Hulu Live vs. Sling TV: Which Streaming Service Is Better?

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If you’re considering cutting the cord in 2022, you may be wondering about the merits of Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV as cable alternatives.

Each is considered to be one of the top live TV streaming services on the market, but they take very different approaches to pricing their channel packages.

Hulu, which is in some cases double the cost of Sling, bundles its popular on-demand service, ESPN+ and Disney+ with its live TV subscription to create a robust (but expensive!) streaming option.

Sling counters with a much lower monthly bill and three different options for selecting a base package.

In this article, I’ll compare the key features of these two streaming TV services to help you decide which is better suited for your household.


Table of Contents:


Quick Facts: Hulu Live vs. Sling TV

In this article, I’ll look at key factors including price, channel selection, supported devices and availability of concurrent streams and cloud DVR to help you make a choice between these two live TV streaming services.


Price

If price is your most important factor when selecting a streaming service, you may already be leaning toward Sling TV over Hulu + Live TV based on the chart above.

After all, Hulu + Live TV is now one of the most expensive streaming services on the market. And Sling has two different base subscription options that are half the cost of the $70 monthly price of Hulu.

But cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean better. It’s worth noting that a Hulu + Live TV subscription includes access to the Hulu on-demand library, a popular stand-alone subscription that starts at $6.99 per month. And with its latest price increase, it also added access to Disney+ and ESPN+ as part of its base subscription cost.

Meanwhile, Sling touts three major packages: Sling Blue, Sling Orange and Sling Orange + Blue.

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You can purchase either Blue or Orange as a standalone product for $35 per month. If you’d like the benefits of both, you can buy the combination package (Orange + Blue) for $50 per month.

You can cancel either service at any time without penalty. And there are no junk fees like you’ve probably found with your cable company, though some customers may be subject to local sales tax for these services.

Both services offer add-on packages and premium channels for additional monthly fees. I’ll talk a little more about those later in the article.

If saving the most money possible is your goal with cutting the cord, you may find that Sling TV is the most sensible solution in this debate. Instead of comparing it to Hulu + Live TV, budget-conscious consumers may want to consider some of the other live TV streaming services on the market. Philo is just $25 per month, and Frndly TV keeps things super cheap with plans starting at just $7 per month.


Channel Lineup: Hulu + Live TV vs. Sling TV

One of the more stressful parts of cutting the cord from your cable company is making sure that you’ll still be able to get most of the content you want with a live TV streaming service.

That usually starts with a list of “can’t miss” channels for each person.

The good news is that both Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV offer a wide variety of some of the best “cable” channels out there. The confusing part is that Sling may require that you sign up for a specific color-coded package or add-on to get a channel that just comes standard with Hulu’s base channel lineup.

While signing up for Hulu + Live TV means you’re getting the same base package as everyone else, signing up for Sling requires making a choice. You’ll pick between Sling Orange, Sling Blue and Sling Orange + Blue. And from there, there are additional add-on options.

Local channels may be an issue for some Sling TV customers. While Hulu + Live TV offers access to ABC, NBC, CBS and/or FOX in most areas of the country, you’ll find that Sling TV likely falls short in offering all your local options.

When looking at the channel menu below, you may notice that only NBC and FOX affiliates are offered with the Blue and Orange + Blue packages. That means you’re completely out of luck if you want to watch your local ABC and CBS channels with Sling.

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You’ll want to check your ZIP code on each of their websites to get exact answers on which local channels and regional sports networks each offers you.

Below is a comparison of the Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV channel packages. If you want to compare those channel lineups to other streaming TV services, see our side-by-side chart or use our live TV streaming channel tool.

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Channel Add-On Packages and Premium Subscriptions

If you’re looking for more from these two services, you may find what you need on their list of add-on packages or premium subscription services that are, of course, available for an additional cost.

Hulu + Live TV has three add-on packages that range from $4.99 per month to $9.99.

Sling TV, on the other hand, has a very large menu of add-on opportunities that range from $6 to $11 per month and are divvied up for either Sling Orange or Sling Blue customers. (Sling Orange + Blue customers should have access to purchase from both a la carte menus.)

Streamers who want a maximum amount of channels from Sling may want to consider its “Total TV Deal,” which gives customers access to all add-on packages associated with their base package plus a DVR storage upgrade for an additional $21 per month.

