fuboTV is a good option for streaming live TV over the internet. Although the price is a little on the high side, the selection of channels and on-demand content, the app experience, and the additional features justify the cost. Where consumers may find the decision a little harder to make is when taking into consideration that fuboTV costs the same as Hulu Live TV and more than YouTube TV.
While fuboTV has been around for some time now, the service has changed over the years. Originally positioned as a solution for sports fans, fuboTV has continued to evolve and the current version now appeals to a variety of different consumers looking to stream live TV. A fuboTV subscription starts at $64.99 per month with a choice primarily between the Pro and Elite plans. Upgrading to the more expensive plan not only increases the number of channels included with the subscription, but can also affect the resolution. To sum up the experience, fuboTV works well, it is reliable, and many consumers will find it to be a good alternative to Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV.
fuboTV will suit those looking for a live TV streaming service with a focus on sports content, but also enough entertainment channels to keep the rest of the household busy. However, the price is a little on the high side and some may find that one of the competing services may offer a plan that better suits their needs at the same price.
Good for sports
4K (limited events)
However, before signing up to fuboTV, it might be worth taking a closer look at what’s on offer in terms of live TV, the on-demand catalog, the cloud DVR, and the overall experience.
Live TV and on-demand
fuboTV features a good selection of channels overall, which should make it a suitable option for many individuals and households. The standard (Pro) plan comes with a little over 120 channels while the Elite plan increases the number to more than 180. However, that number is slightly deceptive as it does include multiple channels from the same networks, and especially in terms of sports.
While the service has prioritized sports in the past, that’s changed recently with a subscription now including more entertainment and news channels than ever before. There are still some notably missing channels including, Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS, and TNT, among others. Generally speaking, the lineup is still rich enough in choice to make the asking price worth it and a subscription appealing to multiple household members.
The same is largely true for the on-demand catalog as well. fuboTV provides a good amount of content that’s available to watch when wanted, and from many of the channels included with a subscription. This is in addition to offering TV Everywhere support for a number of apps as well, allowing subscribers to use their login details to access even more videos from popular channels and networks. All of which means there is plenty to watch through fuboTV.
As should be expected, fuboTV includes an easy to use live TV guide which can be found under the “Guide” section of the app or website. The guide also comes with enough options to make finding the right channel easier. For example, subscribers can sort by listings or networks, view listings by day (up to seven days), or filter by one of the various categories, such as news, sports, or entertainment. There is also an option to favorite some channels to position them higher up the guide.
Clicking on any of the live listings won’t immediately start playing the channel, but will open a new page instead. Subscribers then have the choice of either playing the live feed, playing from the beginning (depending on the channel/video), recording, or heading over to the title page for more information.
The actual playback interface is functional, albeit a little on the basic side. The initial layer allows pausing, rewinding, fast forwarding, and starting over. There is an extra menu which allows the viewer to see additional information, such as the video description, or to make changes. For example, when watching live TV, on-demand or recorded content, the viewer is able to adjust the resolution to improve the picture quality or reduce data usage. This is in addition to enabling subtitles and captions, or turning on streaming stats for a more granular look.
Pressing down on the remote while watching live TV opens yet another menu that makes it easier for subscribers to quickly switch between related channels, switch back to the previously viewed channel, or select a category. For example, “Entertainment” or “Local” to see a selection of specific genre channels.
All in all, the fuboTV live guide and on-demand section work as expected. While the interface might not be quite as rich as YouTube TV, it functions well, and gets many of the basics right.
Experience and ease of use
Those using the service should not encounter too many issues when it comes to devices. fuboTV is a fairly well supported service with apps available to download on different smart TVs and streaming players. In addition, the fuboTV apps (and the website) are fairly well polished and offer a generally reliable and easy to use experience. However, there are some smaller issues that some may find annoying or, at the very least, frustrating. The first is the quality of the streaming to begin with.
While there’s nothing majorly wrong with the reliability of the streaming experience, the 720p maximum resolution when watching live might be an issue for some. It is particularly noticeable when watching live sports on a larger TV. fuboTV does offer 4K support, but this is only for limited events. The channels that are available in 4K are listed in the guide. More often than not, however, there won’t be anything shown on them.
