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Hulu Review 2019

Hulu is an on-demand favorite that now offers live TV (for some extra dough).

Best Overall
Our Rating
Live channels
60+
Cloud DVR hours
50
Multiple streams
2
Monthly cost
Starting at $5.99

Our Rating

Package Name PriceChannelsCloud DVR Hours Website
Hulu$5.99/mo.N/AN/AView Package
Hulu (No Ads)$11.99/mo.N/AN/AView Package
Hulu + Live TV$44.99/mo.60+50 hoursView Package
Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV$50.99/mo60+50 hoursView Package
PriceChannelsCloud DVR Hours Website
$5.99/mo.N/AN/AView Package
$11.99/mo.N/AN/AView Package
$44.99/mo.60+50 hoursView Package
$50.99/mo60+50 hoursView Package

Update:

In early August 2019, Disney announced that it would bundle its new streaming service, Disney+, with ESPN+ and Hulu (on demand) for $12.99 a month.

We may not like Disney owning everything, but it’s hard to argue with endless entertainment at a cheaper price.

First take: Is Hulu good?

Actually, Hulu Live is excellent, which is why we rate it best overall among livestreaming services. If you’re looking for on-demand TV and movies, Hulu has tons, with or without commercials. And if you want live TV too, Hulu Live’s channels are superb, which is why we rate it best overall among livestreaming services—you’ll just have to pay a lot more for them than you would with regular Hulu.

Hulu deals and promotions

Both Spotify and Sprint have plans that offer basic Hulu included for exactly $0.

If you’re a student, grab Spotify Premium for Students at $4.99 per month. This plan includes Spotify Premium, Hulu, and SHOWTIME®, so you’ll always have a way to unwind after homework.

For those of us who don’t have a university to call home, Spotify Premium comes with Hulu at $9.99 per month.

And Sprint Unlimited mobile plans include Hulu too. But those will run you $60 or more per month.

Eye IconEditor's notes:

You may have noticed above that we crowned Hulu Best Overall, but what does that mean? The answer is simple: our editorial team has crunched the numbers (i.e. price per channel, cloud DVR hours, number of simultaneous streams, quality and quantity of original shows and movies, and available on-demand content) and determined that Hulu is the best live TV streaming service out there. Couple that with the deals above, and we think most folks will get the most out of their livestreaming with Hulu.

–Mike Strayer, Managing Editor

Hulu prices and packages

PackagesChannel countPrice
HuluN/A$5.99/mo.
Hulu (No Ads)N/A$11.99/mo.
Hulu + Live TV60+$44.99/mo.
Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV60+$50.99/mo.

Hulu offered on-demand TV and movies long before streaming live TV came around. You’ll find that history reflected in its package names—and it takes a little getting used to.

What are Hulu’s packages?

  • Hulu: on-demand TV and movies w/ commercials
  • Hulu (No Ads): on-demand TV and movies w/o commercials
  • Hulu + Live TV: on-demand TV and movies w/ commercials and live TV channels w/ commercials
  • Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV: on-demand TV and movies w/o commercials and live TV w/ commercials

Keep these differences in mind below, where we talk about live TV channels. You’ll get those only through Hulu Live packages.

If you could get 60 channels at the basic Hulu price of $5.99 per month, believe us, we’d be knocking down your door to tell you.

Cord-cutting savings

Small cable TV packages average around $65 per month and require a year-long contract. Alternatively, Hulu + Live TV costs $44.99, and you can quit any time.

With those numbers, Hulu’s free trial is worth a shot before you renew your cable TV package.

Bundle with Netflix

More original shows
Price
$8.99 - $15.99

Hulu + Live TV channels

What’s on Hulu + Live TV?

Missing channelsPopular channels
  • AMC

  • Hallmark Channel

  • Nickelodeon
  • Disney Channel

  • ESPN

  • Food Network
  • SEE FULL CHANNEL LINEUPSEE FULL CHANNEL LINEUP
    Missing channels
  • AMC

  • Hallmark Channel

  • Nickelodeon
  • SEE FULL CHANNEL LINEUP
    Popular channels
  • Disney Channel

  • ESPN

  • Food Network
  • SEE FULL CHANNEL LINEUP

    With Hulu’s balanced lineup, you get plenty of entertainment, lifestyle, news, and sports channels. But because Hulu’s channel count isn’t huge, it’s missing a few of our favorites.

    If you’d desperately miss AMC, Hallmark Channel, MTV, and Nickelodeon, consider signing up for Philo as well as Hulu Live. It’s $20 per month, but even with that added to Hulu Live’s prices, you’re paying way less than most cable subscriptions.

