Skip to Content

DIRECTV STREAM vs. Hulu Live TV - Which Should You Choose?

If you’re looking for a new live TV streaming service, is Hulu Live TV or DIRECTV STREAM a better choice? The decision may depend on what you value most. Both are excellent streaming options with lots of pros and cons. If you’d like a quick comparison, check out The Streamable’s Service Matchmaker. Let’s dig in to compare your options.

Winner on Price: DIRECTV STREAM

Hulu Live TV is $76.99 / month and DIRECTV STREAM also starts at $79.99 / month and goes up from there. However, if you want to keep the Ad-Free Disney Bundle, the price of Hulu Live TV will be going up to $74.99 in December, so DIRECTV STREAM gets the nod at least when you compare the base plan.

Winner on Overall Channels: DIRECTV STREAM

DIRECTV STREAM’s most basic package includes 31 of the top 35 cable channels, which tops Hulu’s 33.

Overall, Hulu Live TV can provide 107 channels while DIRECTV STREAM offers 201.

DIRECTV STREAM offers every major channel Hulu does, but also gives you access to AMC and WE tv. That alone may be enough to make your decision.

Hulu DIRECTV STREAM
“Hulu Live TV” “Entertain.” “Choice” “Ultimate” “Premier”
Free 3-Day Trial Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial
$76.99 $79.99 $108.99 $119.99 $164.99
A&E -
AMC -
BET
Bravo
Cartoon Network
CNN
Comedy Central
Discovery
Disney Channel
Disney Junior
E!
ESPN
Food Network
Fox News
Freeform
FX
FXX
Hallmark Channel
HGTV
History -
Investigation Discovery
Lifetime -
MSNBC
MTV
Nickelodeon
Paramount Network
Syfy
TBS
TLC
TNT
Travel Channel -
truTV
USA Network
VH1
WE tv -

Channel Upgrade Bundles

With Hulu Live TV, the primary upgrade package is the “Entertainment” group for $8 / month: American Heroes, BET Her, Boomerang, CNBC World, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, Great American Family, Great American Country, Hallmark Family, Magnolia Network, MTV Classic, MTV2, Nicktoons, Science, and TeenNick.

DIRECTV STREAM offers a whopping four different tiers of services.

  • Entertainment: 90 channels for $79.99 / month.

  • Choice: 168 channels for $108.99 / month. Jumping to this tier is a fantastic choice for sports fans.

The Choice package adds A&E, ACC Network, Altitude, SportsNet Pittsburgh, AT&T SportsNet Southwest, Bally Sports Detroit, Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports Great Lakes, Bally Sports Indiana, Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest, Bally Sports New Orleans, Bally Sports North, Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports Oklahoma, Bally Sports San Diego, Bally Sports SoCal, Bally Sports South, Bally Sports Southeast, Bally Sports Southwest, Bally Sports Sun, Bally Sports West, Bally Sports Wisconsin, Big Ten Network, Bounce TV, Cheddar, CNBC World, Comedy.TV, Cooking Channel, Cozi TV, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, FanDuel TV, Fox Sports Prime Ticket, Fuse, Great American Family, GetTV, Golf Channel, Grit, GSN, Heroes & Icons, History, JusticeCentral.TV, Lifetime, Marquee Sports Network, MASN, MASN2, MeTV, MLB Network, Monumental Sports Network, MSG, MSG Sportsnet, NBA TV, NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago, NESN, NFL Network, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, OWN, POP TV, Rockies.TV Channel, Root Sports Northwest, Science, SEC Network, SEC Network+, Shorts TV, Space City Home Network, Spectrum SportsNet, Spectrum SportsNet LA, SportsNet NY, Tastemade, Tennis Channel, The Weather Channel, Travel Channel, UniMás, UPtv, Vice TV, and YES Network.

  • Ultimate: 196 channels for $119.99 / month.

The Ultimate package adds American Heroes, aspireTV, BBC World News, BET Her, CBS Sports Network, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, Fox Sports 2, Fuse Music, FXM, FYI, Great American Country, Lifetime Movie Network, LOGO, Magnolia Network, MTV Classic, Nat Geo Wild, NHL Network, Ovation HD, Oxygen, Revolt, Smithsonian Channel, Sportsman Channel, Starz Encore, TUDN, Universal Kids, and Universo.

  • Premier: 201 channels for $164.99 / month.

The Premier package adds Cinemax, Hallmark Mystery, HBO, Parmount+ with SHOWTIME, and Starz.