In most cases, sports fans will probably have to settle for the 720p and a slightly grainy picture. While on-demand content is available to stream in 1080p, that’s not going to be much help to those who prefer to watch live. Likewise, recordings are limited to the video quality when watching live, so subscribers should not expect recordings to be available in anything above 720p in most cases.
A minor grievance is with account management. Although the various platform apps are easy enough to use, they are somewhat limited in terms of account options. For example, there is no real ability to make changes to a plan from within the apps, including adding any additional channels or extras. Instead, all of these changes will need to be made through the fuboTV website. Even though the apps do include a “Get more space” button for expanding the storage, even that just advises the subscriber to visit the website. While this is not uncommon with live TV service apps, it’s still something to be aware of.
A final issue worth noting is on-demand content cannot be added to a watch list. There is a dedicated library section in the app, but this is solely reserved for recorded content. With no obvious way to add on-demand videos, consumers are somewhat forced to record an upcoming version if they want to bookmark the show or movie for later, which brings us to the recording experience in general.
Cloud DVR and additional streams
fuboTV offers a good, but not great, DVR experience. Firstly, it is not unlimited and how much space a consumer gets will depend on their plan. Previously, subscribers were limited to just 250 hours, but that has since been upgraded to 1000 hours. Even though this is a lot of hours and likely more than many households will need, it is still not unlimited. Further adding to the issue, the DVR section does not count scheduled recordings as part of the overall limit. This can make it difficult to see how much space is already scheduled for use and manage accordingly.
When it comes to shows and sports where there are likely to be multiple recordings available, fuboTV does allow subscribers to set a recording preference for a single episode/event, the show, or sports team as a whole. Likewise, if recording all episodes for a show (or games for a team), there is the option (under the recording tab) to deselect a single episode or event. This can help to remove an individual recording without affecting the rest of the scheduled recordings.
However, that’s largely the extent to the ability to manage the DVR and recorded content cannot be sorted any further in the Recordings tab. In other words, all of the recordings are simply listed in the order of when they were recorded, with no ability to filter by sports, movies, or in any other way.
Similar to the DVR experience, the number of devices a fuboTV account can be streamed on at the same time can depend on the subscription level. Previously, fuboTV only offered the option to stream on up to three devices at the same time, but has since upgraded its plans to unlimited – which fuboTV define as 10. However, this is only in relation to when accessing the service through the home network. When accessing from outside the home, all fuboTV subscribers are limited to a maximum of three streams at the same time, irrespective of their plan.
Price and overall value
fuboTV is not bad for the price, but it’s not exactly great either. Subscribers do get a decent selection of channels and there’s plenty of on-demand content available to watch. Not to mention, there is the ability to expand the channels and on-demand content further, albeit at an additional cost per month.
The value problem fuboTV faces is when comparing the service to other similarly priced services. For example, YouTube TV comes with more features and an unlimited cloud DVR, and is actually slightly cheaper than fuboTV. Likewise, Hulu Live TV includes access to basic Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN Plus subscriptions for the same price as fuboTV, greatly expanding the amount of on-demand content available for the same monthly cost.
|Hulu Live TV||$69.99||75+|
Again, none of this is to say that fuboTV doesn’t offer value for money, as it does, or that it isn’t worth the asking price, as it is. It is just some consumers may find better value with other services at the same price point. Of course, sports is the notable exception, as the service does include enough additional sports channels to make the subscription worth it for sports fan. For non-sports fans, fuboTV offers good value, but those consumers are probably going to find even better value with Hulu or YouTube TV.
fuboTV review summary
fuboTV is a decent live TV streaming service and those subscribing shouldn’t find too many issues overall. There is a good selection of live TV channels, plenty of on-demand content, and a reliable app experience. Where the issues arise is in the resolution and the price. While the resolution might not be a major issue for some, it is likely to be more of a concern for sports fans. Considering this is one of the main demographics that the service targets, that’s an issue. fuboTV is working on 4K support, so this particular issue may resolve itself in time. Not to mention, fuboTV is not the only live TV service that currently has a 4K support problem.
As for the price issue, fuboTV does offer good value for the money, but it is still an expensive service. The fact that a subscription costs exactly the same as Hulu Live TV and is more expensive than YouTube TV means some consumers may find they are better going with one of the other services. Still, for what’s on offer, fuboTV is worth trying, and its channel selection and features may suit some consumers much better than competing services.