Tubi vs YouTube TV: Which Free and Paid Streaming Service is Better?

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Jason

Written by Jason Lin

Tubi Vs Youtube Tv

Live TV streaming services like YouTube TV are growing in popularity as cable cord-cutters look for cheaper alternatives. At the same time, free streaming platforms like Tubi offer on-demand movies and shows with ads. This definitive guide compares Tubi and YouTube TV across price, content, features and more to help you decide.

Introduction

As more viewers shift to internet-based streaming, services have multiplied to meet demand. With so many options now available, choosing the right streaming provider for your needs can get confusing.

I’ve subscribed to both Tubi and YouTube TV for over a year now. In this comprehensive comparison guide, I’ll share my hands-on experiences with each service to help you determine which is better suited for you.

After extensively testing both platforms, I’ve compared them across ten key factors:

  • Price
  • Content library
  • Content quality
  • Device support
  • Offline viewing
  • Simultaneous streams
  • Cloud DVR
  • Live TV
  • Sports coverage
  • Interface and user experience

By the end, you’ll have all the details to decide whether ad-supported Tubi or paid YouTube TV is a better fit. Let’s dive in.

Tubi Overview

Tubi Logo

Launched: 2014

Pricing: Free with ads

Owned By: Fox Corporation

Tubi TV is an extremely popular ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) service with over 51,000 movies and TV shows in its expanding catalog.

It’s able to offer entirely free programming through revenue generated from commercials played during streams. Tubi pioneered the AVOD model which services like Pluto TV later replicated and enlarged. See how Tubi directly compares to Pluto TV in this dedicated streaming service battle.

Let’s look at the key pros and cons:

Tubi Pros

✅ Completely free

✅ Huge on-demand library with regular new additions

✅ No subscriptions or commitments

✅ Available on most devices

Tubi Cons

❌ Limited original programming

❌ Commercials can’t be skipped

❌ Content rotates frequently

Next, I’ll explain Tubi’s capabilities in more detail across the comparison factors listed earlier.

Tubi TV Full Review

Price

The most obvious advantage Tubi holds over most competitors is its unmatched free pricing tier. You can stream unlimited movies and shows from its library without paying a cent.

Tubi earns revenue from the advertisements played throughout its programming. You’ll generally see around 4-5 minutes of commercials per hour.

While not ideal, it’s a reasonable trade-off considering the vast content you get without any subscription. Of course, the alternative is paying for a service like Netflix which offers an ad-free experience.

But if you want to augment a paid platform like Netflix with some additional free programming, Tubi is a great supplemental choice.

Winner: Tubi

Content Library

Tubi Tv Content Library

Tubi frequently boasts about having over 51,000 titles comprising movies, shows, documentaries and kids content. The actual amount fluctuates but generally stays above 40,000.

The catalog skew towards older, classic movies from major studios like MGM, Paramount and Lionsgate. You’ll find popular franchises like The Matrix and Transformers. There are also some festival award winners and acclaimed films.

On the TV side, most shows tend to be older complete series across drama, comedy, reality and kids genres. Examples include Duck Dynasty, Kitchen Nightmares and Who’s the Boss. Think content you’d find on standard cable channels.

In terms of amount, no free service comes close to Tubi’s library size. And I’ve been impressed by some overlooked gems discovered while browsing.

However, Tubi does have some limitations here:

  • Light on newest releases compared to paid services
  • Content availability rotates frequently
  • Original programming is very limited
  • Stream quality maxes out at 1080p HD

Still, Tubi delivers sufficient variety for most casual viewers. Avid movie buffs may get frustrated with selection holes.

Winner: Tubi

Content Quality

Tubi licenses its programming from major Hollywood studios and TV networks. So you’ll generally find professionally produced, high quality movies and shows.

As mentioned though, the focus is more on legacy content. You shouldn’t go in expecting many recent box office hits or buzzy original programming.

Most video quality is capped at 1080p HD across devices. A tiny portion is available in 4K but it’s rather negligible. Average bitrates fall around 5mbps allowing for solid streaming.

In short, quality level is what you’d expect from a basic cable network. Certainly higher than user generated platforms like YouTube but not matching premium offerings from Netflix or HBO Max.

