If you are looking to cut the cord and save money on your TV costs each month, YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV are worth considering.
As two of the most popular live TV streaming services available, their expansive channel lineup, cloud DVR, and flexibility make them top cable replacements.
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Hulu Live vs. YouTube TV
Although there is a number of similarities between the two streaming services, they also have some important differences.
These include variations in original programming and the number of screens you can watch TV on at once.
In this article, we will help answer whether YouTube TV or Hulu Live is the best live TV streaming service for cord-cutters.
How Much Do the Two Live TV Streaming Services Cost?
YouTube TV costs $72.99 per month and Hulu Plus Live TV costs a bit more at $76.99 per month. Both cable TV alternatives have one base plan.
However, Hulu with Live TV has several add-ons that increase functionality.
For an extra cost, you can get additional simultaneous streams or a no-ads version. Hulu Live did add the Disney bundle with its price increase in December 2021.
This lets users get Disney+ and ESPN+ with a subscription to Hulu Live.
YouTube TV is much simpler. All of those features are included in YouTube TV’s base package.
Both streaming TV services are easy to set up, have no hidden fees, and can be started, paused, or canceled at any time without penalty.
However, if you want a cheaper alternative, Sling TV is one suitable option. Read our YouTube TV vs. Sling analysis to see how the two services compare.
A free trial is not offered with Hulu Plus Live TV. However, YouTube TV does offer a trial to let you try the service before subscribing.
YouTube TV bounces between one and two-week free trial periods.
|Hulu Live - 80+ channels of live sports, news and more
Stream all Hulu original shows, plus live TV from all the major networks including ESPN, HGTV, and CNN for half the cost of cable!
Read our YouTube TV review to learn more about that service.
Price Winner: YouTube TV
Both internet-based streaming services offer a stellar streaming library with live sports and most viewers’ favorite channels.
However, there are a few differences in the channel comparison between the providers.
YouTube TV has just over 100 channels and Hulu Live has approximately 85.
But, YouTube TV includes channels like MLB, NBA networks, and PBS. Unfortunately, they’re missing A&E, History, and the Lifetime networks.
If your favorite TV shows are on one of those networks, you will have to look elsewhere to get them.
*Related: Are you a basketball fan, but want to ditch your expensive contract? Read our guide on how to stream NBA games without cable and save big bucks.
Hulu Live recently added much of the Viacom family of channels. Read our guide on the Hulu Live channels list to learn more about what they carry.
Do Hulu Live and YouTube TV Carry Local Networks?
When comparing Hulu vs. YouTube TV, many people want to know if local channels are included.
Cable and satellite TV providers used to be the only way to get local networks. Fortunately, that is no longer true.
Both streaming services carry all the major local affiliates. This means that you can cut the cord on cable and get ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and many more popular channels with either of these live streaming options.
Unfortunately, local stations come with an added cost as both streaming platforms must pass on broadcast retransmission fees they incur.
If you want to save more money, you might want to choose a lower-cost live TV provider and pair that with an over-the-air antenna to get local TV stations.
Read our guide on how to get local channels without cable to increase savings and not miss popular TV shows.
*Related: Read our guide the best ways to watch the ABC live stream without a contract and get your favorite network shows.
Which Sports Channels do YouTube TV and Hulu With Live TV Have?
Getting live sports is essential for many cord-cutters. Neither cable replacement will disappoint.
YouTube TV has about six more channels airing sports than Hulu Live. It is also the only streaming service that carries the MLB Network and NBA TV in its base package.
If you are a professional sports fan, this could tip the scales in favor of YouTube TV for you.
Being a Disney-owned company, Hulu Live carries all the ESPN networks and will soon have rights to air NHL games, including regular season and playoff matches.
If you need regional sports networks (RSNs), neither have many. A live TV package from DIRECTV STREAM is the top choice to get RSNs.
Here’s a glance at what sports channels each cable alternative offers.
|YouTube TV Sports Networks
|Big Ten Network
|CBS Sports Network
|ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN News, ESPNU
|Local MLS Channel
|Hulu Live Sports Networks
|Big Ten Network
|CBS Sports Network
|ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN News, ESPNU, ESPN College Extra
If you prefer college sports, both services will meet your needs. However, if pro sports are of greater interest, YouTube TV is the superior choice.
Furthermore, YouTube TV will have NFL Sunday Ticket beginning with the 2023 season. It will come at an additional cost, but it’s a great option for football fans. This includes NFL RedZone for an additional cost.
Premium Channels & Add-Ons
Both services offer the ability to customize your viewing experience with premium channels and other packages that can be added for an extra cost.
YouTube TV lets you add the following channels, and more, for costs that range from $5 to $14.99 per month:
- Max, SHOWTIME, STARZ
- AMC Premiere, Sundance Now, Shudder
- EPIX, Hallmark Movies Now, Cinemax
- NBA League Pass
You can also get it’s Sports Plus Add-On for $10.99 a month. It currently offers 14 sports-exclusive channels, including NFL RedZone and the Tennis Channel.
Hulu Live premium offerings include:
- Max, Cinemax, SHOWTIME, and STARZ
For an extra $7.99 per month, it also offers an Entertainment add-on with 16 channels, including Cooking Channel, Discovery Family, and Nick Toons.
*Related: Read our Max review to learn more about the platform.
Hulu with Live TV offers a Sports add-on for an extra $9.99 per month with six channels including NFL Red Zone and the Sportsman Channel.
There’s even an Español add-on with seven channels for $4.99 per month.
Finally, Hulu Live subscribers get ESPN+ and Disney Plus for no additional fee in the base package.
