9 Best Live TV Streaming Services To Watch Shows Online In 2021

Get ready to binge watch with the best live TV apps!


There are plenty of websites for streaming TV shows and movies online, which makes it easy to cut the cord. Despite the abundance of on-demand streaming content, one can miss the spontaneity and the fun of just tuning in to a live TV channel and watching whichever show is being broadcasted. This is why I have compiled a list of the best live TV streaming services to watch shows online in 2021.

Watch your favorite anime for free with Funimation's 14-day free trial

Top 9 Live TV Streaming Apps In 2021 [Free & Paid]

1. YouTube TV

YouTube TV Features:

  • Price: $64.99/mo.
  • Channels: 85+
  • Simultaneous streams: 3
  • DVR: Unlimited (9 months)
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Fire TV, Apple TV, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS3, PS4, Chromecast, Roku, and compatible smart TVs
  • Unlimited recording and cloud storage
  • No cable box, contracts, or hidden fees
  • Some premium channels missing
  • Can’t skip ads on some of the recorded content on DVR

YouTube TV is the best live TV streaming service because it is widely available and pretty easy to use. It might seem expensive at $65 a month, but it offers three simultaneous streams without making you pay extra and allows up to six people to share your account. The best part about this live tv app is that you get unlimited cloud DVR (Digital Video Recording) to watch movies and TV shows later. Of course, you may find some of the channels missing in the package but that holds true for any other live television app you can opt for in 2021.

There is one odd thing about YouTube TV — getting a subscription for the live TV doesn’t grant you access to YouTube Premium, which lets you watch YouTube and listen to YouTube Music ad-free. You also can’t access YouTube Originals through YouTube TV subscription. Hence, you’ll have to shell out extra money for that.

2. Hulu+ Live TV

hulu+ live tv streaming service

Hulu+ Live TV Features:

  • Price: $64.99–$70.99/mo.
  • Channels: 60+ live and on-demand channels
  • Simultaneous streams: 2
  • DVR: 50 hrs
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, compatible smart TVs, PC (via browser)
  •  Offers both Live TV and Video-on-Demand (VoD)
  • Watch two shows at once
  • Extra cost for Live TV subscription
  • Additional streams available for a monthly charge

You are probably familiar with Hulu which is one of the popular streaming services to watch live cable TV online in 2021. However, the basic subscription doesn’t include live TV streaming feature. For that, you need to buy an additional subscription called Hulu+ Live TV on top of the regular subscription to watch live TV channels. What makes Hulu powerful is the combination of live TV and video on demand services. It offers exclusive titles such as The Handmaid’s Tale – a content advantage that no other service can match.

However, its interface and DVR lags behind competitors such as YouTube TV or Fubo TV. Besides, you’ll have to pay another $10 per month to get rid of commercials on Hulu’s cloud DVR (the DVR you get in the default package doesn’t let you skip ads). You can stream two shows at once and get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage. But for more, you’ll have to pay another $10 per month to get 200 hours of cloud storage. Therefore, we can say that at the same base price, YouTube TV is a better live TV streaming service than Hulu.

3. DirecTV Stream

ATT DirectV Stream Live TV

DirecTV Features:

  • Price: $69.99 – $94.99/mo
  • Channels: 65+ live TV channels and 40,000+ on-demand titles
  • Simultaneous streams: 2
  • DVR: 20 hrs
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, compatible smart TVs, PC (via browser)
  • Free trial
  • No setup box required
  • High-speed internet required for streaming
  • Extra costs for additional features

DirecTV Stream is another live television streaming service owned by AT&T, which is a satellite television giant. It offers a ton of channels, and that is why it is one of the best live TV apps. In fact, DirecTV is the only service to stream live TV that can act as a replacement for your high-end cable or satellite television subscription.

However, I would say that DirecTV Stream is a better option for AT&T subscribers. That’s because AT&T subscribers get exclusive offers like renting movies from DirecTV Stream. The base package lets you stream 65 live TV channels whereas the highest package provides over 140 channels. The streaming quality is decent but for extra hours of cloud DVR, you’d have to pay extra money.

4. FuboTV

fubotv best live tv apps

FuboTV Features:

  • Price: $64.99–$79.99/mo
  • Channels: 109–156
  • Simultaneous streams: 3
  • DVR: 250–1,000 hrs
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Chromecast, Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku, Android TV, PC (via web browser)
  • Live sports and on-demand channels
  • Ample DVR storage
  • No ESPN channels
  • No original content like Hulu

FuboTV is one of the best live streaming services in 2021 for sports fans. While other services provide some sports channels, FuboTV beats them all in the number of offerings. The base plan itself includes major sports channels such as the NFL Network, ESPN, Golf Channel, and Fubo’s own Sports Network.

FuboTV is also a good option for those who want to watch Spanish or Portuguese language channels (in the base plan). You can add the entire lineup of Spanish channels by paying an extra $20. Those who’d like to watch news or daytime talk shows can enjoy live television channels such as ABC, CBS, and NBC in the plan.

5. Sling TV

Sling TV best live tv apps

Sling TV Features:

  • Price: $30.00–$45.00/mo
  • Channels: 30–50
  • Simultaneous streams: 1-3
  • DVR: 10hrs
  • Platforms: Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Fire TV, Android TV, iOS, Android, Xbox One, compatible smart TVs, PC (via web browser)
  • Customizable low budget plans
  • No rental equipment, cancel anytime
  • Only 3 days free trial
  • No offline playback

Sling TV is the best live streaming service for people who are looking for a budget-friendly option in 2021. Since it allows customization of the channels, it’s a good choice for anyone looking for a tailored experience.

