Last updated on Feb 17, 2020

YouTube TV vs. Hulu

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Youtube TV vs. Hulu

YouTube TV and Hulu are two of the most popular alternatives to cable. Both live TV services launched in 2017 and have an impressive selection of local channels.

Since its launch two years ago, YouTube TV has grown to support more than 70 different live TV networks, including virtually all the major cable and local networks, depending on your location.

Hulu’s live streaming service, Hulu + Live TV, has a smaller selection of channels and more expensive add-ons, but it also comes with Hulu’s existing streaming content library.

YouTube TV is best for viewers who want the most channels for the best price, while Hulu is ideal for those interested in bundling their live TV and on-demand streaming services.

YouTube TV vs. Hulu Overview

YouTube TV offers the largest selection of live channels, including a ton of local networks and the best DVR on the market.

Hulu Live TV is $5 more expensive than YouTube TV each month, includes 58 popular channels, and easily integrates with existing Hulu subscriptions.

YouTube TV
Hulu + Live TV
Monthly price
$49.99/mo.
$54.99/mo.
Number of top 100 channels
60+
58
DVR recording available
Yes
Yes
Number of simultaneous streams
3
2
Fast-forward commercials
Yes
No

Quantity of channels

YouTube TV offers a robust channel lineup featuring local networks like ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. Plus, it carries more sports content than nearly every other major competitor. There are also several unique channel add-ons available, including AMC Premiere, Fox Soccer Plus, and Sundance Now. You can also purchase access to premium channels like Showtime and STARZ for an added fee of $14.99 per month. For basketball fans, there is also an NBA League Pass subscription for $39.99 per month.

Hulu + Live TV has a smaller channel lineup than YouTube TV, but it also comes with the entire library of the service’s original and on-demand content. This is a huge plus for users who are looking for more than just live TV and want to use a single service for their streaming needs. The channel lineup is competitive, but some notable channels are missing like Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon.

Streaming and DVR

YouTube TV offers an industry-leading cloud DVR. It features simultaneous recording with nine months of storage and the ability to stream your library anywhere in the U.S.

Hulu’s DVR isn’t bad, but it’s a bit lackluster when compared to YouTube TV’s. Your subscription only includes 50 hours of storage, but you can always upgrade to an enhanced plan for up to 200 hours of storage for an extra $10 per month, although at that cost, you’re paying $15 per month more than you would for YouTube TV.

User experience

If you’re used to other streaming platforms, you will feel right at home with both YouTube TV and Hulu.

The YouTube TV interface is simple. You have Library, Home, and Live TV tabs, which will let you sort through live shows, record content, or watch something that you have already recorded on DVR. You can use the built-in search function from any tab, so you can quickly find what you are looking for.

The DVR functionality lets you record unlimited TV, but you can only store your recording for nine months. You can use the remote to fast-forward through recorded TV or the scroll pad on supported devices.

Hulu’s Live TV interface opts for a grid-based view. You can browse existing shows that are available on the standard version of Hulu, view the selection of live TV channels, or look through movies and shows you have already recorded. The large window view makes it easy to find what you want to watch, without having to sort through pages of content.

Value for price

While the base prices of YouTube TV and Hulu are similar, YouTube TV offers a little more value in its service.

YouTube TV has straightforward pricing. You pay $49.99 per month for its live streaming lineup, unlimited DVR storage, up to three simultaneous streams, and the ability to fast forward through pesky commercials.

The price of Hulu is five dollars more per month, and there are a handful of add-ons that can drive up the price. For example, if you want more storage for your cloud DVR, you will need to upgrade your account for an additional $9.99 per month. If you hate sitting through commercials, then you can upgrade your account for $5.99 a month to remove them. Just these features add $16.99 per month to the overall cost, and you will still only have access to around 60 channels.

Most devices will support both YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV. However, older devices may have trouble running the services. The lists of supported devices changes often, so check the list before you sign up for the service.

The Bottom Line

Both services are very similar in pricing, channels available, and overall functionality. Whether you choose Hulu or YouTube TV, you’ll be able to stream most of your favorite channels.

That said, YouTube TV has a robust lineup of more than 70 channels, including a handful not available on Hulu. It also has a larger local channel selection and a cloud DVR where you can store your favorite shows you need to catch up on.

Hulu + Live TV operates best as an add-on for existing Hulu subscribers. The base price is slightly more than YouTube Live TV, and with the add-ons, you are looking at a more expensive service with fewer channels overall. However, people who want a mix of live TV and on-demand streaming will find this service worthwhile.