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Can You Watch Live TV on Netflix? News from the CEO himself.

Netflix usage surpassed both cable and satellite usage combined in 2019. And given that only two-thirds of American households still have traditional pay-TV subscriptions, it’s clear that the trend is not cable’s friend.

This has opened the door for countless streaming services to enter the live TV market and has a lot of people wondering if, and when Netflix will do the same.

If you’re one of those people, I wouldn’t hold my breath.


Does Netflix have live TV?

So, does Netflix have live TV? As of 2020, Netflix does not have a live TV offering, and it’s pretty clear that they don’t plan to have one anytime soon. Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, has even gone as far as to publicly state that Netflix has no plans whatsoever to offer live TV, even as companies like Hulu and Amazon invest heavily in the space.

Hastings went on to say, “If we do our own Prime service, we’ll never succeed“, in reference the idea that Netflix should, or even could, offer anything beyond it’s current on-demand content.

live tv on netflix

Don’t feel like taking Reed’s word for it? Maybe 15 billion dollars can convince you otherwise.

That’s how much Netflix spent on content alone in 2019.

Since 2015 they’ve been increasing their content budget by about 35% per year.

Netflix seems real content with growing their existing, on-demand business model, and these investments prove it.


Ok, live TV on Netflix doesn’t exist. What does?

While Netflix doesn’t offer live TV, it does offer over 1,800 on-demand TV shows and boasts a catalog of about 3,849 movie titles. (Source

And while the number of TV shows Netflix offers on demand is growing every week, the number of movies Netflix offers has been steadily declining.

Netflix had 6,494 movie titles back in March of 2014, compared to the 3,849 movies it has today. That’s an almost 60% drop over the past 6 years.

This trend is not all that surprising considering the the amount of new streaming services entering the market every year. As a result, the competition for these titles has heated up.

Take AMC Theaters for example. AMC Theaters, the largest movie theatre chain in the world, announced last year that they would be offering their very own on-demand service.

This is why, in large part, Netflix has begun investing so heavily in their own, original content.

Netflix original content

Netflix released over 400 Netflix Originals in 2019. This includes both TV shows and movies. That means they averaged more than one new original, every day, for the entire year!

In absence of a live TV offering, original content is really the future for Netflix.

To their credit, they saw the writing on the wall early on and acted on it. As companies like Disney and others began hoarding their content for themselves and their own direct to consumer products (Disney Plus), Netflix was investing in their own company and building their own content.

Whether or not Netflix can survive with this on-demand strategy is yet to be seen. But man do they have some great stuff…

Best Netflix original movies

Here were some of the best Netflix original movies of 2019 as a result of their in-house content strategy:

  1. Bird Box (80 million views)
  2. Murder Mystery (73 million views)
  3. Triple Frontier (52 million views)
  4. The Perfect Date (48 million views)
  5. Tall Girl (41 million views)
  6. Fyre (20 million+)
  7. Otherhood (20 million+)
  8. Always Be My Maybe (20 million+)
  9. Secret Obsession (20 million+)
  10. The Highwaymen (20 million+)

Best Netflix original TV shows

And here were some of the best Netflix original TV shows:

  1. Stranger Things (64 million views)
  2. The Umbrella Academy (45 million)
  3. La Casa de Papel (44 million)
  4. You (40 million)
  5. Sex Education (40 million).

For the most up-to-date Netflix content and originals check out the Netflix Media Center.

On-demand TV shows Netflix lost due to the streaming wars

It certainly hasn’t been all good for Netflix.

As a result of all these new streaming services keeping a lot of their content for themselves, Netflix has lost some pretty big TV shows recently.

Here are a few examples of TV shows Netflix has lost, or will loose soon due to the “streaming wars”.

  1. The Office (NBC)
  2. Cheers (NBC)
  3. Frazier (NBC)
  4. 30 Rock (NBC)
  5. Everybody Loves Raymond (NBC)
  6. Royal Pains (USA Network)
  7. Psych (USA Network)

Live TV streaming service alternatives

So we know live TV on Netflix isn’t an option, and likely won’t be for the foreseeable future.

But don’t worry, there are a lot of great live TV streaming services available. Here is a list of some of the best: Youtube TV, Sling TV, Hulu and AT&T TV Now. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of each.


YouTube TV

Live TV streaming YouTube TV

Base cost: $50/month
Number of channels: 70+ channels
Simultaneous users per account: 3
Pre-record shows and fast forward: Yes

In my opinion, YouTube TV is the best live TV streaming option on the market today, and it’s the option I personally went with. It has the most big name TV channels out there and the user interface is great. You can watch all your local sports and, in my experience, there are never technical difficulties.

My wife and I “favorite” all the TV shows we like (Below Deck, I’m looking at you) and the next time they play live, YouTube TV automatically records them for us. This allows us to watch them when we want and fast forward through the commercials!

You can’t beat the price either. They allow up to 3 different accounts, and each account can set up to 2 devices. That means if you can convince two other people to switch over, you’ll only pay about $17 a month for 70+ channels and a better overall TV experience.

Not bad.


Sling TV

Live TV streaming Sling

Base cost: $30/month
Number of channels: 30+ channels
Simultaneous users per account: 3
Pre-record shows and fast forward: Yes

Sling comes up number two on this list mostly because of the price point. At 30 dollars a month (possibly 10 a month if you get two others to join with you), you get 30 decent channels and you can drop your 100+ dollar cable bill.

The user interface is just OK, but it get’s the job done.

You won’t be blown away by this streaming option, but if you’re not a huge TV person, Sling streaming is likely a great option for you.


Hulu TV

Live TV streaming Hulu

Base cost: $55/month
Number of channels: 65+ channels
Simultaneous users per account: 2 ($15 for unlimited)
Pre-record shows and fast forward: Yes

If you want a combination of on-demand content and live TV, Hulu is a pretty solid streaming choice.

In addition to the 65+ live TV channels, you get access to Hulu’s library of thousands of on-demand shows and movies.

Users have however complained about many shows lacking previous seasons and, like Sling, the user interface will not wow you, and at times even frustrate you. Oh yeah, and you have to pay 6 bucks more a month if you want to avoid ads altogether.


AT&T TV Now

Live TV streaming AT&T TV Now

Base cost: $65/month
Number of channels: 45+ channels
Simultaneous users per account: 2 ($5 for a third)
Pre-record shows and fast forward: Yes (costs $15 more)

Three letters set this streaming option apart from the rest: H-B-O. Game of Thrones anyone?

Even with HBO included in the monthly price, AT&T TV Now is just flat out expensive compared to the other options and lacks a ton of top channels.

The user interface is actually quite good but if it was my money, I’d be looking elsewhere.


Conclusion

While it would be great if live TV on Netflix was a thing, it just isn’t today. And based on the moves the company is making (investing 15 billion on original content), and from the mouth of the CEO himself, it’s highly unlikely Netflix is going to add a live TV option anytime soon.

That said, if you can survive without live TV, Netflix does offer some truly amazing and unique content at a very reasonable price (8.99 – 15.99 a month, depending on your plan).

For those that can’t live without live TV there are a couple of fantastic options out there that offer great products and the opportunity to tell your cable company to get lost. (What could be better than that?)

The best live TV streaming option, in my opinion (and experience), is YouTube TV, followed by Sling, Hulu and AT&T, respectively.

What do you think, will Netflix ever offer live TV? Or will they continue pumping out original content for the rest of time?