YouTube TV vs. Sling TV

Live TV streaming services may seem similar, but every name offers a different experience. Sling TV is known for being one of the more affordable options, while YouTube TV is popular among those who want an expansive channel list and huge storage space for recordings. However, both can be customized to suit your specific need with add-ons, including extra sports channels and more DVR space. 

So should you get YouTube TV or Sling TV? From content and pricing to overall personalization, here’s how the two services square up. Don’t forget to check out our full Sling TV review. We have a more in-depth review of YouTube TV, too.

Plans and pricing for YouTube TV vs. Sling TV

 Sling TVYouTube TV
Monthly priceFrom $30/mo.$64.99/mo.
Free trial length3 days14 days
Number of channels30+85+
Original content available?NoYes
Live streaming available?YesYes

Sling TV and YouTube TV have very different pricing structures. YouTube TV keeps things simple with just one plan, but it doesn’t come cheap. After a recent price hike, the service now charges $64.99/mo., making it one of the more expensive live TV streaming platforms. But, for that price, you do get access to more than 85 major channels. Take a look at our overview of YouTube TV’s subscription package.

Sling TV, on the other hand, gives you a choice of three packages. Sling Orange and Sling Blue both cost $30/mo. each, but come with different channel lists and features. For example, Sling Orange users can watch 31 networks, and Sling Blue subscribers can browse through 45 names. There’s also the option to combine the two packages for $45/mo. to enjoy every channel that Sling TV offers as well as upgraded simultaneous streaming limits. Find out more about Sling TV’s pricing and packages here. 

Comparing the YouTube TV vs. Sling TV experience

User experience

Both Sling TV and YouTube TV offer clean interfaces on TVs, desktops, and mobiles. Sling TV’s TV guide works in a similar way to the guides you’d find on regular cable TV. You can see what’s currently playing and scroll through upcoming titles from the week ahead. You can also set your favorite channels and quickly find them via the My Channels filter, as well as see your recordings, personal recommendations, trending titles, and featured sports events. 

The Sling TV web interface is pretty similar, with a top menu showcasing sections like My TV, On Now, and Guide. Head to My TV to see your favorite channels on the first row, followed by recordings and previously watched titles. The mobile version of Sling TV focuses on the My TV section but features categories like Popular Shows and Kids’ Favorites instead. Unlike the desktop interface, the mobile search bar is hidden, making for a slightly less fluid experience. 

YouTube TV on any device looks pretty much the same. The service has a similar feel to the regular YouTube site and can even be set to dark mode. It uses 3 main navigation tools: Home, Live, and Library. Use the search bar to experience YouTube TV’s impressive search function. Similarly to Sling TV, the Now Playing screen features the usual playback tools like fast-forward and rewind. However, YouTube TV also lets you browse informative content about the game or movie you’re currently watching. 

Wondering exactly which devices support either Sling TV or YouTube TV? From Android and iOS devices to game consoles and smart TVs, here’s every compatible device you need to know about. 

Sling TV compatible devices

  • Amazon Fire TV devices
  • Android tablets and phones
  • Android TVs
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Google Nest 
  • iOS tablets and phones
  • LG TVs
  • Oculus Go
  • Portal TV 
  • Roku devices
  • Samsung smart TVs
  • TiVo Stream 4K
  • Xbox One
  • Xfinity Flex
  • Web browsers (Chrome, Edge, Safari, and Windows 10)

YouTube TV compatible devices

  • Amazon Fire TV devices
  • Android tablets and phones
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Hisense smart TVs
  • iOS tablets and phones
  • LG smart TVs
  • PlayStation 4
  • Roku devices
  • Samsung smart TVs
  • Sharp smart TVs
  • Vizio SmartCast
  • Xbox One

Personalization

The main way to personalize any live TV experience is with individual user accounts. Unfortunately, Sling TV doesn’t yet support this feature. But YouTube TV does. In fact, it gives each account up to six user profiles, so each person can view customized content recommendations and arrange their TV guide however they like. 

