YouTube TV vs. Hulu Live: What you need to know

Are you frustrated by the sky-high prices of cable TV? If so, you’re certainly not alone. More and more people are leaving cable providers, and the most common reason is to save money. The good news is that more and more cable alternatives are popping up, providing viable solutions for folks who still want access to live TV. Today, we’ll look at two popular options, in our Hulu Live vs. YouTube TV comparison.

Similarities between YouTube TV and Hulu Live:

Both of these services share a lot of common ground. Before we get into the differences, let’s go over the basics that both of these services share. Both services are:

  • 100% legal, above-board ways to watch Live TV without cable
  • Generally far more affordable than cable or satellite plans
  • Available to you without a contract or commitment
  • Able to be used on most devices, from smartphones to streaming players
  • Require only an internet connection – no cable/satellite required
  • Easy, affordable ways to get 60+ channels to stream live
  • Easy ways to watch live sports, news, TV shows and more
  • Offer free trials for all new customers – You can try Hulu + Live TV free for 7 days or YouTube TV free for a week

Both of these services are among the best streaming services available today, and both come highly recommended by Streaming Observer and other industry experts. Both serve as viable alternatives to cable TV, and both are definitely worth considering for recent cord-cutters. Keep reading our full Hulu Live vs YouTube TV comparison for details.

YouTube TV vs. Hulu Live: At a glance

Hulu + Live TV (With ads)Hulu + Live TV (No ads)YouTube TV
Monthly price$54.99/mo$60.99/mo$49.99/mo
Free trial length7 days7 days7 days
Number of channels60+60+70+
Cloud DVR storage50 hours50 hoursUnlimited
Number of simultaneous streams223

If you want a quick preview of what’s to come, here’s how we’d describe the YouTube TV Hulu + Live TV debate:

Hulu + Live TV offers a great well-rounded selection of channels, including access to a huge number of local networks, as well as a HUGE on-demand library. If you’re looking to have just one streaming service (instead of a combination of several), Hulu + Live TV is our top recommendation. You can try it out for free for 7 days by clicking here.

YouTube TV offers a solid selection of channels, including plenty of local channels. It offers unlimited DVR storage, but has a smaller selection of on-demand content. If a big DVR is important to you, we recommend YouTube TV. You can try it out for free for 7 days by clicking here.

The full YouTube TV vs. Hulu Live review can be found below.

YouTube TV vs. Hulu Live pricing:

According to the latest research, the most common reason for cancelling cable TV is the rising cost. If you’re like the millions of other people who have grown frustrated with the rising cost of cable, you’re probably wondering how these two services stack up in terms of price.

Basically, pricing is identical across both services. There’s no clear winner here, so you’ll have to examine the channels and features to decide which is a better value for you.

Both services cost $50 or more per month. While YouTube TV is $50, Hulu with Live TV recently raised their prices to $54.99/month. Both services only offer a single option for base packages. There are some add-on channels (such as premium channels like HBO), which pricing varies a bit for, but basically pricing is similar for both Hulu and YouTube TV.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Both offer DVR recording – YouTube TV has unlimited storage, while Hulu limits you to 50 hours (or you can pay extra to get more storage)
  • Hulu with Live TV has way more on-demand content. It includes the original Hulu library free of charge

Bottom line: There’s no clear winner when it comes to price. When you take into account that Hulu with Live TV includes the original Hulu on-demand library (usually $6/mo extra), the slight edge may go to Hulu – but you’ll have to weigh the other factors.

Click here to try Hulu + Live TV free for 7 days
Click here to try YouTube TV free for 7 days

YouTube TV vs. Hulu Live channels:

YouTube TV vs Hulu Live TV Channels

The channels covered by these two services are varied and well-balanced. For details, see the Hulu Live channels list and the YouTube TV channels list.

Here’s the rundown:

Hulu + Live TV offers 60+ channels for $55 per month. This covers everything from entertainment networks to news to local sports and beyond. All channels are offered live, while on-demand content from many networks is also available in Hulu’s massive library. Hulu also has excellent coverage of local channels (NBC, FOX, etc.) which are important for streaming sports and local news.

YouTube TV offers 70+ channels for $50 per month. This includes a good mix of networks, including sports, news, entertainment and more. YouTube TV also covers most local networks in most areas. During the start of YouTube TV, some channels were missing, but as improvements were made, channels like HGTV and Food Network have been added.