    Sports channels

    Scores the basics, misses the big leagues

    Sports channelHulu + Live TV
    ACC Network
    beIN Sports
    Big Ten Network
    CBS Sports Network
    ESPN
    ESPN2
    ESPN 3
    ESPN Bases Loaded
    ESPN College Extra
    ESPN Goal Line
    ESPNEWS
    ESPNU
    FOX Soccer Plus
    FOX Sports 1
    FOX Sports 2
    Golf Channel
    MLB Network
    NBA TV
    NBCSN
    NFL Network
    NFL RedZone
    NHL Network
    Olympic Channel
    Pac-12 Networks
    SEC Network
    Stadium

    With 15 sports channels (plus local broadcasts), you’ll have plenty of games to watch on Hulu Live.

    But if you live for league-specific networks, check out Sling’s Orange & Blue package with the Sports Extra add-on. That bundle costs $50 per month, and you’ll get twice as many sports options as Hulu Live.

    Local channels

    Let’s just say Hulu Live has lots of local channels available.

    Depending on where you live, you can get your local ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and Telemundo channels. We suggest checking out your local channels ahead of time to see which one’s you’ll get.

    Want more local channels?

    If it turns out you can’t get all your local channels with Hulu Live, consider hooking up an antenna to catch the broadcasts at a cheap one-time price. We recommend the Mohu Leaf 50.

    Premium channels

    Best-priced premiums of all streaming TV

    HBO®$14.99/mo.
    CINEMAX®$9.99/mo.
    SHOWTIME$10.99/mo.
    STARZ®$8.99/mo.

    Overall, Hulu has the best premium channel prices of any streaming service. Sure, Sling TV offers SHOWTIME for $10 per month, but it doesn’t even have HBO or CINEMAX.

    We’re 100% about going for Hulu if you want the hottest premium TV without paying through the nose.

    Hulu original shows and movies

    Popular Hulu original shows and movies

    Popular original showsPopular original movies
  • The Handmaid’s Tale

  • Harlots

  • Ramy
  • Minding the Gap

  • Too Funny to Fail

  • The Beatles
  • You’ve probably heard of Hulu’s Emmy-winning The Handmaid’s Tale. But Hulu has a bunch of other excellent original series. With comedies, dramas, lifestyle, and family, there’s a little something for everyone.

    Unfortunately, Hulu doesn’t put quite so much care into its movies. They tend to be low-budget horror films and documentaries. Pass on the horror films, but a few of the documentaries—like the ones listed above—are worthwhile.

    Hulu + Live TV specs and features

    With a big ole cloud DVR, unlimited streams*, super clear video, and ways to skip commercials, Hulu Live’s got the right stuff for a top-tier streaming service. *The unlimited streams are just kind of unlimited, since you have to be at home to watch them. Someone should tell Hulu that’s a limitation.

    Cloud DVR

    Oodles of hours for an extra Hamilton

    PackageStoragePrice
    Hulu + Live TV50 hrs.$44.99/mo.
    Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV50 hrs.$50.99/mo.
    Enhanced Cloud DVR200 hrs.$9.99/mo.

    The included cloud DVR’s 50 hours has almost enough storage to marathon all five seasons of Arrested Development. Luckily, Hulu has the first three seasons on demand, so you wouldn’t need to use all your DVR space anyway.

    If you add on the Enhanced Cloud DVR, you’ll get 200 total hours of storage. That’s about enough for all of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Community, and 30 Rock put together.

    But since Hulu already has all of those shows available on demand (except the latest season of Always Sunny), your Enhanced Cloud DVR might sit empty.

    We suggest passing on the Enhanced Cloud DVR since, honestly, most people don’t need that much space—Hulu’s on-demand library is already massive without it.

    Multiple streams

    Noteworthy stream count, but only if you’ve got the cash

    PackageSimultaneous streamsOffline viewingPrice
    Hulu1Coming 2019$5.99/mo. Free Trial
    Hulu (No Ads)1Coming 2019$11.99/mo. Free Trial
    Hulu + Live TV2Coming 2019$44.99/mo. Free Trial
    Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV2Coming 2019$50.99/mo. Free Trial
    Unlimited ScreensUnlimited at home
    and 3 on the go
    Coming 2019$9.99/mo. Free Trial

    Hulu doesn’t excel in stream count. On-demand packages get only one, while those with live TV get two.

    If you want more than that, the Unlimited Screens add-on lets you watch as many screens as you wish—as long as you’re at home. You also get three additional streams for on-the-go watching, which is handy if you ever leave the house.

    (This writer can’t relate.)

