“Cord-cutting,” or getting rid of cable, satellite, and other live TV options continues to grow even more popular. In fact, the number of cord-cutters has more than tripled since 2014, with an estimated 50.4 million in 2021. Streaming services providing full seasons of DVD quality shows have made it more attractive (and cheaper) to simply focus on those. However, there are times when being able to get live TV online could really come in handy.

For example, those without access to live TV (online or through cable), would have been unable to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade last Thursday. Special events like parades, live musical performances, evening news, and other timely programs make cord-cutting less attractive to some. Even people who don’t want to wait for certain shows to have a full-season release can benefit from having live TV. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to make sure you can access live TV online and still avoid the huge cable bill.

1. YouTube TV

When it comes to replacing cable as close as possible, YouTube TV is one of the best available options. They offer a wide range of stations from local affiliates to premium channels and include 4k resolution broadcasts as an add-on. Moreover, they have a really robust DVR system, so it’s easy to record the shows that you want and watch them at your convenience.

The interface is highly intuitive, not least because it’s based on the familiar YouTube interface. That means that even the least tech-aware person will have very little trouble figuring out how to use all of the available features. You can even stream up to 3 different channels on different devices simultaneously from the same account.

If this service has a major drawback, it’s the price. At $64.99 for the basic package, you’re not really saving much compared to cable. Moreover, add-ons can raise the price significantly, and even the best packages don’t include a lot of major sports networks. Combined with some fairly basic parental controls and this might not be for everybody.

However, if you’re looking for access to live TV online, YouTube TV has the technology and the support to make it worth it.

2. Hulu

Since its inception, Hulu has been synonymous with TV. Generally, that means streaming of various shows with a one to eight-day delay, but there is also a live TV option for Hulu that comes with a base of 96 channels on top of potential add-ons. Since Hulu is owned by Disney, it’s possible to get a package that includes Disney+ and ESPN, making this worthwhile for people that both want live TV and a huge on-demand streaming library.

One of the other major advantages of Hulu is that they have a number of original programs. While not as many as, for example, Netflix, there is still a variety of high-quality original content to enjoy with your Hulu subscription.

Moreover, they have easy-to-access apps for almost every common device, making it simple to watch wherever you are.

There are a few issues with the service, of course. Live TV doesn’t come with the cheaper options, and several of the basic plans also include ads on top of your monthly subscription. Adding premium networks can also get expensive very quickly.

That being said, there are plenty of benefits to a Hulu subscription, especially if you bundle with Disney+ and ESPN.

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3. fuboTV

This is probably one of the more out-of-the-way options on this list, but for people who love to watch live sports, fuboTV is a great live TV online service. Their starter plan offers the largest amount of sporting-specific content of any other option on this list, including BTN, CBS Sports Network, FS1, FS2, fubo Sports Network, NBA TV, NBC Sports Network, NFL Network, and the Golf Channel as well as international sports channels like beIN Sports, GOL TV, and TUDN.

Of course, you’ll also get all of your local network affiliates. Add-ons are reasonably priced compared to other streaming services and can not only add more sports packages but also more cable channels and several packages with programming from different countries around the world.

If you’re somebody who appreciates high-quality visuals, however, fuboTV might not be for you. While they can broadcast some events in 4k, most of their live TV channels only send a signal as high as 720p. Most people won’t notice the difference, but if you want the highest image quality possible, then fuboTV wouldn’t be a great choice.

If your chief concern is being able to watch your favorite sports and still be able to see the networks and a few of the cable stations you’ve been missing, fuboTV is a fabulous option.

4. Philo

If what you’re missing from your old cable provider are entertainment and lifestyle channels, Philo is an excellent option. They don’t have sports or local network affiliates in their lineup, but for only $25 a month, you can get many of your favorite cable channels like HGTV, Nickelodeon, BBC American, the Cooking Channel, and more. Specifically, the basic package includes 63 entertainment and lifestyle channels.

Add-ons are limited but inexpensive. As a budget option for people who have no interest in local news, network TV, or sports channels, Philo simply works. There’s not much more to say about it.

5. Sling

As a service, Sling stands out from its fellows by being extremely customizable. They have two base plans, Blue and Orange, with channel lineups that largely overlap. However, there are several channels in one that isn’t in the other, likely to entice users to the Blue + Orange plan that includes both.

But what makes them special is that Sling lets you purchase bundles of other channels as add ons. The costs are low enough that you can get a lot for very little, and they incentivize bundling with their prices, unlike many of their competitors. So you can end up with basically a custom channel lineup for very little money each month.

It is, unfortunately, fairly easy to get confused by their channel offerings. With heavy customization comes increased complexity, and Sling hasn’t made it easy to get exactly the channel lineup that somebody wants. Further, they keep increasing their prices, so it might not be an affordable option for long, and there’s a somewhat limited offering of local channels to choose from.

But if you want to have the most control over your live TV online service, Sling is undoubtedly the best option.

Finding the Right Service for You

No matter which service you choose, you’ll have a variety of entertainment options at your fingertips. Just make sure that you know your priorities, keep within your budget, and always stream through a VPN so that your connection will remain secure. Then you can cut the cord on cable while still being able to watch live TV online.

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