For many people, Hulu with Live TV is a great way to cut the cord. This TV streaming service offers relatively good streaming quality and a healthy number of channels—plus, Hulu Live subscribers get access to all the on-demand shows and movies they’d get with a traditional Hulu plan. And its local channel availability is nothing to scoff at. In fact, Hulu Live is one of the best streaming services for getting your local ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC channels—neck-and-neck with YouTube TV.
Of course, there are some downsides to Hulu Live. For one thing, it’s on the more expensive side compared to other streaming services. That’s mostly to offset the cost of offering more local stations than most of its competitors, though. The real downside is that it’s still undergoing beta testing. As of now, the user interface, DVR, and algorithms used to recommend content are pretty rough, which is a big reason why we ultimately had to give it a middling three stars.
We know it’s not a perfect service, but if you can figure out the interface, it’s a great way to get the TV you love without paying for a cable package. Read on to get our in-depth review and see whether the service is right for you.
What is Hulu with Live TV?
Hulu with Live TV is the live TV streaming service that developed as an extension of the traditional on-demand Hulu service. Hulu has long been a giant in the streaming industry, offering on-demand access to popular episodes of current shows the day after they air.
Hulu also offers access to shows no longer on the air, international shows, movies, and a small stable of original content (including Emmy Award winner The Handmaid’s Tale).
In 2017, Hulu decided to expand into the live TV streaming market and began beta testing its Hulu Live service. The service features access to nearly 60 live channels in addition to all of the on-demand content that Hulu is so famous for.
Fun fact: Hulu is a joint venture with Disney-ABC Television Group, Fox Entertainment Group, NBCUniversal, and Time Warner. As such, it often gets preferential treatment in terms of the channels it’s able to offer, the on-demand content it can deliver, and bidding for off-air shows like Seinfeld.
Hulu with Live TV packages
Hulu offers four packages, but only two of them include live content. Since our goal on Cut Cable Today is to review and recommend the best services for cutting the cord, we’re not really going to discuss Hulu’s on-demand packages here (but you can check them out in our Hulu On Demand review).
As for livestreaming packages, Hulu has two options:
- Hulu with Live TV: ($39.99 per month). This package delivers 57 live channels, including the CW, Disney Channel, and Telemundo.
- Hulu (No Commercials) with Live TV: ($43.99 per month) offers the same channels as Hulu with Live TV. So you still get CNBC, NBC, and the Food Network—just no commercials during on-demand content.
Considering the number of live channels and the sheer volume of on-demand streaming options that gets you, we think either one is a great deal. You just need to determine whether the extra $4 per month is worth it for your household to eliminate commercials while watching on-demand content.
Here’s how it breaks down:
|Hulu with Live TV||Hulu (No Commercials) with Live TV|
|On-demand||All the content included with Hulu On Demand||All the content included with Hulu On Demand|
|Free Trial||Free Trial|
Hulu with Live TV channels
As we mentioned above, both packages for this live TV streaming service feature the same channels, so we’ve grouped them together for your convenience.
We’ve also indicated whether the service carries on-demand content from each of the networks below, though it should be noted that this table is in no way a complete representation of all the on demand content offered by Hulu. For more on Hulu’s on-demand content, check out our Hulu On Demand review or scroll down to our on-demand channels section below.
Here’s the full list of live channels currently available with Hulu Live.
|Channel||Live / On Demand||Hulu with Live TV (Limited Commercials and No Commercials)|
|A&E||LIVE / VOD|
|ABC*||LIVE / VOD|
|Adult Swim||LIVE / VOD|
|Big Ten Network||LIVE|
|Bravo||LIVE / VOD|
|Cartoon Network||LIVE / VOD|
|CBS*||LIVE / VOD|
|CBS Sports Network||LIVE|
|CNBC||LIVE / VOD|
|CNN||LIVE / VOD|
|Disney Channel||LIVE / VOD|
|Disney Junior||LIVE / VOD|
|Disney XD||LIVE / VOD|
|E!||LIVE / VOD|
|ESPN||LIVE / VOD|
|Food Network||LIVE / VOD|
|FOX*||LIVE / VOD|
|FOX News||LIVE / VOD|
|FOX Sports 1||LIVE / VOD|
|FOX Sports 2||LIVE|
|Freeform||LIVE / VOD|
|FX||LIVE / VOD|
|FX Movie Channel||LIVE / VOD|
|HGTV||LIVE / VOD|
|History||LIVE / VOD|
|Lifetime||LIVE / VOD|
|Lifetime Movie Network||LIVE|
|MSNBC||LIVE / VOD|
|MyNetworkTV*||LIVE / VOD|
|Nat Geo Wild||LIVE / VOD|
|National Geographic||LIVE / VOD|
|NBC*||LIVE / VOD|
|Pop||LIVE / VOD|
|Syfy||LIVE / VOD|
|TBS||LIVE / VOD|
|Telemundo*||LIVE / VOD|
|TNT||LIVE / VOD|
|Travel Channel||LIVE / VOD|
|TruTV||LIVE / VOD|
|Universal Kids||LIVE / VOD|
|USA Network||LIVE / VOD|
|Regional Sports Networks||Check availability|
Compared to other streaming services, Hulu Live’s channel count isn’t all that impressive in terms of breadth, which is surprising considering it’s backed by some of the biggest networks in the industry. With backing like that, you’d at least expect the service to deliver access to Comedy Central, but no dice.
