The cable TV system first arrived in the U.S. way back in 1940, and that was only the beginning! Traditional cable TV picked up momentum at the speed of light and ran the show for almost 60 years before it finally lost to newer technologies.
Streaming (VOD) services & movie streaming websites eliminated most of the problems associated with cable/satellite TV but there was still one wrinkle that these services couldn’t iron out; and that wrinkle was the yearning to watch Live TV programs, i.e. as they’re being aired.
Soon, entertainment providers recognized this need and fulfilled it by offering Live TV streaming, albeit, online. So now, one can access Live TV channels including sports events, news shows, and other media, just like one could with cable TV. The only difference is that this can be done from anywhere, anytime, using various devices, without having to pay a hefty price.
Best Live TV Streaming Sites To Watch TV Channels
If you too are looking for the best quality free TV streaming sites, we’ve got your back. Here’s a list of the ones we think would satisfy your cravings for watching Live channels online:
Stream2watch’s biggest advantage is that it is accessible in more than 35 different nations, unlike most of the Live TV services listed here. If you’re a huge fan of sports and mainly want to use the Live TV feature for this purpose, Stream2watch could be the perfect choice. It is dedicated to offering live broadcasting of sports events of sports like Basketball, Football, Hockey, Tennis, and Baseball.
What’s more? Most of it can be streamed in HD! That said, it does have one major hitch and that is, the annoying ads. But no lunches in this world are for free so this is a very small price to pay for a free service.
2. USTV Now
USTV Now was mainly targeted at U.S. citizens living outside America so that even they can get access to Live TV channels over-the-air. However, they don’t really validate a user’s location so in reality, it is available to everyone living outside the United States. The service offers about 6 channels for free, including FOX, NBC, PBS, ABC, CW, and CBS. However, if you wish to access more premium networks, you’ll need to subscribe to any one of the paid plans which include about 25+ channels like ESPN, FX, TBS, TNT, AMC, and CNN.
Depending upon your usage you can select either a 1 Day Pass at $2.99, or a 3 Day Pass at $6.99 (i.e. $2.33/day), a 1 Week Pass at $15, or simply opt for a monthly subscription at $19/month for the first 3 months and $29/month thenceforth.
If you wish to replace your cable TV, you could get the premium plan at $99, including over 200 Live TV channels. USTV Now also allows users to record their favorite shows and other content using the Cloud DVR feature. The only thing that we didn’t like is their narrow range of supported devices.
TVplayer works brilliantly across a wide range of platforms including desktops, smartphones, tablets, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, and Apple TV. Similar to Hotstar, TVplayer also offers quite a lot of content (around 64 channels) for free from Freeview and Freesat, albeit, with advertisements. Some of the free Live TV channels include BBC One, ITV, Channel 4, Channel, 5, Dave, Zing, and Spike. However, if you’d like some quality content and don’t want to be interrupted by commercials, you could opt for the paid plan at only about $8 a month or roughly $65 for an entire year.
This plan includes additional 34 premium channels like Gold, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, History Channel, TLC, Cartoon Network, MTV, Eurosport, Boomerang, Nick Jr., Comedy Central, and Lifetime HD. Here’s a big caveat: TVplayer is only available in the UK!
4. TV Catchup
This is yet another free Live TV site catering to those living in the UK. It offers around 17 channels like BBC News, ITV, RT, S4C, Quest, VC, CGTN, Millenium TV, and Viva; sourced from Freeview and Freesat. Similar to TVplayer, TV Catchup can be enjoyed using a bunch of devices such as iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, desktops, etc.
Though TV Catchup still has a long way to go in terms of content spread, it has outperformed in the user-interface department. Both, the app and the web interface are quite simple to use and flaunt a rather sophisticated looking design. You can even create your own calendar to keep a track of your favorite live channels and shows so you’d never miss anything again.
5. Pluto TV
Pluto TV is one of the fastest growing free TV streaming sites in the U.S reported to have over 6 million users (per month) and considered as one of the “most watched app” by Roku. Pluto TV offers all its content for free, generating income through brief commercials played before, during, and after programming. The service has about 75 content partners including the likes of CNBC, Bloomberg, Cheddar, Hulu, Lionsgate, MGM, Warner Bros., Al Jazeera Entertainment, CNN, Yahoo!, Endemol Shine International, Mashable, and Fremantle.
The service can be accessed using Roku TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV/TV Stick, Chromecast, Android and iOS devices, computers/laptops, and select Smart TVs. While Pluto TV is great if you don’t wish to spend much on entertainment, keep in mind that it doesn’t feature a lot of premium TV networks.
