Alternative streaming services you need to try in 2019

FuboTV (Image credit: Android Central)

We all know the major ways to stream TV. DirecTV Now. Sling. PlayStation Vue. YouTube TV. They're old favorites, and each is great in its own way.

But cutting the cord is all about not limiting yourself to a single plan, or getting stuck using something that's just not quite what you wanted. Because there aren't any contracts or cancellation fees, we can mix and match all we want, take advantage of free trials, and figure out what works best. And there are a number of streaming options that aren't quite as well known as the big kids, but are still worth a look.

So let's take a look at FuboTV, which has a great trick up its sleeve. And ESPN+, which can get you that hard-to-find game you've been looking for. And Philo, which is just about the best bang for your buck. AT&T's WatchTV is even less expensive. HDHomerun Premium, which lives alongside your OTA channels. And, finally, PlutoTV — a fun, free service.

Updated Feb. 28, 2019: We've removed HDHomerun Premium as a suggested alternative due to uncertainty about its provider, and more recently technical concerns with the quality of the streams themselves.

FuboTV ($44.99/$49.99 a month)


FuboTV isn't the least expensive alternative on this list. But it's got a solid group of channels in its basic plan, and even more if you go for Fubo Extra, which is only $5 more a month. Plus there are plenty of optional add-ons, including DVR, Showtime and others.

But Fubo's real claim to fame is sports. A whole lot of sports. In addition to the channels you'd expect, you'll also find add-ons for cycling, international sports and outdoors adventures.

And Fubo is one of the few places you can get sports in 4K. It's still in beta, and not everything is streamed at that higher resolution, but it's a great option to have. You'll notice the difference.

Get a free 7-day trial

ESPN+ ($4.99 a month)


You know ESPN. Chances are you already have ESPN on your favorite streaming service. But you need to give ESPN+ a look. Not only will you get live games from Major League Baseball, MLS, Serie A, UEFA Nations League, EFL and the NHL — you'll also get a world of new original content from ESPN.

And that's just scratching the surface. There's also CFL football. Cricket. Rugby. And so much more. All for the price of a cup of coffee a month.

And the cool part? It's seamlessly integrated into the ESPN app on your phone or tablet, and easy enough to get onto a TV, too, via Chromecast or AirPlay. It's also available on Roku, Amazon FireTV, XBOX One, Playstation 4, Oculus Go and Tizen devices.

Get a free 7-day trial

Philo ($16/$20 a month)


If you're looking for an inexpensive way to watch the basics, Philo is an excellent option. You'll be hard-pressed to find more channels — and more channels that you'll actually watch — for less.

Just $16 a month gets you 43 channels. And you'll bump things up to 56 channels for just $20 a month. (And that includes the elusive Cooking Channel.)

And Philo is available on all the major streaming hardware. Go nuts.

Get a free 7-day trial

AT&T WatchTV ($15 a month)

AT&T Watch TV

This is AT&T's "skinny" bundle — 37 channels for just $15 a month. You don't have to be an AT&T Wireless subscriber to get WatchTV, though if you have an unlimited phone play they'll throw it in for free. (And you'll get a free premium add-on if you have their Unlimited & More plan.)

It's available on Android and iOS, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Chrome and Safari.

The only real downside? Just a single stream at a time. On the other hand, it's about the cost of a lunch per month.

With an AT&T phone plan   Get a free trial

PlutoTV (free, ad-supported)


News. Weather. Sports. Movies. Original channels you might only find online. PlutoTV has a wealth of content that you don't have to pay a dime for.

And some if it is surprisingly fun. Cats 24/7. The Onion. Fail Army. Cnet. Geek & Sundry. Slow TV. NASA TV.

If you're looking for something different that won't charge you a cent, PlutoTV is definitely worth checking out.

Watch free

Phil Nickinson