Winner: Tie

Device Support

A key reason for Tubi’s popularity is widespread device availability. You can access Tubi on:

  • Smartphones and tablets: Android, iOS
  • Streaming devices: Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV
  • Gaming consoles: PlayStation, Xbox
  • Smart TVs: Samsung, Vizio, LG, Sony
  • Web browsers
Tubi Device Support 1

It covers pretty much every streaming platform aside from Switch. And hands-free voice commands work via Alexa and Google Assistant for lazy browsing.

Tubi also offers descriptive video services for visually impaired audiences. Closed captioning is available across programming.

Compatibility here rivals premium players like Netflix and Disney+. However, some users have reported issues accessing Tubi on smart TVs and devices, especially regarding Tubi not working on Roku or Tubi not working on smart TVs.

Winner: Tubi

Offline Viewing

One major limitation is Tubi’s lack of support for offline downloads. You must be connected to the internet for streams to play.

This rules out watching shows in areas without stable connections such as flights. It also prevents saving movies on mobile devices for trips away from wifi access.

By comparison, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video allow users to download select titles for offline playback. So Tubi definitely misses a trick here.

Winner: YouTube TV

Simultaneous Streams

Tubi allows unlimited simultaneous streams under the same account like most streaming platforms.

So you can freely access Tubi across mobile, web and TV apps all at the same time. It utilizes IP-tracking though and limits streams to 5 devices concurrently.

Still, that’s comparable to paid options and sufficient for average households. Families can comfortably share access without worrying about device limits.

Winner: Tie

Cloud DVR

Since Tubi focuses solely on an on-demand programming model, it unsurprisingly does not offer any cloud DVR capabilities.

As a result, you cannot record live content airing on television to watch later. You’re limited only to the pre-existing library.

This does limit flexibility compared to alternatives like YouTube TV. But it focuses the experience more on content discovery through recommendation engines versus live access.

Winner: YouTube TV

Live TV

Tubi Live Tv

Tubi supports live TV. Currently, it has about 50 channels, covering a variety of content types from movies to sports, music, children’s programs, and more.

But YouTube TV has more than 100+ channels, offering a wider selection of choices.

Winner: YouTube TV

Sports Coverage

Tubi Sports Coverage

Tubi offers a limited selection of live sports events as part of its free, ad-supported service, catering mainly to viewers looking for accessible sports content without a subscription fee.

The live sports coverage on Tubi includes a variety of events, ranging from football and basketball to less mainstream sports, depending on the partnerships and rights acquired at any given time.

Winner: YouTube TV

Interface and User Experience

Tubi Tv Home

Tubi has put considerable work into refining its interface for efficient content discovery. They regularly highlight specific categories and curate collections centered around themes, holidays or trends.

I particularly like the home screen customization which shows you suggestions catered specifically to your watch history and tastes. Continue watching queues also let you resume titles in progress.

Search works quickly allowing browsing by title, genre tag or actor. You can build permanent watch lists for tracking favorites.

Downsides do exist too. Specifically:

  • Wish lists lack range of management options
  • Can’t remove continue watching row items
  • Some homepage content promotions feel overly intrusive

But overall, Tubi has maximized the interface potential for on-demand streaming. I would rank it just a notch below Netflix in terms of usability.

Winner: Tie

Tubi TV Review Summary

Tubi Pros

  • Entirely free unlimited streaming
  • Massive content library with regular new additions
  • Available on all major streaming platforms
  • Intuitive interface and curation

Tubi Cons

  • Limited mostly to older licensed movies and shows
  • Sparing original programming
  • Content availability fluctuates often

For an even more detailed look, read my full Tubi TV review analyzing its content library, streaming capabilities, interface and overall value as a free streaming option.

Now let’s see how YouTube TV compares across the same evaluation criteria.

YouTube TV Overview

Youtube Tv Logo

Launched: 2017 in select markets

Pricing: $73 per month

Owned By: YouTube / Alphabet

YouTube TV is a premium live TV streaming service providing access to 100+ cable channels. For $73/month, you get live news, entertainment, and sports plus an unlimited cloud DVR.

It fills the gap left by conventional pay-TV providers and best replicates the experience in an online format. The service has steadily increased affiliate partnerships allowing them to expand channel offerings and boost national reach.

After testing it the past two years, I believe YouTube TV currently provides the best bang for your buck among live streaming competitors.