Sling Orange Add-On Packages

Sling Blue Add-On Packages


Cloud DVR: Hulu + Live TV vs. Sling TV

Next to pricing and channel selection, cloud DVR functionality is probably next on the list of importance for streamers.

Recording what you want and watching it when you want to is a huge benefit.

Hulu holds a distinct advantage over Sling TV in this category.

Thanks to some recent adjustments in 2022, Hulu + Live TV now offers unlimited cloud DVR storage to all of its customers at no additional charge. It previously charged an additional $10 per month for that, so this change has offset the impact of recent price increases on the base package for customers who were paying for that upgrade.

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Sling, on the other hand, offers only 50 hours of cloud DVR storage with each of its plans. If you pay for the DVR Plus upgrade, you can get 200 hours of cloud DVR storage for an additional $5 per month.

Unfortunately, there is no option for Sling TV customers to upgrade to unlimited DVR at this time.


Supported Devices for TV

If you’re new to the cord-cutting game, you may be wondering how you’ll be able to survive without your trusty cable box. Truth be told, getting rid of those monthly fees for each TV that you want to connect with the cable company is where both services can really save you some cash.

Instead of paying the cable company for a box, you’ll have to provide your own means to connect these live streaming TV services to your television.

On some smart TVs, that’s as simple as downloading the Hulu or Sling app to your television.

If your television doesn’t support that method, you’ll need to purchase a streaming device to plug into one of your television’s HDMI ports. These devices can be purchased for a modest one-time investment and will support streaming from multiple apps for years to come.

Both Hulu and Sling are compatible with most of the major streaming devices on the market.

Hulu + Live TV Supported Devices

Hulu + Live TV’s list of supported devices for TV includes:

  • Android TV
  • Apple TV (4th gen or later)
  • Chromecast with Google TV
  • Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
  • LG TV (select models)
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5
  • Roku and Roku Stick (select models)
  • Samsung TV (select models)
  • Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Sling TV Supported Devices

Here’s a list of compatible devices according to Sling TV’s website:

  • AirTV
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast with Google TV
  • Facebook Portal
  • LG TV
  • Roku devices
  • Samsung Smart TV
  • TiVo Stream 4K
  • Xbox One and Xbox Series X
  • VIZIO SmartCast Smart TVs

Multiple Streams

For households that want to use a live TV streaming service on multiple devices at once, the amount of concurrent streams is another important factor to consider.

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There is not a universal advantage to picking one of these streaming services over the other for this. It depends on which Sling package you’re considering and whether or not you’re willing to pay Hulu for a potential upgrade.

Hulu + Live TV offers two simultaneous streams as a part of its base package. However, it does have an option to upgrade to unlimited screens connected to your home network for an extra $9.99 per month. With this add-on, you can also stream from up to three separate mobile devices outside of the home network.

Concurrent streams on Sling can vary from one to four. If you’re looking at Sling Orange as an option for your house, make a special note that it allows for just one stream at a time. That could be an issue if there are multiple TVs in the house.


Pros and Cons: Hulu + Live TV vs. Sling TV

Now that I’ve walked you through all the specifics of each of these services on the key issues that may affect you as a cord cutter, let’s summarize what we like and dislike about them.

Hulu + Live TV streaming service
Pros Cons
Access to local channelsCost of add-ons can really add up!
Hulu’s on-demand streaming library is included.Very few regional sports networks
Base package includes Disney+ and ESPN+.Only two screens at once unless you upgrade

Sling Streaming Service Review
Pros Cons
Pricing is significantly cheaper than top competitors’.Only partial access to local channels
Compatible with all major streaming devicesConfusing channel packages
Frequent promotional deals with free streaming devicesNeed add-on packages for channels that are in basic packages of other services

Bottom Line: Which is Better?

At $70 per month for the base package, Hulu + Live TV is among the most expensive live streaming TV services on the market.

But it does come with three additional streaming services (Hulu on-demand, ESPN+ and Disney+) bundled into the price.

If channel variety and cloud DVR functionality are atop your list, you may find that Hulu + Live TV is the superior product to Sling. You’d likely need to pay for several upgrades to the Sling service to attempt to replicate Hulu’s live product, which could make the financial commitment to both comparable when it’s all said and done.

But if you’re shopping for value, it’s hard to argue against the $35 per month options from Sling TV. That’s half the price of Hulu’s live service, and for many customers will be more than enough live TV content to get by without cable.

Is Hulu + Live TV better than Sling TV? Share your opinion in our Clark.com Community!


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