Vidgo offers an alternative to the more well-known live TV streaming services like Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV, but is it better than them? Well, while the channel lineup and general experience may suit some homes, we found the overall product to be lacking in too many areas.
For background, Vidgo launched in 2019 and initially tried to differentiate itself through the use of Hangs, a social-based user experience that focused on watching live TV remotely with friends, family, and even strangers. Nowadays, much of that social element is gone, with Vidgo now offering more of a traditional live TV product.
Streaming Better's verdict
Vidgo’s channel lineup and simplified user experience will suit some homes, but most people will they get a better overall product and service with other live TV providers, including Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV.
Limited TV support
With plans starting at $70 per month, Vidgo is priced to be a premium live TV service. Unfortunately, premium doesn’t always extend to the user experience.
In our opinion, there are better live TV streaming services to choose from at this price point, including Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV. For a more detailed explanation on why we think this, check out our full Vidgo review below.
Vidgo — full review
A Vidgo subscription currently costs a minimum of $70 per month and unlocks access to a minimum of 110 channels, three concurrent streams, and a 20-hour DVR.
|$70+ per month|
20 hours DVR
Whether it is worth a subscription at the current price comes down to what matters most to you, and what you expect from a live TV service. While Vidgo does offer a unique experience in places, it makes too many compromises along the way.
Vidgo Live TV — a mixed bag
Vidgo offers a good selection of channels and the lineup will suit many homes. In particular, it seems like Vidgo is looking to cater to those wanting access to more conservative-based news networks.
For example, there’s Fox News, NewsNation, NewsMax, OAN, and The First. At the same time, there’s no CNN or MSNBC.
Some of these channel decisions are representative of wider decisions. For example, the lack of MSNBC is part of an overall lack of NBCUniversal channels. If access to CNBC, NBC, SyFy, and USA, among others, is important to you, Vidgo is not going to be the right live TV service for you.
If, however, access to Fox channels is important, then you will find the channel selection to be very accommodating, and easily accessible in the Top Shelf (recommendations) row when opening the app.
As is the case with most services that offer more than one plan, the exact number and selection of channels you get depends on how much you pay.
As a rough guide, Plus unlocks access to around 110 channels, Premium 150 channels, and Ultimate over 200.
In terms of the number of channels, this makes even the cheapest Vidgo package a better option than Hulu and YouTube TV.
|Hulu Live TV||85+|
For many homes, the choice will be between Plus and Premium. Not only are they the cheapest plans, but the primary difference with Ultimate is the inclusion of Spanish-language channels and content.
Popular channels available through Vidgo:
|Disney||Nat Geo||Tennis Channel|
|Fox Sports||NFL Network|
When it comes to local channels, Vidgo offers access to some but not most. Obviously, with NBC channels absent, there is no local NBC or Telemundo, and they’re not the only missing local channels.
Basically, if you want access to more than ABC or Fox, then you will need to consider an alternate way to access the missing local channels, or a different live TV service altogether.
Vidgo’s live TV interface can be confusing
Once watching a live TV channel, the playback controls are sufficient for purpose but fairly basic in general. The only controls available while watching live TV is pausing and subtitles.
More of a problem than the lack of controls, the live guide and home screen can sometimes be a little confusing. To give you an example, the home screen lists upcoming events, and as you might expect, clicking on the event offers an option to set a reminder or a recording.
The problem is, that’s not what happens. Clicking on any of these events simply loads the live channel and whatever is airing at the time. It’s difficult to even understand what the point of this feature is? Vidgo should either be offering the option to bookmark the event in some way, or providing information on what’s showing on the highlighted channel at that time.
Likewise, when you view a program that’s scheduled for later in the day or week, the listing always displays a ‘Watch Now‘ button.
While the button might suggest you can watch the program now, you can’t. Once again, it simply redirects the user to the live channel and whatever is playing at the time.
These are strange elements of the user experience and prime examples of how confusing using Vidgo can be at times.
Vidgo features — rewinding time
Beyond live TV, Vidgo also offers access to a selection of on-demand content.
