Sling TV vs. Hulu + Live TV

Our experts show why cheaper streaming TV isn’t always the better deal in our Sling TV vs. Hulu + Live TV showdown.

Best value (Live TV)

Price: $69.99–$75.99/mo.

Channels: 70+

Best for channel add-ons

Price: $35–$50/mo.

Channels: 3050+

Is Sling TV or Hulu + Live TV better?

Sling TV and Hulu + Live TV are two of the biggest live streaming TV services. Sling TV gives you streaming on the cheap and it’s worth a look for the kids and sports add-on packages.

But Hulu + Live TV is the winner, with a surprising amount of popular entertainment, sports, and local channels at an attractive price. Read on to learn more about pricing, channels, and more.

Sling TV vs. Hulu Live pros and cons

Sling TV

Low priced packages
Multiple sports add-ons
Limited local channels

Hulu + Live TV

Disney+/ESPN+ bundle included
Hulu on-demand library and original content
Limited NFL and soccer channels

Deals and promotions

Sling TV: Check out all the latest discounts in our Sling TV Deals guide.

Hulu: We have one of those, too. Have a scan of our Hulu Deals Hulu Deals guide.

How are Sling TV and Hulu + Live TV different?

Service Price Editorial rating Live channels Cloud DVR Streams Details
Sling TV $35–$50/mo. 3.95/5.00 30–50+ 50 hrs. 1–4 View plans
Hulu + Live TV $69.99–$75.99/mo. 4.3/5.00 70+ 50 hrs. 2 View plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Sling TV vs. Hulu + Live TV prices and plans

Sling TV prices and plans

Plan Price Live channels Cloud DVR Streams Details
Sling TV Orange + Blue
Our Pick
$50/mo. 50+ 50 hrs. 4 View plans
Sling TV Orange $35/mo. 30+ 50 hrs. 1 View plans
Sling TV Blue $35/mo. 40+ 50 hrs. 3 View plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Simply summed up, Hulu + Live TV costs more but delivers a lot including Hulu content and the popular Disney+/ESPN+ bundle, and you get exactly what you pay for with Sling TV—which isn’t much, at least in the base packages. When we get into Sling’s wild world of add-on options later, though, you’ll see more to like.

Sling’s Orange and Blue packages cost the same but offer mostly different channel lineups. Both include entertainment staples like AMC, TNT, and Comedy Central, but they split up sports channels like ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3 (Orange only) and FS 1 and 2 (Blue only).

Of the three plans, we like the combined Orange + Blue package because of its rounded-out lineup of kids, entertainment, and sports channels. It’s not as complete as we’d like, but it’s not bad for $50.

Hulu + Live TV prices and plans

Plan Price Live channels Cloud DVR storage Streams Details
Hulu Live (No Ads)
Our Pick
$75.99/mo. 70+ 50 hrs. 2 View plans
Hulu Live $69.99/mo. 70+ 50 hrs. 2 View plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Sorry, the “No Ads” qualifier applies only to the on-demand library—essentially, the Hulu side of Hulu + Live TV. There’s no getting around commercials on live TV . . . yet. If and when we crack that code, rest assured that we’ll be retiring as they back up the money trucks.

In the meantime, we say go with Hulu + Live TV (No Ads). We prefer to not have our It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia binges interrupted by commercials; we’re going to assume you’re with us on this.

Cord-cutting savings

You could save up to $100 a month by switching from cable or satellite to a live TV streaming service. Streaming doesn’t require a monthly rental fee for a receiver/DVR box, there are no installation charges, and there are far fewer filler channels (like music and shopping networks) to pay for.

Sling TV vs. Hulu + Live TV live channels

To keep things simple, we’ll highlight Sling TV’s Orange + Blue package below. It offers the most channels (50+), and it’s closer in price to Hulu + Live TV’s basic package.

If you’re wondering how they stack up against other services, check out our Best Live TV Streaming Services review for comparison (it’s pretty good; you should check it out).

Sling TV vs. Hulu + Live TV live channels

Jump to: Live sports | Local channels | Premium channels
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Live channels Best for kids
Sling TV
(Orange + Blue)
Best value
Hulu + Live TV
A
A&E
ABC*
ACC Network
AMC
Animal Planet
B
BBC America
BBC World News
BET
Big Ten Network
Bloomberg TV
Boomerang
Bravo
C
C-SPAN
Cartoon Network / Adult Swim
CBS*
CBS Sports Network
Cheddar News
CINEMAX®
CMT
CNBC
CNN
Comedy Central
COMET
Cooking Channel
COZI TV
The CW*
D
Destination America
Discovery Channel
Discovery Family
Disney Channel
Disney Junior
Disney XD
DIY Network
E
E!
El Rey
EPIX®
ESPN
ESPN2
ESPNEWS
ESPNU
F
Food Network
FOX*
Fox Business Network
Fox News
FOX Soccer Plus
FS1
FS2
Freeform
Fuse
Fusion
FX
FXM
FXX
fyi
G
Galavision
Golf Channel
H
Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
HBO®
HGTV
HISTORY
HLN
I
IFC
Investigation Discovery
ION
L
Lifetime
Lifetime Movie Network
M
MLB Network
Motor Trend
MSNBC
MTV
MTV2
MTV Classic
N
NatGeo WILD
National Geographic Channel
NBA TV
NBC*
NBC Sports Network
NBC Universo
NFL Network
NFL RedZone
NHL Network
Nick Jr.
Nickelodeon / Nick at Nite
Nicktoons
O
Olympic Channel
OWN
Oxygen
P
Pac 12 Network
Paramount Network
PBS*
Pop
S
Science
SEC Network
SHOWTIME®
Smithsonian Channel
Sportsman Channel
Stadium
STARZ®
SundanceTV
Syfy
T
TBS
TCM
TeenNick
Telemundo
Tennis Channel
TLC
TNT
Travel Channel
TruTV
TV Land
U
Universal Kids
Univision
USA Network
V
VH1
VICE
W
WE TV
Weather Channel

*Availability varies by area. Data effective as of post date.

Across all packages and services, the availability of broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, The CW, and PBS varies by region—unlike with cable and satellite, not all local affiliates are on-board with streaming yet.

The CW and PBS are particularly hard to come by, but they are available through their own streaming apps and the ole, ever-reliable antenna.

Dive deeper into the full channel lineups and available add-ons for Sling TV and Hulu + Live TV.

Sports channels

Sports channel Best for kids
Sling TV
(Orange & Blue)
Best value
Hulu + Live TV
ACC Network
Big Ten Network
CBS Sports Network
ESPN
ESPN2
ESPNEWS
ESPNU
FS1
FS2
Golf Channel
MLB Network
MLB Bases Loaded
NBA TV
NBC Sports Network
NFL Network
NFL RedZone
NHL Network
Olympic Channel
Outdoor TV
Pac 12 Network
SEC Network
Sportsman Channel
Stadium
Tennis Channel

Data effective as of post date.

Sling TV and Hulu + Live TV have about the same amount of included sports channels, but Hulu has a slight edge thanks to its wider local-channel lineup.

But then there’s Sling TV’s Sports Extra add-on package (we told you the add-ons would come into play here eventually). This is where Sling TV really evens up the scoreboard.

For an additional $10 a month, you can get Sling TV’s Sports Extra Orange package, which includes NBA TV, ESPN SEC, ESPN SEC+, PAC 12 Network, ESPNU, ESPNews, NHL Network, BeIN Sports, ESPN Goal Line, Stadium, ESPN Bases Loaded, Outside TV, and Tennis Channel.

Or, for the same price, you can opt for Sports Extra Blue package, which gets you RedZone NFL Network, NBA TV, NHL Network, NBC Golf, BeIN Sports, Pac 12 Network, Stadium, Outside TV, Olympic Channel, and Tennis Channel.

Whew. We’re winded just thinking about all that action.

True sportsballers may want them both—overlapping channels and all—for $20 a month. Of course, there’s no combined Sports Extra Orange + Blue add-on package because that would make too much sense. You’re killin’ us here, Sling TV.

Local channels

Local channel Best for kids
Sling TV
(Orange & Blue)
Best value
Hulu + Live TV
ABC
CBS
The CW
FOX
NBC
PBS
Telemundo

*Availability varies by area. Data effective as of post date.

As we mentioned before, local channel availability varies for both services, but Hulu + Live TV offers more of them. For a better idea of what you can get in your area, punch your zip code into Hulu + Live TV or Sling TV’s site.

ABC, CBS, The CW, Telemundo, and Univision are MIA from all Sling TV packages no matter where you are, so don’t bother looking for them.

Want more local channels?

Regardless of which live TV streaming service you subscribe to, we recommend also getting a digital HD antenna. You’ll not only receive local channels that your service doesn’t carry, but you’ll also probably find some channels you’ve never heard of (like Charge!, a 24/7 action-movies network).

Check out CableTV.com’s guide to over-the-air antennas.

