These days, folks have more options than ever when it comes to how they watch TV. Cable TV providers no longer have a stranglehold on the industry, and streaming services like Sling TV and Hulu Live provide a more affordable alternative to traditional cable and satellite plans. But with so many options, choosing a service can get overwhelming! Today we’ll look at two of the most popular live streaming services, Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV. Keep reading for our full Sling TV vs Hulu Live comparison!
Similarities Between Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV
These two services certainly share some similarities, such as:
- More affordable than cable
- Non-contract (so you can cancel at any time)
- Usable on a wide variety of devices (streaming players, smartphones, computers and more)
- No need for cable or satellite – just reliable internet connection
- 100% legal ways to watch live TV without cable
- Offer free 7-day trials – click here for Sling TV’s trial and here for Hulu Live’s trial
While the similarities are many, there are also ample differences between these two streaming options. Let’s dive in and explore more!
Sling TV vs Hulu Live: At a Glance
If you’re just looking for the gist of things, here’s the quick version:
For budget-minded streamers who don’t need a bunch of channels, Sling TV is a great option. It’s highly affordable with plans starting at $25 per month
For selection-minded streamers who prefer more selection, Hulu with Live TV is a great choice. It costs $40/mo, but offers a ton of great channels and a huge on-demand library!
For a more detailed look, keep reading our Hulu Live vs Sling TV comparison.
Hulu vs Sling TV: Pricing
If you’re quitting cable because of costs (which is the most common reason for cutting the cord, anyways), here are the basics of how these services stack up, price-wise:
Sling TV starts at $25 per month. There are two basic packages, each running $25/mo, and covering 23-40+ channels. You can also combine both base packages, paying $40/mo for 45+ channels. There are also tons of expansion options, from premium channels like HBO to niche channel packages like Sports Extra, Lifestyle Extra, etc. There’s a lot of customization options, which definitely appeals to some folks. See this Sling TV Price guide for details.
Hulu with Live TV starts at $40 per month. Unlike Sling TV, Hulu really only offers one plan. That covers 50+ channels, and also gives you access to the original Hulu on-demand library (which is normally $8/mo on its own). There are less customization options with Hulu, but at the $40 price point, Hulu offers more channels and more on-demand content than Sling TV.
Things to keep in mind:
- Hulu includes a free DVR feature; with Sling it costs an extra $5/mo
- Sling TV’s basic packages are very affordable, but the price can add up quickly as you start to expand your channel lineup
- Sling TV has a lot of affordable ($5/mo) customization options, which lets you get only the channels you actually want
- Hulu offers far more on-demand entertainment, as well as more live channels, at the $40/mo price point
Bottom line: If you want an ultra-budget option, or you want to have more flexibility in customizing your lineup, Sling TV is great. If you want more entertainment for your money and are comfortable with $40/mo, Hulu offers more bang for your buck at that price level.
Hulu vs Sling TV Channels
Both of these services provide a great range of channels, from live sports to entertainment to news. For full details, see the Sling TV channel list and the Hulu with Live TV channels list. For now, here’s a brief overview of the channel selection:
Hulu Live offers just one channel package, which covers 50+ networks for $40/mo. That’s the only option currently, although subscribers can also add on three premium channels: HBO, Cinemax and SHOWTIME.
Sling TV offers two base packages – 20+ channels or 40+ channels for $25/mo, or both base packages for $40/mo. Then you can further expand your selection with TONS of different add-on channels. There are several different themed expansion packs, focused on sports, lifestyle networks, etc. and there are also many premium channels available.
For a better idea of what to expect with Hulu vs Sling TV channels, let’s examine specific aspects of channel selection among these two competing services.
Coverage of Local Channels
Want to stream local channels? Networks like ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS and others cover local news, big sporting events, and popular network TV shows. If having access to local channels is important to you, Hulu is likely the right choice for you.
Hulu with Live TV is a leader when it comes to local channels. It covers NBC, FOX, ABC, and CBS in the vast majority of areas, and it also covers local sports channels. Hulu has the best coverage of ANY streaming service when it comes to local networks.
Sling TV, on the other hand, is not focused on local networks. They offer some very limited coverage – FOX in 15+ markets, and NBC in 10+ markets. CBS, ABC, The CW and others are not offered, although Sling does carry regional sports networks in some areas.
If local channels are important for your family, we recommend Hulu with Live TV.
Coverage of Sports Channels
For those wanting to watch sports online, both Hulu and Sling TV offer a lot of options. It’s tough to pick a clear winner in this category.
Via Sling TV, subscribers can enjoy networks like ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ACC Network, FS1, FS2, and NBCSN are all available in one of the base packages. If you want even more sports coverage, the Sports Extra package adds NBA TV, SEC Network, ESPNU, ESPNews, NHL Network, and more for just $5-$10 per month.
Via Hulu Live, subscribers can access ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, ESPN College Extra, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Goal Line, Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, FS1, FS2, GOLF, NBCSN, Olympic Channel, SEC Network, and more. And, of course, Hulu also offers great coverage of NBC, FOX, CBS, ABC, and regional sports networks.
Depending on what sports you like to watch, either of these services could work. That said, if local teams (particularly football teams) are important to you, Hulu Live is a great option. That’s because Hulu Live covers local channels (NBC, FOX, etc) in most areas, which are vital for local sports and watching football online.
Coverage of Premium Channels
Hulu Live offers HBO ($15/mo), Cinemax ($10/mo), and SHOWTIME ($11/mo). That’s it, currently, although the service is likely to continue expanding.