Sling TV offers two plans:

  • Sling Blue: With 3 device streams, no contracts, free 50 hours DVR, — best for news and entertainment
  • Sling Orange: With 1 device streaming, No contracts, free 50 hours DVR — best for sports and family channels

Overall, Sling TV is the best live TV app for anyone who wants to watch both sports and general entertainment channels. That being said, there are certain drawbacks too. First of all, you can’t set up profiles for other users, so everyone will have to share the same DVR and watch history.

Secondly, the pricing and the marketing of the plans can be a bit misleading because if you look carefully, you’d have to spend extra money for add-ons. But if you are okay with the channels on the base plan, you’d save a good amount of money while watching live cable TV online.

6. Philo

philo best live streaming service

Philo Features:

  • Price: $20.00/mo
  • Channels: 64
  • Simultaneous streams: 3
  • DVR: Unlimited
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Roku, FireTV Chromecast, PC (via web browser)
  • Create up to 10 profiles per account
  • Skip ads without restrictions
  • No sports or local channels
  • Less features than others

If you want to stream live TV with entertainment channels only at cheaper rates, Philo TV is the best live TV streaming service for you in 2021. For $20 a month, you get to watch 64 live cable TV channels online. When you throw in Philo’s unlimited cloud DVR space (with a 30-day time limit) into the deal, it becomes a sweet deal.

But please note that it has no sports or local channels. However, it offers major entertainment channels like AMC, Comedy Central, and Paramount Network. It also broadcasts lifestyle channels such as A&E, HGTV, and Cooking Channel.

7. Pluto TV (free)

PlutoTV live tv streaming

Pluto TV Features:

  • Price: Free (No signup)
  • Channels: 100+ live TV channels
  • Simultaneous streams: 1
  • DVR: No DVR option
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV, Xbox 360, compatible smart TVs, PC (via web browser)
  • Completely free
  • No signup required
  • No DVR option
  • Less number of premium channels

If you want to watch live television online for free in 2021, then Pluto TV is the best live TV app you can go for. It has over 100 live TV channels, 200+ content partners, and 100,000+ hours of content. The best part is that you can stream live television on Pluto TV without signing up. It has a huge library of on-demand content across all genres of movies, news, TV shows, sports, documentaries.

Pluto TV offers free TV apps for Android and iOS, so you can always watch TV on the go. The UI is functional and minimalistic, but please note that you won’t get premium channels like Food Network or AMC. But you can watch tons of talk shows, sports, news, entertainment shows, and anime on this live cable tv online for free.

8. Xumo (free)

Xumo Features:

  • Price: Free
  • Channels: 190+ free premium live TV channels
  • Simultaneous streams: 1
  • DVR: Not available
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Android TV, Fire TV, Compatible TVs PC (via web browser)
  • Completely free; no signup required
  • Both live TV and on-demand content available
  • Cannot pause or rewind live channels
  • No DVR option

Xumo is a free live TV streaming service that offers both live and on-demand TV content without buying a subscription or signing up. Here, you can watch popular live TV networks such as ABC News Live, beIN SPORTS XTRA, CONtv, Dove, HSN, NBC News NOW, QVC, and more.

Since Xumo is a free live TV app, be prepared to encounter ads in between — just like the good ol’ cable TV days! The best part about this TV streaming app is its catalog which generally tends to be limited if a platform is entirely free. But Xumo stands up to expectations by providing a variety of content across live events, news, viral videos, full TV series, movies and cartoons.

There is one downside though; Xumo is available only in United States, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and Mexico. But you can try to bypass its geolocation restrictions by using the best VPNs.

9. Nosey (free)

Nosey Features:

  • Price: Free
  • Channels: 5
  • Simultaneous streams: 1
  • DVR: Not available
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Roku, FireTV PC (via web browser)
  • Completely free
  • Dark Mode
  • Limited availability
  • Limited content

If you love talk shows then you’d love the next listing on best free streaming services in 2021! Nosey is a free live TV streaming app with full episodes of Jerry Springer, and Maury Povich. It also has Steve Wilkos, Paternity Court, Cheaters, Match Game, Family Feud and many more shows that you can enjoy.

The interface is pretty simple and with a clean catalog for browsing titles on the live TV app. Since it is free, you’d have to watch commercials in between. There is one limitation as well — Nosey is currently available only in the United States. To access the site outside, US you will have to use VPNs.

Enjoy The Best Live TV Streaming Services

So these were the best free and paid live TV apps you can opt for in 2021 to watch live cable tv online. The listing hasn’t been done in any particular order as each of the platforms has something unique to offer to a particular section of the audience. I’d therefore recommend you to go through all the TV streaming apps to find out which one is the best according to your taste and budget. I recommend Pluto Tv because it is regarded as one of the best thoptv alternatives and provides free TV apps for Android and iOS.

Live TV Apps FAQs

1. What is the best free live TV app for Android?

Pluto TV is the best free live TV app for Android.

2. Can you watch live TV on Android TV?

Yes you can watch live TV on Android TV. Refer to the list mentioned above to find out the best live TV streaming apps for Android TV.

3. How can I watch live TV on my Android TV for free?

To watch live TV on Android TV for free, you need to download any of the free streaming apps mentioned above. After that:
– On your Android TV, go to the Home screen.
– Scroll down to the “Apps” row.
– Select the Live TV Channels app.
– Press the Select button.
– Select the Program guide.
– Choose your channel.

Manisha Priyadarshini

Manisha Priyadarshini

An Editor and a Tech Journalist with a software development background. I am a big fan of technology and memes. At Fossbytes, I cover all aspects of tech but my specific area of interest is Programming and Development.
More From Fossbytes

Latest On Fossbytes

Find your dream job