Like PlayStation Vue, however, the service makes up for its relatively low channel variety with a deeper offering of local stations. Ultimately, that makes it easier for Hulu Live customers to get access to the ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC content they love.
What’s more, Hulu offers a few channels that other services include only in their higher-level packages. Take ESPNU, for example. With PlayStation Vue, you have to upgrade to the Core package ($44.99 per month) in order to get this channel, and with DIRECTV NOW, you have to upgrade to the Just Right package ($50 per month). With Hulu, though, you can get ESPNU for just $39.99 per month—no upgrades, no add-ons, no strings attached.
So if you like channels that other services offer only in their upper-level packages, Hulu with Live TV is probably one of the more cost-efficient options on the table.
In short, Hulu Live tends to shortchange you on live channel options compared to other providers. But given the types of channels you get (not to mention the tons of on-demand content), the price is still worth it in our opinion.
Hulu Live TV On-demand channels
Hulu built its reputation as a quality streaming provider on its on-demand offerings, so Hulu Live subscribers can expect exceptional access to on-demand content.
As of this writing, Hulu offers on-demand shows and movies from more than 200 different content owners (ie. the companies that actually make the content, which are not always the networks the shows air on).
Hulu also offers three kinds of on-demand content. First, it has episodes from current seasons of shows still on the air. So if you’re a big Bob’s Burgers fan, you’ll be able to catch up on all the episodes you missed during the most recent season and binge-watch episodes from past seasons.
Second, there are shows that are no longer on the air. Hulu has been making huge strides to replace Netflix as the go-to source for nostalgia shows. So if you want to watch Seinfeld, 30 Rock, The Golden Girls, and more, Hulu Live grants your heart’s desire.
Finally, Hulu offers access to a huge collection of movies. Last we checked, Hulu has well over 1,400 movies in its catalog, which includes recent hits like Arrival, classic movies like Indiana Jones, and animated movies like Lilo and Stitch.
All of this is included in your Hulu Live subscription on top of your live TV channels, which is a big reason why we think the service is actually pretty high value compared to other streaming services on the market.
It should be noted, however, that some programs are not available on demand, even if they’re broadcast on channels that offer on-demand content. That might sound a little confusing, so let us clarify with an example: Hulu offers on-demand content from AMC, but only select shows from AMC. So you’re able to watch all the latest episodes of Preacher on demand, but you’re completely out of luck if you want to watch The Walking Dead. Likewise, Hulu offers on-demand content from Fox, but you still won’t be able to access Sunday football games from Fox after they’ve aired. Of course, if you’re a die-hard Walking Dead or Sunday Night Football fan, you can always watch those programs live or even DVR them for later viewing.
Also, there are some significant gaps in Hulu’s on-demand library. The service doesn’t offer any live or on-demand access to Comedy Central, the CW, or the Hallmark Channel, for instance. That means Hulu is unlikely to be a good choice if you’re a fan of The Daily Show, DC superhero shows, or sappy holiday romances.
Hulu Live TV Channel add-ons
Hulu doesn’t have a lot of channel add-ons, but it does offer the premium channels that most customers care about, namely HBO®, Cinemax®, and Showtime®. They’re a touch on the expensive side, especially when you consider how DIRECTV NOW offers each of the same premium channels for just $5 per month.
But Hulu does offer a $5 per month discount if you get both the HBO and Cinemax add-ons together, and you can try any of the add-ons free for a week to see if they’re right for you.
- HBO ($14.99 per month)
With this add-on, you get all the Game of Thrones access you crave, plus movies and family-friendly programming like Sesame Street. Hulu Live subscribers get access to the HBO livestream plus all HBO on-demand content.
- Cinemax ($9.99 per month)
With a Hulu Live plan, this add-on gets you access to live Cinemax programming, as well as on-demand shows. That makes it easier to watch Outcast and movies like Mad Max: Fury Road. You’ll also get behind-the-scenes exclusives from your favorite shows.
- Showtime ($8.99 per month)
Showtime offers access to award-winning series like Ray Donovan, as well as movies, sports, and more. Hulu Live customers get access to Showtime’s live programming as well as on-demand content.
Hulu with Live TV local channel availability
Local channel availability is one of the things currently setting Hulu apart from the competition. While Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW claim that you can watch ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC live, realistically, they offer those channels in only a handful of areas nationwide. So chances are, you’re not actually going to get access to Sunday Night Football, your local news, or your favorite network shows.
Ultimately, local channel availability comes down to your provider’s willingness to go after deals with your local station. In order for Hulu Live to offer CBS in your area, Hulu must secure a streaming deal with your particular station’s owner (who is usually not CBS itself). We know—it’s needlessly complicated.
Most other streaming providers don’t want to put in the work to secure deals with hundreds of affiliate stations, so they do the bare minimum and leave the majority of their customers hanging out to dry in terms of local channel offerings. Hulu with Live TV is still undergoing beta testing, so the service isn’t quite as readily available as, say, Sling TV. But in the areas where it is available, it tends to offer a lot of local channels. In fact, Hulu Live is second only to YouTube TV in terms of the number of local channels it delivers.
At last count, Hulu offered 395 local stations across the country, which makes it considerably easier for Hulu Live customers to enjoy local news coverage and the ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC shows they love. Plus, Hulu offers various regional NBC and Fox sports channels so you can watch local teams play.
