Sling TV is cheaper than YouTube TV but YouTube TV offers access to more channels. Further complicating matters is the availability of add-ons, as they can drastically affect the price of either subscription. For example, adding multiple channel packs to Sling TV not only results in a more similar channel lineup to YouTube TV, but also a similar monthly subscription cost.
Sling TV and YouTube TV are currently two of the most popular live TV streaming services in the US. Of the two, YouTube TV is the most popular overall. At last count, YouTube TV was delivering live TV to more than twice as many subscribers as Sling TV. That’s also in spite of almost costing twice as much each month.
The standard Sling TV subscription costs $35 per month. Technically, Sling offers two different base plans – Sling orange and Sling Blue – although it doesn’t matter which one a household initially signs up to as both are priced at the same $35 per month rate. It is also possible to combine these two plans to benefit from any channel differences, with the bundled Sling Orange & Blue plan costing $50 per month.
In contrast, the standard YouTube TV subscription currently costs $64.99 per month. While YouTube TV does also offer a Spanish plan, it doesn’t offer more than one English-language plan like Sling TV does. Outside of the Spanish plan, this also means there’s currently no option to sign up to YouTube TV for any less than $65 per month.
For those simply looking for the cheapest live TV service, it is Sling TV. At $35 per month, Sling’s base plan is $30 per month cheaper than YouTube TV’s base plan. Even if opting for the combined Sling Orange & Blue plan, Sling is still $15 per month cheaper than YouTube TV.
Sling TV and YouTube TV cost per channel
While Sling TV is the cheapest on paper, these two services are not starting from the same point. This is reflected in their respective prices with one of the biggest differences being the number and selection of channels. While Sling TV offers either 31 or 41 channels (depending on whether signed up to Orange or Blue), YouTube TV’s base subscription unlocks access to more than 85 channels. On this basis alone, YouTube TV offers access to more than double the number of channels of either base Sling plan.
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If taking a look at the cost per channel of Sling Blue, then the $35 per month price for 41 channels breaks down to around $0.85 per channel. In contrast, YouTube TV’s 85+ channels for $65 per month averages out at a minimum of $0.76 per channel. If comparing to the more limited Sling Orange plan, the average cost per channel works out to be $1.13 per channel. If using this very blunt yardstick, YouTube TV is technically cheaper, per channel, than Sling TV.
Another factor to take into consideration is add-ons. While both Sling TV and YouTube TV offer add-ons, Sling TV subscribers are more likely to consider adding channels to compensate for the fewer channels to begin with. This is probably why Sling offers so many different add-ons with the price ranging from $6 to $11 per month.
For those that want to quickly increase the number of channels they have access to without subscribing to multiple add-ons, Sling offers a Total TV Deal add-on. For a combined price of $21 per month, this add-on unlocks access to seven of Sling’s individual Extra add-ons (as well as the DVR Plus add-on).
The actual number and selection of channels added with Total TV Deal does depend on whether bundling with Sling Orange or Sling Blue, but both get access to a minimum of 69 channels. This is on top of the channels included with the base plan, taking the potential number of channels to 100 for Sling Orange (at $56 per month) and 110 for Sling Blue (at $56 per month).
Even though YouTube TV does offer more than the advertised 85 channels, it doesn’t offer enough with its base subscription to bring the cost-per-channel lower than Sling TV when factoring in Total TV Deal. Ignoring the fact that either service’s channel lineup may suit some homes better than the other’s, Sling TV is the cheaper option at the base plan level. It is also the cheapest for those simply looking for the most channels at the lowest possible price.
Sling TV vs YouTube TV cost: summary
At $35 per month, Sling TV offers really good value and is significantly cheaper than YouTube TV’s $65 per month base plan. However, these base plans are very different with YouTube TV providing access to a far greater number of channels. If only subscribing to one base plan, with no add-ons, then Sling TV is the cheapest in actual cost, but YouTube TV’s base plan results in a lower cost per channel.
For homes looking to maximize the number of channels they get at the lowest possible price, Sling TV is the cheapest once again. By bundling either the Sling Orange ($35 p/m) or Sling Blue ($35 p/m) plan with the Total TV Deal add-on ($21 p/m), subscribers are able to increase the number of channels to at least 100. With the combined base and add-on price totaling $56 per month, the Sling bundle offers access to more channels at a cheaper price than the $65 per month YouTube TV base plan.