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Hulu Live or YouTube TV: Which Is Better? (& Cheaper)

Find out whether Hulu Live or YouTube TV is best for your individual live TV streaming needs.

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Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV are two of the most popular live TV streaming services in the United States. As a result, those new to streaming, or considering switching services, will likely be considering either Hulu Live TV or YouTube TV. But which is actually the better service?

The answer to whether Hulu Live or YouTube TV is better comes down to a number of things, and ultimately depends on which features matter most to the consumer. While both services do offer a fairly common experience, device support, and features, when taking a closer look at the two, there are some notable differences that can help to sway an undecided consumer one way or the other.

To begin with, here’s a closer look at how the base plans for the two live TV streaming services compare on some of the most common features.

FeaturesHulu LiveYouTube TV
Price p/m$54.99$64.99
Channels65+85+
Streams23
Cloud DVR Hours50Unlimited
TV EverywhereYesYes
Free trial7 days14 days

Why Hulu Live TV is better than YouTube TV

One of the key areas that Hulu Live TV excels in, is content. Just like YouTube TV, Hulu Live provides access to a variety of live TV channels. While the exact channel selection differs between the two services, and will cater better to some consumers more than others, they both offer a wide enough selection to satisfy many of the same viewers.

However, what makes the content on Hulu Live so beneficial is the inclusion of the basic Hulu subscription. This additional subscription costs a minimum of $5.99 per month, but Hulu Live subscribers get it for free. With basic Hulu, subscribers get access to a significant amount of on-demand content, including movies, show episodes, documentaries, and Hulu Originals. This alone makes the value of a Hulu Live subscription greater than the value offered with YouTube TV, in terms of content.

HUlu TV originals
Hulu Live includes Hulu Originals and more

Another area where Hulu Live wins, is price. YouTube TV was great when it was just $35 per month, but over the years, the price has increased, and significantly. Right now, a YouTube TV subscription costs $65 per month. In comparison, a Hulu Live subscription currently costs only $54.99 per month. In fact, unlike YouTube TV, Hulu offers more than one plan, for those looking for a richer streaming experience.

Again, the Hulu Live price also includes basic Hulu. To put this into perspective, YouTube TV subscribers who also want access to basic Hulu will need to pay a minimum of $5.99 per month. In other words, the monthly cost would rise to $70.98, compared to the $54.99 per month that Hulu costs.

Read more: Hulu Live TV Review: Great, but Not the Best for Families

Why YouTube TV is better than Hulu Live

Although Hulu Live offers more content overall, that’s only one of the factors that should be taken into consideration. Another important live TV streaming feature is cloud DVR. After all, being able to watch what you want, when you want, is largely down to the ability to record movies, show episodes, and live events. Both Hulu Live and YouTube TV do offer cloud DVR, but they also differ a lot.

Hulu Live offers 50 hours of cloud DVR as standard. In comparison, YouTube TV offers an unlimited cloud DVR experience. In addition, YouTube TV’s cloud DVR is specific to the user. To explain, if a subscription is shared with others, each profile gets its own unlimited cloud DVR that’s unaffected by what the other profiles record. The end result is no issues with recording content, or other people’s recordings showing up in the recordings list.

YouTube TV recordings
YouTube TV offers unlimited cloud DVR

Hulu does offer an ‘Enhanced Cloud DVR’ add-on for those that need more than 50 hours, but this only increases the limit to 200 hours, and doesn’t change the fact that all user recordings are grouped together. Not to mention, the Enhanced Cloud DVR add-on will also add a further $9.99 to the monthly cost. If cloud DVR matters, YouTube TV is the best option overall.

Another area where YouTube TV offers more than Hulu Live is simultaneous streams. This is another feature that often gets overlooked until it is too late. Having enough simultaneous streams ensures that more family members sharing a subscription can watch what they want, when they want. For example, Hulu Live only allows streaming on up to two devices at the same time. In contrast, YouTube TV allows subscribers to stream on up to three devices at the same time.

Again, Hulu does offer an ‘Unlimited Screens’ add-on which actually greatly increases the number of streams available, although this add-on also costs an additional $9.99 per month. It also is not as unlimited as it sounds, as Hulu places restrictions on living room devices when away from home.

Read more: You Can Watch Hulu Live Away from Home (But Not on All Your Devices)

So, is Hulu Live or YouTube TV better?

Whether Hulu Live or YouTube TV is the best option will depend on what the user wants and expects from a live TV streaming service. Neither option is perfect and both do excel in certain areas. Hulu Live is great for content and is cheaper than YouTube TV when it comes to the base subscription. Therefore, for those who want the most content, and at the cheapest price possible, Hulu Live TV is the better choice.

However, if looking for a live TV streaming service for a busier household, then YouTube TV is likely to be the best option. With an unlimited (and personalized) cloud DVR, as well as a greater number of simultaneous streams, YouTube TV is better placed to cater to families and those who plan to record a lot of content, even though the price is ultimately higher.

Speaking of the price, one last point to note is that Hulu Live does offer subscribers the option to combine both the Enhanced Cloud DVR and Unlimited Screens add-ons and only pay $14.99 per month. With up to 200 hours of recordings to play with, and more streams, these add-ons can reduce some of the advantages that YouTube TV has over Hulu Live. Although, these two add-ons do take the price of a Hulu Live subscription up to $69.98, making it more expensive than YouTube TV, but only if you don’t need access to basic Hulu.

John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Clarity to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingclarity.com or on Twitter

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