Here’s the complete list of local stations available to stream on Hulu Live. Scroll down, find your area, and take a look at the local stations available in your market. Or you can check out Hulu Live’s channel list, click “View all channels in your area,” and enter your ZIP code.
- Anchorage, AK: ABC (KYUR), CBS (KTVA), FOX (KTBY)
- Birmingham - Tuscaloosa - Anniston, AL: NBC (WVTM)
- Selma - Montgomery, AL: ABC (WNCF), CBS (WAKA), NBC (WSFA)
- Mobile, AL: FOX (WALA)
- Little Rock, AR: CBS (KTHV), FOX (KLRT)
- El Dorado, AR - Monroe, LA: ABC (KNOE), CBS (KNOE), FOX (KARD)
- Yuma, AZ - El Centro, CA: ABC (KECY), FOX (KECY)
- Mesa - Phoenix, AZ: ABC (KNXV), CBS (KPHO), FOX (KSAZ), NBC (KPNX)
- Tucson, AZ: ABC (KGUN), CBS (KOLD), NBC (KVOA)
- Yuma, AZ - El Centro, CA: FOX (KECY)
- Bakersfield, CA: ABC (KERO), FOX (KBFX)
- Chico - Redding, CA: CBS (KHSL), FOX (KCVU)
- Fresno, CA: ABC (KFSN), FOX (KMPH)
- Los Angeles, CA: ABC (KABC), CBS (KCBS), FOX (KTTV), NBC (KNBC)
- Monterey - Salinas - Santa Cruz, CA: ABC (KSBW), CBS (KION), NBC (KSBW)
- Palm Springs, CA: ABC (KESQ), CBS (KPSP), FOX (KDFX)
- San Diego, CA: ABC (KGTV), CBS (KFMB), FOX (KSWB), NBC (KNSD)
- San Francisco - Oakland - San Jose, CA: ABC (KGO), CBS (KPIX), FOX (KTVU), NBC (KNTV)
- Santa Maria - Santa Barbara - San Luis Obispo, CA: CBS (KCOY), FOX (KKFX), NBC (KSBY)
- Colorado Springs - Pueblo, CO: ABC (KRDO), CBS (KKTV), FOX (KXRM)
- Denver, CO: ABC (KMGH), CBS (KCNC), FOX (KDVR), NBC (KUSA)
- Grand Junction, CO: ABC (KJCT)
- Hartford - New Haven, CT: CBS (WFSB), FOX (WTIC), NBC (WVIT)
- Washington, DC: CBS (WUSA), FOX (WTTG), NBC (WRC)
- Fort Myers - Naples, FL: CBS (WINK), FOX (WFTX)
- High Springs - Ocala - Gainesville, FL: ABC (WCJB), FOX (WOGX)
- Jacksonville, FL: ABC (WJXX), CBS (WJAX), FOX (WFOX), NBC (WTLV)
- Miami - Fort Lauderdale, FL: ABC (WPLG), CBS (WFOR), FOX (WSVN), NBC (WTVJ)
- Orlando - Daytona Beach - Melbourne, FL: CBS (WKMG), FOX (WOFL), NBC (WESH)
- Panama City, FL: CBS (WECP), NBC (WJHG)
- Sarasota - Bradenton, FL: ABC (WWSB)
- Petersburg - Tampa, FL: ABC (WFTS), CBS (WTSP), FOX (WTVT)
- Tallahassee, FL - Thomasville, GA: ABC (WTXL), CBS (WCTV), FOX (WTWC)
- West Palm Beach, FL: ABC (WPBF), NBC (WPTV)
- Atlanta, GA: ABC (WSB), CBS (WGCL), FOX (WAGA), NBC (WXIA)
- Augusta, GA: CBS (WRDW)
- Columbus, GA: CBS (WRBL), NBC (WLTZ)
- Macon, GA: CBS (WMAZ), FOX (WGXA)
- Savannah, GA: CBS (WTOC), FOX (WTGS)
- Valdosta - Albany, GA: ABC (WALB), CBS (WSWG), FOX (WFXL), NBC (WALB)
- Honolulu, HI: CBS (KGMB), FOX (KHON), NBC (KHNL)
- Cedar Rapids - Waterloo - Dubuque - Iowa City, IA: ABC (KCRG), FOX (KFXA)
- Mason City, IA - Rochester - Austin, MN: ABC (KAAL), FOX (KXLT)
- Sioux City, IA: FOX (KPTH), NBC (KTIV)
- Boise, ID: ABC (KIVI), NBC (KTVB)
- Chicago, IL: ABC (WLS), CBS (WBBM), FOX (WFLD), NBC (WMAQ)
- Quincy, IL - Hannibal, MO: NBC (WGEM)
- Moline - Rock Island, IL (Quad Cities): FOX (KLJB)
- Peoria - Bloominton, IL: FOX (WYZZ), NBC (WEEK)
- Bloomington - Indianapolis, IN: ABC (WRTV), CBS (WTTV), FOX (WXIN)
- South Bend, IN: FOX (WSBT)
- Terre Haute, IN: CBS (WTHI)
- Topeka, KS: CBS (WIBW), FOX (KTMJ)
- Hutchinson - Wichita, KS: CBS (KWCH), FOX (KSAS)
- Bowling Green, KY: ABC (WBKO), CBS (WNKY)
- Hazard, KY: CBS (WYMT)
- Lexington, KY: ABC (WTVQ), CBS (WDKY), FOX (WDKY)
- Louisville, KY: ABC (WHAS), CBS (WLKY), FOX (WDRB), NBC (WAVE)
- Baton Rouge, LA: ABC (WBRZ), CBS (WAFB), FOX (WGMB)
- Lafayette, LA: FOX (KADN)
- Lake Charles, LA: NBC (KPLC)
- Boston, MA: ABC (WCVB), CBS (WBZ), FOX (WFXT), NBC (WBTS)