Click here to try Hulu with Live TV free for 7 days.
Click here to try YouTube TV free for 7 days.

For a full look at YouTube TV vs. Hulu Live channels, let’s look at individual categories of channels.

Sports channels

watch sports online

Want to watch sports online without paying for cable TV? Both of these services are great ways to do just that.

Hulu + Live TV offers many valuable channels for sports fans, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, ESPN College Extra, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Goal Line, GOLF channelFS1, FS2, Big 10 NetworkCBS Sports Network, NBCSN, SEC Network, Olympic Channel, and more. Hulu Live is also excellent in terms of local channel coverage. NBC, FOX, CBS, ABC and regional sports networks are included in most areas.

YouTube TV offers live access to ESPN networks, FS1, FS2, NBCSN, NBA TV, MLB Network, BTN, SEC Network, CBS Sports Network, Olympic Channel, GOLF Channel, and more. It also has good coverage of local networks and local sports channels, second only to Hulu Live.

Bottom line: In terms of sports coverage, both of these services are fairly similar. That said, when it comes to local sports teams, Hulu is currently bringing more to the table. Hulu currently carries 600+ local network affiliates, compared to YouTube’s 400+. That means you have a better chance of watching your favorite local teams online with Hulu Live.

Click here to try Hulu + Live TV free for 7 days.

Local channels

stream local channels

Looking for access to stream local channels, including ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS? Both of these services carry these channels in an impressive number of markets. How do Hulu + Live TV vs. YouTube TV compare, in terms of locals?

No online streaming service yet offers these channels in all areas, but both Hulu and YouTube come close. Currently, Hulu with Live TV carries these local networks in the most areas, offering more coverage than YouTube TV. That said, both are expanding rapidly and adding more channels, so Hulu’s dominance in this regard could certainly change.

Bottom line: Both services offer impressive coverage of local networks. Currently, Hulu Live TV offers the best coverage of any streaming service.

Click here to try Hulu + Live TV free for 7 days.

Entertainment channels

Looking for general entertainment networks? Both Hulu and YouTube TV offer a ton of options.

Both services offer a similar number of networks. Almost all of the most popular channels are included, with a few exceptions. For instance, YouTube TV is missing A&E, Comedy Central, and the History Channel, while Hulu Live is missing AMC and Comedy Central.

Neither service offers customization options when it comes to channel lineup, so you’re stuck with the channels covered in each service.

However, when it comes to entertainment, Hulu Live has a huge perk: access to the Hulu on-demand library. This massive, Netflix-like library covers thousands of shows and movies, from classics like Seinfeld and South Park to network hits like This is Us to Hulu Originals like The Handmaid’s Tale.

Bottom line: Coverage of entertainment networks is pretty similar between Hulu Live vs YouTube TV. However, Hulu’s on-demand library is far more extensive than YouTube TV’s.

YouTube TV vs. Hulu Live user experience:

The desktop experiences with Hulu and YouTube TV are significantly different. For Hulu, you log into its website and then browse until you find what you want. Once there, you can play and pause videos, move through episodes or entire movies and adjust quality. However, you’re only able to rewind in ten-second intervals.

Both the YouTube TV and Hulu mobile apps offer users with a simplified viewing experience. Content is readily available and organized according to categories and a user’s preferences. The TV apps for Hulu and YouTube have more differences than their mobile counterparts. With the Hulu app, you have the option of accessing a general browsing feature, as well as live TV, a search function and a My Stuff section, which provides you with a view of things you’ve chosen to keep track of. With the YouTube TV app, you can explore upcoming programs, flip between different channels and see recently watched and recorded content. You also have access to your own personalized library.

YouTube TV vs. Hulu Live devices:

Sling TV vs YouTube TV devices

These services don’t come with a cable box or any sort of included device, so you’ll need to use one of your own. Fortunately, almost anything will work, as both of these services work on all of the best streaming devices.

BOTH Hulu Live and YouTube TV work on:

In addition to these, Hulu works on Xbox 360 and Nintendo Switch, while YouTube TV works on Nvidia Shield and select LG smart TVs.

Bottom line: Things are pretty evenly matched between Hulu Live and YouTube TV where streaming services concerned. YouTube TV recently started offering compatibility to Amazon Fire TV devices, which evened things out between the two services. These days, Hulu works on a few more gaming consoles, while YouTube TV is featured on Nvidia Shield and a few more smart TVs.

