In the near future, live TV streaming services like YouTube TV, Sling TV and FuboTV are what live television is going to look like. There’ll be no set-top cable box — instead all of your live TV shows will be streamed over the internet. To differentiate itself from rivals, FuboTV has a sports-centric focus, and the addition of Disney-owned networks like ABC and ESPN helps fill out gaps in its schedule. The attendant $5 increase to $60 per month also makes Fubo one of the most expensive options.

Like

  • Solid selection of channels with a sports bent
  • Fans of soccer will find plenty to love
  • Quick and easy navigation, especially on Roku

Don’t Like

  • Lacks CNN, TNT, TBS and other Turner channels
  • YouTube TV is better overall for $5 more
  • Hulu Live is a better value for $5 less

FuboTV has a robust channel lineup, and changes to the interface and suggestion engine have made it a lot more usable and fun, but I like two other services in this price range better. The cheaper Hulu Plus Live TV offers better value and a wealth of on-demand content, while YouTube TV offers a better experience and even more channels for just $5 more. It doesn’t help that when adding Disney’s networks, Fubo dropped Turner’s, meaning it no longer carries popular channels like TNT and TBS — so subscribers won’t get NBA or MLB games from either network. Overall, Fubo is a better service than it was — but still remains a niche player catering mainly to sports fans.

What is FuboTV?

fubotv-1

FuboTV’s home screen on an Apple TV is uncluttered and friendly.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

FuboTV launched in January 2015 as a soccer (er, football) streaming service and has expanded its reach with an extensive list of channels. Of our top 100 channels Fubo has 65, second only to YouTube TV with 75. FuboTV branches out into most categories including crime, drama and movies, but its origins are still apparent with dozens of sports-centric channels.

Fubo has offered live 4K sports programming in the past for events such as the 2019 Super Bowl, the Westminster Dog Show and the NCAA basketball tournament (March Madness). Due to the effects of the coronavirus, however, such coverage is on hold and the upcoming 4K events page on FuboTV hasn’t been updated in months. 

As sports leagues restart, Fubo allows you to follow most of the action, particularly soccer like the UEFA Europa League. While the addition of ESPN and ABC are particularly welcome, besides dropping TNT and TBS the service also lost Fox’s regional sports networks in January. The chart at the end of this article has a full comparison of how FuboTV’s channel lineup fares against competitors.

The cloud DVR comes with just 30 hours of recording by default, although users can boost this to 500 hours for an extra $9.99 a month. By comparison, YouTube TV’s DVR has unlimited storage. I found that I filled Fubo’s 30-hour limit without trying at all, so heavy DVR users will probably want to budget for the upgrade — especially if you record entire TV series or games from your favorite teams.

Live TV streaming services compared

AT&T TV Now FuboTV Hulu Plus Live TV Sling TV YouTube TV
Base price $55/month for 45-plus channels $60/month for 100-plus channels $55/month for 60-plus channels $30/month for 30-plus (Orange) or 45-plus (Blue) channels $65/month for 85-plus channels
Free trial Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC channels Yes, in many markets Yes, in many markets Yes, in many markets Fox and NBC only in select cities Yes, in many markets
Simultaneous streams per account 2 ($5 option for 3) 2 ($6 option for 3) 2 ($15 option for unlimited) 1 (Orange), 3 (Blue) 3
Family member/user profiles No Yes Yes No Yes
Cloud DVR Yes (50 hours, 200 hours for $10 a month) Yes (30 hours, 500 hours for $10 a month) Yes Yes Yes (keep for 9 months)
Fast-forward through or skip commercials with cloud DVR No (Yes with $15 option) Yes No (Yes with $10 option) Yes Yes

What’s it like to use?

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Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The basic menus are an improvement on the previous interface which, despite having the same options, felt overly cluttered as all of the entries were the same-size text. Options across the top of the home screen are Search, Home, Sports, Shows, Movies, Guide, Recordings and a smaller Account button. 

Most of these menus summon a Netflix-like grid, which groups similar types of content, but I found the navigation speed varied according to platform. I used the interface on the most popular devices including Roku, Fire TV Stick, Apple TV ($179 at Apple), iOS and the Chrome browser. I found that while the mobile and browser versions worked as expected, the TV iterations varied, and some were slicker than others.

If you’re using the Apple TV, for example, the top navigation menu is hidden and requires an upwards swipe, but this looks more elegant than the Roku version which has a visible menu on all content pages. I liked Roku best for browsing — it was responsive and let me use the fast-forward key to zip through the thumbnails. 

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My least favorite Fubo platform was the standard Amazon Fire TV Stick, and this is likely due to the hardware itself — the first clue was the lack of a fast-forward capability that Roku offers. Scrolling, whether it was up, down, left or right, was laggy with a noticeable stutter, and each thumbnail would take a couple of seconds to appear. The newer Fire TV 4K was better, but it still lacks Alexa integration for quick voice searches.

Should you get it?

