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Which Live TV Streaming Service Has The Most Channels?

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live TV services 2022

In reality, the quantity of channels included with a live TV package shouldn’t matter as much as the quality of the selection. As long as a streaming service offers the channels you want, then there is no need to worry about the ones you don’t get access to. That said, Fubo’s base live TV package offers access to the most channels overall.

It is important to point out that determining the number of channels isn’t always straightforward. A prime example here is the difference between advertised channels and actual channels. In our experience, live TV services tend to advertise the minimum number of channels a subscriber will get when signing up.

Due to the variance in local channels, and in some cases, the availability of free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channels, some homes may find they actually get access to many more channels than advertised.

Advertised channels comparison

The numbers below relate to the cheapest package offered by each of the main live TV streaming services and is designed to highlight the minimum number of channels that a home can expect access to when signing up.

ServiceChannels
DirecTV Stream75+
Fubo186
Hulu Live TV95+
Philo75+
Sling TV32
YouTube TV100+

The numbers above are based on what the various services actively advertise on their websites. As mentioned, the actual number can often be a lot higher.

Actual channels comparison

With the number of actual channels varying widely based on location, we’ve attempted to (somewhat) standardize the process by picking a random ZIP code (92805) and seeing how many channels each service promises before signing up.

ServiceChannels
DirecTV Stream108
Fubo187
Hulu Live TV128
Philo74
Sling TV32
YouTube TV133

Regardless of whether looking at the advertised or actual number of channels, Fubo offers the most channels overall. However, there are some big variances here. For example, while Hulu Live TV advertises 95+ channels and YouTube TV advertises 100+ channels, we found the actual number of channels (128 and 133, respectively) to be much higher. This is in contrast to the likes of Fubo and Sling TV, who both tend to be very approximate in terms of the number of advertised channels.

While this point doesn’t matter much in terms of the overall channel counts, it does highlight that subscribers may find they get many more channels than expected when signing up to either Hulu Live TV or YouTube TV. By the same token, very few surprises when signing up to either Fubo or Sling TV.

The same is also true for Philo. While Philo advertises 70+ channels (74 by our count) with its base plan, Philo also provides access to 55 FAST channels. If including the additional FAST channels, Philo subscribers get access to around 129 channels in total.

Most expensive base plan channels comparison

The availability of additional plans is another factor to take into consideration. While the likes of Philo, Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV only offer one base package, DirecTV, Fubo and Sling TV offer multiple plans to choose from, and this can greatly impact the number of channels available to a subscriber.

If accounting for the most expensive plans, here’s how the main live TV streaming services compare in terms of the number of channels.

ServiceChannels
DirecTV Stream207
Fubo263
Hulu Live TV128
Philo74
Sling TV40
YouTube TV133

Considering the availability of premium networks and add-ons, these numbers could climb even higher. However, as premium networks cost more, and can greatly impact the overall monthly cost, we’ve opted to exclude them from this comparison. Unlike the base packages detailed above, almost no home will ever be subscribed to all premium add-ons at the same time, so the total number in this respect matters less in our opinion.

Average cost per channel comparison

The price of a plan will greatly impact the likelihood of signing up as much as the selection of channels, if not even more. So far, we’ve specifically looked at the number of channels without taking this cost into consideration.

With that in mind, below is an overview of the cheapest base plan from each service, along with the number of channels (actual), and the average cost per channel.

ServiceChannelsCostCost per channel
DirecTV Stream108$80$0.74
Fubo187$80$0.43
Hulu Live TV128$77$0.60
Philo74$25$0.34
Sling TV32$40$1.25
YouTube TV133$73$0.55

Based on the average cost per channel, Philo would appear to offer the best value overall. While the actual channel selection might not suit every home, the number of channels for the monthly price works out to be the best in terms of value.

Interestingly, while Fubo is one of the more expensive options, it also appears to offer good value when looking at the number of channels versus the base subscription price. That said, Fubo does add an RSN fee in many locations, and this will further increase the base plan cost, and by association, increase the average cost per channel.

Sling TV, on the other hand, would appear to offer the worst value overall. In spite of being much cheaper than many of the other services, the average cost per channel is considerably higher.

Of course, and as explained at the start of this comparison, there’s not much point paying for a more expensive package with more channels if Sling offers the right selection of channels to begin with.

John Finn

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