YouTube TV recently announced a price hike that will take the base plan to $72.99 a month, making the service one of the most expensive live TV options on the market.
The change went into effect on March 16 for new subscribers; existing customers won't be billed at the new rate until April 18, giving you a little time to consider your options.
As a longtime YouTube TV subscriber myself, I think I'll be moving on from it before my next bill hits and I've got three potential alternatives that I'm considering.
What's the best YouTube TV alternative?
The three services that are top of mind for me as I consider a switch from YouTube TV after years as a subscriber are Philo TV, Sling TV, and Hulu Plus Live TV. The first two are nice savings compared to YouTube TV at just $25 and $55 a month, respectively, while the latter bundles nicely with a number of other services I use for an overall discount on my monthly streaming costs. If you are wondering why I'm skipping Fubo TV, at $75 for the base Pro plan it is already more expensive than YouTube TV's new pricing.
Philo TV doesn't seem to garner the same attention, or maybe just marketing dollars, as some of the other streaming services, but for just $25 a month with no contract it's a tempting option.
You get 70+ live channels for that price along with an unlimited DVR (store shows for up to 1 year), the ability to stream on up to 3 devices at a time, and the option to create up to 10 user profiles.
So what are the downsides? No local channels, so ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox are out unless you hook up an OTA antenna. It also offers limited sports coverage and news among its lineup.
If you can get over those shortcomings, it's easily the most affordable live streaming TV service out there, so it's worth giving the 7-day free trial a shot to find out if it works for you.
Given that the price is the motivating factor for dropping YouTube TV it is tempting to switch to Sling TV, which is either $40 or $55 a month depending on the tier you select. For $40, you can select either the Orange plan, which caters to sports enthusiasts and family content, or the Blue plan which focuses on news and entertainment. Split the difference with the Orange & Blue plan for $55, which gives you a blend of both.
Now any of these options are considerably fewer channels than the now over 100 that YouTube TV offers, so if you are going by price per channel you aren't doing as well, but the question is really just whether it has the channels that you actually watch. You can check the full list on Sling's service page (opens in new tab).
Other limitations versus YouTube TV are the lack of access to local channels like Fox, ABC, and NBC, along with only 50 hours of DVR recording, compared to unlimited on YouTube TV. When I subscribed to Sling TV in the past I added an OTA antenna to my setup for live local channels, but it's certainly a consideration if you want to record content on those channels.
Overall Sling TV is a compelling option if you are looking to save some money each month and its channel lineups match up with your watching habits.
Hulu Plus Live TV
This one might feel counterintuitive as Hulu+ Live TV is $70 a month, so barely cheaper than YouTube TV's new price, but if you are like most cord cutters you have other subscriptions and this is where you might start to see the savings.
For $82.99 you can get Hulu+ Live TV, along with Hulu (No Ads), Disney+, and ESPN+. If you are even just a Disney+ and YouTube TV subscriber then you are already at exactly the same price, so essentially you are getting ESPN+ and Hulu (No Ads) for free, which considering Hulu's ever-growing library of shows and movies is a solid addition.
Hulu+ Live TV also gives you a more comparable package to YouTube TV with access to all of your local channels in most markets, the ability to create family member profiles, unlimited DVR recording, and an 80-plus channel lineup.
If you are a cord cutter that strings together a number of services, this option will save you $26 versus paying a la carte for the new YouTube TV subscription ($73), Disney+ ($11), Hulu No Ads ($15), and ESPN+ ($10).
Personally, this is the option that lines up the best with my families watching habits, so I'll be making the move over to the Hulu+ Live TV bundle when my next YouTube TV bill comes up.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.