Let’s examine how it fulfills key video streaming needs:

YouTube TV Pros

✅ 100+ channels with wide variety

✅ Unlimited cloud DVR included

✅ Works on most streaming devices

✅ Intuitive viewing interface

YouTube TV Cons

❌ Base $73 monthly price now expensive

❌ Missing some channels like A&E

❌ 4K/HDR only available for some programs

❌ Requires fast, stable internet

Next up is the full hands-on review across those 10 comparison factors:

YouTube TV Full Review

Price

YouTube TV’s base subscription is on the higher side at $73 monthly after recent increases. For context, that’s $20+ more expensive than budget live TV providers like Sling. On par with premium packages from DIRECTV Stream or Hulu Live.

But that elevated price tag does get you best-in-class features like unlimited cloud DVR, 3 simultaneous streams, and 100+ channels. Access to niche offerings like PBS Kids seals the value.

Occasional promotional discounts help offset costs. And thanks to flexible no-commitment plans, you can always downgrade or pause during slower months.

For voracious TV watchers that maximize DVR and multi-stream perks, YouTube TV offers a superior experience than cable. But more casual audiences may find the monthly expense harder to justify.

Winner: Tubi

Content Library

Youtube Tv Content Library

YouTube TV grants you instant access to over 100+ popular national cable channels spanning:

  • Entertainment: TBS, TNT, Discovery, Bravo, E!, FX
  • News: CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Cheddar
  • Sports: ESPN, NFL Network, MLB Network, Golf Channel
  • Broadcast TV: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS

The main missing networks are A+E owned ones like A&E, History and Lifetime. But YouTube TV checks the box for most household needs with its channel variety – especially news and sports fans. MLB Network and NBA TV are nice additions for baseball and basketball aficionados.

Local affiliate coverage is available for ABC, NBC and Fox in over 95% of markets now too. Though the live feeds vary based on your registered location. PBS arrived more recently rounding out public access.

Some channels offer their own standalone apps allowing account linking for unlocked content. Examples include Showtime, Starz and AMC Premiere. These add greater depth.

Library size obviously doesn’t compare to the 50K+ catalog Tubi furnishes. But you pay for reliable access to latest shows from popular networks.

Winner: YouTube TV

Content Quality

In terms of broadcast quality, YouTube TV streams channels at up to 60fps in crisp 1080p HD. Certain platforms now enable 4K feeds.

However, 4K content remains sparing outside live sports and special events. I measured bitrates around 5mbps for typical programming allowing solid image clarity.

YouTube TV has added HDR compatibility for select 4K footage too. Though fuller Dolby Vision support is still missing.

Picture quality reliably meets expectations for a premium service. But inconsistencies around 4K and HDR do remain an issue needing improvement through wider adoption.

Winner: YouTube TV

Device Support

YouTube TV works on smartphones, tablets, computers and TV streaming devices. Supported platforms include:

  • Mobiles: Android, iOS
  • Streaming boxes: Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast
  • Game consoles: PS4, Xbox One
  • Smart TVs: LG, Samsung (select models)
  • Web browsers
Youtube Tv Devices

That covers every essential category. Though integration lags a bit on certain smart TV software compared to the polished mobile experience.

YouTube as a brand does give them an advantage when it comes to cross-device syncing. Features like watch history and DVR transfers work seamlessly in the background. Tubi struggles more here.

But a lacking Nintendo Switch app remains an unfortunate omission. And casting functionality can still be spotty across electronics.

Winner: YouTube TV

Offline Viewing

YouTube TV allows downloading recordings from your DVR to mobile devices like tablets and phones. This permits offline playback for when internet access is limited.

It’s a hugely valuable feature for frequent travelers or those with strict data caps. Now you can catch up on your favorite shows no matter where you are.

Downloaded recordings stay available for up to 30 days on compatible apps. Perfect for long trips away. Of course, securing rights for this does limit possibilities mainly to recorded programming.

But it’s a leg up over Tubi’s non-existent offline functionality.

Winner: YouTube TV

Simultaneous Streams

Your YouTube TV membership allows 3 simultaneous streams under the same account. This applies across a mix of mobile, computer and streaming box apps.

I can comfortably watch football in the living room, news in the kitchen and cartoons in the bedroom all concurrently. It satisfies most average households.

