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Sling TV vs. YouTube TV

Which live TV streaming service is right for you?
by Taylor Freitas — 
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Sling TV vs. YouTube TV Highlights

If you want a wallet-friendly streaming service: Sling TV If you want more channels and unlimited DVR storage: YouTube TV
Cheaper plans than its competitors Impressive channel lineup (85+ channels)
Customizable packages and add-ons Unlimited DVR cloud storage
Offers a free plan Includes major sports networks

Sling TV vs. YouTube TV are two of the most well-known streaming services in the U.S., but there isn't much overlap in their products. Even though both platforms offer live and on-demand programming, they're quite different in terms of channel lineups, monthly prices, and extra features.

In this Sling TV vs. YouTube TV review, we'll discuss how these two services compare in several key categories, including price, free trial availability, number of channels, and more. We'll also provide our recommendation on which platform is best for you, depending on what you like to watch.

Compare Sling TV vs. YouTube TV plans

Sling TV vs. YouTube TV Comparison


Sling TVYouTube TV
Starting monthly price $35/mo.-to-$50/mo.$55/mo. (limited time offer for the first three months; $65/mo. afterwards)
Free trial length Three daysUp to 14 days
Number of titles/channels 30-50+85+
Number of simultaneous streams One-to-ThreeThree
Cloud DVR storage 50 hours (or upgrade to 200 hours for $5/mo. with the DVR Plus add-on)Unlimited
Offline viewing NoYes, with the 4K Plus add-on (additional fee required)
Ad-free option NoNo

Which streaming service is right for you?

Both Sling TV vs. YouTube TV are highly-rated streaming services, but they cater to slightly different audiences. For starters, Sling TV is one of the most affordable streaming platforms, which means that it's great for anyone on a budget. YouTube TV costs nearly twice as much but is better for serious streamers since it offers more channels and unlimited DVR storage.

User experience

Sling TV

Sling TV offers a free app for smartphones, smart TVs, and streaming sticks, so it's easy to watch your favorite shows from anywhere. It's compatible with an impressive range of devices, including Android devices, Apple devices, Chromecast, LG and Samsung TVs, Oculus, Roku, Xbox, and more. 

However, Nintendo and PlayStation gaming consoles do not support Sling TV.

YouTube TV

According to the company's website, YouTube TV's goal is to "let you watch YouTube TV anywhere, on any device and platform." There's an app for multiple types of mobile phones, smart TVs, streaming sticks and boxes, and gaming consoles. You can watch YouTube TV on a huge range of devices, such as Android and iOS phones and tablets, Apple TV, Android TV/Google TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV devices, web browsers, Tivo, and Xbox. It's also compatible with newer Sony PlayStation consoles, unlike Sling TV.

Personalization

Sling TV

Sling TV allows you to browse live and recorded TV shows, movies, and sports. As a subscriber, you have the option to record individual programs and series to your DVR, save your favorite channels for easy access and view tailored content recommendations. 

Unlike other streaming services (including YouTube TV), Sling TV does not have an option to add multiple user profiles. However, depending on which package you choose, you can stream on up to three devices simultaneously. You can also set up parental controls to block certain programs and in-app purchases.

YouTube TV

With YouTube TV, you can save shows to your "library," which adds all current and future airings to your DVR. You can't add single episodes to your library. The platform makes it easy to discover new shows by providing personalized content suggestions based on your watch history, recordings, and activity across other Google-owned properties (including web search).

You can share your YouTube TV subscription with up to five other people (for six total profiles on a single account). Each profile comes with its own login, custom content recommendations, and DVR storage. Keep in mind, however, that you can only stream on three devices at the same time -- unless you upgrade to the 4K Plus add-on, which includes unlimited streams. If you have kids, you can set up filters on their devices to hide inappropriate content on YouTube TV.

Extras

Sling TV

  • Customize your channel lineup with add-ons

  • Host viewing parties with Sling Watch Party

  • A free subscription tier

Sling TV's basic packages are fairly limited in terms of channels, but you can build out a custom channel lineup with add-ons. For example, if you're a sports fan, you can add the Sports Extra package for $11/mo., which includes popular channels like MLB Network and NBA TV. There are similar add-on options for news, entertainment, and lifestyle channels.

Sling Watch Party is another great bonus feature offered. With it, you can host a virtual catch-up with loved ones while you watch the same TV show, movie, or sporting event. You can invite up to three U.S.-based guests in each Sling Watch Party.

Finally, Sling TV's free membership plan is an interesting feature that's rare in the streaming industry. It allows you to sign up for a no-cost subscription that gives you access to a select number of movies and TV shows in its library.

YouTube TV

  • Unlimited DVR storage space

  • Access to local channels

  • Upgrade to 4K Plus for 4K playback, unlimited streams, and offline viewing

In addition to the robust channel lineup, one of YouTube TV's top features is its unlimited DVR. Each profile on a YouTube TV account has an individual DVR library where they can save TV shows, movies, and sports for later viewing.

Unlike many of its competitors (including Sling TV), YouTube TV provides access to five key local TV channels: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS. Subscribers can watch a range of live and on-demand programs on these networks, such as local news, sports, and major events. Premium channels are also available for an additional fee.

For an extra monthly fee, YouTube TV customers can purchase the 4K Plus add-on. It includes several key features, such as 4K Ultra High Definition playback (on compatible devices), unlimited simultaneous streaming, and offline content viewing (on mobile).

Disadvantages

Sling TV 

The main disadvantage of Sling TV is its limited channel lineup. If you're looking for more channels, you can combine the Sling Orange and Sling Blue packages or choose add-ons, but it's less cost-effective than other streaming services (and doesn't include all local channels). When it comes to Sling TV vs. YouTube TV, Sling TV also has a smaller DVR capacity and fewer compatible devices.

YouTube TV

When compared to Sling TV, YouTube TV loses in terms of price. At $55/mo. for the first three months ($65/mo. afterwards), it's much more than the starting price of Sling TV ($35/mo.) -- but it does include far more channels and unlimited DVR storage. However, you can't really mix and match channels to create a personalized lineup (but you can add on premium channels for an extra fee).

Our final take

If you're evaluating Sling TV vs. YouTube TV for your next streaming service, there are a few factors to consider. 

On the one hand, Sling TV is a fantastic option if you're on a tight budget, don't need an extensive channel lineup or the four big local channels, or want to customize a basic package with premium add-ons. If any of these scenarios apply to you, we'd recommend starting with a Sling Orange or Sling Blue package.

However, we'd have to say that YouTube TV is the overall better option -- especially if money isn't a concern. It comes with plenty of popular channels (including local and sports networks) and allows you to save and record unlimited TV shows, movies, sports, and other programming.