Sling TV offers HBO ($15/mo), Cinemax ($10/mo), Starz ($9/mo), and SHOWTIME ($10/mo). There are also tons of lesser-known premium channels on Sling TV, including EPIX, CuriosityStream, Docurama, and more.
At this point in time, Sling TV offers more options when it comes to premium channels. Prices for these add-ons are pretty much the same on both services.
Coverage of Entertainment Channels
For general entertainment, both of these services offer great options. It’s tricky to compare the two because of the different packages offered, so we’ll try to sum things up in a way that’s easy to understand:
Sling TV offers more channels overall, with 100+ available in total. However, to get all these channels you’d have to use a lot of add-ons, which would bump your monthly rate up quite a bit. What you can do, however, is just add specific types of channels – for instance, the Lifestyle Extra” add-on adds channels like VH1, Hallmark, FYI, BET, DIY Network and more for $5/mo.
Hulu offers fewer channels (50+ total), but a good value for $40/mo. It covers most of the popular networks, although it is missing some key channels, including Comedy Central and Food Network.
Here’s how we’d describe the two:
- Hulu Live offers a great, diverse package of 50+ popular TV channels, for a very fair price of $40/mo. Click here to try Hulu with Live TV free for 7 days
- Sling TV offers smaller base packages, with ample opportunity to expand selection with targeted add-on packages. Click here to try Sling TV free for 7 days
Sling TV vs Hulu Live TV: Device Compatibility
Both Sling TV and Hulu work over the internet, and don’t come with any sort of cable box or included device. Instead, you can use your favorite devices to stream TV over the internet. You’ll need a compatible device, but don’t worry – almost everything works!
BOTH services work on these devices:
- Apple TV
- Android mobile devices (phones & tablets)
- Amazon Fire TV
- Amazon Fire Tablets
- iOS mobile devices (phones & tablets)
- Xbox One
- Select Samsung smart TVs
In addition, Sling TV works on Nvidia Shield, AirTV, Xiaomi, and Select LG smart TVs.
In addition, Hulu works on Xbox 360 and Nintendo Switch.
Bottom Line: In this category, there’s not a clear winner. The most popular streaming devices are compatible with both services. Sling TV covers a few more devices overall, but also leaves out a few that Hulu covers.
Hulu Live TV vs Sling TV: Features
What about unique features? How do these services stack up?
If you want to record live TV to watch later, you’ll want a service that lets you record. Thankfully, both of these services offer DVR recording. Both also don’t require a physical device, as your recordings are stored digitally in the cloud.
Hulu with Live TV includes a free DVR feature with 50 hours of storage allowed. You can upgrade to 200 hours of storage for an additional fee (currently $14.99/mo).
Sling TV offers a DVR as an add-on feature, for $5/mo. It includes 50 hours of storage.
Want to watch on more than one device at once? If you have a large family, or a household with roommates, this is essential.
Hulu with Live TV offers 2 simultaneous streams for free. You can upgrade to Unlimited Screens for $14.99/mo.
Sling TV offers 1 stream in the Sling Orange package, and 3 in Sling Blue.
While both of these services are primarily for watching live TV, there are also times where you’ll just want to binge-watch some on-demand shows! Both services offer some on-demand, but this is one area where Hulu is a clear leader.
With Hulu Live, you get access to the live channels and to Hulu’s huge on-demand library. This covers literally thousands of TV shows, movies, and exclusive Hulu Originals like The Handmaid’s Tale. It functions a lot like Netflix, with tons of options that you can watch at any time. You’ll find entire seasons of popular TV shows, including recent episodes in many cases.
On Sling TV, there is a limited amount of on-demand content. It functions more similarly to on-demand offerings from cable providers, so it’s a lot more limited.
If on demand viewing is important to you, we recommend Hulu. Click here to try Hulu with Live TV free for 7 days
TV Everywhere App Authentication
TV Everywhere Apps are third-party apps offered by specific TV channels. They let you watch content from that particular channel on your mobile devices, while on-the-go. As an example, you can use the WatchESPN app to stream content from the ESPN family of networks.
Before you can actually use these apps, you must prove that you have paid access to the channel, either from a cable provider or a streaming service. You login with your details to “authenticate” the app.
Hulu with Live TV offers app authentication for many 3rd-party apps, including WatchESPN, CBS Sports, AMC, and many more.
Sling TV offers app authentication for some 3rd-party apps, including WatchESPN, NFL Mobile, and many more.
Bottom line: In terms of features, the Sling TV vs Hulu Live TV comparison ends up pretty similar. It’s up to you to compare the different unique features and decide which offers a better value for your situation.
Which Service is Right for Me?
Ultimately, there’s no “right” choice between Sling TV vs Hulu Live TV. Both are fantastic services, and either could be a great option for you depending on your preferences and budget.
We can’t give you a definite answer of which one to choose, but here are some guidelines:
Sling TV is excellent for folks who want a budget-friendly base package with tons of options to customize your lineup. Sling is a great option for those who want to pick-and-choose their channel selection.
Hulu with Live TV is excellent for folks who want a great pre-made selection of channels, along with a massive on-demand library. Hulu is truly an all-in-one entertainment package.
Lastly, keep in mind that these services are still expanding and getting better by the day. For instance, Hulu recently added Discovery networks to its lineup, while Sling TV also signed a deal with Discovery as well. As both services continue to expand, we’ll keep this guide updated with the latest details!
Still now quite sure which to choose? Here’s something to ponder: BOTH of these services offer FREE trials for 7 days. That means you can try each out risk-free. You could even do your own Sling TV vs Hulu Live comparison by signing up for free trials of both at the same time! Follow these links to start your free trial: