20 Best Streaming Services for Channel Surfing

With endless streaming options, gone are the days of mindlessly surfing until you land on a channel you want—or are they? Live TV providers like YouTube TV and Sling have made it so that you don't actually lose the traditional TV experience when you cut the cord. Tangled cables and overlong contracts are gone, of course, but channel surfing? That's thankfully here to stay. That's because many of these providers offer much of the same channels traditional TV offers, albeit at varying degrees. Free live TV services like Freevee, Pluto, and Xumo offer many channels, though some might deem them skippable, while more affordable services like Frndly and Philo will have more recognizable channels like Hallmark and History. Pricier packages like YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, and DirecTV Stream carry even more channels, both skippable and prestige, while if it's local channels you're after, then you might want to consider getting an OTA antenna (depending on where you live, it can receive up to 100 local channels). Below, we list the most channel-packed streaming services and devices. Happy surfing!
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Over 140 channels, unlimited DVR and RSNs included - DirecTV Stream Ultimate is one of the most complete cord-cutting streaming bundles out there. Think of every sports network for example, ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, NHL Network, etc, you name it, you got it. You also get over 55,000 (15,000 more than the base Entertainment package, mainly from Starz Encore) of on-demand movies and shows included. Of course, there is a price tag that comes with all of this that will rival the most expensive cable packages: over $100 a month. With this package DirecTV is saying: if you want cheap, go to Sling. This is not cheap, but it has everything a family could need from a TV package.

Price: $94.99/month

Free Trial: 5 days

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, Roku, Roku TV, Samsung TV

Channel lineup: A&E, ABC, ABC News Live, ACC Network, AccuWeather, AHC, American Heroes Channel, Animal Planet, Aspire, BBC News, Bein Sports, Bein Sports 4, Bein sports 5, Bein Sports 6, Bein Sports 7, Bein Sports 8, BET Her, BET Jams, BET Soul, BIG Network, Big Ten Network, Bounce, Bravo, CBS, CBS local channels, CBS Sports Network, CBSN, Cheddar, Cheddar News, CMT, CNBC, CNBC World, Comedy Central, Comet, Cooking Channel, Cozi TV, Curiosity Channel, CW, Destination America, Discovery Channel, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, DUST, E!, ESPN, ESPN U, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNews, ESPNU, Estrella TV, Fanduel TV, Food Network, FOX, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Fox Sports 2, Freeform, Fuse, FX, FXM, FXX, FYI, Galavision, Game Show Network, Get TV, GetTV, GINX Esports TV, Golf Channel, GRIT, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Family, Hallmark Mystery, HBO, Heroes & Icons, HGTV, History, IFC, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime Movie Network, Local Now, Logo, Magnolia Network, MLB Network, MotorTrend, MSNBC, MTV, MTV Classic, MTV Live, MTV2, MTVU, Nat Geo Wild, National Geographic, NBA TV, NBATV, NBC, NBC local channels, NBCLX, NBCSN, Newsmax, Newsy, NFL Network, NHL Network, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, NickMusic, Nicktoons, Olympic Channel, OWN, Oxygen, Oxygen True Crime, Pac-12 Network, Paramount Network, PBS, PBS local channels, People TV, Pop, Pop TV, Pursuit Channel, REVOLT, Revry, RSNs, Science Channel, SEC Network, Showtime, Showtime FamilyZone, Smithsonian Channel, Sony Movie Channel, Sportsman Channel, Stadium, Starz, SYFY, Tastemade, TeenNick, Telemundo, Telemundo local channels, Tennis Channel, The Weather Channel, TLC, Travel Channel, TV Land, TVG, Unimas, Universal Kids, Universo, Univision, UPtv, USA, VH1, Vice, WGN America, Zona Futbol

If you don't mind a messy interface and no recording capability and want to save a few dollars a month, Vidgo might be something to consider. However, you can either check out cheaper options that offer more limited selections of channels or pay a little more for much better services.

