YouTube TV is among the most popular live TV streaming services in the US, with more than 5 million subscribers as of July 2022. That’s about a million more than Hulu With Live TV and more than double that of Sling TV.
But that doesn’t mean you won’t decide to test the waters elsewhere at some point, especially given the March 2023 price hike. The good news about these streaming services is that it’s just as easy to pause or cancel them as it is to subscribe to them in the first place. place.
The question is what to try next. There is a lot of overlap between services, but not all services have the same channels or options as YouTube TV. Or maybe you’re looking to spend less and scale things back accordingly. YouTube TV costs $73 a month, and some of its closest competitors hit that price as well. Others are less expensive.
That’s not to say that it will be able to replace YouTube TV at the same price. It’s hard to beat unlimited DVR, six profiles per account, and the ease of account management that comes with everything about the Google ecosystem. You may have to pay more for the same channels. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it out.
So what are the best YouTube TV alternatives for your needs and your budget? Let’s break them down.
Hulu with live TV
- The good: Comparable (though smaller) channel lineup, access to Hulu’s on-demand library. Part of the Disney package. Unlimited recording (also known as DVR) is now included for free.
- The less good: There is no 4K option for live content.
- The plans: Currently $70 per month if you don’t mind ads in on-demand content. (If you want to get rid of the ads, it’s now $76 per month.)
- The comparison: Our full take on YouTube TV vs. Hulu with Live TV
Hulu With Live TV is actually the most popular live TV streaming service in the United States, with 4 million paid subscribers as of July 2, 2022. It has a number of channels comparable to YouTube TV, basically hovering around 100 or plus, with a number of plugins available, too.
Hulu With Live TV also has a couple of advantages over any other competitor. First up is Hulu’s on-demand catalog. You’ll have access to thousands of shows and movies as part of your subscription. (Yes, you can technically get Hulu with Live TV without access to the on-demand library, but the savings are minimal.)
The big advantage of Hulu With Live TV is that it is under the umbrella of Disney. And that means it’s always in the same conversation as the Disney Bundle. On its own, the Disney Bundle gets you Disney+, ESPN+, and the basic Hulu on-demand service for just $14 a month. Adding Hulu With Live TV brings the price up to $73 a month, or just a few dollars more than Hulu With Live TV on its own. You basically get a third streaming service for free at the time.
However, we have to talk about prices. On December 21, 2021, Hulu With Live TV went from $65 per month to $70 per month if you don’t mind the ads on on-demand content, or $76 per month if you want to get rid of the ads. It’s likely to draw more customers to the Disney Bundle, which is almost certainly part of the reason the price hike happened in the first place.
- The good: Comparable channel lineup, casual gaming in 4K resolution. Multiple optional plugins not available elsewhere. Blooming integration with sports betting.
- The hard one: FuboTV is the smallest of the big players in this space, and it’s an uphill battle. It lacks the amount of 4K content like YouTube TV.
- The plans: The Pro plan is now the entry level at $70 a month for 131 channels; it is $80 for Fubo Elite with 190 channels.
FuboTV is probably the biggest streaming service you’ve never heard of. It has a quarter of the number of subscribers as Hulu With Live TV. But it also has a comparable channel lineup, including its local streaming affiliates. The “Pro” plan is now the entry level package. That includes 131 channels, 1,000 hours of cloud-based recording, and the ability to watch on three devices at once. Fubo’s largest plan comes in at $80 a month for 190 channels, 1,000 hours of cloud-based recording, and the ability to watch on as many devices as you want.
FuboTV is also one of the only services that brings you any type of live content in 4K resolution. We’re talking sports produced by Fox, which is still decidedly less than what you’ll find on YouTube TV. But it’s also included with your subscription fee and comes at no additional cost.
And if you like international sports, you’ll find more options on FuboTV than anywhere else.
- The good: Still as close to TV on demand as possible.
- The less good: It’s very easy to spend more than you thought with all the “Extras”.
- The plans: $35 each for the Sling Orange or Blue plan, $50 a month if you want both. (Current deals are $10 each or $20 together for the first month.)
Sling TV is the third most popular live streaming service in the US, with 2.41 million subscribers as of the end of September 2022. It’s still as close as you can get to being able to choose your own channels. That’s not to say that Sling is a la carte, it definitely isn’t. But its scheme allows you to choose between the Orange or Blue track, or both. Together, you still pay less than any of the above services. But you also get fewer channels.
It will bolster your basic package with Sling “Extras”. Those are additional cohorts of channels, with additional fees of $5 a month or so. That’s great because you can choose what matters to you. But it’s also structured so that you have to subscribe to a bunch of Extras if you want a full lineup of channels, and that makes it easy to end up spending more than the initial $35 or $50 a month you thought you were spending. And that’s before you get into premium movie channels or international options. Just keep an eye on your bill.
Otherwise, Sling is still a great option, and like the other services, it’s available on pretty much any modern device.
- The good: Many channels. All the channels. AT&T customers can get great deals. Regional sports options.
- The less good: The price per channel is not very good. There are no live 4K options.
- The plans: Things start at $70 for just 75 channels and get more expensive from there.
If you haven’t been able to keep up with all the names DirecTV Stream has had in recent years, you’re not alone. (And we get paid to do this.) Now that it has been separated from AT&T proper (but remains under the AT&T umbrella), it is now known as DirecTV Stream. You should also know that you’ve had a hemorrhage of clients over the past few years, and we don’t really have a clear picture of how many are left; however, probably less than Fubo TV.
However, AT&T customers should take a hard look at DirecTV Stream, as there are some serious deals out there, especially if you can bundle it with an AT&T internet plan. That’s not available everywhere though, and then we have to start talking about hardware fees, and none of it is as simple as a standard streaming service that lets you come and go as you please.
- The good: You can’t beat the price.
- The less good: Fewer channels than any other service, and it doesn’t have your local broadcast channels.
- The plan: $25/month for 60+ channels.
Philo has long been the low-cost service of choice, and as of November 2020, it had over 800,000 subscribers to prove it. While it’s not just $20 a month anymore, the extra $5 isn’t that hard to swallow.
The only catch here is that it simply doesn’t have all the channels that the other services have. It also does not have your local broadcast channels. However, that can be solved with a relatively inexpensive over-the-air antenna setup. And if the rest of the channel lineup has what you need, you can save some real money here.