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Hulu vs YouTube TV

Last updated: September 10, 2020

Starts at $5.99/mo
vs
Starts at $40.00/mo

You’re sick of the cable bill that keeps finding its way to your mailbox every month and you’re ready to cut the cord. The problem is figuring out how to keep watching your favorite shows. With so many options out there, there are plenty of ways to keep up with your shows, such as Hulu and YouTube TV. If you’re trying to figure out what exactly Hulu and YouTube TV are, then you’ve come to the right place. Here is everything you need to know about Hulu and YouTube TV, including what makes them different and what might make one or the other the best choice for you.

Hulu: A subscription video on-demand service that has a live TV option

Hulu Pros: Hulu Cons:
  • Live TV available
  • An up-to-date on-demand library with recently aired shows
  • Ad-free option available
  • Only 2 screens on basic accounts
  • Removing ads requires a higher-level plan
  • Live TV plan has limited customization
  • On-demand library smaller than other services like Netflix
Hulu Homescreen
Hulu Homescreen

YouTube TV: A subscription streaming service for live TV with a “skinnier” bundle than cable

YouTube TV Pros: YouTube TV Cons:
  • Unlimited DVR storage for 9 months
  • Up to 6 accounts and three screens on a single subscription
  • Wide range of channels and networks available including local
  • No hidden fees
  • Cannot add accounts or screens
  • No offline viewing
Youtube TV screen
Youtube TV screen

What’s the Difference Between Hulu and YouTubeTV

Hulu and YouTube TV are both streaming services that give you access to live TV. However, there are some key differences between the two services.

For starters, Hulu is more than just a live TV streaming service. It is also a “subscription video on demand” service (think Netflix). Users that subscribe to Hulu have access to Hulu’s library of TV shows, movies, and original content that they can watch whenever they want. This is included in even the most basic Hulu plan. It’s important to note that, while Hulu is a service like Netflix, the Hulu library has different shows and movies than Netflix does. Hulu also shows ads to users.

Hulu offers another option called Hulu + Live TV. This is the option that gives users access to both the Hulu on-demand library of TV shows and movies and access to live streaming channels. This is essentially Hulu’s version of cable without the strings and contracts. Hulu + Live TV users pay a subscription fee to access live TV networks. We’re talking here about top-rated networks you know from cable and satellite, such as ABC, CBS, and Fox.

YouTube TV is similar to other live TV streaming services (including Hulu + Live TV). Subscribers get access to live TV from top networks, including local channels. But YouTube TV does not have an option to access only the on-demand content in its library: All Youtube TV subscription plans have live TV.

Another difference between the two is the DVR and the ability to record your favorite shows. With Hulu + Live TV, subscribers get 50 hours of DVR storage in the cloud (this can be increased as an add-on). However, with YouTube TV, subscribers get unlimited DVR storage for 9 months.

The number of users and simultaneous screens also varies between Hulu and YouTube TV. With a basic Hulu account, you can watch on up to two screens at the same time. If you need additional screens, you’ll have to upgrade to unlimited screens through an add-on to your Hulu plan. If you subscribe to YouTube TV instead, you can make up to six accounts and watch on up to three screens at the same time. But that’s all you’ll get: there is no option to add additional accounts or screens.

In short, both Hulu and YouTube TV will give us access to live TV and both are alternatives to traditional cable and satellite providers. The services are quite similar to one another, but there are slight differences between the two in terms of features and customization. Let’s look at these two platforms more closely!

What You Can Watch on Hulu vs YouTubeTV

YouTube TV channels
YouTube TV channels

With Hulu, subscribers have access to Hulu’s whole library of old episodes of TV shows and movies, as well as Hulu original content. Hulu subscribers only have access to live TV if they subscribe to Hulu + Live TV. YouTube TV, on the other hand, is focused on live TV and only offers plans with live channels.

Both Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV work with the major networks we’re all used to seeing. This includes popular channels like ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. Both platforms also offer live sports via channels such as Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, ESPN, ESPN2, and Golf Channel.

Hulu with Live TV channel lineup
Hulu with Live TV channel lineup

However, there are some differences in channel offerings. For starters, YouTubeTV now offers Viacom channels. This means that YouTube TV subscribers can watch Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, BET, and MTV. YouTube TV also offers MLB Network, Tennis Channel, PBS, and PBS Kids. These channels are not offered on Hulu. But, Hulu does offer A&E, Lifetime, History Channel, and Vice channels, which YouTube TV does not.

Users that want to watch shows like Little Fires Everywhere, The Handmaid’s Tale, or Castle Rock will have to subscribe to Hulu, since these shows are exclusive to the Hulu platform. YouTube TV gives subscribers access to “YouTube Originals” (which are also available on another YouTube service, YouTube Premium).

When it comes to add-ons, both platforms offer HBO Max, Cinemax, Showtime, and Starz. YouTube TV also offers additional channels and services as add-ons, including NBA League Pass, Epix, AMC Premiere, CuriosityStream, and Acorn TV. Meanwhile, you can add-on AHC, CNBC World, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, DIY Network, FYI, LMN, and Science channels on Hulu + Live TV.

It’s important to remember that both platforms have ads. Even if you upgrade Hulu to remove ads, you’ll only get rid of the on-demand ones — live TV will have ads just like it would on cable. And no, you can’t fast forward through them when you’re watching live.

Hulu screen
Hulu screen

How Much Will You Spend on Hulu vs YouTubeTV?

The best part about cutting the cord is the smaller bill. While they’re both more affordable than traditional cable or satellite, Hulu and YouTube TV have different pricing structures.

Hulu has the most affordable option, which gives subscribers access to the Hulu library of on-demand content. But the basic Hulu plan does not include access to live TV. For that, subscribers need to upgrade to Hulu + Live TV. As of this writing, the basic on-demand Hulu plan is $5.99 per month (or $59.99 per year) and the on-demand no-ad plan is $11.99 per month. Hulu + Live TV costs $54.99 per month and grants access to both the on-demand library and live TV channels. Hulu + Live TV with no ads (besides what is built into live TV programming) is $60.99 per month.

You can add additional screens (in other words, the ability to stream on more devices at once) for $9.99 per month or additional DVR storage for another $9.99 per month. If you want both, you can bundle these extras and pay $14.98 per month for both. Additional channel add-ons cost between $7.99 and $14.99 per month depending on the channel or package.

YouTube TV simplifies the subscription process by only offering one main plan. As of this writing, YouTube TV costs $64.99 per month. This is a little pricier than some competitors, but the platform has a larger channel offering than most. Adding additional channels will cost between $6-40 per month depending on the channel.

Hulu vs YouTube TV: Which Should You Choose?

Deciding whether Hulu or YouTube TV is right for you comes down to your personal preferences. We can’t make the decision for you, but we can help walk you through the choice.

The two platforms offer enough similarities that they could easily be substituted for one another. But, if you’re already hooked to a Hulu original show or are worried about missing out, you may want to opt for Hulu. This will give you access to Hulu’s library of TV shows and movies and gives you the option to get live TV too. You can even bundle Hulu with Disney+ to get even more to watch without breaking the bank.

If you’re looking to simply replace your cable provider and want a streaming service with a large selection of channels, then YouTube TV may be the way to go. While both platforms offer live sports, YouTube TV has a greater offering of sports networks. YouTube TV’s large channel offering is also a good fit if your family has several different interests, given the six accounts you get with a subscription. However, if you have a large family or will need more than three simultaneous screens you’ll have to get a second subscription.

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