If you’re looking for a new live TV streaming service, is YouTube TV or Sling TV 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: Sling TV
YouTube TV is US$64.99 / month.
Sling TV has a unique cost structure because it allows you to choose from two limited (but inexpensive) channel groups. A slightly more expensive subscription offers a combo package with a bigger channel lineup. Your lineup options can get confusing, but Sling is a powerful service if you tailor your subscription.
If don’t mind a narrower channel selection, you can go with either the Sling Orange lineup or the Sling Blue lineup for US$35 / month. If you want a wider selection of channels, you’ll need Sling Orange+Blue for US$50 / month. That’s still less expensive than YouTube TV’s live option.
Winner on Overall Channels: YouTube TV
When it comes to the base tiers, YouTube TV holds the edge. YouTube TV includes 32 of the top 35 cable channels, which tops Sling TV’s 27.
Overall, Sling TV offers 52 channels, while YouTube TV offers 109.
YouTube TV does allow the addition of some individual premium channels and a solid sports package (more on that later).
In line with its a la carte efforts, Sling TV gives users a staggering menu of channel upgrades starting at US$6/month. The channels available will vary, depending on whether your base is Sling Orange, Sling Blue, or the Sling Orange+Blue combo.
For example, Sling TV offers mini packages with titles like Comedy Extra, News Extra, Heartland Extra, Sports Extra, Kids Extra, Lifestyle Extra, and Hollywood Extra. You could choose them individually or get every bundle for $21-$27 / month. See what each bundle offers here.
Since Sling TV’s channel options are split into so many different packages, The Streamable’s Service Matchmaker is your best tool to identify what package works best for you.
|Sign Up||50% OFF||50% OFF||50% OFF|
|Disney Junior||•||^ US$6||-||^ US$6|
|FXX||•||-||^ US$6||^ US$6|
|Hallmark Channel||•||^ US$6||^ US$6||^ US$6|
|MTV||•||^ US$6||^ US$6||^ US$6|
|Paramount Network||•||^ US$6||^ US$6||^ US$6|
|VH1||•||^ US$6||^ US$6||^ US$6|
|WE tv||•||^ US$6||^ US$6||^ US$6|
Winner on Local Channels: YouTube TV
Sling TV does not offer ABC, CBS, Telemundo, The CW and Univision. But you can get Fox AND NBC in select markets. They recently began to integrate donation-based Locast into their grid guide, which allows you to access local channels for $5.50 a month.
Winner on Sports Channels: YouTube TV
Pro Sports Networks
Both services offer NFL Network.
Sling TV allows users to bolster their sports coverage with the Sports Extra package (US$11-US$15/month) with channels like beIN Sports, Campus Insiders, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Goal Line, ESPNEWS, Fox Sports 2, Golf Channel, MLB Network, MLB Network Strike Zone, Motorsport TV, NBA TV, NFL RedZone, NHL Network, Olympic Channel, Outside Television, SEC Network+, Stadium Plus and Tennis Channel. The channels you receive in this add-on depend on whether you subscribe to Sling Orange, Sling Blue, or the combo.
Regional Sports Networks
YouTube TV offers NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Northwest, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Philadelphia+, NBC Sports Washington and SportsNet NY.
Sling TV does not offer Regional Sports Networks.
College Sports Networks
Both services offer ACC Network, ACC Network Extra, Big Ten Network, ESPNU and SEC Network. But users should note that these channels are only available for Sling if you get the Sports Extra add-on (US$11-US$15/month).
YouTube TV offers those channels, plus CBS Sports Network in its most basic channel package.
Winner on Included Features: YouTube TV
If you’re the kind of person who records a lot of TV, you will prefer YouTube TV and its unlimited cloud DVR. You can store recordings up to nine months.
Sling TV includes 50 hours of recording space with each subscription, but it will automatically delete the oldest watched shows, so it can continue to record the latest shows scheduled to be recorded.
For $5/month, you can add a Sling TV cloud DVR with 200 hours of recording space.
Sling TV has the most full-featured DVR of any of the streaming services. You can record individual episodes, all episodes of a series, or only new episodes of a series. You can also protect recordings to keep them indefinitely. If you cancel your service, Sling will keep your recording for up to 30 days in case you decide to return to the service.
YouTube TV offers select 4K content, including some live sports and on-demand shows, as part of their 4K Plus add-on. The 4K Plus add-on is $19.99 a month and also includes offline downloads and unlimited streams on your home network. Sling does not offer 4K resolution.
Customizable Channel Guide
If you’d like to remove or rearrange channels in your lineup, YouTube TV allows that option. That’s helpful if there are lots of channels you don’t watch, or if you’d like to group your most-watched channels together.
Sling TV is a better bet if you’re price-sensitive, or if you don’t mind occasionally swapping packages from month to month. If you have a narrow group of channels you prefer, Sling may allow you access to those without some of the additional cost of other services. If you think Sling TV is right for you, be sure to run your favorite channels through The Streamable’s Service Matchmaker to be sure you can get them all at a reasonable price through the service. Sling does offer lots of different configurations, but the price can escalate quickly.
If you want a quick solution to provide a huge channel selection, YouTube TV might make more sense. The sports options are better with YouTube TV, and the inclusion of local channels makes this an easy solution for your live streaming TV needs.