What if we told you that you could save money and still get the most out of your TV entertainment experience? You can! Find the right service for you with our Hulu Live vs Sling TV comparison!
These days it isn’t hard to find information about streaming services. There are large and small services, niche services, and everything in between. The trick isn’t finding a streaming service, it’s finding the right service for you. Depending on your needs, a good streaming service might offer a large channel lineup filled with sports, on-demand access, and a cloud-DVR. There are plenty of services that fit that bill. But once you find those services, where do you go from there? A comparison generally helps make a decision like this easier.
Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV are two of the top streaming services. Both services offer a mix of sports and general entertainment, a range of added features, and options for upgrades. Either service could be the right one for your family. This guide should give you an idea of which service to choose. If you’re looking at Hulu Live vs Sling TV, keep reading to learn all about what each service has to offer.
What is Hulu Live?
Hulu Live is one of the most well-known streaming services. Originally only offering on-demand content, Hulu now offers the option of Hulu Live, which offers 85+ live channels for just $70 per month. One thing that is unique about Hulu Live, is that when you subscribe to Hulu Live, you also get subscriptions to Disney+ and ESPN+. That gives you three subscriptions for one price, which sets Hulu Live apart for some.
Hulu Live features local channels in most areas. This means you can watch sports and primetime entertainment on ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. You’ll also have channels like ESPN, FX, and TNT. Hulu Live is available on all the devices that offer the Hulu app. Some options include Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, computers, and mobile devices. You can check out our Hulu with Live TV full review for more details.
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What is Sling TV?
Sling TV was one of the first live streaming services available and it’s still one of the cheapest. Sling TV offers less channels than Hulu Live, but packages (three are available) start at just $40. That’s nearly half the price, so if you’re budget conscious that could make the difference. You start with a package that is smaller, but that still offers channels like ESPN, TNT, TBS, and more. Local channels are limited though.
Once you’ve picked your base package, you can choose from a variety of add-ons to make your package perfect for you. You can add more sports, movies, or general entertainment. Package features include things like a cloud-DVR and access to TV Everywhere apps. You can stream on Roku, computers, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, mobile devices, and more. Our Sling TV review has the full details.
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Pricing Options: Hulu Live vs Sling TV
Hulu with Live TV is available for $70 a month. There is one plan available, and it’s got 85+ channels. Before you pay a cent, your package will start with a free 7-day trial. Your package is contract-free and can be cancelled at any time. Additional add-ons are available to add movie channels and other content. A subscription to Hulu Live also gives you subscriptions to both Disney+ and ESPN+!
Sling TV gives you three plans to choose from starting at $40/month. Plans start with 30+ channels. Local channels are limited, but some of the biggest networks in cable TV are available. Depending on your package you will have access to AMC, ESPN, FS1, USA, TNT, TBS, and more. Sling TV does not offer a free trial, but a device discount or other freebie is usually available if you prepay for a length of service.
Winner: Tie (Sling TV is almost half the price of Hulu Live, but Hulu Live offers three streaming subscriptions for the price of one.)
Channel Selection: Hulu Live vs Sling TV
This section is all about the channel lineup because we know how important that’s going to be to most people. This section includes all the details about non-sports channels. In the next section we go over sports specifically, so you’ll know what each service offers on and off the field.
Hulu Live and Sling TV differ when it comes to the price and while they offer some channel overlap, there are some differences in the lineups, too. Hulu Live offers more channels overall, but if you’re looking to save money, you might find that Sling TV offers the channels you want at a better price.
Hulu Live offers 85+ channels including:
ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, (local channels are included in most areas), A&E, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CW, Discovery, Disney, History, Lifetime, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, Syfy, TBS, TNT, USA, and more!
Sling TV’s lineup starts with 30+ channels including:
AMC, Bravo, Comedy Central, Disney, Food Network, Freeform, FX, Lifetime, Syfy, TBS, TNT, USA, and more!
*Sling TV’s channel lineup is dependent on the package you choose at signup, but all channels are available in one or more of Sling TV’s base packages.
You probably noticed one or two channels that you like, which is good. If you’re wondering what’s missing, both services are missing some key channels. Hulu Live is without AMC and Hallmark. Sling TV’s biggest omission comes with local channels. ABC and CBS aren’t available at all, and NBC and FOX are only in limited areas.
Winner: Tie (If you want locals, Hulu Live wins without question. However, Sling TV offers a few networks like AMC that Hulu Live doesn’t have access to, which could matter more to some viewers).
