Key TakeawaysViacom announced a new deal this week to bring 14 additional channels into the Hulu + Live TV packageAt the same price as similar cable packages, YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV are the two best cord-cutting options for those that have outgrown cablePicking between the two comes down to personal preference and where you live. Chesnot / Getty Images
A new deal with Viacom will bring networks like Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and BET into the Hulu + Live TV package. But with around 65 channels compared to YouTube TV's 85, consumers must pick which one is best for them based on what they like and where they live.
There are several ways to watch television in 2021, including channel apps like CBS All Access, streaming services like Netflix, and live streaming apps like Sling TV, but for those looking to cut their cords and still have some of the same live offerings as cable, live streaming apps like those offered by Hulu and YouTube are the way to go.
Stephen Lovely, managing editor of Cordcutting.com, whose personal mission is to help folks cut the cord in a way that makes sense for their budget and lifestyle, says YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV have risen above the rest as the best live streaming apps. Both are priced at $64.99 a month.
"The only true cable replacements are Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV," he said in a phone call with Ach5.
What Separates Hulu and YouTube from the Rest?
Lovely felt the Viacom deal was interesting for several reasons. "It used to be such an annoying group for streaming services to get… Disney is constantly making deals to get ESPN on almost every service," Lovely said. "Now it's more and more common to see Viacom share."
"People should consider different cord cutting set ups based on what is best for them."
Viacom praised Hulu as a partner when the deal was announced. "We are excited to have reached an expanded agreement with Hulu that underscores the value of our powerful portfolio of brands to next-generation TV platforms and viewers," Ray Hopkins, the president of US networks distribution at ViacomCBS, said in a press release.
"Hulu continues to be a great partner and this agreement ensures that Hulu + LIve TV subscribers are now able to enjoy the full breadth of our leading content across news, sports and entertainment for the first time."
According to Cordcutternews, Hulu + Live TV reached over 4 million subscribers late last year. YouTube TV was reported at just over 3 million subscribers, and Sling TV came in third with just under 2.5 million. When on-demand customers are accounted for, all 32.1 million of them, Hulu has a total of 36.6 million subscribers.Joseph Okpako / Getty Images
In Lovely's mind, live streaming apps from Hulu and YouTube are best. They lead the rest in the number of subscribers and offer the best overall package, in his mind.
Even with the new Viacom channels, YouTube TV still offers more channels with more than 85, compared with more than 65 for Hulu. But as Lovely explained, that shouldn't be the only way you look at it.
Locked in a Tight Race
The battle between the two platforms is a matter of personal preference. "It really depends on the consumer," Lovely said.
One of the perks of YouTube TV is its DVR. YouTube TV includes unlimited cloud DVR storage space and rewind, fast forward, and pause capabilities—great for people who have a long list of favorite cable shows that they like to rewatch. Hulu + Live TV offers a $9.99 add-on for more DVR cloud storage beyond the initial package's 50 hours a month.
While YouTube TV is unmatched in its DVR, having access to Hulu, normally $5.99, is a big plus for some.metamorworks / Getty Images
For Lovely, having access to Hulu along with Hulu + Live TV might just put it over the top. For $70.99, customers can have access to Hulu with no ads.
In the end, each individual user should look into which cable or streaming option is the best fit for them based on their personal preferences and what is available in their area.
"Your mileage may vary depending on what you watch. If all you watch is NFL or sitcoms, there's no reason to pay for cable or live television," Lovely said. "People should consider different cord cutting set-ups based on what is best for them."