Price: $69.99/month

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, Roku

Channel lineup: A&E Network, ABC, ABC News Live, ACC Network, Aspire, AWE, Baby TV US, Bandamax, BET, Big Ten Network, Bloomberg TV, BYUtv, Cheddar News, CineLife, Classic Reruns TV, CMT, Comedy Central, Curiosity Stream, Disney Channel, Disney Junior US, Disney XD, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, Family Movie Classics, FETV, ForoTV, Fox, Fox Business, Fox Deportes, Fox News Channel, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Fox Weather, Freeform, FX, FX Movie Channel, FXX, FYI Channel, Galavision, Game Show Network, Get TV, Great American Family, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Family, Hallmark Mystery, History, i24 News English, Impact Network, INSP, Lifetime, Lifetime Movies, Longhorn Network, MavTV, MLB Network, Motor Trend, MTV - Music Television, National Geographic, National Geographic Wild, Newsmax, NewsNation, NFL Network, NFL Redzone, NHL, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, OAN, Paramount Network, QVC, SEC Network, Sony Movies, Sports Grid, Teen Nick, TeleHit, Telehit Musica, Telenovelas, Tennis Channel, TUDN, TV Land, TVOne, Unimas, Univision, UPtv, VH1, Viceland

The Roku Channel can't replace Netflix or a cord-cutting service like Sling, but it's a nice added bonus if you already have a Roku device. The selection of live channels is limited, but there's something for everyone, including news, sports, and entertainment.

Price: free for 2 channels available

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Roku TV, Samsung TV, Website

Channel lineup: ABC News Live, ION Mystery

Pluto TV is a modern take on traditional cable: it has hundreds of channels streaming live, a huge library of on demand content, and it’s supported by ads. But the key difference from the competition? It’s totally free.

Price: free for 34 channels available

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Roku, Shareplay supported, Virgin Media, Vizio SmartCast, webOS, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Channel lineup: BBC Food, BBC Home, Bein Sports XTRA, Bloomberg Television, CBS Sports HQ, CBSN, Check with Pluto TV for the full channel lineup, Cheddar News, CNN, ET Live, Food TV, Fox Sports, Hallmark En Espanol, Hip Hop Family VH1, Love & Hip-Hop VH1, Major League Soccer, MLB, MotorTrend FAST TV, NBC News Now, Newsmax, NFL Channel, NFL Super Bowl Classics, Nosey, People TV, PGA Tour, Pluto Channels, Sky News, Smithsonian Channel, Stories AMC, TBN, Today, TV Land Drama, WeatherNation, WPT

Amazon Freevee, or simply freevee, is a free, ad-supported streaming service powered by Amazon. It has a notable library of licensed titles and original shows, not to mention 24/7 live channels, plus it's easy to access since it runs on most if not all available devices. Although other free streamers have it beat in terms of range and variety, freevee is still a great option for newbie cord-cutters, especially since it already comes on most Amazon platforms.

Price: free for 40 channels available

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Echo Show, Google TV, LG, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Roku, Samsung Smart TV, Xbox, Xfinity Flex

Channel lineup: ABC News Live, Amazon Originals, Bosch, Confess by Nosey, Court TV Live, Criminal Minds, Filmrise British TV, From Asia With Love, Hot Ones, Hunter, ION Mystery, Judy Justice, Jury Duty, Latino Vibess, LiveNOW by Fox, MLB, Neighbours, NHL FAST, OUTtv Proud, PGA Tour, Project Runway, QVC, Real Crime, Swerve Sports, Tastemade en Español, Teen Wolf, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Price Is Right: The Barker Era, The TED Channel, The Washington Post, Top Gear, Unsolved Mysteries, Unspeakable, USA Today, USA Today Sports, Vevo, Washington Post, World's Most Evil Killers, XITE, Zona TUDN

Stirr is an American ad-supported streaming service owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group. It was launched in 2019. Not only is it free, but it provides access to live local news, 120+ TV shows, and 8,000+ hours of on-demand movies. This service is for viewers who don’t want to commit to a cable fee and don’t mind intermittent ads when watching their favorite movies and shows.

Price: free for 1 channels available

Device availability: Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, Roku, Samsung, Sony, Vizio, Website

Channel lineup:

All Samsung Smart TVs come with a free Samsung TV Plus app, the company's own streaming service that offers more than 200 live TV channels and on-demand content to users around the globe. There's no need to subscribe or even sign up for an account to access the app. 