- New Bedford, MA - Providence, RI: FOX (WNAC)
- Springfield - Holyoke, MA: CBS (WSHM), FOX (WGGB)
- Baltimore, MD: ABC (WMAR), CBS (WJZ), FOX (WBFF), NBC (WBAL)
- Poland Spring - Portland, ME: ABC (WMTW), FOX (WPFO), NBC (WCSH)
- Presque Isle, ME: FOX (WAGM)
- Bay City - Flint - Saginaw, MI: CBS (WNEM), FOX (WSMH)
- Cadillac - Traverse City, MI: CBS (WWTV)
- Detroit, MI: ABC (WXYZ), CBS (WWJ), FOX (WJBK), NBC (WDIV)
- Cheboygan - Sault Ste. Mari, MI: CBS (WWUP)
- Alexandria, MN: ABC (KSAX), CBS (KCCO)
- Chisholm, MN: NBC (KRII)
- Duluth, MN - Superior, WI: ABC (WDIO), CBS (KBJR), NBC (KBJR)
- Hibbing, MN: ABC (WIRT)
- Minneapolis - St. Paul, MN: ABC (KSTP), CBS (WCCO), FOX (KMSP), NBC (KARE)
- Walker, MN: CBS (KCCW)
- Kansas City, MO: ABC (KMBC), CBS (KCTV), FOX (WDAF), NBC (KSHB)
- Springfield, MO: ABC (KSPR), FOX (KRBK)
- Joseph, MO: FOX (KNPN)
- Louis, MO: CBS (KMOV), FOX (KTVI), NBC (KSDK)
- Cleveland - Grenada - Greenville - Greenwood, MS: ABC (WABG), CBS (WXVT), FOX (WABG)
- Jackson, MS: NBC (WLBT)
- Billings, MT: CBS (KTVQ), FOX (KHMT)
- Bozeman, MT: ABC (KWYB)
- Butte, MT: CBS (KXLF)
- Great Falls, MT: ABC (KFBB), CBS (KRTV)
- Missoula, MT: ABC (KTMF)
- Belmont - Charlotte, NC: CBS (WBTV), FOX (WJZY), NBC (WCNC)
- Goldsboro - Raleigh - Durham - Fayetteville, NC: ABC (WTVD), NBC (WRAL)
- Greensboro - High Point - Winston - Salem, NC: CBS (WFMY), FOX (WGHP), NBC (WXII)
- Greenville - New Bern - Washington, NC: ABC (WCTI), FOX (WYDO), NBC (WITN)
- Bismarck, ND: ABC (KBMY)
- Devils Lake - Grand Forks - Horace - Fargo, ND: ABC (WDAZ), ABC (WDAY), CBS (KXJB), NBC (KVLY)
- Minot, ND: ABC (KMCY)
- Hayes Center, NE: ABC (KWNB)
- Lincoln, NE: ABC (KLKN), CBS (KOLN), FOX (KFXL), NBC (KSNB)
- Omaha, NE: ABC (KETV), CBS (KMTV), FOX (KPTM), NBC (WOWT)
- Albuquerque - Santa Fe, NM: ABC (KOAT), FOX (KRQE)
- Las Cruces, NM - El Paso, TX: FOX (KFOX)
- Las Vegas, NV: ABC (KTNV), FOX (KVVU)
- Reno, NV: ABC (KOLO), CBS (KTVN), FOX (KRXI)
- Binghamton, NY: CBS (WBNG)
- Buffalo, NY: ABC (WKBW), FOX (WUTV), NBC (WGRZ)
- Plattsburgh, NY - Burlington, VT: CBS (WCAX), FOX (WFFF), NBC (WPTZ)
- Carthage - Watertown, NY: CBS (WWNY)
- Elmira, NY: CBS (WENY)
- New York City, NY: ABC (WABC), CBS (WCBS), FOX (WNYW), NBC (WNBC)
- Rochester, NY: FOX (WUHF), NBC (WHEC)
- Utica - Rome, NY: CBS (WKTV), FOX (WFXV)
- Cincinnati, OH: ABC (WCPO), NBC (WLWT)
- Columbus, OH: CBS (WBNS), FOX (WTTE)
- Dayton, OH: CBS (WHIO), FOX (WRGT)
- Lima, OH: CBS (WOHL), FOX (WLIO)
- Akron - Shaker Heights - Cleveland, OH: ABC (WEWS), CBS (WOIO), FOX (WJW), NBC (WKYC)
- Toledo, OH: ABC (WTVG), CBS (WTOL)
- Steubenville, OH - Wheeling, WV: FOX (WTOV)
- Youngstown, OH: FOX (WYFX)
- Oklahoma City, OK: ABC (KOCO), CBS (KWTV), FOX (KOKH)
- Tulsa, OK: CBS (KOTV), FOX (KOKI), NBC (KJRH)
- Bend, OR: ABC (KOHD), CBS (KBNZ), FOX (KFXO)
- Eugene, OR: ABC (KEZI), FOX (KLSR)
- Portland, OR: FOX (KPTV), NBC (KGW)
- Erie, PA: CBS (WSEE), FOX (WFXP)
- Harrisburg - Lancaster - York - Lebanon, PA: FOX (WPMT), NBC (WGAL)
- Philadelphia, PA: ABC (WPVI), CBS (KYW), FOX (WTXF), NBC (WCAU)
- Pittsburgh, PA: ABC (WTAE), CBS (KDKA), FOX (WPGH), NBC (WPXI)
- Scranton - Wilkes-Barre, PA: FOX (WOLF)
- Charleston, SC: CBS (WCSC), FOX (WTAT)
- Columbia, SC: ABC (WOLO), CBS (WLTX), FOX (WACH), NBC (WIS)
- Florence - Myrtle Beach, SC: FOX (WFXB), NBC (WMBF)
- Asheville - Spartanburg - Greenville, SC: FOX (WHNS), NBC (WYFF)
- Pierre - Reliance, SD: ABC (KPBY)
- Sioux Falls, SD: ABC (KSFY)
- Chattanooga, TN: CBS (WDEF), FOX (WTVC)
