Android TV is a platform built for the TV. Due to this you might assume it is also one that’s widely supported by live TV streaming services. While that is true for the most part, it is not entirely true as not only does the quality of the experience differ vastly between services on Android TV, but some don’t support Android TV at all.
To cut to the chase, if you want to know what’s the best live TV streaming service for Android TV then it is YouTube TV. This might not be that surprising considering both Android TV and YouTube TV are Google products at their core, but as many users entrenched within the Google ecosystem will already know – Google products don’t always play nice with each other.
That’s not the case with these two however, as YouTube TV does work extremely well on Android TV and certainly better than the other services. What’s more, the addition of multiple account support with YouTube TV means a single Android TV device in the living room can offer a personalized experience to each and every family member.
Any time, anyone turns on an Android TV device, fires up YouTube TV and is logged into their account, they will have access to their own customized interface, settings, preferences and favorites, as well as their own curated collection of recorded content. YouTube TV in effect turns a single Android TV device in the living room into an experience that's highly customized to the specific user. That's not something available with the other services with most of their Android TV apps fairly rudimentary in comparison due to the emphasis on a single user account.
To really drive home how this is the best live TV streaming service for Android TV users, you only have to look at the competition.
Sling TV is fairly reliable on Android TV and does offer a good enough experience. However, it is limited in channel selection compared to YouTube TV and is also limited on how much you can record. In contrast, YouTube TV will let each family member record as much content as they like although it does only hold recordings in storage for nine months.
Where YouTube TV really wins out over Sling TV is in the actual Android TV interface. On YouTube TV the interface is far more optimized for a TV experience and put simply, is easier to use and navigate with a remote control – or your voice. Whether that’s finding the right show or channel, or just channel surfing, YouTube TV feels far more intuitive and offers a better Android TV experience overall.
PlayStation Vue is also another viable Android TV alternative and on the surface seems like a good option thanks to a nice selection of channels and a half-decent interface. Likewise, PlayStation Vue is similar to YouTube TV in the sense that it also provides the option to create individual profiles along with personalized DVR and recommendations. However, the DVR feature is not quite as robust as that on YouTube TV due to limitations including the total number of recordings, and the fact that it can only store recordings for 28 days.
When it comes to DIRECTV NOW, for example, the live TV streaming service does have an app that's been optimized for Android TV, but simply refuses to make it widely available to the platform. Users can sideload the app but the experience might be a little buggy and in reality sideloading an app is far more work than any Android TV user should need to do for a service they are paying for.
As for Hulu with Live TV, well, that's a whole different story as there’s no Android TV app at all. By the looks of it, one is not coming anytime soon either.
Overall, when you start to weigh up all the options it becomes clear what's the best service for Android TV users. Neither DIRECTV NOW not Hulu is that committed to third-party Android TV app support. On the other hand, there's Sling TV and PlayStation Vue and while both are viable Android TV alternatives, they are let down by the additional features – something YouTube TV has invested heavily in.
Any Android TV device owners looking for a new live TV streaming service to try out are best off going with Google and its YouTube TV.