Cutting the cord doesn’t mean you can’t watch live sports or primetime shows. While the market for video streaming services is saturated, fuboTV is one of the few that primarily caters to sports fans. This “sports-first, but not sports-only” service combines 85 channels of bona fide sports, news, and entertainment content, easy-to-use DVR capabilities, and reliable performance. The best part is that fuboTV covers practically every major sport and league at the college, national, and international level and is available on a wide range of platforms. It’s as expensive as a standard cable subscription and is missing a few notable channels, but otherwise, fuboTV is a great experience for sports fans.
Sports and Entertainment Galore
fuboTV’s flagship subscription plan, fubo Premier, costs $19.99 per month for the first month, but that quickly jumps up to $44.99 per month after the introductory period. Its price has increased (from $39.99) and the trial period has been shortened (down from two months) since the last time we did a full review. fuboTV was expensive before and this increase makes the monthly cost a bit harder to justify, despite its 80+ channels spread across the sports, news, and entertainment markets. To be clear, these are not watered-down versions of channels, however; they are the real thing. You can watch the on-air channels, record live content to DVR storage, and binge through a good selection of on-demand shows and movies.
The Premier plan offers sports programming from NBC, CBS, FOX, NFL Network, NBA.TV, MSG, NESN, and several international channels. Basically, if there’s a game or match you want to watch, fuboTV likely carries it, regardless of the sport or league.
There’s also an impressive collection of entertainment channels. For example, fuboTV offers the Travel Channel, HGTV, and the Food Network for lifestyle content. You can get financial news from CNBC and FOX Business. FX, USA, SYFY, National Geographic, and the Weather Channel also make an appearance. Recently, fuboTV added AMC and Sundance TV to its lineup. In this sense, fuboTV is comparable to SlingTV and YouTube TV, although with a larger focus on sports.
One major omission, however, is ESPN. None of the subscription tiers or add-ons include ESPN programming, which could persuade some sports fans to look elsewhere. Additionally, fuboTV’s news lineup is missing some key players. It has a good selection of channels including BBC America (new), MSNBC, NBC, and CBSN, but CNN and PBS are notably absent.
Recently, fuboTV launched a new, even more expensive plan called Fubo Extra for $49.99 per month. This tier includes every channel in the base package, but adds BBC World News, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, PeopleTV, and Stadium (a live, 24-hour college sports channel). fubo Latino is the cheapest option, at $17.99 per month, and it includes 15 total channels, such as Univision, Unimas, two listings from beIN sports, GOL TV, and Nat Geo Mundo. fubo Português ($19.99 per month) only features five channels, but two of them, RTP and Benfica TV, are native to the Portuguese market.
You can supplement any of these base plans with add-on content, though fubo Premier gives you the most options. For example, you can combine the Premier plan with the Latino or Português packages respectively for $12.99 and $14.99 per month. There’s also an $8.99 Sports Plus option, which adds channels like the NFL Network’s Red Zone and Fox College Sports. New packages include Adventure Plus ($4.99 per month), International Sports Plus ($5.99), and Showtime ($10.99 per month). If multiple people intend to use one account, then you may want to opt for the Family Share add-on, which increases the number of possible concurrent streams from two to three for an additional $5.99 per month.
For comparison, YouTube TV costs $40 per month and features more than 60 channels. Sling TV’s cheapest plan costs $20, though it only includes 25 channels. Still, Sling TV’s most expensive option is $40 per month and includes upwards of 50 channels. Hulu Live TV costs $39.99 and includes 50+ channels. All three of these services offer programming from ESPN and CNN.
On a desktop, you can only access fuboTV via the web, so you won’t run into any compatibility issues with Windows or macOS. fuboTV offers apps for Android and iOS, as well as on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, and Roku. fuboTV recently updated its Roku app with the ability to continue watching video-on-demand (VOD) content from where you left off and a new Electronic Program Guide (EPG) that shows up to seven days of future scheduled content. You can try the service with a free seven-day trial on any platform, but unfortunately, this option requires a credit card. I tested out fubo Premier on a Windows 10 PC and a Google Pixel running Android 8.1.
Search and Select
Setting up a fuboTV account requires an email, a ZIP code, and a valid credit card. After you select your content plan, it takes you to the main page immediately. fuboTV gets points for not making users fuss with configuration settings, but I dislike that I had to provide a credit card up front. Both Netflix and Hulu have the same requirement, but that doesn’t make it any less irritating.
fuboTV’s interface is clean and compact. It uses a mix of black, grey, and white with occasional orange accents for emphasis. The dark blue color scheme of the previous version is now gone (for the better) and the layout feels more coherent. The top menu is organized into five sections: Sports, Series, Movies, Channels, and My Videos. In the upper-right-hand corner, you can access account settings and Help section.
The Sports tab (default) shows a couple of featured events in a top-level slider, along with air times and recording options. All the different sports categories appear across the top, which you can filter further based on their associated leagues. Below that, fuboTV displays a complete list of sports events for the day. From here, you can jump into watching a live event or hit the DVR button to schedule a recording. Alternatively, you can navigate up to 72 hours backward in time from the day to view Lookback content (more on that later) or forward up to 10 days to schedule a future recording.
fuboTV divides entertainment content into two categories: Series and Movies. You can browse content based on what is popular, currently broadcasting, or by genre. It also lets you search for shows directly. Of course, fuboTV doesn’t create original content, which you will find on Netflix and Hulu.