6. BBC iPlayer
BBC itself is a highly illustrious name in the world of media broadcasting. It is one of the oldest broadcasting firms across the globe, with more than 35,000 staff under its wing. If you’ve always been a fan of BBC programming, this could be a good pick for you. BBC iPlayers features channels like BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, Radio1, CBBC, CBeebies, BBC News, BBC Parliament, BBC Alba, and S4C.
You can browse content using categories like Arts, Comedy, Documentaries, Food, Entertainment, Drama, Films, History, Lifestyle, Music, Science, News, and Sports. It even has a “shop” section on which you can buy BBC merchandise like towels, mugs, and pendants, and DVD sets. Note that just like TVplayer and TV Catchup, BBC iPlayer also works only in the UK.
YuppTV is specially designed for TV-viewers in India, featuring roughly 300 popular Indian Live TV channels like Zoom, Aaj Tak, NDTV India, ABP News, Me-TV, Music India, E24, B4U Music, 9XM, B4U Movies, Yupp Hindi Classics, Pogo, Cartoon Network, True Sports, and Food Food TV. These channels showcase all types of content, from movies to TV shows to News to Sports events.
Aside from Live channels, users can also access other content such as YuppTV Originals, Web-series, and popular Catch-up TV shows, in various languages including Hindi, Telegu, Gujarati, Kannada, Bengali, Tamil, and Marathi. Whether you live in India or abroad, if you’re a fan of Indian TV entertainment, this should be your top pick.
8. Hotstar Live
Hotstar was specifically created for the Indian TV-viewing audience. Owned by Star India, Hotstar offers live telecast of events such as the ICC Cricket World Cup, Indian Premier League, English Premier League, and several News Talk Shows. It is one of those few legal services to still offer plenty of content for free. However, even their premium membership is quite affordable, priced at only Rs. 199/month or roughly $3.
Aside from sports and news events, Hotstar also boasts of a massive on-demand streaming library including content from networks such as Star Plus, Hotstar Originals, HBO, Channel V, Nat Geo, Fox Life, Showtime, ABC Studios, Star World, and Star Sports; in various regional languages. Some of the most popular shows on Hotstar are Dance+, Modern Family, Game of Thrones, and Silicon Valley.
9. Hulu Live
If you want a premium experience, Hulu Live could be your go-to Live channel service. You can avail this feature at $39.99/month. The subscription not only includes 50+ Live channels but also gives you access to Hulu’s streaming library (Hulu originals and other movies/TV shows). Currently, you can stream channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, CNBC, A&E, TNT, HGTV, Disney, ESPN, National Geographic, and Viceland. You can even add major networks like HBO or Showtime to your package, at an additional cost.
Hulu Live can be accessed via Macbooks, PCs, iOS devices, Android devices, Roku, Amazon Fire TV/TV stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Xbox consoles. For those who’d prefer to have Live TV and on-demand content, all under one roof, Hulu is a brilliant option. The only drawback is that this service isn’t available outside of the US.
10. Sling TV
Sling TV is another paid Live TV service that mainly caters to people who’re looking for an economical option to supplement their pre-existing VOD subscriptions. Owned by DISH Network, Sling TV offers two chief packages – Sling Orange and Sling Blue. Sling Orange is priced at $20/month and includes about 25 basic channels like ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, TNT, HGTV, TBS, Food Network, Cartoon Network, Travel Channel, A&E, AMC, CNN, Viceland, ABC Family, History channel, Bloomberg, and Disney channel.
Sling Blue costs $25/month and includes about 45 channels– Sling Orange channels, plus NBC Regional Sports, FOX Regional Sports, USA, FX, SYFY, FXX, Nat Geo Wild, National Geographic, Bravo, and Nick Jr. You can either pick one of these plans or combine the two for $40/month. Sling TV also offers extras and add-on channels to be able to customize your package as per your interest and usage.
Some Live TV sites are free while a few are subscription-based. We’d recommend you to pick one based on your requirements and region. If you are looking to cut the cord completely, it is better to opt for an all-encompassing service such as Hulu or USTV Now and get the premium channels as well.
Note, that these plans could quickly add up and prove to be as expensive as cable TV packages, if not more. But, they still offer a lot of flexibility and convenience. If you only wish to watch Live TV for important games or news shows, a basic Live TV service such a Sling TV, could get the job done. They’re cheap and enable customization.