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

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YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV are two of the most popular cable TV alternatives, but is one better than the other?

Money expert Clark Howard is a YouTube TV subscriber, but Hulu’s live TV streaming service may be just as good or better for many Americans who want to cut the cord to save money.

In this article, we’ll compare the key features of these two streaming TV services to help you make the best pick…

Table of Contents:

Price

YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV both increased their prices in the first half of 2019. YouTube TV’s plan costs $49.99 per month, while Hulu + Live TV starts at $44.99 per month — $5 less.

Those monthly prices are for the base plans only. Premium channels and features will cost extra.

Unlike many cable and satellite TV providers, internet-based streaming services have no setup or equipment fees. You can also cancel at any time.

New subscribers can also take advantage of free trials, typically for a week.

Channels

Cable and satellite TV costs a lot more, but some packages have more than 150 channels to choose from.

YouTube TV has slightly more channels than Hulu + Live TV, but we’re still only talking about 70 networks or so, including local stations like ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX.

YouTube TV’s impressive lineups of sports network is what keeps many subscribers around.

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On the other hand, Hulu + Live TV has a solid mix of sports, news and entertainment networks. It also includes full access to Hulu’s streaming library with ads, a $5.99/month value.

To determine which service has the best channel lineup for you, follow these steps:

  1. Open your cable or satellite TV guide
  2. Scroll through the channels and list your favorites
  3. Search for those networks in the chart below

Channel lineups: YouTube TV vs. Hulu + Live TV

YouTube TV:
$49.99/month
Hulu + Live TV:
$44.99/month
A&E
ABCABC
ABC News Live
ACC Network (ACCN)ACC Network (ACCN)
AMC
Animal PlanetAnimal Planet
BBC America
BBC World News
Big Ten Network (BTN)Big Ten Network (BTN)
Boomerang
BravoBravo
Cartoon NetworkCartoon Network
CBSCBS
CBSN
CBS Sports NetworkCBS Sports Network
Cheddar Business Cheddar Business
Cheddar News
CNBCCNBC
CNBC World
CNNCNN
CNN International
Comet
Cozi TV Cozi TV
CWCW
Discovery ChannelDiscovery Channel
Disney ChannelDisney Channel
Disney JuniorDisney Junior
Disney XDDisney XD
E!E!
ESPNESPN
ESPN2ESPN2
ESPNewsESPNews
ESPNUESPNU
Food NetworkFood Network
FOXFOX
Fox Business NetworkFox Business Network
Fox News ChannelFox News Channel
Fox Sports 1 (FS1)Fox Sports 1 (FS1)
Fox Sports 2 (FS2)Fox Sports 2 (FS2)
FreeformFreeform
FXFX
FXMFXM
FXXFXX
Golf ChannelGolf Channel
HGTVHGTV
History Channel
HLNHLN
IFC
Investigation Discovery (ID)Investigation Discovery (ID)
Lifetime
Local Now
MLB Network
MotorTrendMotorTrend
MSNBCMSNBC
National GeographicNational Geographic
Nat Geo WildNat Geo Wild
NBA TV
NBCNBC
NBCSNNBCSN
Newsy
Olympic ChannelOlympic Channel
OWN (Coming later 2019)
OxygenOxygen
PopPop
SEC NetworkSEC Network
Smithsonian ChannelSmithsonian Channel
Start TV
Sundance TV
SYFYSYFY
Tastemade
TBSTBS
TCM (Turner Classic Movies)TCM (Turner Classic Movies)
TelemundoTelemundo
Tennis Channel
TLCTLC
TNTTNT
Travel ChannelTravel Channel
truTVtruTV
Universal KidsUniversal Kids
Universo
USAUSA
Viceland
WE tv

If YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV are missing some of your favorite channels, see our expanded channel comparison chart that features other live TV streaming services with plans for $50/month or less.

Be prepared to make some sacrifices with the channel lineup, especially if lowering costs is your #1 priority.

Cloud DVR 

The price and channel lineup are perhaps the two most important factors, but cloud DVR is another feature that many people look for in a live TV streaming service.

YouTube TV’s cloud DVR is not only better than Hulu’s, it’s the best of all the live TV streaming services.

Cloud DVR: YouTube TV vs. Hulu + Live TV 

YouTube TV  Hulu + Live TV 
  • No storage limits
  • Stream your library anywhere in the U.S.
  • Record simultaneously
  • Recordings kept for up to 9 months
  • 50 hours of cloud DVR storage included
  • Must upgrade to Enhanced Cloud DVR for 200 hours of storage and these features:
    • Fast-forward through commercials
    • No limit on simultaneous recording
    • Stream your recordings anywhere on supported devices

Supported Devices for TV

YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV are both compatible with some smart TVs and streaming media players like Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV.

Hulu’s live TV offering has been compatible with Amazon Fire TV from the start, while YouTube TV added Fire TV players and smart TVs to its list of supported devices in September 2019.

Additional Resources: 

Multiple Streams

For families or individuals who want to use a streaming TV service on multiple devices at once, YouTube TV has an advantage over Hulu + Live TV.

You can stream on three screens at a time with YouTube TV and only two with Hulu + Live TV.

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However, Hulu’s live TV streaming service does have an option to upgrade to unlimited screens that are connected to your home network for an extra $9.99 per month.

With this add-on, you can also stream on the go from up to three separate mobile devices.

Cable and satellite TV providers have made their services so easy to navigate that some users find that live TV streaming services are just too complicated.

But YouTube TV is easy to navigate and has a very simple TV guide, as you can see in the video below:

Hulu + Live TV has made changes to its interface to mirror traditional cable TV — including a two-week grid guide.

From my experience with Hulu’s live TV streaming service, it can take an extra click or two to find what you want. That’s the frustrating part. But there’s so much more content to discover from Hulu’s streaming library.

There’s less of a learning curve with YouTube TV, but I was able to comfortably navigate Hulu within a few days.

Final Thought

Is YouTube TV better than Hulu + Live TV? The answer to that question will be different for everyone. I think they’re both good alternatives to PlayStation Vue, which is shutting down in January 2020.

When choosing any live TV streaming service, you have to consider the factors that matter the most to you: price, channels, DVR, supported devices, multiple streams, ease of use and more.

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They all have free trials, so you can test out multiple streaming plans until you find a suitable cable TV replacement.

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