Sports Coverage: Hulu Live vs Sling TV
Whether you choose Hulu Live or Sling TV, you’ll find a variety of sports channels at your disposal. In this section, we’ll go over all of the biggest sports networks offered on both services so you have an idea of what you can expect from both.
Hulu Live offers a sports lineup that includes: Local channels (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC), ACC Network, BTN, CBSSN, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, ESPN College Extra, FS1, FS2, Golf, MotorTrend, NBC Sports Regional Networks, NFL Network, Olympic Channel, and SECN.
With Hulu Live, you’ll receive 20+ sports channels. You can also opt-in to the Sports Add-on bundle for $10 per month. This bundle includes NFL RedZone, MAVTV, TVG, TVG2, Outdoor, and Sportsman.
Sling TV’s Sports Lineup includes: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, FOX and NBC (in limited markets), FS1, MotorTrend, NFL Network, Stadium, and more!
You can choose from two sports bundles to add-on if you want more sports with Sling TV. The bundles and the channels you receive in them are based on the base package you chose. Available channels in these bundles include ACCN & ACCN Extra, beIN Sports, Big Ten Network, ESPNU, ESPNews, FS2, Golf, Longhorn Network, MLB Network & MLB Network Strike Zone, NBA TV, NFL RedZone, NHL Network, Olympic Channel, Pac-12 Network, SECN & SECN+, and Tennis.
Winner: Hulu Live (Both of these services offer some of the top names in sports. The big difference is that Hulu Live has excellent local coverage and Sling TV’s local coverage is sadly, extremely limited.)
Package Features: Hulu Live vs Sling TV
Once you know about the channel lineup and the price, it’s natural to start considering the other package features that are part of your subscription. All streaming services offer some type of features beyond live TV. This section will help you consider the added perks of being a Hulu Live or Sling TV subscriber.
Hulu Live comes with some of the top features of any streaming service. They offer a live guide so that you can plan what you’re going to watch up to two weeks in advance. Other features include a cloud-DVR with unlimited space, simultaneous streaming on two screens at once, TV Everywhere access, Hulu’s on-demand content including Hulu Originals, and added subscriptions to both Disney+ and ESPN+!
Sling TV offers some of the same features. They have a cloud-DVR, but space is limited to 50-hours. Simultaneous streaming is also available, but the number of streams you receive (between 1 and 4) is dependent on the package you choose. You’ll also have an on-demand library and TV Everywhere app access in each plan.
Winner: Hulu Live (When it comes to added features, it’s hard to beat Hulu Live. The addition of the extra streaming services is a nice touch, especially when it’s added to features like the unlimited cloud-DVR.)
Pros & Cons: Hulu Live
Hulu Live is a great service, but that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. Every service has a few things about them that you might not love. Before you make any commitments, here are the pros and cons of Hulu Live.
- 20+ sports channels including local channels
- Most of the top cable networks are included
- Option to add movie channels and additional features
- No contracts
- Unlimited cloud-DVR
- ESPN+ and Disney+ subscriptions are included
- Hulu Live starts with a free 7-day trial
- AMC, Hallmark, and MLB Network are not available with Hulu Live
- Only 2 devices can stream simultaneously unless you upgrade for more devices
Pros & Cons: Sling TV
Now let’s see what Sling TV has to offer (or not) in terms of subscribing to one of their streaming plans.
- Affordable – 3 plans are available from $40 per month
- Cheapest streaming plan available that includes sports coverage
- Some of the top sports channels are included
- Tons of potential add-ons are available
- Available on most streaming devices
- Local channels are limited with only 2 networks available in just a handful of cities
- Cloud-DVR is available but with limited space
- The package options are meant to help customers, but could be considered confusing
Winner: Tie (Both services have something to offer subscribers. It ultimately will depend on what you’re looking for in a streaming service.)
Conclusion: What’s Better? Hulu Live or Sling TV?
The better question here is which service do you think comes out on top? The best streaming service is going to be the one that works best for your family. If you want something where budget means everything, Sling TV will be a great choice. You get less content, but when it comes to sports, the major channels are available. You won’t have local channels, but you can get those with an antenna. If you want a packed lineup with popular channels and local access, Hulu Live will be the better choice. Both of these services allow you to sign up with no contracts, so if you try one and it’s not what you want, you can cancel at any time.