Aside from its TVs (specifically those released from 2016 onwards), Samsung makes its streaming platform available to all Galaxy Devices, mobile and tablet, as long as their operating systems are updated to Android 8.0 or higher. It's a worthy option for cord-cutters, especially if you want a fuss-free and cost-efficient way to watch your favorite channels.

Price: free for 216 channels available

Device availability: Android, Samsung Smart TV

Channel lineup: 21 Jump Street, 80s Flashback, 90s Throwback, ABC News Live, ACC Digital Network, ALL ACTION, All Reality WE TV, All Weddings WE TV, All-Out Reality, ALTER, Always Funny Videos, America's Test Kitchen, Anime All day, Antiques Roadshow, Are We There Yet?, Asian Crush, Backstage, BBC Food, BBC Hom, Bein Sports XTRA, Bloomberg Quicktake, Bon Appétit, Bounce XL, Brat TV, BUZZR, Canela.TV, Cars, CBS News, Cheddar News, Chicken Soup for the Soul, CHIVE TV, Cine Romántico, CINEVAULT: 80's, CINEVAULT: Classics, CINEVAULT: Westerns, Circle, CJ ENM, Clarity 4K, Classic Doctor Who, CNN Replay, CNN RESUMEN, Comedy All Day, Comedy Dynamics, Court TV, Crime 360, Crime Zone, Dallas Cowboys Cheer, Danger TV, Deal or No Deal, Degrassi, Documentary+, Dove Channel, Dr. G: Medical Examiner, Drama Life, Dry Bar Comedy, DUST, EDGEsport, ElectricNOW, Estrella News, Estrella TV, ET Live, Fail Army, Family Ties, Fear Factor, FilmRise Action, FilmRise Free Movies, FilmRise Western, Forensic Files, FOX SOUL, FTF, fubo Sports Network, FUEL TV, Game Show Central, GOLFPASS, Gravitas Movies, Grit Xtra, Gusto TV, Hallmark Movies & More, Halloween Movies, Heartland, Hell’s Kitchen, Hollywire, Home Refresh, Home.Made.Nation, HSN, Hungry, IGN, IMPACT Wrestling, INSIGHT TV, InWonder, ION, ION Mystery, ION Plus, Journy, Kidoodle.TV, Kitchen Nightmares, Law & Crime, LiveNOW from FOX, Loupe 4K, Love & Hip Hop, Love Nature 4K, Lucky Dog, Magellan TV Now, Maverick Black Cinema, MAVTV Select, MHz Now, Midnight Pulp, Midsomer Murders, Million Dollar Listing, MinecrafTV, Moonbug Kids, MOTORVISION.TV, MovieSphere, MTV Pluto TV, NBC News Now, NBCLX, NEW KMOVIES, NEW KPOP, Newsmax, Newsy, NHRA TV, Nick Pluto TV, Nosey, Operation Repo, Origin Sports, Outdoor America, Outside, Pac-12 Insider, Paramount Movie Channel, PBS Digital Studios, PBS Kids, People Are Awesome, People TV, Plated, Pluto TV Fantastic, Pluto TV Westerns, pocket.watch, Portlandia, PowerNation, PrendeTV Lo mejor de Liga MX, PrendeTV Novelas de Oro, PrendeTV Novelas de romance, PrendeTV Novelas en familia, Project Runway, Pursuit UP, QVC, Real America’s Voice, REELZ Famous & Infamous, Revry, Ride or Drive, RiffTrax, Rock On, Rotten Tomatoes, Shades of Black, Shout! Factory, Skills + Thrills, Sony Canal Comedias, Sony Canal Competencias, Sony Canal Novelas, SportsGrid, Stadium, Stingray Naturescape, Stories by AMC, SURF NOW TV, T2, Tastemade, Tastemade Travel, TED, Telemundo Al Día, TG Junior, That Girl, The Asylum, The Bob Ross Channel, The Challenge, The Design Network, The Hotel Inspector, The Jack Hanna Channel, The LEGO Channel, The Movie Hub, The New Detectives, The Pet Collective, The Preview Channel, The Walking Dead Universe, This Old House, This Old House Makers, Tiny House Nation, TODAY All Day, Toon Goggles, Top Gear, Tu Cine, TV Land Drama, TV Land Sitcoms, TYT Network, Unsolved Mysteries, USA Today, Vevo 2K, Vevo Country, Vevo Hip-Hop, Vevo Latino, Vevo Pop, Vevo R&B, Vice, ViX Grandes Parejas, ViX JaJaJa, ViX Villanos de Novela, Waypoint TV, WeatherNation, WeatherSpy, Whistle TV, Wild 'N Out, Wipeout Xtra, World Poker Tour, XITE Just Chill, Xplore, Yahoo! Finance, ZooMoo

