YouTube TV vs Hulu: Battle of the Live TV Streamers

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you’re thinking of cutting the cord but still want to catch up on your favorite shows or sporting events as they’re broadcast live, you have options. Two of the biggest players in the live TV streaming game are YouTube TV and Hulu Plus Live TV. So, who will come out on top in the YouTube TV vs. Hulu?

That depends on what you’re specifically looking for, as the two services offer slightly different options. Read on for everything you need to know about the two before making your choice.

Live TV vs. Library Content & Originals

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The main difference between YouTube TV and Hulu is the type of content shown on the two services.

In reality, we can’t really compare Hulu as a whole to YouTube TV, as the Disney streamer has a whole back catalog of series and movies, as well as Hulu originals, to round out its streaming offerings.

Read: Could Streaming Replace Cable TV Completely?

On the other hand, YouTube TV is an alternative to cable, allowing viewers to access live channels through their internet connections. You can access movies and shows on-demand, but they’re not part of a subscription like on Hulu. They are pay per view. YouTube TV is mostly just for live TV, despite some original programming.

So, what are we actually comparing?

Basically, the real battle is between YouTube TV and Hulu Plus Live TV, which narrows the field to two options for people who want a streaming service that still allows them to watch their favorite shows and live events while they’re broadcasting.

What is YouTube TV?

YouTube TV is a streaming service with live channels. That means you can watch things like live sports and hit series as they air on broadcast and cable channels. The service can be used on your phone, tablet, computer or TV.

It also features YouTube Originals, although the service has been largely divested from its original productions and now features mostly children’s programming and unscripted programming in small numbers.

What is Hulu Plus Live TV?

Hulu Plus Live TV similarly offers streaming live channels, including sports and popular broadcasts and cable stations. It can also be used on various devices.

Its main distinguishing feature is that Hulu Plus Live TV automatically includes the standard Hulu streaming service (at different price points depending on whether or not you want ads). This means that in addition to live TV, you can access original Hulu movies like The Handmaid’s Tale and Only Murders in the Building, along with all the third-party series and movies available to Hulu subscribers.

channels

Image of YouTube TV on a Google Pixel.

The live channels on YouTube TV and Hulu Plus Live TV are quite similar, with YouTube TV having over 85 channels and Hulu just over 75. Both offer access to well-known channels such as ABC, NBC, Fox News, BET, TNT, Discovery, Cartoon Network, and more.

The two services are very similar in channel offerings, although you should check both, including your local offering, before making a decision. For example, PBS is part of your YouTube TV subscription, but not Hulu.

Checking out: Every channel available on YouTube TV

Both services also allow you to sign up for additional premium channels at an additional cost, and neither of them has an advantage here as the premium channels are priced the same for both services. These include HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and Starz, available on both YouTube TV and Hulu Plus Live TV. However, only YouTube offers Epix.

Live sports channels are where YouTube TV shines, coming out before Hulu with three additional channels: NFL Network, MLB Network, and NBA TV. Otherwise their sports offer is almost the same.

YouTube TV’s sports channels are as follows:

  • ACC Network (ACN)
  • CBS Sports Network
  • ESPN and ESPN2
  • ESPNews
  • ESPNU
  • FS1 and FS2
  • wave channel
  • MLB Network
  • NBA TV
  • NBC Sports
  • NBC Sports Network
  • NFL Network
  • Olympic Channel
  • SEC network

Hulu Plus Live TV sports channels are as follows:

  • ACC Network (ACN)
  • Big Ten Network
  • CBS Sports Network
  • ESPN and ESPN2
  • ESPNews
  • ESPNU
  • ESPN College Extra
  • FS1 and FS2
  • wave channel
  • Olympic Channel
  • SEC network

Prices

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

At first glance, YouTube TV and Hulu Plus Live TV come in at the same price, making Hulu seem like a clear winner with its included library of major titles outside of the live channels. However, it’s a little more complicated than that.

A basic subscription to both costs $64.99 per month. With Hulu, you get the lower level ad-supported service. You can go ad-free for $70.99, but that won’t affect your live channels.

Read: Can Netflix stay ahead of the streaming wars?

The big difference comes with add-ons. YouTube TV remains $64.99 per month anyway. That includes everything available, including unlimited DVR storage, which allows you to quickly browse ads when viewing saved shows.

On Hulu, you get 50 hours of DVR included with your subscription, and you can’t skip any ads. To increase that to 200 hours and fast-forward capabilities, you need to add $9.99 per month to your bill, making it noticeably more expensive than YouTube.

availabilty

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

While some live TV streaming services are available outside of the US, this is not a factor when considering YouTube TV versus Hulu.

Both services are exclusive to Americans. If you’re anywhere else in the world, well, you’re out of luck. Or rather, lose both services. You should check your local ISPs for live TV streaming or sign up for a service like Fubo TV (available in Canada and Spain), for example.

So this is strictly a comparison for US customers.

YouTube TV vs Hulu: The Verdict

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Hulu Plus Live TV is the clear winner in the battle between YouTube TV and Hulu if you want to get the most bang for your buck. The standard Hulu library is huge, and you get access to it on top of your live channels, at no extra cost beyond what YouTube charges anyway.

There is a big caveat here. If you are mainly interested in live TV, YouTube TV has more channels. More than that, it gives you unlimited DVR storage space at no extra cost. With Hulu, you’d have to pay an extra $9.99 per month for more DVR space, and you’d still get fewer channels.

If you’re a sports fan, YouTube also offers more sports access, along with a few other channels you can’t get from Hulu.

The best way to break it down is to say that Hulu Plus Live TV is the obvious choice if you want a more rounded service, including standard streaming fare, but still want to watch some shows as they air. Meanwhile, YouTube TV is more for hardcore cable fans who want to cut the cord without losing the basic cable experience and who aren’t too concerned about the other streaming features.

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