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For those who have ditched traditional cable, services like YouTube TV, Sling TV, and Fubo have emerged as viable alternatives. While these platforms offer a diverse range of channels similar to cable, Fubo stands out with its strong emphasis on sports. However, does it have what it takes to compete against its formidable rivals?

Priced at $80 per month, Fubo provides a respectable lineup of channels. Nevertheless, it lacks major Turner networks like CNN, TNT, and TBS, making it somewhat less appealing to certain viewers. Nevertheless, for soccer enthusiasts, Fubo is unparalleled, offering an extensive array of games in both 4K and HD, along with robust search capabilities.

Despite its sports-centric approach, other services in the same price bracket offer more comprehensive packages. Hulu Plus Live TV boasts a vast library of on-demand content, including Disney Plus, while YouTube TV offers an even wider selection of channels and a superior DVR feature. DirecTV Stream also provides a competitive channel lineup akin to Fubo's.

In conclusion, while Fubo has made strides in recent years, it remains a niche player in the live TV streaming landscape, unable to match the overall offerings of its competitors.

What is Fubo?

Fubo was initially launched in January 2015 as a streaming service primarily focused on soccer, but it has since broadened its scope to include a variety of live TV channels covering local networks, lifestyle, true crime, dramas, and movies. Despite this expansion, the service has experienced setbacks in recent years, losing key channels such as CNN, TBS, Lifetime, and A&E. Nonetheless, its roots in sports remain evident, with a plethora of sports-centric channels still available. However, compared to other premium services, Fubo offers the lowest number of top 100 channels, standing at 56, closely followed by DirecTV Stream at 57, while YouTube TV leads the pack with 78 channels.

Fubo provides a selection of live 4K sports programming, featuring events ranging from the Super Bowl to the Westminster Dog Show. Presently, the upcoming 4K events page includes a mix of English Premier League matches and NCAA basketball tournaments (March Madness), alongside non-4K content like the UEFA Europa League.

The service previously offered a $65 starter package, but it has since been replaced by the $80 Pro plan. This plan includes 4K streaming, 1,000 hours of cloud DVR storage, access for up to 10 screens, and a total of 196 channels. For an additional $10, users can upgrade to the $90 Elite plan, which offers extra channels (though only two more from the top 100) along with the perks of the Pro plan, including the DVR upgrade. This represents a significant improvement from the service's earlier offering of just 30 hours of recording capacity. It's worth noting that the cloud DVRs on YouTube TV and Hulu Plus Live TV are unlimited.

Sports on Fubo

Fubo is deeply rooted in sports content, offering a wide range of channels such as ESPN, FS1, FS2, BeIN Sports, the Big 10 Network, the Golf Channel, and most local networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox. It also includes Bally Sports in its lineup. However, the absence of TNT and TBS may be a drawback for fans of baseball, basketball, and hockey.

For many sports enthusiasts, access to local regional sports networks (RSNs) is essential to catch their home team's games. Fubo now provides 35 RSNs in its base package, surpassing DirecTV Stream's offerings in this regard. Users should verify if Fubo carries their local networks and RSNs. Those interested in league-owned channels may need to opt for an additional package. The Sports Lite add-on, priced at $10 per month, includes NHL, NBA, MLB, SEC, and Tennis channels.

Comparatively, DirecTV Stream includes TBS and TNT, as well as RSNs and additional channels like MLB Network, NBA TV, and SEC Network. However, accessing these channels requires a subscription priced at $109 per month, which is notably higher than Fubo's Pro and Sports Lite combined, or even the Elite package with Sports Lite. Hulu with Live TV offers TBS and TNT but has only four RSNs, and its sports add-on lacks many league-owned channels. Priced at $77 per month, Hulu's package includes the Disney Bundle, granting access to ESPN Plus. For a detailed comparison of Fubo's channel lineup with competitors, refer to the chart at the end of this article.

What's it like to use?

Although it lacks certain crucial channels, Fubo's interface is tailor-made for sports enthusiasts. Upon entering the home screen, users are greeted with a dedicated "sports" tab that caters to every sports lover's preferences. The top section features a dynamic lineup of featured shows and matchups, including local games. Below this, a well-organized list displays all upcoming games airing on the service that day, categorized by time and sport type for easy access. Users can instantly begin watching a live event, with options to record or start playback from the beginning. The DVR button allows users to record individual games or entire teams' games.

For those overwhelmed by the daily schedule or in search of a specific sport, Fubo offers further breakdown options. Beneath the "Fubo Spotlight" section, a menu displays various sports, allowing users to click on their desired sport to view all related events. Users can then refine their search by league, enabling them to find specific games with ease. For instance, selecting "hockey" presents all hockey games airing that day and throughout the week, with the option to toggle between NHL, NCAA, and AHL games, each with readily available DVR options. Fubo's interface provides a comprehensive and intuitive way to discover, record, or watch sporting events, surpassing the usability of competing services like YouTube TV.

The user interface features several options on the side of the screen, including Search, Home, Sports, Shows, Movies, Guide, and My Stuff. Most of these menus display a grid layout similar to Netflix, organizing content into categories. However, I observed differences in navigation speed across different platforms. I tested the interface on popular devices such as Roku, Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, iOS, and the Chrome browser. While the mobile and browser versions performed as expected, the TV versions varied, with some being smoother than others.

For instance, on Apple TV or Roku, the navigation menu is hidden and requires a side click or swipe to access. Among the platforms tested, I found Roku to be the most favorable for browsing. It was responsive, allowing me to use the fast-forward key to quickly navigate through thumbnails on discovery pages.

Should you get it?

Over the past couple of years, Fubo has experienced a significant loss of key channels, resulting in a shift towards a predominantly sports-centric lineup. While this may appeal to hardcore sports enthusiasts or those intrigued by its specific channel offerings, the service has lost much of its previous diversity. It could be worthwhile to sign up for a trial week to test Fubo, especially if you're a dedicated sports fan. However, for the best overall value at this tier, YouTube TV or Hulu Plus Live TV are likely better options.

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