YouTube TV vs. Hulu Live features:

Both of these services are a simple and affordable way to watch live TV. But beyond that basic principle, how do the two compare in terms of features?

On-demand

Both services offer on-demand streaming, but this is one area where Hulu dominates. While YouTube TV offers limited on-demand coverage (similar to on-demand selections from cable providers), Hulu offers full access to the Hulu on-demand library. This is a HUGE library of thousands of TV shows and movies, and even some award-winning Hulu Originals that aren’t available anywhere else.

DVR recording

Both services offer free DVR recording. YouTube TV offers an impressive unlimited storage, while Hulu limits you to 50 hours of storage for free (or 200 hours for an additional fee). So, this is one area where YouTube TV is clearly ahead – although, with Hulu’s on-demand content library, you may find less need to record shows.

Simultaneous streams

If you live with other people – whether family members, spouses or roommates – chances are you’ll want to watch different things at times. Simultaneous streaming allows you to watch different channels, on different devices, at the same time. Hulu Live TV offers 2 simultaneous streams, while YouTube TV offers 3. With Hulu, you can upgrade to unlimited streams for an extra fee.

Customization

YouTube TV has a subscription center that allows you to manage the user settings on your account. You can update payment methods, change login credentials, pause or even cancel your membership. Hulu allows you to manage your account by switching plans, updating payment information, viewing billing history and managing username and password preferences.

Each subscription allows six separate user accounts and more than one simultaneous stream. YouTube TV allows up to three simultaneous streams and with Hulu, you are limited to viewing on two screens. Hulu subscribers can upgrade to unlimited screens for an additional monthly fee.

For Hulu, Cinemax, HBO, Showtimeand Starz come as add-on options along with 4 additional entertainment choices on a live TV plan. Hulu also offers an enhanced cloud DVR, español and unlimited screens. With YouTube TV, you can add a variety of channels for an extra charge. Popular ones include Fox Soccer Plus, NBA League Pass and Showtime.

With YouTube TV, you can customize your programming, whether you’re watching broadcast TV, news, sports or other shows. It also lets you record shows to build your own library of content. With its Live tab, you’re able to set up your own viewing preferences instead of depending solely on the YouTube algorithm.

Hulu has several personalization features, but they’re slightly different from those of YouTube TV. You can set up profiles for different users, as well as your own personal Tastepicker settings and save content in the My Stuff area. Users can also like and dislike shows and movies, which helps Hulu match your preferences. If you’re dissatisfied with what Hulu presents, you can opt to stop receiving suggestions.

Bottom line: Features on these two services are pretty similar, so it depends what you’re after. YouTube TV holds a slight edge when it comes to DVR storage and simultaneous streams, while Hulu offers far more in terms of on-demand content.

Original content

Hulu offers several shows through its line of original programming. These include Castle Rock, Casual, Catch 22, Letterkenny, PEN15, Ramy, The Act, The Looming Tower and Veronica Mars. All YouTube TV subscribers get access to YouTube Originals, such as Bad Internet, Broke, Foursome, I’m Poppy, Kings of Atlantis, Lifeline, Me and My Grandma, Scare PewDiePie, Sherwood, Sideswiped and Wayne.

Which service is better for me?

In the end, which is the better service: Hulu + Live TV, or YouTube TV?

There’s no direct answer, as it really depends on your preferences, and even your location.

Hulu + Live TV is our top recommendation for folks who want a great channel selection, access to local sports, and an impressive on-demand library in addition to the live coverage. Learn more in our Hulu review.

Click here to try Hulu + Live TV free for 7 days.

YouTube TV is a great option for people who love to DVR shows, as it offers unlimited storage. It’s also got solid coverage of local channels, although Hulu has an edge here. Learn more in our YouTube TV review.

Click here to try YouTube TV free for 7 days.

It’s also good to keep in mind that both these services are still expanding and getting better by the day. We’ll keep this guide updated, but it’s always good to check the latest details before signing up for a service.

The takeaway

There’s a lot to consider when deciding between Hulu Live vs YouTube TV. But here’s something to chew on: BOTH services offer free trials. That means you have a risk-free way to try out both – even at the same time, if you wanted to! And both are non-contract, so even if you do keep one, you’ll never have to commit to more than 1 month at a time.

Austin Meadows