Streaming services finally overtook cable and broadcast TV this year for the first time in television history. Streaming services now represent a record-breaking 34.8% share of total television consumption in the US, exceeding cable TV (34.4%) and typical broadcast television (21.6%).
And while Netflix remains the proverbial king of the hill, the company experienced an interesting situation earlier this year. Namely, it lost nearly a million subscribers in the last quarter due to its somewhat stale offering. As a result, those subscribers have now turned to other streaming services, like Hulu and YouTube TV.
In fact, both Hulu and YouTube TV are outstanding options for those looking to cut Netflix or cable TV. However, this still begs the following question: which is better, Hulu Live or YouTube TV? To provide you with an adequate answer to this question, we’ve decided to comprehensively compare Hulu Live vs YouTube TV.
Hulu Live vs YouTube TV: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Hulu Live TV||YouTube TV|
|Free Trial||None for Live TV |
(30 days Hulu-only)
|Number of Channels||90+||110+|
|Sports Coverage||ESPN, CBS Sports, FS1 & 2, NFL Network, Golf Channel, Olympic Channel, and more||ESPN, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, FS1 & 2, MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network, Golf Channel, Olympic Channel, and more|
|On-demand live TV, series, and movies||Yes||Yes|
|Number of Simultaneous Streams||2 (unlimited screens is an add-on option)||3|
Hulu Live vs YouTube TV: What’s the Difference?
While the table above provides a helpful visualization of the major differences between the two services, it’s worth discussing the subtleties. As with everything else, there’s more to these services than meets the eye, and it always pays to read the finer print when choosing a new service. Here’s what you need to know when selecting Hulu Live vs YouTube TV:
Both Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV have pretty straightforward pricing: a single plan with a single price. However, there are distinctions.
Both companies have increased the prices of their services steadily over the years. YouTube TV cost a mere $35 per month when it launched in 2017, and it’s currently charging $65 per month.
Hulu + Live TV, on the other hand, doubled that in 2021 after it increased the pricing to $70 per month. After that, however, the company decided to boost the price tag again, and Hulu Live TV currently costs $75 per month.
It’s quite evident that both services have clear and simple pricing plans devoid of any nonsensical fees typically associated with cable providers. Additionally, you can cancel your subscription plan at any time without incurring any penalties. The services will remain available until your renewal period expires.
So, based on the numbers above, it’s evident that YouTube TV is a clear winner when it comes to pricing. But pricing alone doesn’t account for the overall image. The old “you get what you pay for” saying also applies here. For example, Hulu might be a pricier service, but it features original content and access to Disney+ and ESPN+ as part of the subscription cost.
When it comes to channels, the obvious choice is the service with all the channels you find interesting. Despite YouTube TV offering two dozen more channels than Hulu Live TV, both services mostly offer the same major channels.
This includes broadcast networks, sports channels, as well as major cable channels. With that said, you’ll notice a little more differentiation near the margins.
There’s no question that YouTube TV offers more channels for less money. However, Hulu Live TV included a Disney Bundle in its subscription plan. YouTube TV offers more channels for less money, but the real question is whether you’re interested in all of them.
Hulu with Live TV offers more than just major sports channels, local broadcasts, and cable news. It provides its own original content streamed from its on-demand library and additional Disney+ content as well. The latter is particularly interesting if you or your family are Disney fans.
We’ll give a point to YTTV for more channels and one to Hulu Live TV for its Disney Bundle and original content. This ties things in a draw.
Video and Audio Quality
Things are pretty much the same when it comes to Hulu Live vs YouTube TV video and audio quality. Both services run natively at 1080p at 60fps, dropping to 720p in case your internet connection drops. Other than that, YouTube TV offers 4K resolutions for an additional $20, which includes a handful of upscaled sports channels, and a decent amount of 4K resolution content.
Hulu doesn’t offer any 4K live TV, but it does provide content in 4K resolutions. This should make YouTube TV the winner, but the 4K resolutions are a paid add-on and not part of the standard subscription. Moreover, its value is questionable; events shot in 4K are few and far between, making it difficult to justify its price.
Multiple Streams and User Profiles
Both services allow for a maximum of six user profiles, delivering different content to different users. However, things are different when it comes to multiple streams, and YouTube TV has an advantage over Hulu Live TV.