- Johnson City, TN - Bristol, VA: FOX (WEMT)
- Knoxville, TN: CBS (WVLT), NBC (WBIR)
- Memphis, TN: CBS (WREG), FOX (WHBQ), NBC (WMC)
- Nashville, TN: CBS (WTVF), FOX (WZTV)
- Abilene - Sweetwater, TX: ABC (KTXS)
- Amarillo, TX: CBS (KFDA), FOX (KCIT)
- Austin, TX: ABC (KVUE), FOX (KTBC)
- Beaumont - Port Arthur, TX: ABC (KBMT), FOX (KBTV), NBC (KBMT)
- Bryan - College Station, TX: CBS (KBTX)
- Waco - Temple - Killeen, TX: ABC (KXXV), CBS (KWTX), FOX (KWKT), NBC (KCEN)
- Corpus Christi, TX: ABC (KIII), FOX (KUQI)
- Fort Worth - Dallas, TX: ABC (WFAA), CBS (KTVT), FOX (KDFW), NBC (KXAS)
- Houston, TX: ABC (KTRK), CBS (KHOU), FOX (KRIV), NBC (KPRC)
- Laredo, TX: ABC (KGNS), CBS (KYLX)
- Lubbock, TX: FOX (KJTV)
- Tyler - Jacksonville - Nacogdoches - Longview, TX: ABC (KLTV), CBS (KYTX), FOX (KFXK)
- San Antonio, TX: ABC (KSAT), CBS (KENS), FOX (KABB)
- Victoria, TX: FOX (KVCT)
- Salt Lake City, UT: FOX (KSTU), NBC (KSL)
- Charlottesville, VA: ABC (WVAW), CBS (WCAV)
- Harrisonburg, VA: ABC (WHSV), CBS (WSVF)
- Hampton, VA: ABC (WVEC)
- Norfolk - Portsmouth - Newport News, VA: CBS (WTKR), FOX (WVBT)
- Petersburg - Richmond, VA: CBS (WTVR), FOX (WRLH), NBC (WWBT)
- Roanoke - Lynchburg, VA: CBS (WDBJ), FOX (WFXR), NBC (WSLS)
- Seattle - Tacoma, WA: CBS (KIRO), FOX (KCPQ), NBC (KING)
- Spokane, WA: CBS (KREM)
- Green Bay, WI: ABC (WBAY), FOX (WLUK), NBC (WGBA)
- Eau Claire, WI: ABC (WQOW), CBS (WKBT), NBC (WEAU)
- La Crosse, WI: ABC (WXOX), FOX (WLAX)
- Madison, WI: CBS (WISC), FOX (WMSN)
- Milwaukee, WI: ABC (WISN), CBS (WDJT), FOX (WITI), NBC (WTMJ)
- Wausau - Rhinelander, WI: CBS (WSAW)
- Beckley - Oak Hill - Lewisburg - Bluefield, WV: CBS (WVNS), NBC (WVVA)
- Charleston - Huntington, WV: FOX (WVAH), NBC (WSAZ)
- Parkersburg, WV - Marietta, OH: CBS (WIYE)
- Weston - Clarksburg, WV: CBS (WDTV)
- Casper - Riverton, WY: FOX (KFNB), NBC (KCWY)
- Cheyenne, WY: CBS (KGWN), FOX (KLWY)
Hulu with Live TV features
Say what you want about cable packages—they still pack a punch in terms of features. In fact, the prospect of switching from a cable package to a streaming service that doesn’t offer all the features you’ve grown accustomed to can seem daunting.
Fortunately, Hulu Live offers most of the features you’ve gotten used to with cable. With this service, you still get a DVR, you can still pause, rewind, and fast forward, and you can still skip commercials. You can even watch on multiple devices. That being said, the interface of the service is so confusing that it’s often difficult to find these features, much less use them. We definitely think this is one of those times when it makes sense to use your free trial period to make sure the service will work for you.
|Hulu with Live TV / Hulu (No Commercials) with Live TV||50 hrs.||Included|
|Enhanced cloud DVR add-on||200 hrs.||+$14.99/mo.|
Honestly, we’re not over the moon about Hulu Live’s basic DVR offerings. Long story short: this DVR is a bit of a mess. It’s middle of the road as far as storage space goes, but the upgrade is seriously overpriced for what you get. And honestly, it’s almost a moot point considering how hard it is to access and control your DVR. Here’s the in-depth breakdown:
Hulu Live TV Storage hours
With all Hulu Live services, you automatically get 50 hours of cloud DVR space. That’s certainly better than DIRECTV NOW (which doesn’t offer a DVR at all), but as any regular DVR user can tell you, 50 hours fills up fast. That’s especially true if you like to use your DVR to record entire seasons of your favorite shows.