Premium channels

Premium channel Best for kids
Sling TV
(Orange & Blue)
Best value
Hulu + Live TV
HBO Max $14.99/mo.
CINEMAX $8.99/mo.
SHOWTIME $10.99/mo. $10.99/mo.
STARZ $8.99/mo. $8.99/mo.
EPIX $5.99/mo.

Sling TV and Hulu + Live TV offer the same array of premium channels, all of which you could also get through the channels’ standalone apps for about the same prices. If you like the convenience of having all your TV available on one service, though, go with the add-ons.

Speaking of add-ons, there’s a world of difference between Sling TV and Hulu + Live TV in this category. Hulu offers only two add-ons besides premiums: Entertainment, which includes 10 extra lifestyle and news channels for $7.99 a month, and Español, which gives you seven similar lifestyle channels in Spanish for $4.99 a month.

Sling TV, on the other hand, offers a staggering 36 multiple- and single-channel niche add-ons beyond its Sports Extra variations and four premium channels, all priced between $5 and $15 a month. The old “something for everyone” promise tends to be overused, but yeah, Sling TV can probably make it happen.

Sling TV vs. Hulu + Live TV original shows and movies

Sling TV doesn’t produce any original content—and since there are already too many shows to keep up with, we should probably thank it for that. Not every service has to contribute to Peak TV.

Hulu + Live TV, on the other hand, gives you access to Hulu’s 60+ original comedies, dramas, movies, documentaries, and kids’ shows. Sure, that’s no match for Netflix’s monthly onslaught of originals, but what Hulu lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. Hulu has everything from award-magnet dramas (like The Handmaid’s Tale) to timely documentaries (like Fyre Fraud) to smart comedies (like Woke).

But we’re still most grateful to Hulu for acquiring Canadian cult series Letterkenny—”pitter-patter!”

Sling TV vs. Hulu + Live TV specs and features

They differ in content and approach, but Sling TV and Hulu + Live TV are pretty similar on the technical side—as are most TV services of any type. You probably couldn’t tell an Xfinity HD picture from a DIRECTV HD picture, DVRed or live, any better than we could, and we’re experts.

Cloud DVR

Service Cloud DVR storage DVR upgrades Details
Sling TV 50 hrs. 200 hrs. ($5/mo.) View plans
Hulu Live 50 hrs. 200 hrs. ($9.99/mo.) View plans

Hulu + Live TV includes 50 hours of cloud DVR storage, whereas Sling TV will charge you an extra $5 a month for 200, which sort of eats into the “savings” between the two. That’s far from the whole DVR story here, however.

Hulu + Live TV’s included DVR lets you record only series, not individual episodes. That’s standard practice for many live TV streaming services, but this isn’t: you can’t fast-forward through commercials on your recordings. To get that basic function every other service offers, you’d have to upgrade to Hulu’s Enhanced DVR add-on—which also nets you 200 hours of storage space—for an extra $9.99 a month.

Sling TV’s 50-hour DVR, on the other hand, will allow you to record single episodes, full seasons, or new episodes of series exclusively, just like cable and satellite DVRs do. They’re cool options, but you can’t record ESPN or any other Disney-owned channels at all.

Hulu + Live TV’s cloud DVR wins here pretty easily.

Multiple streams

Service Multiple streams Stream upgrades Details
Sling TV 1–4 None View plans
Hulu Live 2 Unlimited ($9.99/mo.) View plans

Sling TV’s plans continue to baffle, even down to the tech specs. Stay with us here: Sling Orange allows for only one device stream; Sling Blue allows for three between TVs, tablets, phones, and computers; and Sling Orange & Blue allows up to four. Streaming math shouldn’t be this hard.

Hulu + Live TV keeps things a little simpler: you get two streams included, or you can upgrade to unlimited in-home streams (and three mobile streams) for an extra $14.99 a month.

We like Sling TV’s Orange + Blue four-stream allowance; Hulu + Live TV’s two seems a bit stingy.

Compatible devices

Compatible devices Best for kids
Sling TV
(Orange + Blue)
Best value
Hulu + Live TV
AirTV Player
Amazon Fire Cube, Stick, TV
Android phones, tablets
Android TV
Apple TV (4th gen)
Apple TV 4K
Chromecast, Chromecast, Chromecast with Google TV
Echo Show
Hisense TVs
iPhone, iPad
LG TVs (select models)
Nintendo Switch
NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro
PC, Mac Web browsers
PlayStation 3, 4, 5
Roku Ultra, Express, Premiere, Stick, TV
Samsung TVs (select models)
TiVo Stream
Wii
Xbox 360
Xfinity Flex, X1

Data effective as of post date.

