Google and Amazon are two of the biggest companies in the world — and their streaming services are two of the best on the market. But they’re also quite different. Read on for our YouTube TV vs Amazon Prime Video matchup to see which one is right for you.
How do YouTube TV and Amazon Prime Video compare?
|YouTube TV||Amazon Prime Video|
|Free Trial||From 5 days||30 days|
|On-Demand Content||1,000+ movies, 100s of TV shows||10,000+ movies, 3,000+ TV episodes|
|Live Channels||100+||100+ (with caveats)|
|Local Channels||Depends on location||259 local news channels|
|Sports Channels||CBS Sports Network, ESPN, FOX Sports, NBC Sports Network, various college networks and more||Streaming rights to select NFL, MLB, WNBA, MLS games and more|
What are the pricing and plans?
The two services are hard to compare on price, as one focuses on live TV and the other is mainly an on-demand streamer. But both are well-priced among their competition.
YouTube TV keeps things simple with a single English-language base plan. It costs almost the same as similar competitors like Hulu + Live TV, Fubo, and DirecTV Stream, and gets you more channels than two of those. There’s also a long list of add-on networks and channels that can be added à la carte.
The Spanish Plan delivers 30+ Spanish-language channels for a fraction of the price of the standard plan. For a rather steep monthly price, the 4K Plus add-on can be added to either plan.
Prime Video is included with Amazon Prime, which is a no-brainer if you’re a regular Amazon shopper. Or you can knock off about 40% and get Prime Video as a standalone service.
You can add just about any channel or streaming service out there through Prime Video Channels, rent or buy movies in 4K, and rent or buy TV shows by the episode or season. Plus, there’s no extra fee for 4K content — which is the way it should be.
How do YouTube TV's channels and Amazon Prime Video’s channels compare?
YouTube TV has 100+ channels of live TV and sports. Amazon Prime Video is harder to tally, as it doesn’t offer channels the same way. If you’re looking for a familiar, normal TV viewing experience, YouTube TV is hands down the better choice. YouTube TV is also better for sports fans.
How do the local channels compare?
YouTube TV offers all the major local channels you expect from broadcast television: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS, as well as Telemundo, UniMás, and Univision. The channels you receive will depend on the region of the country in which you reside. You can discover the channels available to you here.
Prime Video has expanded its local news coverage to 259 cities, but you won’t find complete local affiliates like you will on YouTube TV.
How do the sports channels compare?
YouTube TV includes 20+ sports channels as part of its base plan. These include regional sports networks (RSNs) and college networks.
- ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FS1, FS2
- CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports Network
- Golf Channel, MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network
- ACC Network, Big Ten Network, SEC Network
The Sports Plus Add-on gets you another 15 channels. They’re mostly for niche interests, like billiards, poker, and wrestling, but it’s got NFL RedZone, Stadium, and beIN Sports.
For a cool billion (and change) a year, Amazon signed an 11-year deal with the NFL to be the exclusive national live broadcaster of Thursday Night Football. It also has rights to other NFL games, select New York Yankees home games, select Seattle Sounders FC matches, 17 exclusive national WNBA games, and more.
Numerous sports channels are available as add-ons, including MLB.TV and NBA League Pass. However, you won’t find NFL Network or NFL RedZone on Prime Video.
Which has the better on-demand library?
With 10,000+ movies and around 3,000 TV episodes, Prime Video has one of the biggest (and best) on-demand libraries out there.
Amazon’s original content takes a big win here, with critically acclaimed shows like The Boys, The Expanse, and Bosch. It’s also the home to the most expensive TV show of all time, Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
YouTube TV apparently has a lot of on-demand content — if you can find it. And that can be a hassle, involving a lot of searching and clicking, with search results often requiring a paid add-on. YouTube TV does not have original programming, although you do get access to the (underwhelming) YouTube Originals produced for YouTube Premium.
Do both services have a free trial?
YouTube TV has a unique preview feature that lets you watch 20 minutes for free without signing up for a free trial. This is great if you just want to get a feel for the UI and take a quick look around. Plus, the 20-minute timer only counts down when you’re actually watching content.
YouTube TV’s free trial varies throughout the year. It’ can be 5 days, or more during promo periods. YouTube occasionally presents various time-limited trial promotions. For example, in the initial week of August 2023, they introduced a 21-day trial for YouTube TV. Check here to see if there are any ongoing special promotions that you can take advantage of. Please note that eligibility may vary depending on your location.
Amazon Prime Video has one of the best free trials in the industry. You get 30 days to try out the full Amazon Prime subscription, which includes Prime Video as well as shipping perks like free same-day delivery, Amazon Gaming, and Amazon Music. Just be sure to change your subscription to the standalone Prime Video option, unless you want the full-price Prime.
How do the other features compare?
How do the cloud DVR options compare?
YouTube TV offers an unlimited cloud DVR that lets you store content for up to 9 months after its last air date. This is great for sports fans, as they can just record every game in the league.
Amazon Prime Video is mainly an on-demand service, so it doesn’t currently have a cloud DVR for its live TV. However, it’s added a DVR option for one show — Thursday Night Football — in order to adhere to the licensing agreement with the NFL.
How do the simultaneous streaming options compare?
YouTube TV allows 3 simultaneous streams shared among the 6 accounts/profiles you can set up. Each account does not get 3 streams, despite what you may read on the internet. The 4K Plus add-on gets you unlimited streams.
Prime Video allows 3 simultaneous streams, 2 of which can be the same content. There is no option to upgrade.
How do the supported devices compare?
Both services support all the major devices, like Android, iOS, and Fire Tablet for mobile, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Roku for streaming, and Xbox and PlayStation for gaming consoles.
YouTube TV supports Google Nest, while Prime Video does not.
Prime Video supports 15 brands of smart TVs compared to 8 by YouTube TV, but both have apps for Android TV. Prime Video also has apps for many devices that YouTube TV does not.
Our verdict: YouTube TV is better than Prime Video for live TV.
If you’re looking to replace your traditional cable or satellite TV service, YouTube TV is the clear choice. But if you’re looking for an on-demand streamer with original content and an easily navigable library, then go with Amazon Prime Video.
Douglas Wright • Author
Douglas Wright is a freelance writer based in Japan. A former web designer and technical writer, he left beautiful Vancouver for bustling Tokyo, where he spent a decade recruiting for software and high-tech firms. No longer commuting through the world’s busiest train station, he writes fiction and a wide range of formats for clients around the world. When he gets AFK, he’s either outdoors with his two boys, streaming a show with his wife, or reading a book over a French-pressed, hand-ground coffee.
Lisa Holden • Editor
Lisa Holden is an editor and creative based in Houston, TX. Lisa holds a BA in African-American Studies from Temple University and has spent her career working in news publications and magazines, even founding a magazine herself. When she’s not editing or working on one of her many creative endeavors (whenever that is), she enjoys traveling to new places and biking on sunny days.