Sling TV vs. YouTube TV pros and cons
👍 Low price
👍 Lots of flexibility
👎 Added cost for DVR
👍 Lots of channels
👍 Unlimited cloud DVR storage
👎 Higher price
Deals and promotions
YouTube TV offers a free seven-day trial. While Sling TV doesn’t currently offer a free trial, it frequently partners with streaming devices like Roku to give you deals.
At the time of writing, if you prepay for two months of Sling, you get a free Roku Express. And you can get 40% off your first month of Sling—$15 for a month of streaming seems like a serious dream.
How are Sling TV and YouTube TV different?
Compare Sling TV and YouTube TV side by side
|Sling TV||YouTube TV|
|Cloud DVR||50 hrs.||Unlimited|
|Free trial||7 days||7 days|
Data effective as of 08/26/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Sling’s main selling point is its lower price. Sure you’ll get fewer channels, but after you add in special offers and deals (currently, 40% off your first month), you’ll get a decent amount of channels for cheap. Apart from AT&T WatchTV and Philo, you won’t find a cheaper live TV streaming service.
YouTube TV offers more channels and has unlimited cloud DVR storage for when you can’t watch shows live. It honestly has the best unlimited DVR—most services will delete shows and movies after 28 days, but YouTube TV lets you keep all your faves for nine months before deleting them.
And although Sling offers four simultaneous streams with its largest package, YouTube TV allows for six different user profiles—so each family member can create a personal streaming profile to improve their experience on the site.
Sling TV vs. YouTube TV prices and plans
Sling TV pricing and plans
Sling Orange and Sling Blue offer different cable channels. While there’s some overlap, there are also set differences—Sling Orange has Disney Channel and ESPN, and Sling Blue has FOX and NBC channels. This is a major downside to Sling TV—most streaming services build their packages on one another, so it’s a little annoying that you have to choose between two totally different options.
But if you want the best of both worlds, there’s the Sling Orange and Blue package that combines the two channels lists at a fair price (only $0.73 per channel). If you’re gonna go with Sling, we say go with Sling Orange and Blue for lots of channels at a reasonable price.
YouTube TV prices and plans
YouTube TV offers only one live TV package, but it has nine additional premium channels you can add on for a little bit more.
Luckily, with over 75 channels already, there isn’t a whole lot more you might want to add to stream your favorite live TV shows. YouTube TV’s large channel count with kid and adult faves make it best for families. But Sling’s price and slimmer channel count can still be great for some folks.
Sling TV vs. YouTube TV fees and extra charges
Sling TV fees and extra charges
|On-demand movies||$3–$6 per movie|
|Channel add-ons||$5–$10 per package|
Like most livestreaming services, Sling doesn’t have any hidden fees. But if you want the cloud DVR feature to record live TV for later, that’s an extra, optional $5 per month. The optional piece is nice in theory (not paying for something you don’t want and all), but most streaming services include the cloud DVR. So, it’s a little annoying that a cloud DVR isn’t just part of the deal, especially when very few people are not going to want one.
Sling’s cloud DVR add-on has a 50-hour storage limit, but the DVR holds content for as long as you want. So if you just want to record your kid’s 25 favorite Disney Channel Original Movies so they can watch them on repeat, you totally could.
Or, you can watch on-demand movies, which offer older favorites and new releases. Those movies are separate from the live channels you pay for, so they can vary from $3 to $6 per movie, depending on the film’s release date.
Sling also has channel add-ons to help make up for its small channel selection. Add-ons like the Lifestyle Extra give you access to the Hallmark Channel, DIY channel, Lifetime movies, and more for only $5 a month. Or there’s the Kids Extra that, also at $5 a month, gives you Disney Junior, Disney XD, Nick Jr., and more.
YouTube TV fees and extra charges
YouTube TV has no hidden fees, and its DVR is free. That’s a win in our books, for sure.
YouTube TV doesn’t have the same on-demand service that Sling TV has, but it does a great job showing the free movies that are available across different channels. That means you can get access to any movie playing on live channels, even for a time after they’ve aired, without paying for them.
And YouTube TV has original on-demand shows and movies (more on that below) that you don’t have to pay extra for.
Unfortunately, neither brand includes HBO even as an add-on, so you’ll have to sign up for HBO NOW to stay up-to-date on Game of Thrones. And despite having more channels in its initial package, YouTube TV is missing Viacom channels, like Nickelodeon and MTV.
Sling has some Viacom channels, but not all of them (rude). And it’s missing some other noteworthy channels like Fox News (sorry, Hannity-heads and Trumpistas).
