Streaming Showdown: is YouTube TV Better Than Hulu + Live TV?

  • Posted on: 25 Jun 2024

  • Streaming Showdown: Hulu + Live TV Vs YouTube TV: Which One Is Superior?

    As with most things, streaming services are increasingly going head to head-for viewers/ subscribers. In the live TV streaming market, two of the biggest players include YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV. These slender streaming bundles provide numerous desired cable channels without the necessity of a cable connection and are considered desirable by cord-cutters. However, which service is more preferable? Here are the differences between YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV in terms of pricing, packages, channel bundles, streaming quality, and device compatibility.

    Pricing and Packaging

    YouTube TV, has only one basic plan with the subscription fee being $64.99 per month. The basic package offered by most cable operators contains more than 85+ channels of cable. The cable service also has other packages which are in addition to the base price and they include 4K Plus, Sports Plus, Entertainment Plus, and Spanish Plus which are priced at $10-$20/month.

    Another show streaming platform that has a Live TV feature is Hulu + Live TV, which also costs $64.99 per month for the package that comes with over 75+ channels. There is also the possibility of additional purchases, such as Enhanced Cloud DVR and Unlimited Screens on the cloud-based DVR, as well as over a dozen “Premium” add-on channel packs ranging from HBO Max to Showtime allowing for the lineup tweaking.

    The pricing and packaging of both services are relatively close as we will see in the following sections. As for the price, both appear reasonable about the amount of material offered and accessible. YouTube TV has a total of 34 base channels while Hulu allows a subscriber to bundle his/her favorite channels more flexibly.

    Channel Lineups

    YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV have an extensive offer of the most-watched national cable channels. These are some of the major networks where the series has been aired or is being aired, these include ESPN, TNT, TBS, FOX, MSNBC, Bravo, USA Network, and FX among others. These networks include local ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX networks depending on the geographical area of the country you are based in.

    Less could be attributed to the fact that YouTube TV does not have some of the channels that Viacom owns, such as BET, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon. Hulu + Live TV has also recently lost its regional FOX Sports channels. However, Hulu is included in the list of channels that is AMC, while YouTube TV does not include this channel for its subscribers. Some of the channels which are missing in YouTube TV include BET which you can get when you subscribe to one of the available add-ons.

    The channel swap comes and goes, however Hulu + Live TV may be more appealing to such an audience seeking more entertainment with the Viacom channels that have been removed from YouTube TV.

    DVR and Simultaneous Streams

    Another aspect that is even better in YouTube TV than Hulu is the amount of storage that is offered for cloud DVR. It has a more spacious DVR option than Hulu + Live TV’s basic 50 hours (which can be upgraded to Enhanced Cloud DVR). As long as there is no limitation on the DVR capacity, it is an excellent feature, although some users may be comfortable with the 50-hour DVR space.

    Hulu Plus lets you fast-forward recordings of channels that are recorded through the use of the DVR while Red Box Instant lets you do the same for recorded movies and television shows. This Hulu feature is available throughout the life of the recording while at YouTube TV, the recordings are made for about 9 months.

    Regarding the number of streams that the service is using at the same time, YouTube TV permits three streams if they are outside the home. They offer a family plan with 2 concurrent streams and 6 total streams. Hulu’s basic subscription is $64.99 per month for two devices, while Unlimited Screens is $9.99 per month for unlimited in-home use and three out-of-home uses. Hulu may be better suited for streaming for multiple members of the family at once, especially if all of those members are in the same home.

    Overall Access and Compatibility

    YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV share the feature of being compatible with many devices like phones, tablets, computers, and TV media players. DVR functionality and local affiliates are functional in a manner that is integrated and similar between devices/platforms.

    Another concerning problem with Hulu is that their most basic on-demand subscription does not provide the same flexibility in accessing the streaming library as the Live TV plan. They include programs that are not available on the normal Hulu but can be viewed in the Hulu + Live TV bundle. This makes the UX design more complex and splits it into various components. YouTube TV, on the other hand, lets you log into third-party network apps such as ESPN with your YouTube TV credentials, for enhanced usability.