YouTube TV allows for three simultaneous streams, regardless of whether you’re streaming on tablets, TVs, smartphones, or personal computers. On the other hand, Hulu Live TV allows only two simultaneous streams on various devices.
However, the service allows you to upgrade your subscription plan and add an unlimited number of screens. This includes an unlimited number of devices connected to your home network and up to three devices outside the home network.
With YouTube TV, three devices are all you get. Since we’re discussing basic subscriptions, YouTube TV wins in terms of simultaneous stream count.
Speaking of streaming devices, most Smart-enabled TVs can stream content via Hulu and YouTube TV. In fact, some TVs from more prominent brands, like Samsung or LG, come with streaming apps pre-installed.
If you don’t own a Smart-enabled TV, you’ll have to provide your own streaming equipment. This type of equipment is very similar to cable boxes, which convert your TV into a Smart TV. In the end, it’s always better to own an Android box than to rent one out from your cable provider.
It’s important to note that both Hulu and YouTube TV are compatible with most of the major Android boxes and streaming devices currently on the market. These include the following:
- Apple TV (4th Gen or higher) and Apple TV 4K
- Amazon Fire TV products
- Chromecast with Google TVs
- Android TVs (TV sets running a mobile version of Android may face compatibility issues)
- Samsung & LG Smart TVs (2016 models and newer)
- Hisense TVs (Select Models)
- Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S
- PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5
- Nintendo Switch
- Roku and Roku Stick (select models)
YouTube TV’s list of supported devices is somewhat longer, indicating the platform’s extensive support for consumer hardware. However, most of those devices aren’t as widespread, so we’ll also call this a tie.
Cloud DVR allows you to record and store content, so you can rewatch it whenever you want. YouTube TV previously had a clear advantage over Hulu Live TV for years since the latter charged extra for additional DVR storage. However, since April this year, Hulu Live TV now includes unlimited DVR storage in its subscription plan price.
This implies that you can use either service to record as much live TV as you like and view it whenever you want. In addition, both services let you skip advertisements throughout your recordings, which is a time-saving feature. However, there are limitations as to how long you can store recorded content.
If you had asked us this question a year ago, YouTube TV would’ve been a clear winner. Now, Cloud DVR in Hulu Live vs YouTube TV is a draw.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is particularly important for those who aren’t as tech-savvy as an average millennial. The menus and interfaces on both services are quite different from one another. Generally speaking, YouTube TV offers a more streamlined interface that’s generally easier to use.
We’re not saying that Hulu Live TV’s interface isn’t easy to use; quite the contrary. However, it’s not as streamlined and intuitive as Google’s, which makes it 2nd-best. It’s prettier than the YouTube TV interface, though.
Hulu Live vs YouTube TV: Pros and Cons
Now that we have gone through all the specifics regarding each service, it’s important to summarize their pros and cons. The two services are pretty much similar, and the advantages associated with one are usually the flaws of the other.
The number of channels is YouTube TV’s biggest advantage, as is its price. The channel line-up is above decent, though it’s worth noting that many regional sports networks aren’t available. This is YouTube TV’s way of compensating for the lack of original content.
On the other hand, Hulu Live TV has fewer channels but compensates greatly with both original content, and the included Disney Bundle. If we disregard the higher price, the only drawback is the lower number of simultaneous streams.
Hulu Live vs YouTube TV: 4 Must-Know Facts
- Both Hulu and YouTube TV are compatible with most of the major Android boxes and streaming devices currently on the market.
- Hulu doesn’t offer any 4K live TV, but it does provide content in 4K resolutions.
- YouTube TV is currently charging $65 per month, while Hulu Live TV currently costs $75 per month.
- Hulu Live TV now includes unlimited DVR storage in its subscription plan price.
Hulu Live vs YouTube TV: Which Is Best?
Both services are on par with one another regarding features included in base subscriptions. For example, both offer unlimited DVR, a similar number of channels, and streaming quality. However, YouTube TV provides just a little bit more in its base subscription plan, winning by a very close margin.
With everything said, we’d like to point out that our Hulu Live vs YouTube TV comparison is based on advertised technical aspects associated with both services. This doesn’t account for the frequency of technical issues, coverage, service quality, etc. We urge our readers to evaluate these products based on their own personal needs and preferences before subscribing to a particular service.
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