Peacock Premium Plus is the highest streaming tier Peacock offers, but it's still one of the cheapest packages you'll find right now. For just $12/month, you get access to a vast selection of TV shows (many from NBC and Bravo), movies, live channels, and of course, sports. 

Premium Plus subscribers also get offline downloads, ad-free viewing, and access to their local NBC channel. 

Price: $11.99/month

Device availability: Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, LG TV, PlayStation, Roku, Visio TV, Xbox

Channel lineup: 80’s Mixtape, American Greed, Caso Cerrado, CNBC Ka-Ching, CNBC Make It, D&D Live, Fail Army, Fallon Tonight, Food52, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, Hell’s Kitchen, In It To Win It, Kiss Me Deadly, Laugh Here, NatureVision TV, NBC local channels, NBC News Now, NBC Sports on Peacock, Office Shorts, Olympic Channel, Out of This World, Peacock Reality, People Are Awesome, Saved by the Bell, Seth Meyers Now, Sky News, SNL Vault, Telemundo Series, The Choice, The Pet Collective, The Rotten Tomatoes Channel, TODAY All Day, True Crime, Unsolved Mysteries, USGA, Weather Spy, WWE Network

When it comes to cord-cutting, it's hard to have an over-the-air antenna beat. For a one-time payment ranging from $20 to $50, you get multiple local channels that span sports and news (depending on where you live), often at crisp signals. Many OTA antennas don't even need to be placed outside; if you're short on space and cash, an indoor antenna will work just as well. Maybe not as clear as an outdoor antenna, but it will certainly receive the same signals. Just make sure to check what channels are being broadcast in your area before you purchase one. As for the brands, we found that Channel Master Flatenna is a favorite among cord-cutters, as is Winegard (though it can run pricey) and Mohu. But they all differ by price, style, physical coverage, and ease of use, so do your research before choosing one.

Price: $20/month

If you have an Air TV streaming device, you'll automatically have free access to 1oo local channels from affiliates like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS all in HD. To be clear, the local channels are free in the sense that you don't have to pay a monthly bill to watch them, as you would on a cable or live TV subscription, but you do have to pay a one-time fee that sets you up with an Air TV device and an HD antenna. Depending on the bundle you pick, that can cost you anywhere from $150 to $250. It seems like a lot, but it makes sense when you consider that it comes with DVR, the ability to watch local channels anywhere, and for Sling TV subscribers, seamless integration in all your devices. 

Although you don't need to be a Sling TV subscriber to start using Air TV, the two are perfect complements that save you a lot of money, in the long run. Sling TV has live TV channels equipped for sports, entertainment, and nationwide news, while the one-time-payment Air TV gives you constant and uninterrupted access to your local channels. If you do combine them, Sling takes care of any overlaps to ensure you're getting the best of both streaming worlds in all compatible devices.

Price: free for 3 channels available

Device availability: AirTV Mini, AirTV Player, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, Roku

Channel lineup: CBS local channels, NBC local channels, PBS local channels

Ready to cut the cord? Here are the 14 live TV streaming services that offer a free trial.

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The streaming services on this page were chosen by our editors. If you choose to subscribe to a streaming service we recommend as a result of our research, analysis, and curation, our work is sometimes (but not always) supported by an affiliate commission from the streaming service when you make a purchase.

That's all from us for the 20 Best Streaming Services for Channel Surfing!