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DIRECTV STREAM vs. Hulu + Live TV: Best Option for 2023


DIRECTV STREAM and Hulu + Live TV are two popular live TV streaming services that provide viable alternatives to cable. This regularly leads to the debate over which service wins between DIRECTV STREAM vs. Hulu + Live TV. DIRECTV STREAM offers five packages starting with the Entertainment plan, which features 75-plus channels for $74.99 per month. The channels span a range of news, entertainment, and sports. Hulu + Live TV’s base plan costs $69.99 per month for 85-plus channels and an on-demand library featuring hit TV shows, including “Only Murders in the Building,” “The Bear,” and “Abbott Elementary.”

DIRECTV STREAM is an offshoot of the DIRECTV satellite TV service with similar plans and channels. If your priority is channel count, DIRECTV STREAM has an undeniable advantage, with a top-tier plan offering 150-plus channels. If you’re looking for more value without breaking the bank, Hulu + Live TV’s channel list combined with an extensive on-demand library comes at a more affordable price. And the added Disney Plus and ESPN Plus bundle makes Hulu + Live TV an even more valuable option. Ultimately, deciding between the two services comes down to the features you’re looking for and your budget.

How to choose the best streaming service for you

Selecting a streaming service depends on your personal preferences and viewing needs. If you’re a die-hard sports fan, a streamer with a robust sports package, including local and national sports channels, makes the most sense. Other factors to consider include channel variety, on-demand libraries, DVR storage space, extra features like add-ons, and overall value for your money. 

DIRECTV STREAM vs. Hulu + Live TV compared

On-Demand LibraryYesYes
Add-On ChannelsYesYes
Free TrialYesNo

A deeper look into DIRECTV STREAM

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DIRECTV STREAM’s five packages start with the Entertainment plan, which features 75-plus channels for $74.99 per month. The Choice plan offers 105-plus channels for $99.99 a month, the Ultimate plan upgrades to 140-plus channels for $109.99 monthly, and the Premier plan tops out at 150-plus channels for $154.99 per month. The Óptimo Más plan is ideal for Spanish-language viewers and features 100-plus channels for $74.99 per month. As part of a current promotion, subscribers to the Entertainment through Ultimate plans receive the first three months of premium channels like HBO Max, SHOWTIME, STARZ, Cinemax, and MGM+ free of charge. 

Sports fans will have no problem following their favorite teams and events like the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series, and the Olympics with DIRECTV STREAM’s comprehensive slate of sports channels. All English-language plans include ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports 1, TBS, and TNT, and local channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. Óptimo Más has international fixtures like the UEFA Champions League, La Liga, Premier League, Bundesliga, and Liga MX. 

The Choice, Ultimate, and Premier plans allow access to more college sports action via the ACC Network, Big Ten Network, SEC Network, and ESPNU. Other channels like ESPNews, MLB Network, NBA TV, and the Tennis Channel are also available when you opt for an upgrade past the Entertainment plan. Still want more? Subscribers can pay to add ESPN Deportes, NBA League Pass, and NBA Bet to the lineup. 

One significant benefit of a DIRECTV STREAM subscription is easy access to regional sports networks (RSNs) without incurring a regional sports fee. This option is available starting with the Choice plan but is well worth it for fans who want to keep up with their local teams. Another draw is the unlimited cloud DVR, which has no cap on the number of hours stored. However, subscribers should know that they can store recordings for only nine months and only 30 TV show episodes at a time. The streaming service makes up for that deficiency with unlimited in-home streams and three out-of-home streams. Potential subscribers can test the service out with a free trial.

A deeper look into Hulu + Live TV

Hulu logo

Hulu + Live TV is an on-demand plus live TV streaming service featuring 85-plus channels, original programming, popular TV shows, and an extensive movie library. The base plan starts at $69.99 per month and comes bundled with Disney Plus and ESPN Plus (both ad-supported) or subscribers can pay $82.99 per month to make Hulu and Disney Plus ad-free. Local channels ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox, in addition to TBS, TNT, USA, and Telemundo, are among the channels available. Tack on an Entertainment or Español Networks add-on for even more programming options. 

Sports fans are well represented with a wide variety of channels covering amateur and professional sports, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPN College Extra, ESPNU, SEC Network, NFL Network, CBS Sports Network, ACC Network, Golf Channel, and Big Ten Network. If that’s not enough, fans can get their fix with the Sports Add-on for an extra $9.99 per month, featuring the NFL RedZone, FanDuel TV, FanDuel Racing, MAVTV, Outdoor Channel, and Sportsman Channel. The Hulu + Live TV lineup includes regional sports in several cities, but channels may not be available in certain ZIP codes.

As part of the bundle, ESPN Plus gives subscribers access to even more sports content, including its award-winning “30 for 30” library, programming hosted by legendary athletes like Peyton Manning, and unrivaled UFC coverage. Disney Plus boasts major franchises like Marvel, Pixar, “Star Wars,” National Geographic, and Disney. Viewers can enjoy blockbuster films, animated classics, children’s programming, musicals, and concerts. 

Unfortunately, Hulu + Live TV allows only two simultaneous streams, but with unlimited DVR storage, you can simply record your favorites for later viewing or opt for the Unlimited Screens add-on for an additional $9.99 per month. The streamer does not offer a free trial, but canceling is hassle free with no penalty fees. 

DIRECTV STREAM vs. Hulu + Live TV: Which is cheaper?

Hulu + Live TV’s base plan comes bundled with Disney Plus and ESPN Plus for $69.99 per month, which is cheaper than DIRECTV STREAM’s base Entertainment plan for $74.99 monthly.

As is customary with most streaming services, subscribers aren’t tied to a contract and can pause or cancel their subscription without penalty fees.

Are streaming services worth it?

Live TV streaming services are an excellent option for people who want to save a bit of money on a cable bill but still want access to quality content. DIRECTV STREAM and Hulu + Live TV offer the flexibility of pausing or canceling subscriptions without penalty fees, so it’s typically worth it to see whether one of these services will satisfy a viewer’s needs. 

Final thoughts

DIRECTV STREAM and Hulu + Live TV’s channels provide a vast array of news, entertainment, and sports options. Both offer local channels and some of the most popular networks for sports lovers, including ESPN and Fox Sports 1. DIRECTV STREAM has the advantage when it comes to channel count, but Hulu + Live TV’s bundle deal comes packed with value thanks to the addition of Disney Plus and ESPN Plus. 

Both streamers offer unlimited DVR, but DIRECTV STREAM stores recordings for only nine months. However, DIRECTV STREAM is much more generous with its unlimited at-home and three out-of-home streams compared to the only two simultaneous streams included with Hulu + Live TV.


What’s better than DIRECTV STREAM?

DIRECTV STREAM offers a vast range of channels across its five plans, but it is pricier than most live TV streaming services. Hulu + Live TV’s 85-plus channels, original programming, on-demand library, and bundled Disney Plus and ESPN Plus offer more value for the monthly cost. 

What’s the downside of Hulu + Live TV?

Hulu + Live TV only includes two simultaneous streams, which means some members of the household may miss out if someone else is streaming at the same time. 

What streaming service has the best live TV options?

DIRECTV STREAM’s plans range from 75 to 150-plus channels, which ensures an impressive number of options for a variety of viewers.

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