If you’re not into the idea of limiting your recording that much, there is another option—the Enhanced Cloud DVR Add-On, which ups your DVR storage space to 200 hours. That’s more storage than you get with Sling TV (its DVR maxes out at 50 hours), but it costs $14.99 a month in addition to the cost of your package.
Frankly, we think that’s a little steep, especially when you consider that YouTube TV offers unlimited DVR space and doesn’t charge extra for it. We don’t suggest paying for for the upgrade. If lots of storage hours is the most important thing to you, we say look for another service with a better DVR first—like YouTube TV or even fuboTV.
Hulu Live TV DVR experience
But the biggest problem with the DVR is the sheer lack of control. With Hulu Live, you don’t set up recordings or tell the DVR which shows you always want recorded. Instead, you add shows, teams, and channels to your My Stuff list, which signals to your DVR the things you want recorded.
So, theoretically, if you add Cartoon Network’s The Amazing World of Gumball to your My Stuff list, every live episode of the show from that point forward should show up in your DVR automatically.
The only problem with that system is, in reality, the DVR picks and chooses what to record with no apparent rhyme or reason. Hulu’s DVR page states that the DVR won’t record any show available on demand, but we found multiple contradictions to this theory. For example, our DVR turned up a recording for a Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode that we then found available on demand moments later.
Interestingly enough, when testing the basic Hulu with Live TV plan (the one that included commercials), we were able to skip commercials while watching the DVR recording but not while watching the on-demand version.
We also found during our product testing that some shows simply can’t be recorded by the Hulu DVR. To test this out, we added Looney Tunes to our My Stuff list right before a new episode aired. Sure enough, it never turned up on our DVR. We suspect this has to do with streaming agreements between Hulu and the various networks it offers. But regardless of the reason, it’s worth noting that there’s a chance you won’t be able to record your favorite shows at all.
|Hulu with Live TV / Hulu (No Commercials) with Live TV||2||Included|
|Additional streams add-on||Unlimited||+$14.99/mo.|
All Hulu Live packages include the ability to stream on two devices simultaneously. As far as we can tell, that’s true regardless of whether those devices are at home or on the go. It’s not as good as PlayStation Vue (which lets you stream from five devices at a time), but it’s decent.
However, for an extra $14.99 per month, Hulu does let you stream on an unlimited number of devices—at least on your home network. While we once again think the price is a little too high, it could still be well worth it if you have a large household with lots of people trying to stream on their devices at once.
There are some restrictions to the unlimited number of streams, though. For one thing, it’s unlimited only on your home network. You’re restricted to three simultaneous streams for any devices outside your network. So if you’re sharing your plan with family members who don’t live with you, three of them will be able to watch at a time, but no more. On the upside, this extra expense becomes a lot easier to swallow if you do have family or friends to split the monthly bill with. Just be sure to warn them about the three-device limit.
Another note if you are planning to share your plan with family members outside your home: outside your home network, users can stream live TV only via a mobile device (e.g. cell phones, tablets, and laptops). Any video players like Rokus, Apple TVs, or smart TVs won’t be able to access livestreams outside your home network.
Even with the unlimited streams add-on, Hulu limits the number of simultaneous streams for premium networks (if you choose to subscribe to them). Premium networks can be streamed only on five devices at a time, and only three of those devices can be outside your home network.
|Commercials on Hulu Live||Live||On demand||DVR||Price|
|Hulu with Live TV||Yes||Yes||Yes||Included|
|Hulu (No Commercials) with Live TV||Yes||No||Yes||+$4/mo.|
No Commercials plan restrictions
Hulu attracts a lot of users to its No Commercials plan because, Super Bowl aside, nobody likes watching commercials. But just because the plan says “No Commercials” doesn’t actually mean you won’t be subjected to joint pain medication ads from time to time. The “no commercials” promise applies to only on-demand content. Hulu users with basic live TV plans are stuck watching limited commercials during their content.
Regardless of which plan you get, you’re going to get commercials periodically while watching live TV. Fortunately, you can pause your show, get behind live TV, then skip through commercials until you’re caught up—just like you would with a cable package. However, on select content, Hulu will automatically put in a 60-second commercial break that can’t be skipped through. It won’t happen with every live TV show you watch, but it happens enough that we thought it was worth mentioning.
No Commercials plan with on-demand content
Usually, the commercial breaks you get with Hulu on demand are only 60 seconds shorter than the commercial breaks you’d get watching live TV, and there’s no way to skip past them. With the No Commercials plan, though, you can watch on-demand shows and movies without commercials.
Commercials on recorded content
Now for the DVR. Some reviewers have claimed that if you’re on the basic live TV plan, you aren’t able to skip commercials while watching recorded content. We can tell you now that this is not true.
