As the price of cable continues to go up, more people are deciding to cut the cord altogether. If you’ve cut the cord on cable, but you don’t want to miss out on your favorite live TV shows, you’re in the right place.
Canceling cable saves you a lot of money, but can make it difficult to watch live TV, especially sports, news, and local coverage. That’s where internet TV “skinny bundles” like Sling TV and Hulu With Live TV come in.
In this article, we’ll take a look at Sling TV and Hulu With Live TV – two of the most popular internet TV “cable replacers”. You can see which one is right for you. Let’s get started now.
Both Sling TV and Hulu With Live TV are internet TV “skinny bundle” services. Skinny bundles are designed to replace your cable subscription with a smaller, select number of channels.
Because these channels are delivered over the internet, and do not require costly cable setup, most internet TV services are quite inexpensive, compared to a cable subscription. In addition, these TV bundles do not require any kind of long-term contract, and they don’t have any cancellation fees.
Typically, these internet TV services cost just a fraction of what cable costs. You can get Sling TV for $25/month, and Hulu With Live TV for $40/month, for example.
Let’s discuss the basics of both Sling TV and Hulu With Live TV, before we dig into the facts you need to know about each service.
Sling TV is the oldest internet TV skinny bundle service. It was launched in 2015, when cord-cutting was beginning to catch on. It boasts a high number of subscribers and an inexpensive base subscription, but can be somewhat confusing.
|Sling Orange||Sling Blue||Sling Orange + Blue|
|Fire TV Support||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Special Offers||FREE ROKU DEAL||FREE ROKU DEAL||FREE ROKU DEAL|
As you can see, Sling TV is quite inexpensive. You can choose between both the $25/month Orange bundle, or the $25/month Blue package. You can combine both packages for $40/month.
The best feature of Sling TV is its low cost. With Sling Orange, for example, you can get 30+ channels, including ESPN, BBC America, TNT, CNN, and a number of other popular networks, for $25. Sling Blue offers 40+ channels, including Fox Sports and local channels in some areas, for the same price.
In addition, you can easily customize your Sling TV package with a number of different add-ons. If you love comedy, you can add more comedy channels with the “Comedy Extra” package for just $5/month, and if you’re a sports fan, you can get nearly a dozen extra sports channels with the $10/month ($5/month for Sling Orange) “Sports Extra” package.
Sling TV does have a few downsides. First, there are some channels that are exclusive to Sling Orange or Sling Blue. You can’t get ESPN at all with Sling Blue, for example, and Sling Orange doesn’t include other popular networks like Fox Sports.
It can also be somewhat confusing to understand what channels you get when customizing your subscription, because the extra channels vary based on your subscription package. For example, subscribing to the “Comedy Extra” package with Sling Orange will give you a different set of channels than if you subscribe with Sling Blue.
You also can only stream Sling Orange channels on 1 device at a time, even if you have Sling Blue + Orange. Sling Blue channels can be streamed on 3 devices, however.
Hulu With Live TV is technically still in beta, despite launching in late 2017. However, it has quickly become very popular with cord-cutters who are looking for an all-in-one VOD and live TV streaming service.
Hulu With Live TV comes with only a single package of cable channels. You can get between between 60-70 channels, depending on your geographic location and which local network TV providers are partnered with Hulu.
Hulu With Live TV has a number of great features. First and foremost, the lineup of cable and network channels offered is incredible for the price. You get news coverage from channels like CNN and MSNBC, sports from ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3, as well as Fox Sports and NBCSN, and entertainment channels like FX, TNT, and TBS. The only major cable channel missing is AMC.
You also get a free DVR with Hulu With Live TV, offering you 50 hours of storage. You can stream on up to 2 devices at once, by default.
One of the best features is that every Hulu With Live TV subscription comes with a free Hulu subscription, which is a $7.99/month value. You get complete access to all of Hulu’s VOD archives, including original shows like The Handmaid’s Tale.
Hulu With Live TV is a bit expensive, compared to Sling Blue and Sling Orange. Paying $40/month may be steep if you only need a few cable channels.
In addition, only being able to stream on 2 devices at once can cause some problems if you’re sharing your account. With Sling Orange + Blue, you can stream on 4 devices (1 device for Orange channels, 3 devices for Blue channels).
Hulu has a total of 17 million subscribers for both on-demand and live TV, but has not yet revealed what percentage of subscribers use Hulu With Live TV.
Fact 1: Sling TV is a Better Bargain Choice
If saving money is your primary goal when searching for an internet TV service, Sling TV is a better choice.
For example, if you are a cord-cutter who wants to watch sports, you could subscribe to Sling TV Orange + the Sports Extra package. This would get you ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNews, NBA TV, beIN Sports, and more, for just $30/month, which covers most of your sports needs.
If you only watch TV on a few channels, Sling TV offers a better monthly price point than Hulu With Live TV.
Fact 2: The Sling TV DVR Costs $5/Month
This is one of the reasons that Sling TV is so inexpensive. Unlike Hulu With Live TV, which comes with a free DVR, Sling TV charges $5/month for DVR service. You will get a total of 50 hours of storage, which isn’t bad – but paying extra just to record your shows isn’t ideal. You also cannot record on Disney-owned networks like ESPN, due to licensing agreements.
