What Is MVPD: Everything You Need To Know

The streaming revolution has shaken up how we access and consume video entertainment. While early disruptors like Netflix pioneered on-demand subscriptions, a new wave of streaming platforms has since emerged.

Among these is MVPD streaming – short for Multichannel Video Programming Distributor. MVPD streaming offers live TV and on-demand content without the need for cable or satellite subscriptions. 

This introduction touches on the rise of streaming and introduces the MVPD model as a modern alternative to traditional TV providers. The article that follows will explore MVPDs in further detail across multiple sections and FAQs.

MVPD: A Streaming Service

What is MVPD Streaming?

MVPD stands for Multichannel Video Programming Distributor. This encompasses any streaming provider that offers live television programming alongside on-demand libraries.

Major examples of MVPD streaming services include: YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, FuboTV, Philo

These platforms provide subscribers access to live channels over the internet without cable or satellite. Packages often include local broadcast stations, sports networks like ESPN, news channels, and popular cable networks such as Discovery, FX, TBS, and more.

MVPD streamers offer DVR storage space to record shows as well as thousands of on-demand titles.

With broadband connectivity, MVPD provides a full cable-like experience delivered digitally over IP.

Major Services and Channel Lineups

The major MVPD streamers have some similarities but also differences in their channel offerings:

YouTube TV offers 85+ channels covering entertainment, news, and sports. Their base plan includes ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, ESPN, AMC, TNT, Comedy Central, and other popular networks.

Hulu + Live TV provides over 75 channels. Along with their regular on-demand catalog, the live plan includes ABC, NBC, Fox, ESPN, FX, Bravo, and many more top cable channels.

Sling TV offers two baseline packages: Sling Orange with 30+ channels and Sling Blue with 40+ channels. ESPN, AMC, CNN, Comedy Central, and more feature across both.

FuboTV started focused on sports but now offers plans with over 100 channels. These encompass broadcast networks, sports like NFL Network and MLB Network, news stations, entertainment, and more.

Philo takes a different approach with 60+ channels but no sports. Instead, they emphasize entertainment, lifestyle, and news content from Discovery, Viacom, AMC, Hallmark, and others.

The ability to customize channel add-ons provides even more flexibility across MVPD services. But the major broadcast and cable basics are covered across the board.

Pricing and Equipment Needed

Pricing varies for MVPD streaming but falls well below traditional cable:

  • YouTube TV: $65/month
  • Hulu + Live TV: $70/month
  • Sling TV: Orange $35/month, Blue $50/month
  • FuboTV: Pro $70/month, Elite $80/month
  • Philo: $25/month

Some services allow simultaneous streams on unlimited devices in-home and a limited number out-of-home. Multiple profile support is also common.

Supported devices include mobile apps, media streamers like Roku/Fire TV, smart TVs, web browsers, and more.

No cable boxes or installation are required. Most MVPDs integrate with existing streaming apps/accounts for a unified experience.

Pros of MVPD Streaming

Ditching cable for MVPD provides several advantages:

  • Flexible Packages – Pick and choose from tiered channel plans rather than paying for hundreds of unwatched channels.
  • Lower Cost – Dropping expensive cable bills for these more affordable packages.
  • No Contracts – MVPD streaming does not lock you into long-term contracts.
  • Mobile Access – Take your live TV and DVR recordings on the go with great mobile apps.
  • No Equipment – No rental fees, no technician installation. Just sign up over the internet.

For streamers looking to replicate the cable experience, MVPD brings flexibility, affordability, and convenience without the cable company’s headache.

Limitations to Consider

A few drawbacks to note:

  • Internet speeds impact video quality, especially for live TV.
  • Local channel availability varies by region. Streaming rights introduce some gaps in programming.
  • DVR storage space maxes out at around 100 hours depending on the provider.
  • Simultaneous stream limits can impact larger households.
  • Contract disputes occasionally lead to channel blackouts.

While not perfect, MVPD services continue to improve and add value as more capable streaming-first alternatives to legacy pay TV.

The Future of MVPD Streaming

This category stands positioned for significant near-term growth. As consumers continue cutting the cord, the MVPD model offers a logical next step – replicating the best of traditional TV as an online service.

We should expect to see more niche services emerge with specialized sports, news, and entertainment offerings. Access and experience will improve across mobile platforms. And features like user profiles, recommendations, and voice control will enhance MVPD apps over time.

Continued fragmentation of content across streaming services may also drive demand back toward the aggregated TV bundles that MVPDs can provide. Live news and sports will give these services an edge as broadband speeds and streaming tech improve.


For cord-cutters seeking an enhanced streaming experience, MVPD services offer a balanced blend of live cable TV and on-demand flexibility.

As this category matures, MVPDs will further innovate and raise the bar for aggregating and delivering streaming content. While not yet perfect, they provide an early glimpse of the next-generation television experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: How is MVPD streaming different from on-demand services like Netflix?

Ans: MVPDs offer both live television and on-demand libraries. This combines the benefits of real-time channels along with viewing flexibility.

Q2: Which MVPD service has the best channel selection?

Ans: This can vary based on your interests, but YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and FuboTV offer the most comprehensive overall lineups.

Q3: Can I access local channels and regional sports with MVPDs?

Ans: In most markets yes, but local channel availability will depend on your zip code. Be sure to check regional sports network access as well.

Q4: How many simultaneous streams do MVPDs allow?

Ans: Most allow 2-3 concurrent streams in-home plus 1-3 on mobile devices out-of-home. Extra streams can be added for a fee.

Q5: What happens if I cancel my MVPD subscription?

Ans: Your access to live channels and cloud DVR recordings will end. Some services allow you to retain previous on-demand titles if you re-subscribe later.

Andrea Wilson
Andrea Wilson

Andrea Wilson is an expert in finding simple and cost-effective alternatives to traditional TV. With years under her belt, she's a trusted voice in the cord-cutting community.

She has dedicated countless hours to in-depth research, guiding viewers how to stream their favourite shows without a cable subscription. she's an avid hiker, a mystery novel enthusiast and a dog lover.