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Sling TV vs. Hulu with Live TV — Which Service Is Right For You?

Winner

Our Rating

Starting At $39.99/mo
Our Rating
User Experience
Pretty Good
Value
Amazing
Total Channels
Pretty Good
DVR
Average
Runner-up

Our Rating

Starting At $25/mo
Our Rating
User Experience
Average
Value
Average
Total Channels
Amazing
DVR
Okay

Your hard-earned TV time is a sacred time, which is why committing to a streaming service is so hard. Let’s take a closer look at Hulu with Live TV vs. Sling TV to make sure you can make the most out of your evening R and R.

Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV are both livestreaming services, but they’re totally different experiences. Sling TV prides itself on offering smaller channel packages for cheaper prices (almost à la carte style—but not quite), and Hulu Live provides a more complete channel package with lots of on-demand content.

If we had to decide between the two, we’d recommend going with Hulu with Live TV. It offers tons more bang for your buck at $40 a month.

Overall winner: Sling TV vs. Hulu with Live TV

Here’s a breakdown of the fight between these streaming heavyweights.

Hulu logoSlingTV logo
Channel package price$39.99/mo.$20–$40/mo.
Live channels available55+20–50+
Max. DVR hours50 hrs.50 hrs.*
Max. picture quality1080p1080p
Compatible devices925
Max. simultaneous streamsUnlimited**4
Free Trial Free Trial
Channel package price
Live channels available
Max. DVR hours
Max. picture quality
Compatible devices
Max. simultaneous streams
Hulu logo SlingTV logo
$39.99/mo. $20–$40/mo.
55+ 20–50+
50 hrs. 50 hrs.*
1080p 1080p
9 25
Unlimited** 4
Free Trial Free Trial

*Costs an additional $4.99/mo.
**Costs an additional $14.99/mo.

Winner: Hulu with Live TV

There are two things we value the most when it comes to streaming—quality channels and good prices. Hulu delivers on both. Hulu’s one and only channel package comes with over 55 channels, including local channels (with strong coverage nationwide), ESPN, Food Network, and FX. On top of that, Hulu Live TV comes with its entire on-demand streaming library, which means you can binge-watch Bob’s Burgers, Handmaid’s Tale, or Brooklyn Nine-Nine whenever you want (which is priceless).

hulu menu on tv, tablet, and phone

Yeah, we love that Sling TV costs so little, but we don’t love that the channel packages are both missing key channels. For example, let’s say you’re a sports fan, and you’re deciding between Sling Orange (which has ESPN and TNT) and Sling Blue (which has local channels, the NFL Network, NBC Sports, and FOX Sports). Chances are you’ll end up needing both channel packages to fulfill your sporting needs. The combined price for both packages totals$40 a month (just as much as Hulu with Live TV).

Hulu with Live just offers more without any complications. We’re all about making things easier and better, and Hulu Live gets the advantage for both.

Prices and plans: Sling TV vs. Hulu with Live TV

Sling TV channel packages

Sling OrangeSling BlueSling Orange + Blue
Price$20/mo.$25/mo.$40/mo.
Channels30+40+50+
Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial
Price
Channels

Hulu with Live TV channel packages

Limited CommercialsCommercial-Free
Price$39.99/mo.$43.99/mo.
Channels55+55+
Free Trial Free Trial
Price
Channels

Winner: Sling TV

When it comes to price, Sling TV will beat pretty much any other streaming service out there because it offers smaller channel packages to compensate for super cheap prices. The idea sounds nice in theory, but just know it can be tricky finding a package that covers all your channel needs.

Getting the most out of Sling TV

We’ve got a bit of advice that can make Sling TV a super good deal. Get the Sling Orange channel package, which gets you AMC, ESPN, TNT, and over 30 other channels, for $20 a month.

“But wait!” you might think. “Doesn’t that mean I’ll lose out on local channels?” You’re absolutely right, you precocious interrupter. But don’t worry—we can fix that.

If you pair your Sling Orange subscription with an antenna, you’ll get 30+ cable channels and your local channels for $20 a month going forward. As for antennas, we recommend the Mohu Leaf 50 on Amazon. It’s got a solid range, hides easily behind an entertainment center, and comes made from recycled materials. You can save the earth and watch TV at the same time.

Hulu channel packages

Technically, Hulu with Live TV offers two different packages, but they’re mostly the same thing. The only difference between the two is that the more expensive options skips commercials while you watch on-demand content.

We hate commercials enough that we’re willing to pay the extra few bucks every month, but that’s entirely personal preference. If you can live with 120-second-long commercial breaks, go for the cheaper option.

Fortunately, no matter what Hulu package you choose, your live channels will stay the same.

Sling TV and Hulu with Live TV deals

Sling TV deals

Howie Recommends
Howie Recommends

Get a Roku Express ($29.99 value) when you prepay for two months.

Hulu with Live TV deals

Sorry, Hulu with Live TV doesn’t have any deals right now. We’ll let you know as soon as it does.