We did some extensive product testing to confirm, and we found that even with a basic plan, you can skip commercials while watching recorded content (assuming, of course, that your DVR actually records what you want to watch).
|Playback Features||Live||On demand||DVR||Price|
|Rewinding||Yes||Yes (except during commercial breaks)||Yes||Included|
|Fast forwarding||Yes||Yes (except during commercial breaks)||Yes||Included|
Playback features for Hulu Live are about what you’d expect. You can pause on-demand content, DVR recordings, and even livestreams. In fact, Hulu lets you pause livestreams for as long as you want, which is a nice change considering other streaming services let you pause only for a limited amount of time.
You can also rewind any type of content (live, on-demand, or recorded), but there are some limitations. Some livestreams allow you to rewind to the beginning of the show you’re watching, even if you didn’t jump to that channel until ten minutes in. Others, however, only allow you to rewind to the point you joined the livestream. Unfortunately, Hulu hasn’t exactly been forthcoming about which channels allow you to jump back to the beginning and which don’t.
Despite some people’s claims to the contrary, you can also fast forward through live, on-demand, and recorded content. But it’s true there are some limitations. If you get far enough behind your livestream on select shows, Hulu inserts an unskippable ad break into the content (like we mentioned earlier), so you can’t fast forward through that. And if you sign up for a basic plan, you can’t fast forward through commercial breaks on on-demand content.
In general, Hulu Live’s playback features are very similar to what you’d get with a cable package, so it’s relatively easy to use if you’re a brand new cord-cutter. But that can also be a bit of a drawback, as the service doesn’t really offer anything new to make the experience more enjoyable.
Hulu Live TV Streaming quality and interface
In terms of streaming quality, Hulu is pretty solid. You’ll likely see minor delays with this service whenever you switch livestreams, rewind, or fast forward, which we didn’t get watching the same content on other services. And when watching some livestreams (especially sports), you can definitely see a bit of blurriness around the edges of objects while they’re in motion. The severity of these issues will likely depend on your internet connection, but in general, we’ve noticed it’s more of an issue on Hulu with Live TV than it is on other services using the same internet connection.
However, we can say without hesitation that Hulu Live has one of the least user-friendly interfaces we’ve ever tested.
Cable services and most other streaming services group content based on type. You can find all your live content in one spot, all your on-demand shows in another spot, and all your recorded shows in another. Not so with Hulu Live.
Instead, Hulu groups content based on interest. So if you’ve expressed interest in a lot of home and garden shows, Hulu will show you all home and garden content, regardless of whether it’s live, recorded, or on demand.
The idea is good, sure. And if the service was able to use Nielsen TV ratings, your stated preferences, and your viewing history to predict with near-perfect accuracy what you want to watch at any given time, this layout might actually make things easier. Unfortunately, Hulu isn’t quite that good. Instead, this layout just makes it excessively complicated to find what you’re looking for.
Another major failing of the service is its lack of comprehensive live channel guide. Most users are accustomed to being able to access a guide—essentially, a time table showing what’s playing on which channels right now and into the future. It’s a tool modeled after cable guides. They help people plan what they’re going to watch and allow viewers to easily figure out when their favorite programs are airing.
The closest thing we could find to a guide was a list of live networks offered by the service, showing what was currently on each channel.
If you already know what channel you want to watch, you are able to scroll over to the A–Z tab seen in the image above, navigate to the channel in question, and see a list of shows that will be aired that day. But there’s no way to compare channels at various points in the day.
What’s more, the Hulu Live interface buries important features like its DVR, which you can find only after navigating through multiple screens. It’s all a confusing maze of menus, submenus, and sub-submenus that left us confused and overwhelmed.
In general, actually using Hulu Live was extremely frustrating. That’s not overly surprising considering that the service is still in beta testing, and it’s always possible that the final product will be easier to use. But we’re not optimistic that it will change anytime soon since Hulu has started implementing the same interface for its on-demand service on newer devices.
Hulu with Live TV device compatibility
If you’ve never tried cutting the cord, you may be surprised to learn that streaming services don’t make you buy or rent set-top boxes or other devices in order to enjoy your service. All you have to do is buy the streaming device of your choice (the cheapest is typically priced at $35, though some services offer better deals when you sign up for service), then find a service compatible with that device.
Hulu Live isn’t available on a ton of devices, but it is compatible with the most commonly used video players (like the Roku). Where Hulu Live really shines, though, is in its compatibility with gaming consoles. Hulu is available on both Xbox One and Xbox 360, plus it’s the only livestreaming service currently available on the widely popular Nintendo Switch console.
Here’s the complete list of devices you can currently use to watch Hulu with Live TV:
Phones and tablets:
- Amazon Fire tablets
- Android phones
- Android tablets
- Nintendo Switch
- Xbox 360
- Xbox One
Laptops and computers:
Hulu Live review summary: Our verdict
- Lots of local channel availability
- Extensive on-demand options
- Decent number of channels (especially for sports fans)
- Unlimited simultaneous streams available
- Solid streaming quality
- Commercial-free plans available
- Nintendo Switch compatibility
- Still in TV beta testing
- Very little control over DVR
- Limited DVR space
- Overpriced add-ons
- Confusing interface
Hulu with Live TV isn’t a bad service. It offers a good channel selection, some cool add-on features you can’t really get elsewhere, and lots of local channels.
Ultimately, though, if we had to choose a single streaming service for our household, it probably wouldn’t be Hulu Live. The user interface alone was enough to make us want to pull our hair out. And the lack of control over the DVR, the limited recording space, and the steep pricing on add-ons do little to improve the overall experience.
