If you’re thinking about canceling cable and need an alternative to stream live TV, two options you’ll want to consider are Sling TV and Hulu + Live TV. This guide goes over what you need to know about both, how the two compare, and which live TV option is right for you.
These two cable tv alternatives have several important differences you’ll want to know about from the monthly price to the channel lineup.
Sling TV vs Hulu Live: What You Need to Know
You probably already have Netflix and Amazon Prime, but they don’t offer live television like CNN, Fox News, ESPN, AMC and other popular channels, and instead everything is on-demand. The same goes for regular Hulu plans, which is why we’re comparing the Hulu + Live TV option here today. If you still want to stream live TV we tested all the options and will go over both Sling and Hulu for you below.
Sling TV vs Hulu: Price
Sling TV is cheaper and definitely more flexible than most of the competition. They’ve managed to keep the price down while still offering a good selection, and have three plans to choose from.
- Sling Blue: $30 per month
- Sling Orange: $30
- Sling Blue & Orange Combo: $45
Signing up for either Sling TV plan is cheap, and they have a bunch of add-ons if there’s something you’re missing. As an example, Cloud DVR is an extra $5 per month, then if you want extra sports channels or more kid options you’ll pay another $5 for that package — and eventually, it’ll all add up.
One plan has CNN, while the other has Fox, and the channel lineup varies slightly with Sling Orange having ESPN. If you don’t need a ton of extra content it’s a great option starting at $30 and delivers over 30 of the best channels.
It’s worth noting that Sling TV offers deals and discounts all the time. Click here to get started.
With Hulu you have one main option with a few differences. The regular Hulu with live TV is $55 per month, or you can pay $61 to get it with no ads. There is a Live TV Only plan for $53.99 per month that doesn’t include the traditional Hulu plan at all, but that’s almost pointless.
Additionally and perhaps the best thing ever, is that Hulu partnered with Disney to offer everything on Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+ all for just $62 per month. That gets you TV shows, movies, live TV, Mandalorian, and sports which is pretty tempting.
Otherwise, you’re getting about 60+ channels from Hulu and local stations, which is a big deal, but we’ll talk more about that in our next category.
Keep in mind that $30 for Sling and $55 for Hulu are both starting prices. Each option has additional content, premiums, or add-ons that can and will make the price go up. Like Showtime, HBO, and movie packs. Both offer trials, so give them a try.
Sling TV vs Hulu: Channels
Perhaps the most important aspect of this choice, aside from the price, are the channels. Sling’s base package comes with 30+ channels so it’s a great affordable option, but if you’re looking for even more you’ll want Hulu Live.
It’s easier to compare the combo Sling Orange + Blue against Hulu, which costs $45, as they’re very similar.
Unfortunately, Sling TV offers almost zero local channels except for in a very select few markets. Instead, they suggest users buy a digital HD antenna and try to pick up local stuff. If you don’t need your local ABC news, you’ll love Sling TV because it has all the other basics and most popular channels all for one low fee. I mainly use Sling TV for NFL Network, AMC (The Walking Dead), and ESPN.
- Sling Blue: 30+ Channels
- Sling Orange: 35+ Channels
- Hulu + Live TV: 60+ Channels
- Sling Blue & Orange: 55+ Channels
With Hulu, you get tons of content, including sports AND major networks, which is something Sling lacks. Most users will find the four major networks like ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC — or their local affiliates depending on your region, not to mention most major channels for sports and content similar to Sling. Overall Hulu has more, but it also costs more. They do NOT have AMC, sadly.
These days streaming services like Sling and Hulu work almost everywhere, on any device, or there’s an app you can download. This means you can access them on any and all devices, platforms, smart TVs, web browsers, streaming boxes, phones and more.
If you have a smart TV, apps for these and other streaming TV providers may be pre-installed or easily added. You can download the apps on your phone or tablet, then for all other devices, you just need a simple streaming box. It does look like Sling TV has more options, but for the most part, you’ll be good with either of these.
Multiple Streams at Once
One of the most important questions for any family considering Sling TV and Hulu Live is whether or not they can have multiple streams going at the same time.
By this we mean you can watch a movie in the living room, while kids watch cartoons or Disney in one room, and maybe your daughter streams another show in her bedroom. And the answer is yes, both offer this, but Sling TV is the winner here.
- Sling Blue can stream on up to three devices at the same time
- Hulu Live can stream on up to two devices at the same time
You can stream Hulu on unlimited devices and streams for an extra $9.99 per month, which is expensive, but could be very useful for a large family.
Sling Orange only allows for one stream at a time, which is frustrating. However, if you get Sling Blue + Orange you can stream to four devices at a time. That said, channels from Sling Orange can’t be viewed on multiple devices, so you can’t have ESPN on two different TVs. This limitation is mainly in place for sports.
Cloud DVR Features
And finally, we need to talk about Cloud DVR and being able to save movies and TV to watch later.
Neither of these guys has the best options for DVR but at least Hulu gives you the ability to fast-forward through stuff, which some people will love.
- Sling TV: 10 hours of cloud DVR included, or pay $5 per month for 50 hours ($10 for 100)
- Hulu + Live TV: 50 hours of cloud DVR included, or $9.99 per month for 200 hours and the ability to fast forward through commercials
These are both pretty poor when you compare it to something like YouTube TV, which offers truly unlimited DVR recording on several accounts. That said, Hulu offering 50 hours is a lot better than Sling’s measly 10-hour option.
In closing, if you’re still on the fence about which live TV streaming service is right for you just go ahead and try them both. Free trials are readily available, and Sling TV is actually offering the service available free for 14-days right now, which is nice.
For cord-cutters just trying to save money and still have some sort of television option, Sling TV is hands-down the best and a great place to start. It’s minimal, has no contracts, and still delivers some of the most popular TV content.
As far as a replacement for traditional TV, or in terms of overall content, Hulu + Live TV is the better choice. They have more channels, more television shows, plus everything else people have loved about Hulu for the last 10 years. Basically, the huge on-demand library that makes Hulu a competitor to Netflix.
That said, you can quickly add more streaming options, more DVR, and extras like HBO and showtime and get over $100 per month with Hulu. It can add up quickly, so pay attention to what you use.
Personally, Sling TV is what I use at my house as it’s cheaper and has everything I need for the most part. Everything else I supplement with Netflix and Amazon.
So, again, look at the channels available and decide what you or your family truly needs, then choose what is right for you and your budget. If you’re still stuck deciding, here’s a bigger roundup of every major streaming service compared.
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