Channels is the new name for the Guide section, and it takes heavy inspiration from a regular cable channel guide, albeit with some enhancements. For example, while you browse for something to watch, you can record content to your DVR storage with a single button. If you click on the main channel icon, a live stream of that channel launches. From the calendar icon, you can view the program listings up to seven days in advance.
Strangely, you can’t navigate backward from the current day to view Lookback content from the guide. A new header, called Networks, allows you to select and view content from specific channels. For example, if you click on CBS, the interface shows a brief summary of the network, a list of live and upcoming content, and any on-demand series it offers. However, fuboTV doesn’t integrate any of the search options from the other sections here, which is disappointing.
The My DVR screen features large thumbnails and organizes content into a simple list structure. You can use a search bar to search for a team, league, sport, or channel, but I wish I could search by date, as well. Also, the search doesn’t pick up on general sports names either, so instead of “baseball,” I had to search for “MLB.” This might not be too much of an issue if you don’t plan on recording a lot, but it could become an issue if you tend to horde content.
The overlay on the video-playing screen is minimally intrusive and disappears quickly into the background, as it should. Live events and DVR content launch quickly, and I rarely encounter lag or stutters while streaming. In fact, the whole interface is snappy. I had no trouble watching live PGA Tour events, news on MSNBC, or 60 Minutes on CBS. Switching between channels is painless and streams launch quickly.
Record and Rewind
fuboTV has robust DVR functionality. The base account includes 30 hours of DVR storage, though the Cloud DVR Plus add-on increases that limit to 500 hours for an extra $9.99 per month. It records DVR content to the cloud and keeps shows and programs forever, until you remove them manually. DVR recording also conveniently records the entirety of an event regardless of when you actually start recording. Just click on the record button next to an event listing.
I like that you can schedule DVR recordings well into the future. Unfortunately, there’s no option for watching DVR content offline on mobile devices. Both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video let you download content for offline viewing. Catching up with the game on a long flight or commute would surely appeal to many users. Or if a video takes up too much space to store or is simply inconvenient, an option to just listen to the game’s audio should be an option.
Another cool feature of fuboTV is Lookback. With Lookback, you can go back up to 72 hours in the past to view any sports or entertainment events that you missed. All you have to do is click on the calendar and navigate back to the original airdate. Unfortunately, you can’t record Lookback content to DVR storage. Further, although the vast majority of channels do support Lookback, some do not.
One of the newer FuboTV features, Startover (currently in beta), lets viewers watch currently airing events from the beginning no matter when they tune in. For example, if you are in the middle of cooking or cleaning when a game or program is set to start, you don’t have to rush; just launch the stream whenever and drag the progress bar back as far as you want. According to fuboTV, this feature is currently available on about 25 channels, including AMC, BBC America, NBA TV, and Pac-12 Networks. In practice, this works well. I launched a live show on NBA TV and had no trouble navigating back to the start. I also wish fuboTV had a picture-in-picture mode for large-screen devices.
Recently, fuboTV launched support for the 4K and HDR10 streaming standards (in beta), starting with broadcasts of the 2018 World Cup on FOX and FS1. It seems likely that fuboTV will continue to expand coverage going forward. In order to stream 4K or HDR content, you need a device or display that supports those standards as well as the latest version of the fuboTV app. The company’s list of compatible devices includes the Apple TV 4K, Chromecast Ultra, FireTV 4K, FireTV Cube, Roku (Premier, Premier+, Ultra), and Android phones, such as the LG V30, Razer Phone, Samsung Galaxy S9, or Sony Xperia XZ2. Also note, that fuboTV recommends a connection speed of at least 40Mbps to stream this content.
Watch Wherever You Are
Downloading and signing in to the mobile app is a pain-free experience, though you do have to give it permission to access your location (not uncommon for this sort of service). The app boasts a dark theme with white and orange highlights. It looks sleeker than the previous version, which relied on a predominantly dark blue color scheme and was a bit cumbersome to navigate.
The main view shows a series of featured sports events scheduled for the week in large, beautiful thumbnails. Below that are categories for Live & Up Next Content, Recently aired games, and a category list of the different types of sports content it offers.
On the bottom, you can tap to switch between the Sports section (the default), Series, Movies, Channels, and MyFubo (new). The Series and Movies sections are organized similarly to the Sports Section, with highlighted content up top and a breakdown of all its offerings below.
The MyFubo Section shows your recorded content, scheduled recordings, and the Continue Watching section. This last section should theoretically populate with shows and programs that you started on another device, but this never worked for my account either for live shows or on-demand content. The profile icon leads you to page where you can connect a Facebook or Google account, opt out of sending your data to Nielsen, or sign out of the account. There’s no way to manage your subscriptions or add-ons.
The mobile app offers all of the same viewing functionality as the desktop app, so you can watch any live events, record content to your DVR storage, and even watch Lookback content. Performance is quick. It only took a few seconds before it launched a live stream at full quality. I used PCMag’s fast 60Mbps (download) Wi-Fi connection for testing on mobile, three times as fast as fuboTV’s recommended bandwidth of 20Mbps. I don’t recommend trying to stream over a cellular network, as to avoid ridiculous data-usage costs. Playing recorded DVR content worked just as quickly on mobile.
If you don’t have a cable subscription, you have many options when it comes to streaming TV shows and movies. However, this selection gets considerably smaller when it comes to streaming live sports. fuboTV offers an impressive 85-channel lineup of sports and entertainment content, multiplatform support, and dead-simple DVR functionality. It costs almost as much as a standard cable subscription and could still benefit from additional channels (especially CNN and ESPN), but it’s an otherwise excellent option for cord-cutters.