Saturday, December 23, 2017

Youtube TV vs Hulu

Youtube TV and Hulu TV are two options for cord-cutters to get live TV.  After trying each for a few months, I decided to go with with Youtube TV because of its superior quality even though it had a smaller channel line-up.


Both service makes it easy to sign-up and cancel.  Simply log into your account and enable/disable your subscription.  Youtube TV costs $35 a month while Hulu costs $39.99 a month (if you're already a Hulu subscriber then it's an additional $32 a month).


Both service lets you record shows to watch later.  Youtube TV offers unlimited recording but shows are stored for 9 months while Hulu TV allows 50 hours of recordings but no time limit for the storage.  Here I would give Youtube the edge as recording won't get accidentally overwritten if too many shows are recorded.  If I don't end up watching a show within 9 months, it'll likely be on Netflix by then.


Both services allows streaming to mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc.) and desktops.  Neither yet has support for smart TVs so I generally stream to TVs through a Chromecast.  Ironically, when Youtube TV first launched, it didn't work on the Google's Pixel C tablet which was what I owned and that was a major inconvenience.  Fortunately, that's been fixed with the latest Android update.

Channel Lineup

As of February 2018, Youtube TV now carry Turner channels.

When it comes to channel lineups, Youtube is a lot more limited when compared to Hulu.  They both have the usual staples of ABC, NBC, CBS, ESPN, Fox, and some other cable channels, but Youtube doesn't offer Turner (e.g. TNT, CNN, etc.) or the Scripts network (e.g. Food, HGTV, etc).  This can be a deal breaker depending on what you watch.  For basketball fans (sports being a reason many people watch live tv), the lack of TNT is loss so the alternative is to subscribe to NBA League pass separate for an additional cost.  Youtube does have AMC for those needing their Walking Dead fix and this is channel that Hulu doesn't offer.

Smart Home

If you have a Google Home or use Google Assistant then Youtube TV and a Chromecast you can simply say, "OK, Google.  Show NBC on TV."  Youtube TV will start showing the channel on your TV.  Hulu currently doesn't have this integration.


Both service allows you to share your subscription with additional users.  A Youtube TV subscription can be shared with up to 6 members of your Family Share each with their own set of recordings.  Hulu allows 2 accounts to use the same subscription.


All of the above are nice features, but the point of either service is to be able to watch shows.  With Hulu, I encountered glitches when trying to watch live shows especially sports.  Hulu would suddenly be unable to play a broadcast even if I later try to access the recording of it.  This happened on multiple occasions.  It would often buffer or drop in video quality.  For the latter, I would sometime have to disconnect and reconnect manually to get it to go back to high quality.  The most annoying glitch, however, is that Hulu would often skip ahead a few seconds during a broadcast.  This happen for both sports and other shows.  Imagine watching a basketball game when a player is about take a game winning shot and suddenly it jumps to the conclusion of the game.  Yeah... not good.  I've not encountered any such problems with Youtube TV.


For this reason, I switched back to Youtube TV.  I'm willing to sacrifice some channels for high quality broadcast experience and Youtube TV is clearly better here. 

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