Now they offer an optional $20 add-on called Unlimited Screens. This literally permits unlimited concurrent streams which is exceptional. Ideal for sports fans splitting fees across friends and family.

Between the two options, YouTube properly matches typical multiple stream needs.

Winner: YouTube TV

Cloud DVR

Youtube Tv Recordings

YouTube TV allows you to record an unlimited amount of programming to their Cloud DVR system. Just press record on any show airing live or schedule recordings for upcoming programs.

Recorded content sits for 9 months giving you ample time to catch up on saves. And you can access those recordings seamlessly across all compatible devices.

It’s a valuable inclusion lacking on most competitor platforms. Quickly filling up DVR limits creates annoying friction. So the unlimited advantage here helps YouTube TV properly emulate the cable experience.

Winner: YouTube TV

Live TV

Youtube Tv Channels 1

As a full live TV streaming provider, YouTube TV grants you live access to 100+ channels included with your base membership.

From new episodes on TBS to breaking news on MSNBC to early EPL kickoffs – everything airs simultaneously as if you had cable. Only here it streams over internet without contracts.

YouTube TV continues securing rights to wire in new channels like PBS local affiliates. Expect its offerings to keep expanding.

Tubi has only a small number of live TV channels, as they focus more on video-on-demand content.

Winner: YouTube TV

Sports Coverage

Youtube Tv Sports Channels

Sports fans get plenty to love with YouTube TV. The service offers complete access to mainstream sports networks like ESPN, Fox Sports, NFL Network, MLB Network, NBC Sports and more.

That ensures you’ll never miss out on big events from leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL. Various college conferences receive airtime too keeping NCAA nuts happy.

In a major get, YouTube TV now holds exclusive rights to NFL Sunday Ticket starting 2023. RedZone channel is available via a Sports Plus package too.

Regional sports networks (RSNs) do remain hit and miss based on location. But the main bases are covered quite well. YouTube TV satisfies the sports itch better than any other legal streaming option.

Winner: YouTube TV

Interface and User Experience

Youtube Tv Home 1

YouTube TV’s interface immediately evokes simpler cable box vibes. The viewing guide displays live channels while providing tools to bookmark favorite networks.

Cloud DVR features get seamlessly baked in too for scheduling recordings. Standard controls like pause, play, fast forward, rewind all operate smoothly.

I especially appreciate additional touches like:

  • Netflix-style rows for curated content suggestions
  • Consistent performance across mobile, desktop and TV
  • Simple playback via Google Cast from Android/Chrome
  • Voice commands through Google Assistant

Room for improvement still exists around surfacing new recordings, managing saved shows and personalization. But YouTube TV nails the basics today for responsive channel flipping and content queuing.

Winner: Tie

YouTube TV Review Summary

YouTube TV Pros

  • 100+ channels with unlimited cloud DVR
  • Smooth performance across devices
  • Intuitive cable-like interface
  • Top hub for sports fans
  • Industry leading 3 simultaneous streams
  • 30-day offline viewing for recordings

YouTube TV Cons

  • Expensive $73 monthly pricing
  • Missing some lifestyle channels
  • 4K feeds and coverage still limited
  • Restrictive location rights on RSNs

Tubi vs YouTube TV: Key Differences

With the full reviews out of the way, let’s directly contrast some of the major differences between these two streaming providers:

FactorTubiYouTube TV
PriceFree$73 per month
Content ModelOn-demand videoLive TV channels
Library Size40,000+ movies & shows and 50+ channels100+ channels
Original ProgrammingVery littleSome exclusives
Sports/NewsVery littleYes, wide variety
Ads5 minutes per hourNone
Video Quality1080p HD maxUp to 4K HDR
Simultaneous Streams5 devices3 streams + unlimited ($20 extra)
DVRNoneUnlimited 9-month storage
Offline DownloadsNoYes for recordings

Breaking it down this way visualizes the core differences between an ad-supported video platform designed purely for on-demand viewing compared to a full cable TV replacement service.

It boils down to the premium live television access YouTube TV supplies versus the free, expansive on-demand catalog Tubi TV allows.

The main overlap lies in supplementary content like movies and some older TV series. Sports, news junkies, and TV enthusiasts are better served by YouTube. Budget-focused viewers who just want occasional entertainment find a match with Tubi.

Now I’ll directly compare them across 5 key buying decision factors.

