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Hulu + Live TV vs. YouTube TV: Which Streaming Service is Best for You?

We compare two of the most popular streaming services to help you discover the best fit for you.

hulu + live tv vs youtube tv

Saving money shouldn’t be the only thing on your mind when it comes to cutting that old cable cord. It also offers access to convenient features like on-demand content libraries, ad-free streaming options, and offline downloads. YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV plans are two of the most popular services on the market, and with the unique features they offer, it’s easy to understand why. 

Both live tv streaming services offer an extensive selection of live channels, including CNN, ESPN, and TNT, as well as local stations like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. In addition, Hulu + Live TV packages and YouTube TV ring in right around the same price point, offer unlimited DVR storage, and allow you to create up to six user profiles. 

But with all of these similarities, it can be challenging to figure out which service is right for you. Below, we’ll put these services head to head for the ultimate YouTube TV vs. Hulu + Live TV showdown.

How to choose the best streaming service for you

Choosing the best live TV streaming service for you depends on your preferences, needs, and interests. Some platforms like Hulu + Live TV or Sling TV focus on a wide variety of entertainment options, while others like FuboTV are best for sports. Many services also offer a range of live news options and premium networks like HBO and SHOWTIME, allowing you to customize your subscription however you please. 

You’ll also need to determine how much you’re willing to pay for a monthly subscription. Most platforms offer multiple packages. Some are as low as $5 per month, like Peacock ranging upwards of $100 per month for platforms like DIRECTV STREAM, which offers access to local networks and premium channel availability. If local channels are a deal-breaker for you, keep this in mind, as some services might have a limited range of options depending on your location and ZIP code.

A deeper look into Hulu + Live TV

Access to exclusive Hulu OriginalsOnly 2 simultaneous device streams
90+ live TV channelsNo local PBS channels
On-demand movies and shows
Access to Disney Plus and ESPN Plus included
Unlimited DVR storage
Local ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC networks
Up to 6 user profiles

Hulu + Live TV is one of the most popular live TV streaming options available. The ad-supported version costs $76.99 per month for over 90 live TV channels with Hulu + Live TV, unlimited DVR storage, and access to the on-demand library. In addition, your subscription includes Disney Plus and ESPN Plus at no extra charge. For viewers who want ad-free content and offline downloads, Hulu offers an upgrade to Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV for $89.99 per month.

With Hulu, you can test out the live TV plan for 3-days free of charge with Hulu’s new free trial. Sports fans can benefit significantly from networks like CBS, ESPN, FS1, NBCSN, and the NFL Network. Depending on your area, you’ll also find a few local channels like CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX. 

When it comes to Hulu’s on-demand library, you’ll have access to thousands of hit movies, TV shows, and popular originals like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Great.” New episodes for current TV shows are added to the library 24 hours after they air, and with the Hulu app, you’ll be able to take your favorite shows with you wherever you go. 

You’ll also find a variety of add-on options to customize your subscription. For example, Hulu offers premium networks like HBO Max, SHOWTIME, Cinemax, and STARZ. You can also choose from a variety of add-on packages, such as Entertainment, Espanol, Unlimited Screens, and Sports (including access to NFL RedZone, TVG, TVG2, MAVTV, the Outdoor Channel, and the Sportsman Channel), which range from $4.99 to $14.99 per month (on top of your chosen plan’s monthly price).

A deeper look into YouTube TV

Free trial available (trial length varies)Only offers basic parental controls
100+ live TV channelsLacks all Bally Sports and most SportsNet RSNs
3 simultaneous device streamsNo offline viewing available
On-demand movies and shows
Unlimited DVR storage
Local ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS, and NBC channels

While some live TV streaming services focus primarily on originals and on-demand content, services like YouTube TV can serve as a complete replacement for your cable subscription. For $72.99 per month, you’ll have access to 100+ live TV channels with a wide variety of sports, news, and entertainment. As a bonus, YouTube TV offers a free trial so you can test out the service before committing to it. Trial length varies depending on current promotional offers, but you’ll often be able to test the service out for free for at least a week or two. 

YouTube TV offers one of the most complete channel lineups, including local PBS channels, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, BBC America, and MSNBC. Sports fans can enjoy a variety of networks, such as CBS Sports, ESPN, ESPN 2, the NFL Network, NBC Sports, MLB Network, and NBA TV. 

While this service comes with about 10 more channels than Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV offers a less extensive content library. So while the variety is similar to that of Hulu, you may be more limited when choosing on-demand movies and TV shows. YouTube only offers one plan to choose from, meaning you won’t find an ad-free streaming option like you would with Hulu.

When it comes to add-ons, YouTube TV offers Acorn TV, AMC Premiere, and CuriosityStream for prices ranging from $2.99 to $6.99 per month. The service also offers additional packages like Entertainment Plus, which bundles HBO Max, SHOWTIME, and STARZ for $29.99 per month. And, of course, there’s the Sports Plus package, which includes NFL RedZone, FOX College Sports, FOX Soccer Plus, GOLTV, MAVTV Motorsports Network, Stadium, and TVG for $10.99 per month.

Hulu + Live TV vs. YouTube TV: Which is cheaper?

Overall, YouTube TV is the cheaper streaming service, coming in at $72.99 per month compared with Hulu + Live TV’s $76.99 per month price. In addition, sports fans can save a few extra dollars with YouTube’s sports package. While both service’s sports packages offer six additional channels, YouTube TV’s costs $10.99 per month, while Hulu + Live TV’s costs $14.99 per month. 

If you decide to cancel your subscription for any reason, both streaming services keep their cancelation processes simple. The main difference between the two policies is that Hulu allows you to pause your subscription for up to 12 weeks, while YouTube TV doesn’t offer that flexibility. If you cancel your subscription with either service, you’ll continue to have access to live channels and on-demand content for the remainder of the billing cycle.

Final thoughts

After comparing Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV, it’s important to consider your priorities. If you’re looking for a comprehensive collection of content that the whole family can enjoy and originals you won’t want to miss out on, Hulu + Live TV is our top recommendation — even if the monthly price is a few dollars more than YouTube TV. Plus, if you’re willing to splurge a little because you can’t stand those pesky ad interruptions, Hulu + Live TV has an ad-free option for $89.99 per month. 

However, if you’re a news lover and dedicated sports fan, we recommend opting for YouTube TV. With access to over 85 live TV channels with a wide variety of sports and news networks, it’s a solid option for viewers who want to watch their favorite programming live. 


Which is better: Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV?

The ‘better’ streaming service depends on your personal preferences. Hulu + Live TV is best for families who want more parental control options, as well as access to Disney Plus and ESPN Plus, while YouTube TV is the more affordable option with a more extensive channel lineup. 

What is the downside of Hulu + Live TV?

Unfortunately, there’s no free trial available for Hulu + Live TV. In addition, while the service offers a variety of add-ons, they can add up quickly if customization is important to you, raising your overall monthly subscription cost. 

What is the downside of YouTube TV?

YouTube TV doesn’t offer an ad-free streaming option, meaning you may see commercials when watching content from the on-demand library. In addition, YouTube only offers certain RSNs, so you’ll need to see what networks cover your favorite sports to ensure they’re available in your area. 

What does YouTube TV have that Hulu + Live TV doesn’t?

YouTube TV offers several major networks that Hulu + Live TV doesn’t carry. These include your local PBS station, NBA TV, MLB Network, the Hallmark Channel, and more.

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