Both Sling and YouTube TV have a lot of popular channels—everything from Disney Channel to ESPN to Discovery Channel.
That said, you’ll want to pore over the channel lineups to make sure you choose the right Sling package for Lifetime (Sling Blue) or to double-check that YouTube TV has all the Fox channels you want (it has a ton of them, so probably, yes). But if we’re being picky, we’d say that YouTube TV has a better channel lineup because of its variety and quantity.
What are you willing to trade for your favorite sports channels?
|Channel||Sling TV||YouTube TV|
|Fox Sports 1||✓||✓|
|Fox Sports 2||✓||✓|
|MLB Game Week||✗||✓|
|Big Ten Network||✗||✓|
|CBS Sports Network||✗||✓|
|NBC Sports Network||✓||✓|
You’re gonna have lots of trade-offs when it comes to sports channels, but we think YouTube TV beats Sling TV overall.
We’re guessing most of you back at home won’t miss ESPN3, but for the hardcore sports fan, it might fill some gaps in your sports coverage. Well, Sling TV offers it, but YouTube TV doesn’t (it does offer ESPNews, though). See what we mean?
The bottom line is that YouTube TV objectively has more sports channels for only $10 more a month than the Sling Orange and Blue package.
Sling has only 36 local channel affiliates across the entire nation, which come from ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS networks, while YouTube TV has 391 local channels across the same four networks. That makes YouTube TV an easy winner in this category because you’re more likely to get your local channels with YouTube TV.
It’s not TV. But it’s not HBO either.
|Premium channel||Sling TV||YouTube TV|
|Fox Soccer Plus||✗||$15/mo.|
|NBA League Pass||✗||$39.99/mo.|
YouTube TV offers nine premium channels at a reasonable price—sorry, no HBO, though. Getting SHOWTIME for only $7 a month is really a steal and cheaper even than Sling’s offer at $9 a month.
Some of them, like NBA League Pass, can get kind of pricey, but that’s expected. Mostly we like that YouTube TV has already included so many channels in its base package, and its premium offerings focus on the essentials at a decent price.
Sling doesn’t offer all the same premium channels, but it matches YouTube TV fairly well in price for the ones it does offer. And its package add-ons can help you round out the channels you want at a good price (ranging from $5 to 15 a month).
So, Sling still offers an affordable way to get your preferred channels, but YouTube TV saves you the hassle of paying for tons of extra add-ons by just including the good ones from the get-go.
Sling TV vs. YouTube TV original shows and movies
Popular original shows
- Cobra Kai
So here’s the thing: Sling TV doesn’t produce original TV shows. But YouTube TV does, and they’re pretty damn good. YouTube Originals cover everything from classic reboots (Cobra Kai) to teenage-revenge dramas (Wayne). So yeah, you’ll pay a little more a month for YouTube TV, but if you’re serious about staying entertained through the three-day weekend, it might just be worth it.
Popular original movies
- The Thinning
- Step Up: High Water
YouTube does movies? Don’t look so surprised. Are they as good as Netflix Original movies? Probably not. As of the time of writing, YouTube Originals hadn’t won an Oscar while the Netflix Original Roma had. Museo does, however, have Golden Globe-winning actor Gael García Bernal in it—interesante.
Sling, unfortunately, doesn’t have anything. Again, 10 bucks more a month could be a wise investment if you’re into original shows and movies.
Sling TV vs. YouTube TV specs and features
If the Holy Grail you seek is unlimited cloud DVR storage, your quest is over: YouTube TV is the only live TV streaming service that has it. But Sling offers more simultaneous streams, greater device compatibility, and more convenient channel guides, which keeps it from falling too far behind. So it just comes down to which features matter more to you.
No time limits come with a price tag.
|All packages||50 hrs.||$5/mo.|
Regardless of what Sling package you choose, the cloud DVR is an extra $5 a month, and it has only 50 hours of storage. But at least you can hold onto that content for as long as you want—there’s no time constraint.
Unlimited? Say no more.
YouTube TV’s cloud DVR is included, and it has unlimited storage capacity. But it does delete content after nine months. So you can record as much as you want, but make sure not to record so many Golden Girls reruns that you can’t finish watching in time.
Watching multiple streams will multiply your bill.
|Sling TV||Simultaneous streams||Offline viewing|
|Sling Orange and Blue||4||N/A|
Sling’s simultaneous streaming depends on the package you buy. Its Orange and Blue package is definitely the best if you have a family with members who will all want access at the same time.