In contrast, Hulu With Live TV comes with a completely free DVR, which provides 50 hours of storage. This means that if you want a lot of channels and a DVR, Hulu With Live TV is cheaper ($40/month) than Sling Orange + Blue + DVR ($45/month).
Fact 3: Hulu With Live TV Offers Several Upgrade Packages
Hulu With Live TV lets you upgrade your subscription in two major ways.
First, if you need to get more DVR space, you can upgrade with an “Enhanced DVR” package, which costs $15/month. This bumps your storage limit up to 200 hours, which should be more than enough even for the largest families.
You can also upgrade the number of devices on which you can stream simultaneously. By default, you can only stream on 2 devices at once – which is worse than Sling Blue.
But if you pay $15/month for the “Unlimited Screens” package, you can stream on unlimited devices on your home network, and on up to 3 devices outside of your home network.
You can combine these two upgrades for $20/month, which is a pretty significant cost savings. If you are sharing your subscription between multiple people, upgrading your subscription may be worth it.
Fact 4: Both Sling TV And Hulu With Live TV Can Be Used To Log Into Cable Websites
Sling TV and Hulu With Live TV both allow you to use your login credentials to access streaming content on major cables websites, such as ESPN. You can see the full list of supported website for Hulu here, and Sling TV also has a listing of their supported apps and websites.
Fact 5: Hulu With Live TV Gives You More Channels For Your Money
It may seem that combining Sling Blue + Orange will give you the most channels. But this is actually not the case.
There is quite a bit of channel “overlap” between Sling Blue and Orange. For example, both the Sling Orange and Blue packages include HGTV, Comedy Central, and CNN. You’ll only get about 53 total channels with Sling Orange + Blue. You can, however, add more channels with “Extra” Sling bundles, but that comes at an additional fee.
If you want the most channels for your money, Hulu With Live TV is definitely the way to go, as you’ll get 60-70 channels.
Fact 6: Hulu With Live TV Has More On-Demand Content Than Sling TV
Sling TV does have a selection of on-demand content. However, this is usually limited to shows and events that have aired in the past few weeks.
Hulu With Live TV, on the other hand, includes a Hulu subscription. That means that you can have full access to all Hulu streaming content, including recently-aired episodes of network shows, as well as original content like The Handmaid’s Tale.
Fact 7: Device Support Is Nearly Identical Between Hulu And Sling TV
Hulu With Live TV and Sling TV can be watched on most major streaming devices, including
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Web browsers
- Android & iOS
- Samsung Smart TVs
- Xbox One
One of the only differences is that Hulu offers Xbox 360 support, and Sling TV can be viewed on select LG Smart TVs. Otherwise, streaming device compatibility between these two services is almost identical.
Sling TV is much more customizable than Hulu With Live TV, with a large number of “Extra” packages that offer international channels, sports, lifestyle channels and more. There are an enormous number of extra channels to choose from.
In contrast, Hulu With Live TV only allows you to pick from a number of premium networks like HBO and Showtime, and the “Entertainment” add-on, which costs $7.99 per month and includes:
- Lifetime Movies
- Cooking Channel
- CNBC World
You’ll get more customization options with Sling, overall.
Fact 9: Both Services Offer A Free Trial
You can try both Sling TV and Hulu With Live TV with a free 7-day trial, and see which one you prefer.
Sling TV Vs. Hulu With Live TV: Which Is Better?
Not sure whether Hulu With Live TV or Sling TV is a better choice for you? Obviously, the answer of which is better depends on what exactly you’re looking for from an internet TV service.
Are you on a budget?
If you can’t spare $40/month for Hulu With Live TV, Sling Blue or Sling Orange is a great choice. You don’t get nearly as many features or channels as you do with Hulu, but for the price, you do get some great live TV coverage.
However, if you do have a bit more money to spend, Hulu With Live TV is certainly worth $40/month – especially when compared to the $100/month cost of a traditional cable bill.
Do you need a DVR, or to watch on multiple screens?
If you need a DVR, you’re going to have to pay $5 extra with Sling TV. That brings the monthly cost to $25/month for Sling Orange, and $30/month for Sling Blue –- and you won’t be able to watch on more than 4 screens with Sling TV.
If you have a large family, or plan on sharing your account with quite a few members of your household, Hulu With Live TV may be a better choice for you.
Do you watch a lot of different channels?
If you need a big selection of channels, Hulu With Live TV is a better choice than Sling Blue + Orange. You get more channels for your money, as well as a free DVR and a free subscription to the Hulu VOD streaming service.
Do you need to watch international channels and programming?
If you are interested in foreign-language programming in languages like French, Spanish, and Portuguese, Sling TV is a better choice for you. You can get quite a bit of international programming with the “Espanol” and “International” Sling TV add-ons.
Do you want to watch on-demand video?
If you want to watch on-demand video, Hulu With Live TV is a much better option for you. Sling TV has a good amount of on-demand programs, but still falls very short of the massive Hulu streaming library.