YouTube TV vs Hulu + Live TV


New internet-based live TV streaming services are drawing customers away from cable TV packages. People who switch over from cable TV to streaming services are called “cord cutters” and there are millions of them in the USA today.

There are two types of streaming services. One is a library of streaming videos, such as Netflix. This type of entertainment service has been running longer than the second category, which is live TV streaming services. TV services don’t have to de delivered by aerial or cable, they can easily be delivered over the internet.

The live TV streaming services operating in the USA are really starting to take off. The industry leaders are Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV. Other runners in the market are AT&T TV Now, which used to be called DirecTV Now, FuboTV, and Philo. The competition is tough and not all live TV streaming services survive. For example, the PlayStation Vue streaming service recently shut down.

Choosing between all of the different live TV streaming services in the market is a difficult task. In this review, we compare two options: Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV.

Both streaming services piggyback off established brands. YouTube has been around since 2005 and launched its online cable TV service, YouTube TV in 2017. Hulu is an established video library streaming service, similar to Netflix. It added on its live TV service in 2016. It is possible to get just the Hulu service. However, the Hulu live TV service can only be subscribed to in conjunction with the video library system. Hence its name: Hulu + Live TV.

Compare YouTube TV vs Hulu + Live TV plans

Both YouTube TV and the Hulu live TV service offer one TV bundle package, which is the same service structure of cable channel packages and offers many of the same TV channels that are available from cable TV.

  YouTube TV Hulu + Live TV
Monthly price $49.99 $54.95
Free trial 7 days 7 days
Number of TV channels 70 65
Cloud DVR included? Yes Yes
Hours of cloud DVR storage Unlimited 50 hours upgradable to 200
Simultaneous streams 3 2

Compare YouTube TV vs Hulu + Live TV content

The big four

All of the major TV channels for general entertainment are included with both YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV. The big four – ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox, and all included in both services. These bring with them the local channels and local sports coverage of those TV networks plus must-watch TV shows.

Entertainment channels

Other entertainment channels carried on both of these live TV streaming services include AMC, Bravo, TNT, and TBS, The lifestyle channels of HGTV and the Food Network are also included in the base packages of both YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV. News channels on both systems include CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. The kids’ favorites Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Cartoon Network are also in the channel lineup of both live TV streaming services.

Nickelodeon, BBC America Animal Planet, and PBS are all available on YouTube TV, but not on Hulu + Live TV. Surprisingly, neither of these live TV streaming services include MTV or Comedy Central.

Sports channels

Sports fans can access the Regional Sports Network with sports coverage from local stations with both live TV streaming packages. The sports channel selection common to both systems includes Fox Sports, NBC Sports Network, and ESPN. College sports are offered on both TV services through Big Ten Network and CBS Sports Network.

Pro sports channels MLB Network and NBA TV are available on YouTube TV in its base channel lineup. Both services offer premium channels as add-ons. Hulu + Live TV offers HBO, Showtime, Starz, and Cinemax. 

Addon packages

The addon premium channels from YouTube TV are EPIX, Showtime, Starz, Shudder, and Sundance Now. YouTube TV also offers Fox Soccer Plus as an addon. Hulu +Live TV also has an entertainment package addon of ten extra channels and a Spanish language TV channel addon that has six channels.

The two premium channel packages available from both systems cost exactly the same. These are Showtime for $11 per month and Starz for $9 per month.

Compare YouTube TV vs Hulu + Live TV streaming devices

  YouTube TV Hulu + Live TV
Web browser Yes Yes
Google Chromecast Yes Yes
iOS mobile app Yes Yes
Android mobile app Yes Yes
Roku Yes Yes
Apple TV Yes Yes
Android TV box Yes Yes
Amazon Fire TV Yes Yes
Samsung smart TV Yes Yes
LG Smart TV Yes Yes
Vizio smart TV Yes Yes
Xbox Yes Yes
PlayStation No No
Nintendo No Yes

Compare YouTube TV vs Hulu + Live TV user experience

TV guide

The TV guide shows blocks in the YouTube TV guide are smaller than those in the Hulu + Live TV guide. This puts more information on the screen at once. While the Hulu live TV system shows the current TV program and the next show coming, The YouTube TV screen shows a half-hourly timeline. The YouTube TV guide has a picture of the current show at the beginning of each channel line, which Hulu + Live TV doesn’t have.

The TV guide screen of YouTube TV is better.

Search facility

The YouTube TV search system allows for searching by category, which the Hulu + Live TV search engine doesn’t do. Both systems display search results as images, with the name of the retrieved TV show displayed underneath. The images in the YouTube TV search results screen are larger than those in Hulu + Live TV, which means fewer results can be seen without scrolling.

The Hulu+ Live TV search facility is better.

Details screen

Both Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV have good details screen for a selected show. Both give information about the episode or movie. Both divided information across several tabs.

The YouTube TV and Hulu + Live details screen are equally good.

Playback controls

Both systems allow play, pause, rewind, and fast forward on recorded videos and both also allow rewind and pause on live TV shows.

The YouTube TV and Hulu + Live playback controls are equally powerful.


YouTube TV pros

  • Good for sports
  • Good value for money
  • Excellent user interface
  • Wide range of compatible streaming devices
  • Allowance of three simultaneous streams

YouTube TV cons

  • Not so many Spanish language channels

See the full YouTube TV review here.


Hulu + Live TV pros

  • Comes with the extensive Hulu video library
  • Spanish language package good for Latino families
  • Good user interface
  • Wide range of compatible streaming devices

Hulu + Live TV cons

  • No pro sports channels

See the full Hulu + Live TV review here.