subscription in favor of streaming on your smart TV. These include cost savings, greater flexibility, a wider selection of content, and the ability to watch on multiple screens simultaneously.

What are the downsides of cutting the cord?

Switching to streaming requires a fast internet connection; without it, you’ll be stuck having to sit through loads of buffering. You may also end up paying a lot more for your subscription if you have to sign up for a bunch of different services to get the content that you want. Can you really save money by cutting the cord?
Cord cutting will save you money if you choose your streaming service wisely. By ensuring that you sign up with a platform that offers all of the content you want, you can avoid paying for multiple services.


Why do you need a VPN for streaming?

A VPN can open up a variety of streaming opportunities. It can also help you bypass restrictions on networks that limit streaming, so you can access your live TV streaming service of choice wherever you connect.What’s the best VPN for Smart TVs?
CyberGhost is the best VPN for smart TVs. We have streaming-optimized servers for all of the most popular platforms. Connecting to these allows you to access all the content you want without running into error messages.

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