One of the interesting things about Vidgo’s approach to on-demand is that some of the library is available to watch ad-free. While we can’t confirm exactly how much, movies tended to be available to watch without ads while episodes included ad breaks.
Even when ads were shown, we found them to be relatively light and certainly much shorter than the ad breaks typically encountered with other live TV services.
In terms of the selection of content, this is another area where Vidgo can be hit or miss depending on your tastes. In general, there is a good amount of on-demand content available, but it does feel like there could and should be a lot more topical or modern content.
This might be due to Vidgo’s Advanced Playback feature, which makes all recent episodes available in cache form, but it still feels like the on-demand section could do a better job of highlighting new and topical content.
Speaking of Vidgo’s Advanced Playback, this feature allows subscribers to watch programming that’s been shown live within the previous twenty-four hours, and it works pretty well.
When accessing the live guide, the user can navigate to the left (a red zone), choose any of the programs, and start watching.
While good and certainly useful, the problem is Advanced Playback is another area that’s inconsistent across devices. Even though the feature is supposed to offer 24-hour playback, the exact length of time you can go back can vary wildly. On mobile, for example, we could only go back a couple of hours.
Vidgo DVR — a long way still to go
The lack of a DVR was one of our biggest issues with Vidgo in the past, and while that’s now been rectified, it is still a very limiting feature and experience in general.
To begin with, Vidgo doesn’t offer an unlimited DVR. Base plan subscribers only get access to 20 hours of recording space, and Plus subscribers only get those 20 hours for the first 90 days.
Both of these limitations make the DVR largely unusable for us. Even though 20 hours may be enough for homes to record the odd program, it is severely limiting and especially compared to other services, many of which now offer an unlimited DVR at this price.
|Hulu Live TV||Unlimited|
While Vidgo does prioritize the use of its playback feature, it is not a replacement for storage space. Unlike a DVR, which allows users to store recordings for as long as they like (with some limits), Advanced Playback only covers the last 24 hours. As mentioned in the last section, it isn’t always 24 hours either.
Ignoring the lack of storage space, and the DVR isn’t currently available on all devices. Furthermore, it is somewhat unclear on which devices it does work on.
During this review, we tested Vidgo on Apple TV, Fire TV, Google TV, Android mobile, and via a desktop browser. Across all of these platforms and devices, the DVR was only available on Fire TV and on Google TV. Apple TV, for example, is listed as a supported device, but the DVD section never showed up for us.
Adding to this, setting up recordings isn’t available on all devices either. It also isn’t always available on all of the devices that a DVR section is available on.
On supported devices, we also found the user interface to be pretty basic with limited features and a general lack of polish.
The DVR section is broken down into two tabs – Recorded and In Queue. When accessing recorded content, users can see the program title, information (when available), and the running time. They can then click on a program and choose to either watch the program or delete it.
For scheduled recordings, users can either delete a single recording or a recording and all future scheduled recordings for that same show.
Overall, the DVR is not something you should be signing up to Vidgo for. While it may improve in the future (it certainly has since the last time we looked), it currently feels more like a value-added item than an item that adds any real value.
Vidgo experience — better, but inconsistent
There have been some real improvements made to Vidgo and the user experience since we last looked at this live TV streaming service. For one thing, the Hangs social experiment has been removed completely. For us, Hangs didn’t really meet the expectations it set out to, so its removal is probably for the best.
Elsewhere, however, there are still some problems with the experience and one of the quickest to note was the inconsistency across devices and platforms. A problem we’ve already provided an example of with the DVR.
With apps available for Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku, many homes are unlikely to encounter any major issues in terms of device support. However, for users of other platforms and devices, including popular smart TV brands, Vidgo could be a problem.
Device support aside, we consistently encountered performance and stability issues when trying to use the Vidgo app. While some performed better than others, the Google TV app proved to be particularly problematic and unreliable
For example, the app was always slow to populate when switching between sections and the guide almost never loaded without needing a moment.
The app would also crash far too often for our liking, and often for no obvious reason. Sometimes just navigating the app too quickly could result in it force closing. Likewise, if exiting (but not closing) the app and later trying to go back, it would often stop responding altogether, requiring the app to be closed and relaunched.
Again, the reliability of the experience will vary depending on the device, and we did find the Apple TV and Fire TV apps to be more reliable than the Google TV app.
Another limitation that potential subscribers should be aware of, and especially those in busier households, is that Vidgo can only be used on up to three devices at the same time.
While it is not uncommon for live TV streaming services to limit the number of simultaneous streams, Vidgo is far more restrictive in this respect, as its limitation also relates to registrations as well.
To give you an example, most other live TV streaming services allow subscribers to log in to as many apps as they want at the same time. It is only when they start streaming that a stream is considered in use and affected by any concurrent streams limitations.
With Vidgo, homes can only be logged in to three devices at the same time, and regardless of whether those devices are actually in use at the time. Attempting to log in to a fourth will automatically log the user out of one, requiring them to log back in again the next time that device is used.
In reality, three registered devices is barely enough to account for the number of streaming players or smart TVs that might be in a busier home, let alone mobile devices like phones and tablets, or even the website. Yep, logging in to Vidgo through a browser also logs the subscriber out of one of the other devices.
This feels like a real deal-breaker in some respects. Even if you are never going to be watching on as many as three devices at the same time, if you are going to be switching between more than three devices regularly, this limitation will quickly become annoying.
Speaking of the website, watching through a browser also feels far more complicated than it needs to be. After heading to the Vidgo website and logging in, the subscriber is directed to the account management page. This is a little strange in itself, but what’s really frustrating is that, once logged in, Home and Watch TV options are added to the top of the page, and neither go where you would expect them to.
While you might expect that clicking on Home takes you to the home screen (channels, DVR, etc.), it doesn’t. It takes you to the page you were just on before – the page where you just logged in a moment ago.
Likewise, while you might assume Watch TV would simply launch the live guide, or a TV channel, it doesn’t. Instead, it redirects the subscriber to a separate web player that they then have to log in to again. Only after logging in for a second time do you actually end up where you want to be – watching live TV.
On a positive, we didn’t encounter any issues with the quality or consistency of the streaming experience, and this was actually of of the service’s main strengths. Vidgo offers a very reliable viewing experience whether watching on a smart TV, streaming player, mobile device, or browser.
Value — is Vidgo worth it?
On paper, Vidgo is well positioned in terms of the price. While the $75+ per month cost is more expensive than Sling TV and Philo, it is in line with plans from other live TV services, including DirecTV Stream, Fubo, Hulu Live TV, and YouTube TV.
|Hulu Live TV||$70|
Vidgo also doesn’t really offer much in the way of upgrades. While that might be considered a negative by some, it does mean the asking price is the actual price, and we view that as a good thing overall. While there are no real options to upgrade a plan, there are no hidden or additional costs either.
The value on offer overall is a different story. If no other service existed, many might not take issue with the monthly price. However, there are other services available, and most of them offer better features, support, and user experience.
Vidgo review: recap
Vidgo isn’t a bad live TV service, it just isn’t the best either. If you have already tried the likes of Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV, and found that they weren’t for you, then you probably should give Vidgo a try. As long as you don’t mind not having access to the NBC family of channels, the channel lineup is varied and does offer a good balance of news, sports, and entertainment.
|$70+ per month|
20 hours DVR
In spite of its strengths, we just found Vidgo to be lacking in too many departments. The overall user experience is inconsistent and lacking in premium features, the DVR feels unfinished and too limited, and the price feels a little on the high side.
To sum up, Vidgo is one of those services that you may need to try for yourself. While it won’t be for everyone, and wasn’t for us, some homes will likely find the channel lineup and simplified user experience to be exactly what they are looking for. For everyone else, Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV are likely to be better options.
This review was originally published in 2021 and republished with updated information following our retesting of the service in May, 2023.
1 reply on “Vidgo Review: Is It Better Than Hulu And YouTube TV?”
I was excited and enjoyed watching now that I’ve had it for a few months the streaming is starting to get bad I can’t even watch a program without it spinning and resetting the channel over and over again it’s very hard to watch it anymore because it is so interrupted it’s not funny