If you’re looking for a streaming service to replace your current cable or satellite TV package, YouTube TV and Sling TV are two options that can save you a lot of money. But is one better than the other?
Money expert Clark Howard is a YouTube TV subscriber, but he and several members of Team Clark also have lots of experience streaming with Sling TV.
YouTube TV vs. Sling TV: Everything You Need to Know
In this article, we’ll compare the key features of YouTube TV and Sling TV to help you find the best streaming service for you. Here’s what you need to know…
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Sling TV has always managed to keep its prices lower than most of its competitors. That’s certainly true after YouTube TV’s latest price hike.
Sling TV has three bundles: Sling Orange, Sling Blue and Sling Orange & Blue — a combination of the first two.
Sling Orange and Sling Blue cost $30 each per month, but Sling Orange & Blue is only $45. And often you’ll find a discount like 40% off the first month of service.
Meanwhile, YouTube TV’s single plan is $64.99 per month after a $15 price hike went into effect.
Sling TV and YouTube TV both have free trial offers. Although these offers change periodically, you can usually count on at least five to seven days to test the services before you’re billed.
Just remember to cancel before the trial ends if it doesn’t work out.
Finding the best live TV streaming service for you will probably come down to the channel lineup. YouTube TV’s plan has more than 85 channels for $65 a month, while Sling Orange & Blue offers about 55 channels for $45/month.
Sling TV encourages users to buy a digital antenna because it doesn’t have as many local stations as other services.
If you want to cut the cord, I suggest that you make a list of the networks that are most important to you. Then you should search using the chart below to see which service has all of your must-have channels.
Keep in mind that Sling TV also lets you customize your channel lineup with add-on packages, typically for $5 to $10 per month.
|Sling TV “Orange + Blue” plan:
|ABC News Live|
|ACC Network (ACCN)|
|BBC America||BBC America|
|BBC World News|
|Big Ten Network (BTN)|
|Cartoon Network||Cartoon Network|
|CBS Sports Network|
|Comedy Central||Comedy Central|
|Discovery Channel||Discovery Channel|
|Disney Channel||Disney Channel|
|Food Network||Food Network|
|FOX||FOX (select markets)|
|Fox Business Network|
|Fox News Channel||Fox News Channel|
|Fox Sports 1 (FS1)||Fox Sports 1 (FS1)|
|Fox Sports 2 (FS2)|
|Investigation Discovery (ID)||Investigation Discovery (ID)|
|Local Now||Local Now|
|National Geographic||National Geographic|
|Nat Geo Wild|
|NBC||NBC (select markets)|
|NBC News Now|
|NFL Network||NFL Network|
|TCM (Turner Classic Movies)|
|Travel Channel||Travel Channel|
YouTube TV’s cloud DVR is the best in the streaming industry. There are no storage limits, you can stream your library anywhere in the U.S., and you can record simultaneously and keep those recordings for up to nine months.
Meanwhile, Sling TV’s streaming bundles include only 10 hours of cloud DVR or you can pay $5/month for 50 hours of storage.
YouTube TV and Sling TV support a lot of devices that allow you to stream from your phone, computer and to a TV set.
If you have a smart TV, apps for these and other streaming TV providers may already be installed. Otherwise, you’ll need a streaming media player like the affordable Roku Express to watch your favorite shows on the big screen.
Both services are compatible with Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV devices, among others.
You can use YouTube TV on as many as three devices at the same time, which is great for families. But it’s more complicated with Sling TV.
If you subscribe to the Sling Orange & Blue plan, you get up to four simultaneous streams. However, you get only one stream for any channel in the Sling Orange service and three streams for channels on the Sling Blue service.
So, you can’t watch ESPN and Disney Channel at the same time, since both are exclusive to the single-stream Orange plan.
If you’re switching from cable to streaming, it’s going to take some time to figure it out no matter which streaming provider you choose. The user experience is not the same, but the free trials give you time to adjust.
Sling TV and YouTube TV both have live TV guides that remind me of cable, but I would say YouTube TV’s is slightly better.
Team Clark has put together a couple of videos to give you an idea about how these streaming services work, but you should know that the services are always fine-tuning to make improvements to the user experience.
I think most people would be able to navigate either of these services easily within an hour or two of just trying them out.
Personally, I’ve spent more time with Sling TV than YouTube TV because I’m all about saving money. If you don’t have a long list of must-have channels, you may be happy with one of Sling’s $30 plans.
On the other hand, YouTube TV feels like more of a replacement for a traditional cable TV package.
Reviews from Clark.com readers are so helpful when choosing a streaming TV service. Please leave your experience in the comments section below and let us know your cord-cutting strategy!