I want to cut the cord and after testing fuboTV, I've learned it is a great option for cord-cutters, especially for who love sports. Its wins are found mostly in its pretty-wide (but not complete) set of channels, and one feature that I haven't seen in competitors Sling TV, YouTube TV or Hulu with Live TV.
To recap how I got here, I want to cut the cord because of the cable box's archaic nature, but my roommates don't want to give up their specific channels. So I'm planning on getting rid of my cable box, and telling them that their $127 per month cable bill is their problem. I'll even offer to let them share my account with me.
Price: $65 per month
DVR: 250 hours
Simultaneous streams: 3
Broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, FOX NBC
My goal is that somewhere in this experiment I convince them it's time for all of us to wave goodbye to cable. Maybe I can find the set of channels they want in a service we like. But that's not as likely, as they're big Yankees fans and the YES Network is stuck on DirecTV Stream, formerly known as AT&T TV.
Sling's major competition for my dollar is YouTube TV, which impressed with a snappy and responsive app that works as it should. Unfortunately, not all of its competitors can say that much. Hulu with Live TV, for example, didn't prove stable enough for my liking.
Based on my testing, here's the pros and cons of fuboTV for cord-cutters.
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Where fuboTV beats (or matches) cable
The absolute best thing about fuboTV, if you ask me, is its ability to show multiple simultaneous feeds. It's not picture-in-picture, but instead two to three (or four if you have an Apple TV) channels on your screen at the same time, and you select the feed whose audio you want to hear.
This makes all the sense in the world for sports fans, who sometimes need to monitor two games at once. You can opt to have one stream larger than the others, or both the same size. It's clever, it I don't know why every service doesn't have this feature at this point. I can only presume that fuboTV has patented the technology behind it or something similar.
And while I didn't have a need for this feature during testing, I could easily see it becoming a treasured option.
The best thing about fuboTV other than that is that it may be my favorite app when it comes to overall looks and functionality. Everything is cleanly designed and snappy, and it's extremely modern (though YouTube TV is no slouch either).
The other perk I found came when doing my "how live is it?" test, where USA's feed on fuboTV was only 27 seconds behind cable TV's. That's much better than Sling's longer delay of up to 70 seconds. This matters a bit to me because I often simul-watch programs with friends remotely, and I hate being the person who is "behind." With cable TV, I was often the one ahead of the rest.
Where fuboTV fails against cable (and Sling and YouTube TV)
My problems with fuboTV are mostly in its channel selection (which I'll get to below), but I also found some things about the user experience that I didn't love.
First of all, the Guide menu (something I like having) is sort of hidden more deeply than I would have liked. You have to go a bit back in menus to find the Guide button. Maybe this is something I'd get over, as my brain is still attached to cable, but I do prefer to see that layout.
The other annoyance with fuboTV was something I only experienced on the Apple TV (I also tested it on the Roku Ultra). If my thumb wasn't careful, I would accidentally swipe left or right on the direction pad, and accidentally switch channels. This is not what you want to have happen, and can be hard to "undo" when you're trying to figure it out.
So, since my quibbles are mostly minor, I'll admit the fuboTV app and streaming experience is actually pretty great, it just may take some getting used to. It's on par with YouTube TV, especially when it comes to accurate and speedy rewinding and fast forwarding. Mid-stream navigation has often been one of my pain points with these apps, and this had none of the flaws I saw in Hulu (ads getting in the way) or Sling (inaccurate rewinding and fast forward).
This brings me back to my big problem with fuboTV: the channels.
Does fuboTV hit my sweet spot for channels and price?
fuboTV has a lot, including the often-necessary broadcast networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. But fuboTV doesn't have TNT, and that means it and I have drama. This isn't just about the NBA playoffs (the one time of the year I typically tune into basketball), but more about All Elite Wrestling's Dynamite program, which airs on TNT now and TBS in 2022. Neither of those networks are on fuboTV.
And in my research about those channels, I remembered that Cartoon Network is (like TNT and TBS) a Turner Broadcasting System channel. I didn't think to look for Cartoon Network in my testing because Rick and Morty was off that week. But since that show isn't on year-round (Dynamite is), it's not as huge a deal to not have Cartoon Network. But, still, it's just a network I like having around. You never know what those weirdos are going to do next.
fuboTV does well with the rest of my favorites, with USA, FX and the Food Network. It's also got NBC for the decent sitcoms here and there (and the nights I want to give Saturday Night Live another chance it hasn't earned). Plus, of course /MSNBC for live news. CNN is absent because, of course, it's a Turner network.
The lack of TNT's playoff basketball, though, is still quite concerning when fuboTV is supposed to be "the sports service." Also, I'm sure my Yankees-fan roommates would be curious why I'm paying for a sports-focused streaming service that doesn't even have the YES Network (yes, Yankees fans believe the world revolves around them even if the post-season hasn't).
That said, fuboTV has a metric ton of sports channels you don't get in the entry-package elsewhere. That includes TUDN (you'll pay more for it on DirecTV Stream), and the globally-focused beIN Sports channels, which are limited to the Sling TV $11 per month Sports Extra add-on, and other specialty sports networks like the Big Ten network and the ACC Network (both also in that Sling add-on).
So, if NBA basketball is not your tea, but you've got a lot of sports networks that others don't have, and you want all the broadcast networks Sling can't give you? You have a reason to check out fuboTV.
Again, though, fuboTV takes an L on the Roommates Test, lacking PBS, YES and BBC World News. That said, PBS is accessible for donors via the Thirteen Passport. It would just be nice to have it packaged in with everything else.
fuboTV is a contender to replace cable — but not for me
Now having tested four of the best cable TV alternatives, I've still got two main contenders and two coulda-been-a-contendas. fuboTV is out without TNT, a personal deal-breaker. It's got a great app and interface, though, so I just hope they find a way to get the Turner channels eventually.
Right now, Sling is still winning with the best pricing for my particular needs. YouTube TV's superior app and mid-stream navigation help make it my favorite if money were no option. However, a year of YouTube TV is $780, which is 85% more than the $420 per year for Sling Blue.
Next up, I'm going to take the newly-rebranded DirecTV Stream (fka AT&T TV) followed by Philo. And as much as I've disliked DirecTV Stream in the past, it has every channel I need, while Philo has neither TNT nor USA.
I'll give fuboTV credit for its MultiView streaming, as that's a truly great way to stand out from the pack. I bet there are plenty of fuboTV customers who are pretty happy with the service, and I just wish I could join them.
Stream Time is where Tom's Guide senior editor Henry T. Casey dives into the big choices we make about streaming media. We tackle it all, from the best and worst streaming services and devices, to the never-ending list of shows to watch.
Be sure to check out my guides to the best streaming devices (and best streaming services) for more recommendations. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below with anything you’d like to see me cover in the streaming world — I might just address it in a future installment.