But if you’re not worried about sharing streaming time, Sling Orange will probably work just fine.
There ain’t a multitude of multiple streams.
|YouTube TV||Simultaneous streams||Offline viewing|
YouTube TV offers three simultaneous streams, which should be enough to get your family access to the shows and movies they want when they want it. Plus, YouTube TV allows you six different user profiles, so your family can easily switch to the profile specialized for them when it’s their turn to start streaming.
But if you want more streams, you’re out of luck because neither Sling nor YouTube TV allows you to buy additional simultaneous streams. You’ll have to look at some of our other favorite streaming services instead (hint, hint: PlayStation Vue).
Gamers and Amazon fans beware!
|Compatible devices||Sling TV||YouTube TV|
|Amazon Fire TV||✓||✗|
|Amazon Fire tablet||✓||✗|
|Android mobile devices||✓||✓|
|iOS mobile devices||✓||✓|
|LG TV Smart TVs (select models)||✓||✓|
|Samsung Smart TVs (select models)||✓||✓|
|VIZIO SmartCast TV (select models)||✓||✓|
|Windows 10 phones||✓||✗|
Wow, that’s a doozy of a chart, so we’ll try to boil it down for you: The two services are very similar in device compatibility. But YouTube TV works on the Xbox One, while Sling doesn’t connect with any gaming consoles. And Sling is compatible with Amazon Fire, which YouTube TV is not.
So if you’re a big Amazon user, you might swing toward Sling.
But both livestreaming services have good mobile apps, so you can watch anywhere your mobile device has data. So as long as you don’t mind watching your shows on a small screen, it’s a great feature.
HD is the standard here, so keep scrolling.
|Sling TV||YouTube TV|
Both Sling TV and YouTube TV have the same video resolution. It may not be the ultra HD you were hoping for, but that’s pretty hard to achieve in streaming without causing other lags, so this really is the best tech can do right now. And besides, 1080p is still great resolution, so it’s not like you’re sacrificing much quality when you switch to a streaming service.
Good news: both Sling and YouTube TV have easy-to-use channel guides.
YouTube TV’s channel guide includes the channel logo on the left of the screen, an image preview from the channel, and descriptions for the next two hours of live TV.
The mobile app is laid out similarly, but it only has space to show what’s playing live at the moment.
Sling’s channel guide can be seen in two ways, either in grid view or by channel.
The grid view looks like what you use on a typical cable TV service—with the channel logo and the next several hours of live TV. You can even filter those channels to show only your favorites, or to sports, entertainment, movies, or kids.
Meanwhile, the channel view (only available if you’re on desktop—mobile doesn’t have this feature) allows you to scroll as far forward as you want on one channel, to see what’s playing until the next Friday at 5 p.m.
It’ll also show the on-demand TV related to that channel. Because of the flexibility, Sling’s channel guide is our favorite.
Sling TV vs. YouTube TV commercial-free viewing
- On-demand movies
- Fast-forwarding on most cloud DVR recordings
- Fast-forwarding on most cloud DVR recordings
- YouTube Premium content (including YouTube Originals)
Both Sling and YouTube TV packages are just like watching regular cable, so there’s no way around the commercials, unless you skip them with the DVR. Or, you can get on-demand movies with Sling, and there won’t be commercials, but you’ll have to pay that $3–$6 per movie.
On the other side, if you get YouTube Premium, which used to be YouTube Red, in addition to YouTube TV, you won’t have commercials when watching your typical YouTube videos or YouTube Originals.
Of course, having YouTube Premium’s no-ad promise doesn’t apply to actual live YouTube TV channels—those commercials can’t be avoided without the DVR. Still, that unlimited DVR means you can record everything you want on YouTube TV and watch most of it commercial-free that way (FYI: some recordings have what YouTube calls “unskippable ads”). So YouTube TV definitely appeals to us with that extra benefit.
Sling TV vs. YouTube TV FAQ
What is YouTube TV’s related content?
When watching a show or movie on YouTube TV, an overview page is also shown. It includes a “Related on YouTube” button. If you click on that, it pulls together a whole bunch of related YouTube videos around that film or movie, so you can watch more about the cast or show.
If that’s not a brilliant way to suck you into a long trail of YouTube videos, we don’t know what is!
Makayla has managed to combine her childhood dream of writing for a living with her passions for research and the digital world—and she’s loving it! As a recent graduate of Brigham Young University, she’s written about everything from small business loans to pro traveling tips to streaming TV providers. When she’s not busy writing, you’ll find her running the trails, dancing in the rain, or searching for the newest best show to watch.