Tubi vs YouTube TV: Price

The obvious distinction lies in pricing model:

  • Tubi: completely free
  • YouTube TV: $73 monthly subscription

So Tubi saves you nearly $900 per year over YouTube TV. But that comes at the cost of access.

YouTube TV unlocks 50 more live channels – including sports, news and local stations. If you want to replicate the cable experience, the high recurring fees are justified.

But cost-conscious folks who just want a supplemental on-demand catalog can rely solely on Tubi’s free tier.

Ultimately, it comes down to how much you value live TV availability and the breadth of content offered by YouTube. For budget-focused viewers, Tubi is the money saver.

Tubi vs YouTube TV: Library Size & Content Variety

YouTube TV provides 100+ always-available live cable channels once subscribed. Tubi gives you access to a 40,000+ catalog of on-demand programming.

Sheer content volume: Tubi wins significantly.

But YouTube TV counters with greater content variety spanning:

  • Local affiliate stations
  • 24/7 news networks
  • Mainstream entertainment
  • Niche lifestyle channels
  • Sports coverage

Regular TV watchers need that range. Whereas casual movie fans find enough options within Tubi’s catalog.

It again circles back to intended viewing habits. YouTube TV acts as your main TV provider while Tubi serves for occasional binges.

Tubi vs YouTube TV: Streaming Experience

YouTube TV focuses on smoothly delivering live cable TV online. That means:

  • Channels stream as they would through cable
  • Integrated TV guide for browsing
  • Cloud DVR for recordings
  • Unlimited simultaneous streams ($20 extra)
  • Consistent performance across devices

Tubi is solely oriented around on-demand video. So the experience reflects platforms like Netflix focused on content discovery.

Consider Tubi strengths like:

  • Lightning fast movie/series starts
  • Personalized recommendations
  • Intuitive category curation
  • Resume watching queues
  • Remote voice commands

For live television, news and sports, YouTube TV is unmatched. But viewers wanting just entertainment find a simpler fit with Tubi.

Tubi vs YouTube TV: Budget Factor

Here’s the reality – money often dictates choice:

  • Job loss or income drops? Choose free Tubi.
  • Willing to spend on live TV? Pick YouTube TV.

The ad-based and subscription models cater to different financial situations. When cash gets tight, Tubi keeps you entertained at no cost.

YouTube TV becomes harder to justify if finances grow strained. Pausing paid services is often the first budget cut folks make when money needs saving.

Of course, saving $900+ yearly isn’t insignificant either. I know some who’ve replaced cable solely with Tubi to control costs. YouTube TV instead targets those still willing to pay for premium television.

Tubi vs YouTube TV: Verdict

For cash-strapped cord-cutters who just require an on-demand content fix, choose Tubi TV.

If you want to best mimic the live cable TV experience online, go with YouTube TV.

I hope this full hands-on comparison of Tubi vs YouTube TV has helped differentiate their streaming models. Each platform suits distinct viewer needs and budgets.

Determine your must-have factors between live sports and news access, extensive on-demand libraries, exclusive originals, or just sheer affordability. Then give both a test drive to see which service best fulfills your household habits.

FAQs About Tubi and YouTubeTV

For further questions, here are answers to commonly asked questions regarding Tubi and YouTube TV:

Does Tubi have ads?

Yes. Tubi is an ad-supported platform that places around 4-5 minutes of commercials per hour of programming watched. This revenue allows them to offer free access. See this guide exploring more details around does Tubi have ads.

What channels does YouTube TV have?

YouTube TV provides over 100+ live national cable channels – including entertainment, news, and sports networks. Examples: ESPN, TBS, Fox News, AMC, TLC. Local affiliate stations are also available based on your region.

Can I download movies on Tubi?

No. Tubi does not currently support offline downloads for any of their on-demand movie library. You must have an active internet connection for shows to stream.

How many devices work on YouTube TV?

The base YouTube TV membership supports 3 simultaneous streams. You can pay an extra $20 monthly to enable unlimited concurrent streams on your account.

I hope this guide has clearly contrasted Tubi and YouTube TV across the core features that differentiate streaming services. Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions!

Jason
Jason Lin
Tech enthusiast with 10+ years of experience, providing guides, reviews, and tips on Smart TVs, streaming devices, and TV apps.

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