    Interface and Viewing Experience

    It looks very clean, and minimalistic, and is organized around live television first and then cloud DVR recordings second, which is YouTube TV. It is quite easy to navigate with beautiful preview cards with artwork and descriptions. The service will also record shows of your preference for viewing in the later part of this service. It is also considerably easier to organize preferred programs through watchlists.

    At the same time, Hulu occasionally hides Live TV under two layers of navigation, which isn’t the most intuitive. The recommendation algorithm also seems not as developed when compared to YouTube TV. Nevertheless, Hulu has the benefit of most of their base on-demand programs being seamlessly embedded into menus and choices, which is better than the separate sign-in of YouTube TV.

    All in all, both streaming platforms are rather efficient and have a pleasant interface for the user. For the former, YouTube TV is the better option especially when it comes to live programming than when going back to regular YouTube content, Hulu is the better option when it comes to jumping into normal Hulu shows.

    Offline Viewing

    However, one of the primary drawbacks of YouTube TV and the Google-owned service is that they do not allow any kind of downloading of the DVR recordings for watching later at any place. This makes it unique from big competitors like Hulu or FuboTV which allow for app downloads on mobile devices. Although not a deal maker for at-home streaming, Hulu has the added benefit for people who are often on the move or daily commuters who want to watch saved shows on planes, trains, and in tunnel subways.

    Value Additions

    Besides the Hulu Enhance Cloud DVR option that is included in the monthly subscription fee, Hulu offers other limited-value features for the basic streaming package. More benefits come with YouTube TV that were only seen as additional bonuses.

    For instance, they can watch content such as Cobra Kai, Impulse, or Step Up which are YouTube Originals and are included in the subscription to YouTube TV at no additional cost. YouTube TV also features an efficient “Live Guide” that provides additional information about the programs and events, simply overlaying the screen to help users watch with more detailed descriptions.

    Also, it is worth mentioning that YouTube TV has added 4K streaming relatively recently, which Hulu still lacks. The new picture quality is optional on limited live programming and select shows on demand. For those who have 4K facilities, YouTube TV has now another advantage over the Hulu experience.

    Sports Coverage

    YouTube TV covers a lot of leagues that sports lovers enjoy Watching, ranging from NFL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA across channels such as ESPN, FOX Regional networks, and NBC SPORTS. RedZone is also the NFL’s biggest gift when it comes to all the touchdowns throughout the early slate of games.

    Despite Hulu + Live TV also including those must-have national sports channels, they do not hold as much regional content after AXS TV dropped the FOX regional sports networks. They could fail to watch their favorite baseball or basketball team play or just miss out on the local games. Yes, YouTube TV retains almost all regional FOX and NBC stations; therefore, the sports are still easily accessible.

    However, Hulu does have an offering of up to 750 hours of ESPN Plus on-demand docs and analysis for a specific demographic. YouTube TV meanwhile doesn’t have national WNBA games for the same reason as it recently lost recent AMC coverage.

    The Verdict

    YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV have what-if trading victories in various categories. But at $65 every month with no contracts and a free trial period in the beginning, most of the viewers will see that either of the services is quite capable of offering enough to justify cutting the cord. Some of the strong areas of YouTube TV include an endless DVR, the number of channels available, and its reasonable UI for live TV. This is one area where Hulu has a good alignment with base package entertainment content, stackable add-ons, and integrated all-in-one.

    In the final analysis, YouTube TV managed to win the crown slightly above the other contenders as the best premium live TV streaming service. It goes on to add new features and innovations, including the 4K video, captions, profile customization, and smart integration. In terms of ease of use on sports, news, and personal DVR functions, YouTube TV once again is easier to navigate than Hulu, which can get confusing in certain aspects. Losing FOX regional sports networks also hits Hulu as mentioned above, which will further see a reduction in its valuation if the above scenario plays out. However, if there are need to download often, the favorite channels are Hulu + Live TV, or if there are many people in the household, they may switch to Hulu + Live TV. The best news here is that there is stiff competition between these two streaming giants that provide flexibility in their subscription terms. Based on the provided information, YouTube TV or Hulu + Live TV is preferable, and cord-cutters seem to be satisfied with streaming live TV in the contemporary world.