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

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

Each is considered to be one of the top live TV streaming services on the market, and their base packages are priced similarly.

But is one better than the other?

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: YouTube TV vs. Hulu + Live TV

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


Price

Neither YouTube TV nor Hulu + Live TV has made many friends with their decisions to steadily increase prices over the last few years.

Though they haven’t moved in lockstep to get here, where we stand now is a pretty uniform option: You will have to pay $65 per month for the base package from either service.

For perspective on how quickly this happened: YouTube TV was just $35 per month when it launched in 2017.

The pricing for both services is clear and simple, though. 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. (Note: Some customers may be subject to local sales tax where they live.)

It’s worth noting that a Hulu Live subscription includes access to the Hulu on-demand library, a popular standalone subscription that starts at $5.99 per month.

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YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV both 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, it may be worth considering some of the other live TV streaming services on the market. Philo is just $25 per month, and Sling TV has a couple of different packages that start at $35 per month.

Settling this debate on price alone is a pretty tall — if not impossible — order. You’re going to have to dig a little deeper into the services each provides to see which will give your household the best bang for the buck.

DECEMBER 2021 UPDATE: Hulu + Live TV customers will experience a price increase on Dec. 21, 2021. The full details on this change can be found here.


Channel Lineup: YouTube TV vs. Hulu + Live TV

One of the more stressful parts of cutting the cord from your cable company is ensuring 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 YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV offer a wide variety of some of the best “cable” channels out there. You’re going to get ESPN, CNN, TBS, TNT and many other mainstream options from each service.

Both streaming services offer access to local channels like ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX. 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 they offer you.

Again, it’s worth pointing out that access to the on-demand version of Hulu comes with a Hulu + Live TV subscription. There also is an option to bundle with ESPN+ and Disney+ for even more streaming options.

Below is a comparison of the YouTube TV and Hulu + Live 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.

YouTube TV offers a sports add-on package for $10.99 that includes NFL RedZone.

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

In addition to add-on channel packages, YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV also provide the opportunity to sign up for premium subscription services within their respective ecosystems.

For example, you can opt into paying for an HBO Max subscription as a part of your monthly YouTube TV or Hulu+Live TV bill. That content would be available to stream on your streaming service’s app alongside the content from your base subscription.


Cloud DVR: YouTube TV vs. Hulu + Live TV 

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

Being able to record what you want and watch it when you want to is a huge perk.

This is an area in which YouTube TV holds a clear advantage over Hulu + Live TV both in quality and quantity.

First, let’s talk about quantity. YouTube TV offers unlimited storage for its cloud DVR as a part of its subscription price, while Hulu + Live TV offers only 50 hours. And even if you pay an additional $10 per month for Hulu’s “Enhanced Cloud DVR” upgrade, you still get only 200 hours of storage.

And the advantages for YouTube TV in this area don’t stop there. You’re going to notice a better quality of cloud DVR experience as well.

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YouTube TV users can stream your cloud DVR library from anywhere on any device and record multiple shows, movies or sporting events at once. And you can easily fast forward through commercials as you’re watching your recordings.

In order to do those things with Hulu + Live TV, you have to pay up for the Enhanced Cloud DVR experience. The basic Hulu package requires that you watch advertisements on your recorded content, limits your ability to view the recordings from mobile devices and also limits your ability to simultaneously record content.

We believe YouTube TV’s cloud DVR is the best of all the live TV streaming services.


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 YouTube TV or Hulu + Live TV 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 YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV are compatible with most of the major streaming devices on the market.

YouTube TV Supported Devices

YouTube TV’s list of supported devices for TV includes:

  • Apple TV (4th generation) and Apple TV 4K
  • Amazon Fire TV products
  • Chromecast with Google TV devices
  • Android TV (Note: TVs running a mobile version of Android may not be supported)
  • Vizio SmartCast TVs
  • Samsung & LG smart TVs (2016 models and newer)
  • HiSense TVs
  • Xbox: Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One X, Xbox One S, and Xbox One
  • PS5 and PS4
  • TiVo Stream 4K

One major name you may notice is missing: Roku.

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There is a rift between YouTube TV and Roku that has made it difficult to stream the service on Roku devices. Money expert Clark Howard expects this to be a temporary disruption, but you can read the latest from Team Clark, which includes some workaround solutions for Roku owners who have YouTube TV subscriptions.

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

Multiple Streams

For households that want to use a live TV streaming 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 but only two with Hulu + Live TV.

Hulu + Live TV 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.

This is another instance where Hulu + Live TV requires that you pay for an upgrade to either match or surpass the base offering from YouTube TV.


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

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

YouTube TV live streaming service
ProsCons
Great overall channel lineup filled with sports and newsMonthly price now at $65 after being as low as $35
Unlimited cloud DVR storage includedMany regional sports networks unavailable
Up to 6 user accounts and 3 simultaneous streamsRoku users having difficulties because of a contract dispute

Hulu + Live TV streaming service
Pros Cons
Access to local channels includedCost of add-ons can really add up!
Hulu’s on-demand streaming library is included.Must upgrade DVR to fast forward through commercials.
Can bundle with Disney+ and ESPN+.Only two screens at once unless you upgrade

Bottom Line: Which is Better?

At $65 per month for the base packages, both YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV are among the more expensive options for cord-cutters looking to switch to a live TV streaming service.

But when you weigh some of the factors that are most important to streamers (price, channels, cloud DVR, supported devices, etc.), you’ll find that both of them generally grade out pretty well when compared to their peers.

That makes both of them viable cable alternatives.

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But it’s my opinion that the base package from YouTube TV offers just a bit more than the base package from Hulu + Live TV.

Hulu customers would have to consider paying to upgrade the cloud DVR functionality and concurrent streaming to replicate what YouTube TV offers at no additional cost.

So with all things considered, I’d give the advantage to YouTube TV.

If the price of these services is an issue, you may be better off checking out Sling TV.


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