While YouTube TV’s add-ons won’t replace ESPN or Disney Channel content, they are terrific supplements to the parent network.
If you can stick with the included two streams, that’s not a horrible price.
You’ll get your local channels, all the popular networks for news and sports, a ton of extra sports content on ESPN+, and the entire Disney plus library.
Channel Winner: YouTube TV
Hulu is well-known for its original content. As you can imagine, it has more on-demand TV shows than YouTube TV.
YouTube TV has 2,000+ titles in its on-demand library. Hulu Live has 43,000+ shows and movies to watch on-demand. It also offers more original shows and movies.
Handmaid’s Tale, Little Fires Everywhere, Only Murders in the Building, and The United States vs. Billie Holiday are just a few of the award-winning original series and movies on the streaming service.
Hulu is constantly adding new shows and movies that are entertaining as well as interesting to watch.
On the other hand, YouTube TV’s original offerings haven’t fared as well or been as abundant. You can get YouTube Premium, but it comes at an additional cost.
Choosing the best service for you may come down to what you prefer to watch.
Read our Hulu Live review to learn more about that service.
On-Demand Content Winner: Hulu Live
Which Service Has the Better Cloud DVR?
Recording shows and games is vital for many would be cord-cutters. Until recently, YouTube TV was an easy winner for the better cloud-based DVR.
A YouTube TV subscription includes unlimited DVR storage space with the ability to fast forward through commercials.
Recordings are kept for nine months and then deleted, but there is no limit to what you can record.
As of April 13, 2022, Hulu Live will have a vastly upgraded their DVR by having it mirror what you get with YouTube TV.
Subscribers will get unlimited recording capacity and the ability to fast-forward through commercials. Recordings remain for nine months.
Previously, the Hulu cloud DVR was much more complicated and nowhere near as good.
The service only offered a 50-hour cloud DVR. But, you couldn’t fast forward through commercials unless you added the enhanced cloud DVR feature for $9.99 per month.
Even with the upgrade you could only record 200 hours of programming. The upgraded DVR is vastly superior.
DVR Winner: Tie
Both live TV streaming apps have easy-to-use menus and guides. As a result, both offer a satisfying user experience.
The feature of the streaming interface most often used is the channel guide. Comparing the two platforms, Hulu Live has the edge over YouTube TV.
The Hulu Live guide displays helpful content category tabs such as Recent, All, Sports, News, Movies, and Kids.
These help filter content and make finding something to watch easier.
There’s also a search feature, which is excellent for when you are trying to find a specific show.
YouTube TV has a less intuitive channel guide. The content tabs are absent, which makes it harder to filter content.
However, it does preview every title in a little box next to the show or movie name, which provides a quick glance at what is on live.
Interface Winner: Hulu Live
Video and audio quality can be an important factor for some cord-cutters. Both platforms tout 4K video quality, but that is not always 100 percent accurate.
Hulu Live streams in 720p and 1080p with some shows airing in 4K quality. That is most often found with their original shows and movies. A badge will indicate if the show is in 4K.
YouTube TV offers 4K quality, but you must purchase an upgrade to get it. The add-on is $9.99 a month. If you don’t purchase the add-on, shows and games air in 720p and 1080p.
*Related: Read our Hulu Live vs. fuboTV review to see how the two platforms compare.
For audio, 2.0 stereo audio is standard on both streaming services, but you can get Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound with compatible devices.
Playback Winner: Hulu Live
Which Devices Can You Watch Hulu Live and YouTube TV on?
If the device you have has a screen it is likely you can stream either service. Both platforms are available pretty much everywhere and carry the same device requirements.
To watch either streaming service, you’ll need a high speed internet connection.
You’ll also need either an LG or Samsung smart TV or a streaming device like the Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Tivo Stream 4K, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox, or PlayStation.
It’s even possible to watch on your laptop, smartphone, or device.
Device Support Winner: Tie
Many people are interested in knowing how many screens YouTubeTV and Hulu Live will let you watch on simultaneously.
If you want to know how many people can watch Hulu at once, it’s a disappointing two simultaneous streams. You can upgrade the base package to receive more.
The Hulu unlimited screens add-on will let you watch on as many screens as you want at once for $9.99 per month.
Streams Winner: YouTube TV
Other Streaming Options
There is a lot of competition for YouTube TV and Hulu Live. DIRECTV STREAM and fuboTV are other premium cable replacements that operate in similar fashion.
Both DIRECTV STREAM and fuboTV plans start at $74.99 a month. They’re also the top two live TV streamers for RSNs.
*Related: Read our review of YouTube TV vs. fuboTV to identify how the two streaming services compare.
Philo and Sling TV are more affordable services, but don’t include local stations.
You can try many of these services, including YouTube TV, for free before committing.
Then, choose the service that best fits your viewing needs and cancel the ones you won’t use.
If you’re unsure about which streaming app to pick try our free quiz to receive a customized recommendation in under 30 seconds.
YouTube TV was the clear winner before the DVR upgrade by Hulu Live. With the upgrade both services are neck and neck with each other.
Deciding which is best for you comes down to what you prefer. If you need an additional stream, and several more sports networks YouTube TV is best for you.
However, if you love original content and are a Disney fan, then Hulu Live is the better fit. Try both for a month to see which you like best.
How much do you spend on television content each month?
I’m Nicole Schmoll – a master’s-educated professional writer, mompreneur, and co-founder of Frugal Rules.
As a freelance copywriter in Omaha, I still believe that writing is an artistic expression. Every time I strike the keys, I intend to evoke a response from my listeners. I left my full-time career as a senior copywriter for an insurance agency to start my own freelance writing business.
I love watching and writing about TV (and how to stream it!)