Channels: Sling TV vs. Hulu with Live TV

Hulu logoSlingTV logo
Total channels with base package55+30-50+
Total with add-on channels58+266+
Total channels with base package
Total with add-on channels
Hulu logo SlingTV logo
55+ 30-50+
58+ 266+

Winner: Hulu with Live TV

As opposed to choosing between channels in a heartbreaking way like Sling TV makes you do, Hulu with Live TV comes with every channel you need in its base package. Plus, if you’re looking for variety, Hulu Live TV comes with tons of on-demand content. The fact that you can seamlessly transition from watching ESPN live to binge-watching Seinfeld is pretty special.

Sling TV wins the add-on battle

Sling may not win the base channel conversation, but it really shines when it comes to specialty and international add-on packages. Out of all the streaming services out there, Sling TV currently holds the record for most potential channels. Granted, you’d pay upwards of $200 a month for all of the options, but it’s nice to know you can add some new channels if you’d like.

Hulu Live TV Basic Package Channels

hulu live channels

Sling TV Basic Package Channels

sling tv channels

Most local channels: Sling TV vs. Hulu with Live TV

Hulu logoSlingTV logo
ABC91 local affiliates8 local affiliates
CBS109 local affiliates0 local affiliates
FOX119 local affiliates17 local affiliates
NBC76 local affiliates11 local affiliates
Total395 local affiliates36 local affiliates
ABC
CBS
FOX
NBC
Total
Hulu logo SlingTV logo
91 local affiliates 8 local affiliates
109 local affiliates 0 local affiliates
119 local affiliates 17 local affiliates
76 local affiliates 11 local affiliates
395 local affiliates 36 local affiliates

Winner: Hulu with Live TV

This one isn’t even a close race. Hulu Live has over 300 more local affiliates than Sling TV, which, as you might have guessed, is a major difference. Basically, unless you live in a major city like Los Angeles or New York, don’t plan on watching local channels with Sling TV. You’d be much better off pairing your Sling TV subscription with an antenna.

Hulu Live, on the other hand, has more local channel affiliates than any other streaming service out there (currently, anyway). Trust us when we say that the hardest part about streaming is getting your local channels, but it’s not a headache with Hulu.

How can I find out what local channels I get in my area?

To make sure you get your local channels with Hulu Live, go to Hulu’s website and scroll down until you see the channel icons. Right below the channels, you’ll see a View All Channels in Your Area button. Click that, enter your ZIP code, and voilà.

For Sling TV, just go here, click Show My Available Channels, and enter your ZIP code. But don’t get your hopes up too much.

Premium channels: Sling TV vs. Hulu with Live TV

Hulu logoSlingTV logo
HBO$4.99/mo.$15/mo.
CINEMAX$9.99/mo.$10/mo.
EPIX-$5/mo.
SHOWTIME$8.99/mo.$10/mo.
STARZ-$9/mo.
HBO
CINEMAX
EPIX
SHOWTIME
STARZ
Hulu logo SlingTV logo
$4.99/mo. $15/mo.
$9.99/mo. $10/mo.
- $5/mo.
$8.99/mo. $10/mo.
- $9/mo.

*Promotional price lasts for the first six months

Winner: Sling TV

As tempting at HBO for $4.99 sounds, we have to give the nod to Sling TV here simply because it offers all the major premium channels, whereas Hulu doesn’t. We just can’t recommend Hulu to you Outlander fans.

But for all of our Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, or Billions fans, you can get a better deal with Hulu Live than Sling TV. You’ll just have to live without EPIX and STARZ.

Sling TV menu on tablet

Streaming quality: Sling TV vs. Hulu with Live TV

Hulu logoSlingTV logo
Max. picture resolution1080p1080p
Streaming quality (our rating)4/53/5
Max. picture resolution
Streaming quality (our rating)
Hulu logo SlingTV logo
1080p 1080p
4/5 3/5

Winner: Hulu with Live TV

We’ve watched Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV on two different screens, side by side, for multiple hours (we know, our job is hard). At first glance, it can be hard to tell the difference since both streaming services max out at 1080p HD quality, but after a while, there’s a noticeable difference in smoothness of the streaming quality.

Occasionally Sling TV’s picture quality just dropped out of nowhere, which made it hard to make out the score in the NBA game we were watching. Hulu with Live TV, on the other hand, managed to keep a much crisper streaming quality for a longer time. And remember, we tested both services using the same strong internet connection, so that wasn’t the issue. Hulu is just plain old better at keeping its streaming quality top-notch.

Best DVR: Sling TV vs. Hulu with Live TV

Hulu logoSlingTV logo
Included with package50 hrs.-
Available with add-on200 hrs.50 hrs.
Add-on price$14.99/mo.$5/mo.
Included with package
Available with add-on
Add-on price
Hulu logo SlingTV logo
50 hrs. -
200 hrs. 50 hrs.
$14.99/mo. $5/mo.

