To keep this resource free, is compensated by certain providers listed below. Learn More To keep this resource free, is compensated by certain providers listed below. Learn More


Last updated: October 10, 2022

Starts at $5.99/mo
Starts at $54.99/mo

As two of the biggest names in streaming and live TV, Hulu + Live TV and DIRECTV STREAM are great options for content-hungry households. Both services offer premium channels, tens of thousands of on-demand titles, and unlimited DVR storage to record live TV, so you’ll never miss your favorite shows or movies ever again. Hulu + Live TV and DIRECTV STREAM have a plethora of offerings and benefits, so it’s understandable if you’re struggling to choose between the two. For extra insight, take a look at the comparison below so you can confidently move forward with the best service for you, your budget, and your household.

Hulu + Live TV and DIRECTV STREAM Side by Side

No need to pull out a pen and a Post-it note – we’ve put all the basic info in a convenient chart for you. Below is an aerial comparison between Hulu + Live TV and DIRECTV STREAM’s basic packages.

Detail Hulu + Live TV DIRECTV STREAM
Base package price $69.99 per month $69.99 per month
Free trial Yes (7 days) Yes (5 days)
Number of live TV channels 75+ 65+
Premium channels HBO Max, SHOWTIME, STARZ, Cinemax HBO Max, SHOWTIME, STARZ, Cinemax, Epix
Local channels Yes Yes
On-demand titles 10,000+ 40,000+
Simultaneous device streams 2 or unlimited (add-on) 20 (on home network) or 3 (on the go)
User profiles Up to 6 No
Kids profiles Yes No
Cloud DVR storage Unlimited Unlimited

DIRECTV STREAM Offers a Greater Channel Selection

Hulu + Live TV offers over 75 live TV channels, and while that’s more than DIRECTV STREAM’s basic package (a selection of over 65 channels), DIRECTV STREAM offers three other packages with a bigger lineup.

DIRECTV STREAM highlights different channels in its packages. The basic ENTERTAINMENT package features ESPN, TNT, Nickelodeon, and HGTV as well as local channels. The CHOICE package (over 90 channels) offers everything the ENTERTAINMENT package has, plus MLB Network, NBA TV, college sports networks, and regional sports networks. The Ultimate package (over 130 channels) includes all of the above, plus Oxygen, STARZ Encore, NHL Network, and Universal Kids. And lastly, the PREMIER package (over 140 channels) includes everything DIRECTV STREAM has to offer, plus access to premier channels like HBO Max, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and Cinemax.

While Hulu + Live TV’s channel selection is smaller, it may be worth considering if you’re on a budget since it offers more channels than DIRECTV STREAM’s basic package and it bundles Disney Plus and ESPN Plus. This also makes it a convenient and less expensive option for families.

Hulu + Live TV Offers More Bang for Your Buck

If you’re looking for the most affordable skinny bundle option, we recommend going with Hulu + Live TV. While it’s the most expensive Hulu plan, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of Hulu’s on-demand titles, live TV channels, and the newly added Disney Plus and ESPN Plus.

DIRECTV STREAM’s basic package offers fewer channels and no premium channels. That being said, it offers more on-demand titles than Hulu + Live TV, but you would be missing out on popular titles from Disney Plus (Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Star Wars, National Geographic), ESPN Plus (exclusive UFC content, ESPN Plus originals, sports talk shows), and Hulu Originals (“The Kardashians,” “How I Met Your Father,” “Nine Perfect Strangers”).

Hulu + Live TV Is the More User-Friendly Option

Hulu has been in the streaming game for longer than DIRECTV STREAM, and you can tell by its user-friendly interface. With a few clicks (or taps) of a button, you can search through tons of channels and on-demand titles, and record live TV in a snap. Hulu’s multiple user profiles will keep recordings and favorite shows nice and tidy, and the Kids Profiles feature is great for families. You can also access the Hulu app through most smart TVs and gaming consoles.

Hulu plus live tv and recordings
Live TV channel guide and saved recordings on the Hulu mobile app

DIRECTV STREAM’s interface works well, but it presents some struggles on a few fronts. It’s fairly easy to navigate when it comes to finding channels and recording shows, but it isn’t compatible with all smart TVs and gaming consoles. And while DIRECTV STREAM offers parental controls, it doesn’t allow for different profiles or kids’ profiles.

DIRECTV STREAM's homepage features trending shows, popular genres, and a video player at the top.

For a more in-depth, hands-on look at each service’s user interface, check out our review of Hulu and our DIRECTV STREAM review.

It’s a Photo Finish, but DIRECTV STREAM Comes in First for Sports

This is possibly the most divisive category when deciding between Hulu + Live TV and DIRECTV STREAM, and it will ultimately come down to which sports you want to watch and where you’re located regionally.

With Hulu + Live TV, you have access to ESPN, ESPN2, and TNT, so you can enjoy local and nationally broadcast sports events throughout the year. With ESPN Plus, you get exclusive UFC content, sports talk shows on-demand, and original content like the “30 for 30” library. Essentially, Hulu + Live TV is perfect for fans of combat sports, golf, soccer, tennis, and baseball (aside from local-market blackouts).

Football or baseball fans will probably want to consider DIRECTV STREAM, but they may need to add on services. DIRECTV STREAM’s top three tiers include regional sports, which could allow baseball fans to watch their teams’ local games (depending on licensing and network rules). DIRECTV STREAM also offers a special NFL Sunday Ticket package for die-hard fans who don’t want to miss a single NFL moment.

In short, DIRECTV STREAM gets the gold medal in this category for its broad access to different sports channels and add-ons, but it’s certainly a pricey victory.

The Verdict: Hulu + Live TV vs. DIRECTV STREAM

Solely looking at the category winners, we have a tie: Hulu + Live TV is more affordable and offers a more user-friendly experience, and DIRECTV STREAM has a better for channel selection and gives you access to more sports. This means you must decide what is most important to you.

If you’re a Star Wars fan who’s on a budget, we recommend Hulu + Live TV. If you’re an all-in NFL fan who loves to channel surf in the off-season, then we recommend DIRECTV STREAM. Regardless of which one you choose, you’ll have enough hours of content to keep you and your household continually entertained.