YouTube TV vs Sling TV: Which live TV streaming service is right for you?

YouTube TV vs Sling TV

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Are you looking to cut the cord but not sure you can fully turn your back on your favorite cable channels? Luckily, there are plenty of live TV streaming channels to choose from to give you the best of both worlds. Here, we offer a breakdown of two top picks. It’s YouTube TV vs Sling TV.

Related: The best streaming services

What channels can you get? How much will it cost? Do you need to stream on multiple screens at once? Read on for answers to these questions and everything you need to know before you choose between YouTube TV and Sling TV.

Live TV streaming vs streaming libraries

YouTube TV vs Sling TV

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Most cord cutters see cable and streaming as completely different types of service. When we talk about the streaming revolution, we generally think of companies like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, where we can primarily access various titles on demand. New titles are added on specific days, but generally, we’re not bound to a TV schedule the way we are with cable and traditional broadcast TV.

Check out: Can Netflix stay on top in the streaming wars?

YouTube TV and Sling TV are effectively alternatives to cable, giving viewers access to live channels via their internet connections. You can access movies and shows on-demand with cloud DVR options, but the main idea is to have access to linear TV channels as part of a bundle. Think cable packages but offered via your internet connection and delivered via a dedicated app.

So, what we’re comparing here are two services that serve, broadly speaking, the same niche market.

What is YouTube TV?

YouTube TV is a streaming service that includes live channels, available through the familiar YouTube video streaming app. That means you can watch things like live sports and hit series as they air on broadcast and cable channels. The service can be used on your phone, tablet, computer, or TV.

It also includes YouTube Originals, though the service largely divested from its original productions and now mostly features children’s and unscripted programming in small numbers. (If those are the titles you’re looking for specifically, then YouTube has the clear edge.)

What is Sling TV?

Just like YouTube TV, Sling TV offers a selection of live television channels and on-demand movies and TV shows for mobile devices, smart TVs, and set-top boxes.

Channels

YouTube TV vs Sling TV

The live channels included on YouTube TV and Sling TV do have some overlap, though YouTube TV offers quite a bit more overall, with over 85 channels. Sling TV offers two different plans, one with 43 channels, and the other with 32 channels, even ignoring that the two plans have some overlap, that’s a lot less than you’ll get with YouTube, though it gives you a bit of extra room to customize your experience.

YouTube TV also allows you to sign up for additional premium channels at an extra cost. The premium channels are priced at the same rates you’d find when subscribing to them on their own or through other services, so the only real advantage here is that they can be bundled and centralized in your YouTube app.

These include HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz, Epix, and more.

Channels included in a YouTube TV subscription

Channels included in a Sling TV subscription

Sling TV offers two channel packages, though you can also get a bundle that gives you access to every channel.

The Blue plan includes:

  • A&E
  • AMC
  • AXS TV
  • BBC America
  • BET
  • Bloomberg Television
  • Bravo
  • Cartoon Network
  • Cheddar
  • CNN
  • Comedy Central
  • Comet
  • Discovery Channel
  • E!
  • Epix Drive-In
  • Food Network
  • Fox (select markets)
  • Fox News
  • Fox Sports 1
  • Fuse
  • FX
  • HGTV
  • HLN
  • History Channel
  • IFC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Lifetime
  • Local Now
  • MSNBC
  • NBC (select markets)
  • NBC Sports Network
  • NFL Network
  • National Geographic
  • Nick Jr.
  • SYFY
  • Stadium
  • TBS
  • TLC
  • TNT
  • Travel Channel
  • truTV
  • USA
  • Viceland

The Orange plan includes:

  • A&E
  • AMC
  • AXS TV
  • BBC America
  • BET
  • Bloomberg Television
  • CNN
  • Cartoon Network
  • Cheddar
  • Comedy Central
  • Comet
  • Disney Channel
  • EPIX Drive-In
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3
  • Food Network
  • Freeform
  • Fuse
  • HGTV
  • History Channel
  • IFC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Lifetime
  • Local Now
  • MotorTrend
  • Nick Jr.
  • Stadium
  • TBS
  • TNT
  • Travel Channel
  • Viceland

Pricing

Sling TV stock photo

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

YouTube TV comes in at $64.99 per month. That includes every available channel as well unlimited DVR storage, which allows you to fast-forward through ads when watching saved programming. A subscription allows up to three concurrent streams.

There are no tiers, you’re either all in or not.

Sling TV’s two tiers each cost $35 a month. The Blue plan supports up to three concurrent streams and gives you 50 hours of cloud DVR storage. The Orange plan also offers 50 hours of DVR cloud storage, but it only supports one stream at a time.

You can alternately combine the Blue and Orange plans for $50 per month. That gives you 51 channels total, plus up to three concurrent streams at once and 50 hours of cloud DVR storage.

Availability

While some live TV streaming services are available outside the US, it isn’t a factor when considering YouTube TV vs Sling TV.

Read: Everything you need to know about Fubo TV

Both services are exclusive to Americans. If you’re anywhere else in the world, well, you’re out of luck. Or rather, both services lose. You’ll have to check your local internet providers for live TV streaming, or sign up for a service like Fubo TV (available in Canada and Spain), for example.

So, this is strictly a comparison for American customers.

YouTube TV vs Sling TV: The verdict

All streaming services stock photo 2

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

As with most streamer showdowns, there’s no clear winner, because the right choice will boil down to your specific streaming needs. The differences in pricing and DVR storage are about as substantial as the differences in channel offerings. That means neither is comparatively a great or terrible deal. They’re both worth what they charge for what they offer.

If you mostly just want to watch live sports on ESPN, you can save a lot of money by subscribing to the Sling TV Blue plan for $35 per month.

But if you want as many channels as possible for variety’s sake, or desperately want premium channels in one place or unlimited DVR storage, YouTube TV is the clear winner.

The main deciding factor will be you and your particular streaming needs.

You’ll need to consider the same questions regarding how many people in your household might be watching at once. If Sling TV’s Orange plan offers perfect content, remember that you can only watch on one screen at a time. Will your kids be watching in their rooms while you catch up on the news before dinner? If so, you need a plan with more concurrent streams, regardless of content offering.

Hopefully this guide lays out the major differences to help you make an informed choice. You’ll be paying between $35 and $65 per month, and getting anywhere from 32 to 85 channels. That’s a pretty big range, and the choice comes down to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *