Frustrated with the rising costs of cable TV? You’re not alone. People are leaving cable TV in droves, seeking out more affordable and flexible alternatives. This has created more competition in the streaming industry, which is great news for customers! Today, two very popular services are Sling TV and YouTube TV, both of which provide an online streaming solution for cord-cutters. Let’s learn more in our Sling TV vs YouTube TV comparison!
Similarities Between Sling TV and YouTube TV
These two services certainly have some significant differences, but they also have a lot of similarities. Both of these services are:
- Safe, legal ways to watch LIVE television (as well as on-demand)
- More affordable than cable plans
- Available without a contract or commitment
- Compatible with most devices – streaming players, mobile devices, computers and more
- Available without cable or satellite – all you need is internet
- Offer free trials for new users – You can try Sling TV free for 7 days or YouTube TV free for a week
Basically, both YouTube TV and Sling TV offer viable, affordable alternatives to cable TV. Both are among the best streaming services on the market today. And both are certainly worth considering for cord-cutters! Keep reading for the full YouTube TV vs Sling TV comparison.
Sling TV vs YouTube TV: At a Glance
Looking for a quick preview? Here are the basics of the YouTube TV vs Sling TV showdown:
Sling TV offers a great option for budget-minded streamers who want the most affordable package possible (Sling starts at just $25/mo). It’s also great for people who want to customize their channel lineup, as Sling TV provides ample options to add channel packs for just $5/mo extra. There’s a free 7-day trial available.
YouTube TV offers a great option for selection-minded streamers who want a wide selection at a fair price (YouTube TV costs $40/mo). It’s also great for folks who want local channels like NBC, FOX and CBS, as YouTube TV offers impressive coverage of these broadcast networks. There’s a free 7-day trial available.
The full Sling TV vs YouTube TV review can be found below.
YouTube TV vs Sling TV Pricing
Did you know that price is the most common reason for cancelling cable TV? If you’re sick of the $100+ cable bills, you’ll be happy to know that both of these streaming services are quite affordable. Here’s how they stack up:
Sling TV has plans from $25 per month. You can choose from one of two base packages, or get both for $40/mo. From there, $5 add-ons make it easy to tailor your selection to exactly the channels you actually want to watch. There are also premium channels like HBO and SHOWTIME available for an additional fee. For complete details, see our Sling TV pricing guide.
YouTube TV has plans from $40 per month. YouTube TV really only has one package, offering 60+ channels for $40 per month. From there, you can add premium channels (like SHOWTIME, FOX Soccer Plus, etc.) for $5-15 per month extra.
Things to keep in mind:
- Both services offer DVR – YouTube TV is free, while Sling TV charges $5/mo
- Sling TV has far more customization options
- YouTube TV is not yet available nationwide, while Sling TV is
Bottom line: If you want a budget plan with lots of customization options, we recommend Sling TV. If local channels are important to you, we recommend YouTube TV.
YouTube TV vs Sling TV Channels
Here’s the basic rundown:
YouTube TV offers 60+ channels for $40 per month. This includes sports networks, news, local channels, and more. There aren’t many customization options, beyond some premium channels you can add on.
Sling TV offers 20-40+ channels for $25 per month, depending on which package you choose. This includes sports, news, entertainment, and a limited number of local channels. There are tons of customization options, with $5 channel packs featuring 5-10+ extra channels, plus tons of premium networks.
For a full comparison of Sling TV vs YouTube TV channels, let’s break things down into categories:
Looking for a good way to watch sports online? Both Sling TV and YouTube TV offer viable options for just that.
Sling TV offers live access to channels like ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, FS1, FS2, ACC Network, and NBCSN in the base packages. You can expand your selection with the Sports Extra package, which adds NBA TV, ESPNU, ESPNews, SEC Network, NHL Network, and others.
YouTube TV offers live access to most of the same sports networks that Sling has. It also has great coverage of local channels, such as NBC, FOX and CBS. These networks are key for watching football online, and following your local teams.
If being able to stream local channels such as ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS is important to you, you’ll likely be better off with YouTube TV. This is one area where YouTube TV brings more to the table than Sling TV. YouTube offers local channels in most areas they are available in – so if YouTube TV itself is available in your area, it’s likely that local channels are covered as well. With that said, there are still some areas where YouTube TV is not available.
Sling TV offers NBC and FOX streaming, but only in select markets. This is part of the reason that Sling TV is more affordable.
Both services carry regional sports networks in select markets, as well.
When it comes to general entertainment networks, such as AMC, Comedy Central, TNT, etc., both of these services offer a lot of great options. There are too many channels to list here, but here are some general things to consider:
- More customization options
- $5 add-on packages are themed around a particular thing, such as sports, lifestyle networks, etc.
- Includes the bulk of the most popular networks
- Missing a few key channels, like FOX News.
- No customization options (only one base package)
- Includes most popular networks
- Missing a few key channels, like Comedy Central
- Missing many popular premium channels, such as HBO
Sling TV vs YouTube TV Devices
Both of these services work over the internet, and do not require a cable box or anything similar. You will need some sort of streaming device, however, even if that’s just your phone or computer. Here are the details on device compatibility:
BOTH services work on:
- Apple TV
- iOS devices
- Android devices
- Nvidia Shield
- Xbox One
- Select smart TVs from LG and Samsung
In addition, Sling TV also works on:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Amazon Fire Tablets
In short, both services are compatible with all the best streaming devices. Sling TV covers a few more devices, notably the Amazon Fire devices. YouTube TV likely does not offer Amazon Fire device support due to Google’s rivalry with Amazon.
Sling TV vs YouTube TV Features
What features do these services offer, beyond the ability to watch live TV?
Both YouTube TV and Sling TV offer limited on-demand streaming options. This is similar to cable TV’s on-demand offerings, with a small rotating library of content available from select channels. Both services offer a similar amount of on-demand content.
Both services offer the ability to record and store live TV so you can watch it later. YouTube TV offers a DVR with unlimited* (with some restrictions) storage for free, while Sling TV charges $5/mo extra for 50 hours of storage. That said, keep in mind that YouTube TV’s starting prices are higher than Sling’s.
The ability to stream simultaneously on multiple devices is useful for families and households with roommates. YouTube TV offers 3 simultaneous streams, while Sling TV offers 3 streams in its Sling Blue package, but only 1 in Sling Orange. So, it depends which package you choose.
Bottom Line: Feature-wise, both of these services are fairly similar. YouTube TV may have the slight edge, when it comes to DVR storage and multiple streams – but, it’s also more expensive. Weigh the options and see which service makes the most sense for you and your family.
Which Service is Best for Me?
It’s a tough question to answer, and one that really depends on your needs and budget.
Sling TV is a great option for those looking to save as much money as possible. It’s tough to beat their $25/mo packages. Learn more about the service in our Sling TV review. You can also test it out with a free 7-day trial.
YouTube TV is great for folks who want access to more local channels, and are willing to pay a bit more for the privilege. Learn more in our YouTube TV review. You can also try it out with a free 7-day trial.
It’s also good to keep in mind that these services are continually evolving and getting better. For instance, YouTube TV recently added a host of new features to improve the user experience. Meanwhile, Sling TV secured the rights to add Discovery network channels to its lineup. BOTH services are continually expanding and getting better – which is great news for you!
Still not sure? There’s a lot to consider. Here’s something that might help, though:
BOTH Sling TV and YouTube TV offer FREE 7-day trials with no commitment or risk. That means if you want, you could potentially test out both services and see which one you like. You could even take notes and do your own Sling TV vs YouTube TV comparison! And since both services are non-contract, you will never have to commit for more than 1 month at a time.