Even compared with a month ago, FuboTV is more enjoyable than ever, thanks to some interface upgrades. Further, it offers the second-most “must-have” channels behind YouTube TV. If you’re a hardcore sports fan, or simply want one of the most diverse range of channels, it’s worthwhile signing up for a week to try it out. If you want the best value at this level, though, it’s Hulu where your money is best spent.

Top 100 channels compared

Channel Hulu with Live TV ($55) AT&T TV Now ($55) FuboTV ($60) YouTube TV ($65)
Total channels: 60 45 65 75
ABC Yes Yes Yes Yes
CBS Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox Yes Yes Yes Yes
NBC Yes Yes Yes Yes
PBS No No No Yes
CW Yes Yes Yes Yes
MyNetworkTV Yes Yes No Yes
Channel Hulu with Live TV ($55) AT&T TV Now ($55) FuboTV ($60) YouTube TV ($65)
A&E Yes $ Yes No
ACC Network Yes No $ Yes
AMC No $ Yes Yes
Animal Planet Yes $ Yes Yes
BBC America No $ Yes Yes
BBC World News No $ $ Yes
BET No Yes Yes Yes
Big Ten Network Yes $ Yes Yes
Bloomberg TV Yes $ No No
Boomerang Yes Yes No No
Bravo Yes Yes Yes Yes
Channel Hulu with Live TV ($55) AT&T TV Now ($55) FuboTV ($60) YouTube TV ($65)
Cartoon Network Yes Yes No Yes
CBS Sports Network Yes $ Yes Yes
Cheddar Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cinemax $ $ No $
CMT No $ Yes Yes
CNBC Yes Yes Yes Yes
CNN Yes Yes No Yes
Comedy Central No Yes Yes Yes
Cooking Channel $ $ $ No
Destination America $ $ $ No
Discovery Channel Yes $ Yes Yes
Disney Channel Yes Yes Yes Yes
Disney Junior Yes Yes Yes Yes
Disney XD Yes Yes Yes Yes
DIY $ $ $ No
E! Yes Yes Yes Yes
EPIX No $ No $
ESPN Yes Yes Yes Yes
ESPN 2 Yes Yes Yes Yes
ESPNEWS Yes $ $ Yes
ESPNU Yes $ $ Yes
Channel Hulu with Live TV ($55) AT&T TV Now ($55) FuboTV ($60) YouTube TV ($65)
Food Network Yes $ Yes Yes
Fox Business Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox News Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox Sports 1 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox Sports 2 Yes $ Yes Yes
Freeform Yes Yes Yes Yes
FX Yes Yes Yes Yes
FX Movies Yes Yes $ Yes
FXX Yes Yes Yes Yes
FYI $ $ Yes No
Golf Channel Yes $ Yes Yes
Hallmark No Yes Yes No
HBO $ $ No $
HGTV Yes $ Yes Yes
History Yes $ Yes No
HLN Yes Yes No Yes
IFC No $ Yes Yes
Investigation Discovery Yes $ Yes Yes
Lifetime Yes $ Yes No
Lifetime Movie Network $ $ Yes No
Channel Hulu with Live TV ($55) AT&T TV Now ($55) FuboTV ($60) YouTube TV ($65)
MLB Network No $ $ Yes
Motor Trend Yes $ Yes Yes
MSNBC Yes Yes Yes Yes
MTV No Yes Yes Yes
MTV2 No $ $ No
National Geographic Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nat Geo Wild Yes Yes $ Yes
NBA TV No $ $ Yes
NBC Sports Network Yes Yes Yes Yes
Newsy No No $ Yes
NFL Network No No Yes No
NFL Red Zone No No $ No
NHL Network No $ $ No
Nickelodeon No Yes Yes Yes
Nick Jr. No Yes Yes No
Nicktoons No $ $ No
OWN No $ Yes Yes
Oxygen Yes Yes Yes Yes
Paramount Network No $ Yes Yes
Channel Hulu with Live TV ($55) AT&T TV Now ($55) FuboTV ($60) YouTube TV ($65)
Science $ $ $ No
SEC Network Yes $ $ Yes
Showtime $ $ $ $
Smithsonian Yes No Yes Yes
Starz $ $ No $
Sundance TV No $ Yes Yes
Syfy Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tastemade No $ Yes Yes
TBS Yes Yes No Yes
TCM Yes Yes No Yes
Telemundo Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tennis Channel No $ $ Yes
TLC Yes $ Yes Yes
TNT Yes Yes No Yes
Travel Channel Yes $ Yes Yes
TruTV Yes Yes No Yes
TV Land No $ Yes Yes
USA Network Yes Yes Yes Yes
VH1 No Yes Yes Yes
Viceland Yes $ Yes No
Weather Channel No $ Yes No
WE tv No $ Yes Yes
Viceland Yes $ Yes No
Weather Channel No $ Yes No
WE tv No $ Yes Yes
Channel Hulu with Live TV ($55) AT&T TV Now ($55) FuboTV ($60) YouTube TV ($65)