    As for offline viewing, in May 2018, Hulu announced downloadable content coming somewhere between 2018 and 2019. Since that was over a year ago, we’re expecting it any minute now.

    Aaaaany minute . . .

    No? Still not yet? Darn, looks like you’ll still have to stay near Wi-Fi if you want to watch Hulu for now.

    Eye IconSave on Enhanced Cloud DVR and Unlimited Screens

    When you get both the Enhanced Cloud DVR and the Unlimited Screens add-ons together, the total cost comes down to $14.98 per month. That’s a nice $5 savings every month, which is pretty tempting for the value.

    Compatible devices

    Everywhere but your big-kid game console

    Streaming deviceHulu + Live TV
    Amazon Fire TV
    Amazon Fire tablet
    Android mobile devices
    Android TV
    Apple TV
    Chromecast
    iOS mobile devices
    iPod Touch
    LG TV Smart TVs (select models)
    Mac computers
    Nintendo Switch
    PlayStation 3
    PlayStation 4
    Roku devices
    Samsung Smart TVs (select models)
    Vizio SmartCast TV (select models)
    Wii
    Wii U
    Windows computers
    Windows 10 phones
    Xbox 360
    Xbox One

    Hulu is available on more devices than any other livestreaming service except Sling TV.

    But on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, you can watch only shows from Hulu’s on-demand library—not any live channels. PlayStation Vue wants to keep its status as the only live TV app on PlayStation consoles.

    Best streaming devices

    Don’t have a streaming device yet? These small but handy gadgets will change your TV-watching game forever. We’ll help you find the best one for you, so that you can watch all your favorite streaming services straight from your TV.

    Video quality

    Hulu streaming video quality

    Streaming typeVideo resolution
    On-demand TV720p–1080p
    Live TV and cloud DVR recordings720p

    Unlike Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, Hulu doesn’t currently offer 4K Ultra HD. But depending on the program you select and your internet connection, your shows will still be in HD—just a slightly blurry 720p or a crisp 1080p.

    Having issues with your stream?

    Hulu adjusts your video based on your internet’s available bandwidth. If your picture seems blurry, you may want to upgrade your internet speed. Check out our guide to the best internet plans for streaming.

    Channel guide

    Hulu recently updated its channel guide from a list to a chart, so planning your watching schedule is easier than ever.

    Hulu’s new guide is so beautiful this writer was nearly in tears.

    You can simplify your channel list by genre—sports, movies, news, or kids—or check on your recently watched channels. The arrow on the top right lets you see what’s coming next.

    The guide still doesn’t give you a peek into the past, unfortunately, so if you’re worried you missed a show, you can’t confirm it here.

    Commercials

    Commercial-free packages

    • Hulu (No Ads)
    • Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV

    Getting Hulu’s on-demand library without commercials will cost you an extra six dollars a month. It’s a little pricey for us, but think of all the time you’ll have to marathon more shows.

    Just keep in mind, the no-ads feature doesn’t extend to live episodes. That means you’ll still get all those local car dealership ads during your nightly news.

    If you fork out a little more for the Enhanced Cloud DVR, Hulu says you can skip ad breaks in your recordings. Customers have had mixed experiences with this, saying some shows don’t let you fast-forward during commercials anyway.

    But if you want to give it a shot, you can try out the Enhanced Cloud DVR for $9.99 per month and cancel later if you’re not satisfied.

    Final take

    All in all, we’re pretty fond of Hulu at HowtoWatch.com. It’s a well-rounded service with a vast on-demand library and lots of stellar channels. And we’re looking forward to offline viewing, whenever that happens.

    We wish Hulu would be more consistent with its ad-free offerings, and it would be rad if it cost less. But as long as Hulu has the channels you want, we encourage you to give it a shot.

    Hulu FAQ

    Is Hulu HD?

    Yes, Hulu’s on-demand library comes in standard HD (720p) or full HD (1080p) depending on how much available bandwidth you have. Its live TV streams go as high as standard HD (720p).

    What’s the difference between Hulu and Hulu Plus?

    Hulu no longer offers Hulu Plus—originally, this old package gave you access to more shows and seasons than the subscription-free Hulu. Now Hulu doesn’t have a free service, and instead offers four pay plans:

      • Hulu—$5.99/mo.
      • Hulu (No Ads)—$11.99/mo.
      • Hulu + Live TV—$44.99/mo.
      • Hulu (No Ads)—$50.99/mo.

    Does Hulu Plus have ads?

    Hulu doesn’t offer Hulu Plus anymore, but you can get Hulu without ads—the Hulu (No Ads) package starts at $11.99 per month.

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