Although Sling TV is lacking in the profile department, it does have a number of add-on features. Starting at $5/mo. and going all the way up to $30/mo., these extras range from additional sports, comedy, and lifestyle channels to premium names like Showtime and STARZ. YouTube TV has several add-ons, too. HBO, Epix, Showtime, and Starz are all available for an additional monthly fee — as is Sports Plus, which gives you the likes of NFL RedZone and FOX Soccer Plus for $10.99/mo.

When it comes to settings, Sling TV has several personalized options. Apple TV users can enjoy customized recommendations that respond to viewing histories, and all users can set parental control restrictions to stop kids from accessing mature content. However, these settings are limited in reality due to the lack of user profiles. YouTube TV has similar parental controls to protect young users. It also has features designed for sports fans, such as score-hiding, to avoid spoilers.

Features

You’ll probably be wondering how much storage space Sling TV and YouTube TV have for your precious recordings. Well, YouTube TV is the clear winner here. The service has an unlimited cloud DVR for all users, so you don’t have to worry about mass recording sprees. Plus, you can keep recordings for up to nine months, giving you plenty of time to watch everything on your list. Sling TV, however, only gives 10 hours of cloud DVR for free. If you’re willing to pay an extra $5/mo., you can increase this limit, but only to 50 hours. The plus side is that you can keep Sling TV recordings forever. 

YouTube TV also beats Sling TV when it comes to simultaneous streaming. Every YouTube TV account can use the service on three devices at the same time. Sling TV is slightly more complicated. Orange users only get a single stream, Blue users get three, and combined package subscribers receive a total of four simultaneous streams.

YouTube TV vs. Sling TV content

As explained, each Sling TV package offers different channels. The Sling Orange plan comes with just over 30 networks, including AMC, Disney Channel, and ESPN. Sling Blue, meanwhile, offers 45 channels, such as FOX, NBC, and TLC. To get every network on Sling TV’s list, you’ll have to combine the two packages for a total channel selection of more than 50 names.

Unfortunately, none of Sling TV’s plans feature ABC or CBS, meaning you’ll suffer from a lack of regional channels. But, with the combined package, you’ll be able to watch a range of sports events like the NBA Playoffs and enjoy the biggest selection of shows and movies. Right now, films from Beauty and the Beast to Pulp Fiction are available. On-demand content is also available via Sling TV. Some networks offer the same on-demand titles for months, while others only keep them for a few days. You can even rent movies, too.

The 85+ channels that come with a YouTube TV subscription do include all of the big names that Sling TV is missing. You’ll find ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC on the list along with newly added networks like Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. ESPN, FS1, and league-specific sports channels such as NBA TV and MLB Network are also offered at no extra cost. What’s more, you’ll be able to enjoy YouTube Originals. Find Karate Kid sequel, Cobra Kai, on the service, reality TV shows like Instant Influencer, and thrillers like Impulse.

Like Sling TV, YouTube TV also features on-demand content from its included networks. Watch recent episodes and even entire seasons of titles from channels like FX and The CW. Plus, catch movies like Star Wars from FX, TBS, and more.

The final cut

Whether you opt for Sling TV or YouTube TV ultimately comes down to two things: how much you want to spend and how many networks you want to be able to watch. If you’re willing to spend more money for more of a complete cord-cutting solution, YouTube TV is your best bet. But if you want the freedom to choose slimmer packages or just want a much more affordable streaming service, Sling TV is a great option to consider. It also comes with plenty of deals, including a free AirTV Mini when you pay for two months upfront and $10 off the Showtime, STARZ, and Epix add-ons for the first month.

Still stuck between Sling vs. YouTube TV? Why not take advantage of each service’s free trial to see which platform really fits your needs? Currently, YouTube TV is offering 2 weeks free, while Sling TV has a three-day free trial. Head here for more information on Sling TV’s free trial and deals. And check out our YouTube TV free trial guide.