Winner: Hulu with Live TV

If you have to choose between a free thing and a not-free thing, the winner should always be the free thing. Hulu with Live TV comes with 50 hours of cloud DVR storage, whereas Sling TV requires an extra $5 a month for the same amount. Sure, $5 a month may not sound like a lot right now, but as the months add up, you’ll pay a lot of money for something you could get for free. You’ll save $60 a year, which just so happens to be the retail price for a brand new video game (in case you’re a gamer).

In all honesty, neither Hulu Live TV nor Sling TV has the best DVR services in the world. Compared to PlayStation Vue’s or YouTube TV’s unlimited cloud DVR (both of which come included in your subscription), 50 hours just isn’t that much.

Most compatible devices: Sling TV vs. Hulu with Live TV

Hulu logoSlingTV logo
Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire tablet
Android phones
Android tablets
Android TV
Apple TV
ChannelMaster DVR+
Chromecast
iPad
iPhone
iPod Touch
LeEco
LG TV Smart TVs (select models)
Mac computers
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Roku
Roku TV
Samsung Smart TVs (select models)
Sharp AQUOS
Sony Bravia
Vizio SmartCast TV
Windows computers
Windows 10 phones
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Xbox One S
Xbox One X
Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire tablet
Android phones
Android tablets
Android TV
Apple TV
ChannelMaster DVR+
Chromecast
iPad
iPhone
iPod Touch
LeEco
LG TV Smart TVs (select models)
Mac computers
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Roku
Roku TV
Samsung Smart TVs (select models)
Sharp AQUOS
Sony Bravia
Vizio SmartCast TV
Windows computers
Windows 10 phones
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Xbox One S
Xbox One X
Hulu logo SlingTV logo

Winner: Sling TV

With the most overall compatible streaming devices, Sling TV wins this category. In reality, the best service for you will depend on what streaming device you already have. If you’re an Xbox or Nintendo Switch streamer, then it’s a pretty easy decision going with Hulu Live . But if you want your streaming service to sync with your TV, definitely go with Sling TV.

If you don’t have a streaming device yet, then it shouldn’t be too hard to decide. There are a lot of overlapping devices between Sling TV and Hulu Live, including Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku.

Everything else: Sling TV vs. Hulu with Live TV

Hulu logoSlingTV logo
Channel guide
Live playback features
Automatic commercial skipping
Max. simultaneous streamsUnlimited**4*
Usablility (our rating)3/52/5
Channel guide
Live playback features
Automatic commercial skipping
Max. simultaneous streams
Usablility (our rating)
Hulu logo SlingTV logo
Unlimited** 4*
3/5 2/5

*$20/mo. additional and is compatible only with the combined Sling Orange + Sling Blue channel package
**$14.99/mo. additional

Winner: Hulu with Live TV

Channel guide

Winner: Tie

Both Sling TV and Hulu with Live TV use  predictive-style channel guides. Instead of presenting you with a typical menu guide like you’ve gotten used to with cable, the interface guesses what you want to watch. For example, these guides have realized we’re pretty big sports fans, so the first thing either one shows us is what games are going on.

You can find a normal channel guide option as well on Sling TV and Hulu with Live TV, but it’s tucked away in a different menu. If you think you may miss the classic menu guide, then consider checking out DIRECTV NOW or PlayStation Vue, which both feel just like a cable interface.

Playback features

Winner: Hulu with Live TV

Generally speaking, you can pause, rewind, and fast forward (assuming you’re behind real time) live TV whenever you like. There are a few shows, like primetime ABC or NBC shows, where your magical playback feature abilities may be suspended. It seems those major broadcast stations are determined we’ll watch commercials one way or another.

We noticed that the halted playback features occured more on Sling TV than on Hulu with Live TV. So, advantage goes to Hulu.

Automatic commercial skipping

Winner: Tie

Move along—no automatic commercial skipping to see here. You’ll need to fast forward commercials manually (for now).

Simultaneous streams

Winner: Hulu with Live TV

Unlimited is our favorite number, and we love that idea Hulu Live gives you the option to have unlimited simultaneous streams. It’s perfect for big families or a house with tons of roommates. Your base Hulu with Live TV comes with two simultaneous streams at a time, in case you’re curious. You’ve also got the option for unlimited streaming for an additional $14.99 a month. If you’ve got a big family or tons of roommates, it can definitely be worth it.

Sling TV comes with only one stream in your base package, and it’ll cost you extra to add simultaneous streams on top of that. You can add three simultaneous streams onto only the Sling Blue package for an extra $5 a month, and you can get four simultaneous streams for Sling Orange+Sling Blue for an extra $20 a month.

Hulu with Live TV takes the cake

If we had to choose between the two, we give the gold medal to Hulu with Live TV. Yes, it doesn’t have the cheap Sling TV channel packages, but the overall experience is so much better.

If you can live with fewer channels, Sling TV can be a great fit for you. But if you want a more complete package, Hulu with Live TV is for you.

Let us know if you have any more questions about Hulu with Live TV or Sling TV. Now we’ve got some questions for you: which streaming service did you end up choosing, and are you satisfied with the decision? Let us know in the comments below.

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