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What is the biggest streaming live TV service?

NFL studio show on Hulu Live TV
Hulu with Live TV is the largest live TV streaming provider in the United States. (Image credit: CordCutters)

There's no shortage of streaming services that provide live TV in the United States. Otherwise known as a multi-channel video programing distributor (MVPD), these are services like Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, AT&T TV Now, Sling TV, FuboTV, and Philo. They have multiple channels — some have multiple packages of channels — and other bells and whistles that they're happy to sell you for a monthly subscription.

So which is the largest live TV streaming service in the United States? Here's how it breaks down (we think) as of May 11, 2021:

  1. Hulu with Live TV (4 million subscribers as of Feb. 11, 2021)
  2. YouTube TV (More than 3 million subscribers as of Oct. 29, 2020)
  3. Sling TV (2.374 million subscribers as of March 31, 2020)
  4. Philo (750,000 subscribers as of August 2020)
  5. AT&T TV Now (683,000 subscribers as of Sept. 30, 2020)
  6. Fubo TV ( 590,430 subscribers as of March 31, 2021)

3ulu with Live TV is the largest provider of streaming live television in the United States, with some 4 million paid subscribers. It's been buoyed in no small part by the massive success that is Disney+, which has brought more eyeballs to Hulu thanks to a pretty major bundle that includes Hulu's video-on-demand service with ESPN+ and Disney+ for just $12.99 a month.

If you get it on its own, Hulu with Live TV runs $64.99 a month.

For more, be sure to check out our YouTube TV vs. Hulu guide. And don't forget about the YouTube TV free trial.

Second place appears to have fleshed itself out a bit. Google on Oct. 29, 2020, announced that YouTube TV has more than 3 million subscribers. There's a good chance that if it knew it had more than Hulu with Live TV's 3.4 million subs, it would have said so.

That leaves Sling TV at No. 3, with 2.374 million subscribers as of its Q1 earnings, reported on April 29, 2021. That's down slightly from the 2.474 million paid subscribers it reported as of Dec. 31, 2021. And if you're considering this service, please be sure to take advantage of the Sling TV free trial.

Fourth place goes to Philo. It's small — just 63 channels — but you can't beat the price tag of $20 a month. That's why it's a great option for those who are only on an over-the-air antenna, or have a bare-bones streaming plan. 

Fifth place is owned squarely — for now — by AT&T TV Now. (Which used to be called DirecTV Now.) But we're not really counting AT&T TV anymore since it dropped the "Now" moniker and is lumped in with the flavor of video that requires you to rent a set-top box from AT&T. And in any event, that part of the business is being sold off. We don't have good numbers for this part since the fall of 2020.

And in sixth place is FuboTV. There's no doubt that it's the smallest of the bunch at an estimated 590,400 paid subscribers as of Q1 2021. It's definitely still growing, up more than 100 percent year over year. (Fubo puts more emphasis over the yearly numbers because it focuses on sports, which can vary greatly from quarter to quarter.)

Fubo expects to be north of 800,000 subscribers by the end of the year.