Winner on Local Channels: Draw

Both services offer ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo, and The CW.

DIRECTV STREAM does offer PBS in most markets while Hulu does not.

Winner on Sports Channels: DIRECTV STREAM

Pro Sports Networks

This is a crucial difference. If you love the NFL, you should choose Hulu Live TV because you’ll have access to NFL Network and NFL RedZone.

If you favor one of the other major sports, DIRECTV STREAM may make more sense, since you can get MLB Network, NBA TV, and NHL Network. It’s a tough choice if you like all the major sports.

DTV STREAM Hulu
Free Trial Free 3-Day Trial
$79.99 $76.99
MLB Network + $15
NBA TV + $15 -
NFL Network + $15
NFL RedZone + $15 + $10
NHL Network + $15 -

Regional Sports Networks

This is the biggest benefit if you choose DIRECTV STREAM. It offers the widest access to RSNs of any live streaming service, though your price can escalate quickly to get them.

Only DIRECTV STREAM offers Altitude, SportsNet Pittsburgh, AT&T SportsNet Southwest, Bally Sports Detroit, Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports Great Lakes, Bally Sports Indiana, Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest, Bally Sports New Orleans, Bally Sports North, Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports Oklahoma, Bally Sports San Diego, Bally Sports SoCal, Bally Sports South, Bally Sports Southeast, Bally Sports Southwest, Bally Sports Sun, Bally Sports West, Bally Sports Wisconsin, Marquee Sports Network, MASN, MASN2, MSG, MSG Sportsnet, NESN, Rockies.TV Channel, Root Sports Northwest, Space City Home Network, Spectrum SportsNet, Spectrum SportsNet LA, and YES Network.

However, Hulu Live TV wins if you need these channels: NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Philadelphia+, and NBC Sports Washington+.

Both services offer these regional sports networks: Monumental Sports Network, NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago, and SportsNet NY.

College Sports Networks

When it comes to college sports, both services are comparable. Both provide ACC Network, Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, ESPNU, SEC Network, and truTV.

Hulu Live TV gets the edge if you need ACC Network Extra.

Winner on Included Features: Hulu Live TV

DVR

Both services offer an unlimited DVR that will hold your recordings for nine months. DIRECTV STREAM is slightly more limited in that they will only let you keep up to 30 episodes of a show.

On Demand Library

Hulu Live users get access to Hulu’s vast library of on demand content, although you will see ads unless you’re willing to upgrade for another $6/month. That’s honestly a great deal for the number of movies and shows you’ll get. Normally, ad-free access to Hulu’s library would cost $17.99 / month. You’ll be able to see “The Handmaid's Tale,” “Pam & Tommy,” “Only Murders in the Building,” “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Palm Springs,” “PEN15,” “Shrill,” and a great rotating library of blockbuster movies.

The Disney Bundle

Subscribers to Hulu Live TV get automatic, free access to Disney+ and ESPN+. That means you’ll be able to stream most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, every Star Wars film, Pixar movies, and classic Disney animation, along with the strong sports package on ESPN+, including tons of NHL games. It’s a staggering amount of content and it comes as part of your normal Hulu Live TV subscription.

4K

Neither service currently offers 4K.

Verdict

DIRECTV STREAM will appeal to people who want the maximum number of channels at any price. If you’re a sports fan who loves to follow a specific franchise, DIRECTV STREAM may be your only streaming option. That access doesn’t come cheap, however.

As much as DIRECTV STREAM appeals to sports fans, will you be okay without NFL Network and NFL RedZone?

If you don’t need the buffet of regional sports networks, Hulu Live TV offers a truly compelling package. The on-demand Hul and Disney+ catalogs are top-notch entertainment for the whole family. The great sports of ESPN+ could offset the loss of DIRECTV’s regional sports channels.


Ben Bowman is the Content Director of The Streamable. He cut the cord in 2009. He roots for all Detroit sports and is a fan of Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Edgar Wright, Paul Thomas Anderson, Billy Wilder, Buster Keaton, and the Coen Brothers. Ben streams on an Apple TV.

DIRECTV STREAM Cash Back

Let us know your e-mail address to send your $50 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for DIRECTV STREAM.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.

Sling TV Cash Back

Let us know your e-mail address to send your $25 Uber Eats Gift Card when you sign up for Sling TV.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.

Hulu Live TV Cash Back

Let us know your e-mail address to send your $35 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for Hulu Live TV.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.