You also have to factor in price. Hulu is well-priced considering the sheer amount of content it offers. But you have to weigh that against the poor user experience. For the same price ($39.99 per month), you could get PlayStation Vue, which is more user-friendly and offers better streaming quality on more channels. And if you’re tempted by Hulu Live because of its extensive local channel offerings, you’re likely better off with YouTube TV, which offers unlimited DVR space and more local channels in the areas where it’s available for $5 less per month.
That’s not to say we don’t think Hulu is a worthwhile buy. For users in some areas, it could very well be the best option. But this is definitely one of those cases where we strongly recommend using your free trial period to make sure you can cope with the drawbacks of the service before committing to it. It’s also possible that most of the negatives we’ve mentioned will be resolved once the service comes out of beta testing. If that happens, you can count on us updating our review accordingly.
Hulu with Live TV review FAQs
How does Hulu with Live TV work?
Hulu Live is a streaming service, so it’s pretty easy to access. Once you’ve signed up for a membership, you simply download the app on a compatible device (see our device compatibility section above). From there, you can enter your login info and start watching.
What makes Hulu with Live TV different from cable?
One of the biggest complaints about cable is the price. Streaming services like Hulu Live help you lower costs by cutting out channels most people never watch. You’re left with a more streamlined package that includes only the channels you care about—and overall, that means it costs less.
Unlike cable TV, Hulu Live delivers your service via your internet connection. That means you don’t have to pay extra to buy or rent your service’s set-top box. And best of all, Hulu Live doesn’t lock you into a contract, so if you’re unhappy with your service, you can cancel anytime.
How much does Hulu with Live TV cost per month?
For the basic Hulu with Live TV plan, you’ll pay $39.99 per month. If you opt for a No Commercials plan, it’s $4 more ($43.99 a month). From there, your cost may go up depending on whether or not you opt in to any add-ons.
Can I try Hulu with Live TV for free?
Definitely. You can check out Hulu Live with a 7-day free trial.
Can you use Hulu with Live TV credentials to authenticate TV Everywhere apps?
Yes. You can use your Hulu Live login to sign in to TV Everywhere apps—just like you would with a cable package. Here’s the complete list of TV Everywhere apps that accept Hulu Live login credentials:
- Bravo Now
- CBS Sports
- Cooking Channel – Watch Cooking Channel
- DIY Watch
- E! Now
- Food Network
- FOX News Channel
- FOX Sports GO
- Freeform GO
- FX Now (includes FX, FXX, FXM - Fox Movies)
- HGTV Watch
- National Geographic
- NBC Sports Live Extra
- SyFy Now
- Travel Channel – Watch Travel Channel
- WATCH ABC
- WATCH Disney Channel
- WATCH Disney Jr.
- WATCH Disney XD
- WATCH ESPN
Does Hulu with Live TV offer a DVR?
Yes it does. Both Hulu Live packages include 50 hours of storage space, though you can get more if you pay for the $14.99-per-month Enhanced Cloud DVR add-on. However, as we mentioned above, the DVR for this service is difficult to control, difficult to use, and frankly, a little overpriced. We don’t recommend the add-on—it’s just not worth it for most people.
How are the Hulu with Live TV video and audio quality?
Hulu Live is pretty decent in terms of picture and audio quality. The service offers HD resolution (1080p) on all of its content, and the experience is mostly devoid of glitches and other buggy issues. However, we have noticed the live content has a tendency to buffer a bit more than PlayStation Vue. It also takes a little longer to load, and objects sometimes look blurry around the edges while in motion.
Audio-wise, Hulu offers stereo sound, so no Dolby Digital 5.1. We tried it out quite a bit on our computers and mobile devices, though, and we didn’t hear any noticeable quality difference. We also tried the service on our smart TV and Apple TV to equally good results, but we acknowledge that we didn’t try it out with a surround-sound system. So if you’ve got surround sound and are invested in getting a good service with Dolby Digital audio, Hulu Live may not be the right choice for you.
What internet speed do you need for Hulu with Live TV?
It depends on what you’re watching and the picture quality you want while viewing it. For on-demand, standard-definition content, Hulu recommends a minimum download speed of 1.5 Mbps. For on-demand HD content, you’ll need a minimum download speed of 3 Mbps. And while watching live TV, Hulu suggests a minimum download speed of 8 Mbps.
Can I watch Hulu with Live TV on multiple devices simultaneously?
Definitely. All plans allow you to stream on two devices at the same time, though you can purchase an Additional Streams add-on for $14.99 a month that lets you stream on an unlimited number of devices simultaneously.
Keep in mind that there are a couple of restrictions on how many devices you can use at once, even with an unlimited devices add-on. For more info, check out our simultaneous streams section above or visit Hulu’s support site for more information.
Is there a Hulu with Live TV gift card?
Yes. You can purchase Hulu gift cards at just about any major retailer. Hulu gift cards can be applied toward any Hulu account, regardless of whether the user signs up for the On Demand service or a Hulu with Live TV plan, so it works for everyone.
How can you get Hulu with Live TV?
Easy—just check out the website for Hulu with Live TV to see if it’s available in your area. Once you’ve confirmed that it is, you can try out the service for 7 days free to make sure you like it.
If you still have questions about Hulu Live, be sure to check out the Hulu Live website. You can also ask questions directly via the Hulu chat support feature or visit the Hulu Support Center site for answers to commonly asked questions.