Best streaming devices

Looking for the right live TV streaming TV to go along with your new (or continuing) cord-cutter lifestyle? We’ve reviewed some of the best streaming devices on the market.

Video and audio quality

Service Video
Sling TV 720p, 1080p
Hulu Live 720p, 1080p

In general, live TV streams at 720p HD, while on-demand content can stream up to 1080p. This is true for both Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV—if they were streaming at 1080p all the time, they’d be telling everybody.

Also, while regular Hulu does offer some content in 4K HDR, neither Hulu + Live TV nor Sling TV can handle that resolution for livestreaming.

Both Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV stream with standard 2.0 stereo audio.

Internet check

Most streaming services recommend a bare minimum of 5 Mbps of internet speed to avoid buffering and glitching—we think you should aim higher. 25 Mbps is a more realistic speed to keep all your devices streaming smoothly. If you need more speed, check out our reviews of the best cheap internet providers.

Channel guide

They may have channel grids that look like traditional cable and satellite TV guides, but Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV’s layouts are far more interactive and customizable.

With the exception of local stations, there are also no channel “numbers” associated with networks—relax, it’s only weird for a minute.

Hulu Live TV Channel Guide | Cabletv.com

Hulu + Live TV’s channel guide is tinged with its trademark green, with shortcut tabs located to the left. Its transparency is a nice touch because it allows you to see what’s still happening live behind the grid.

Sling TV channel guide | Cabletv.com

Sling TV’s channel guide is made up of opaque blacks and greys, with shortcut tabs along the top. It’s nothing fancy, but who’s studying grids when there are shows to watch? Exactly.

Commercials

We’ve talked plenty about the advantages that livestreaming TV has over cable and satellite, but there’s also an annoyingly large disadvantage: you can’t always skip over DVRed commercials.

You certainly can’t skip ‘em with basic Hulu + Live TV. You can pay an extra 15 bucks for the privilege, but even then, some networks won’t allow you to fast-forward through ads.

The same no-skip restriction also applies to some networks on Sling TV—except for CBS, one of the biggest culprits of non-skippable commercials, only because you can’t get CBS with Sling TV.

So overall, ad-skipping is easier and cheaper with Sling TV than with Hulu + Live TV but only by a slight margin.

Is Sling TV or Hulu + Live TV worth it?

Despite a handful of drawbacks, we prefer Hulu + Live TV to Sling TV. Sure, Sling TV’s à la carte package stacking looks enticing, but the total package costs will getcha. Besides, Hulu + Live TV has more channels and full access to Hulu’s on-demand and original content (and that sweet Disney+/ESPN+ bundle)—that’s a definite built-in bargain.

Sling TV vs. Hulu + Live TV FAQ

Is regular Hulu included with Hulu + Live TV?

When you subscribe to Hulu + Live TV, you also get access to Hulu’s library of on-demand shows and movies. As of December 2021, both Hulu + Live TV plans also include the Disneuy+/ESPN+ bundle to help take the sting out of its latest price hike.

The Hulu + Live TV (With Ads) is the basic on-demand Hulu plan supplemented with live channels. Hulu + Live TV (No Ads) is the mostly commercial-free, on-demand Hulu plan, plus live channels (which do have ads).

How are Sling Orange and Sling Blue different?

Sling’s Orange plan ($35/mo.) offers around 30 channels and only a single stream per subscription. Sling Blue (also $35/mo.) has about 42 channels and allows up to three simultaneous streams. Several channels overlap between the two, like AMC, Comedy Central, TBS, TNT, and CNN.

Sling Blue has more channels, including Syfy, FX, FXX, and FS 1 and 2, but Sling Orange carries popular networks ESPN, Disney Channel, and Freeform. The Sling Orange + Blue plan combines all the channels for $50 a month. More deets are available in our Sling Orange vs. Sling Blue guide.

Is Sling TV or Hulu + Live TV better for sports?

Hulu + Live TV carries several sports channels that Sling TV doesn’t, including AAC Network, Big Ten Network, and CBS Sports Network. Sling TV has only two major sports networks that aren’t available on Hulu + Live TV: NFL Network and Stadium.

But Sling TV offers channel-loaded sports add-on packages that more than even the score. If you need all the sports, Sling TV is the better choice.

Methodology

Our live TV streaming experts spent dozens of hours testing Sling TV and Hulu + Live TV to compare visual and audio quality, features, and user experience. We compared these services’ packages and channel lineups to each other and all the other major live TV streaming services to help you find real value for your money. For more details, check out our How We Rank page or our annual Customer Satisfaction Survey.

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