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.
–Mike Strayer, Managing Editor
Hulu prices and packages
|Hulu (No Ads)||N/A||$11.99/mo.|
|Hulu + Live TV||60+||$44.99/mo.|
|Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV||60+||$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.
With those numbers, Hulu’s free trial is worth a shot before you renew your cable TV package.
Bundle with Netflix
|Missing channels||Popular channels|
|SEE FULL CHANNEL LINEUP||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.
Scores the basics, misses the big leagues
|Sports channel||Hulu + Live TV|
|Big Ten Network||✓|
|CBS Sports Network||✓|
|ESPN Bases Loaded||✓|
|ESPN College Extra||✓|
|ESPN Goal Line||✓|
|FOX Soccer Plus||✗|
|FOX Sports 1||✓|
|FOX Sports 2||✓|
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.
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?
Best-priced premiums of all streaming TV
Hulu original shows and movies
Popular Hulu original shows and movies
|Popular original shows||Popular original movies|
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.
Oodles of hours for an extra Hamilton
|Hulu + Live TV||50 hrs.||$44.99/mo.|
|Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV||50 hrs.||$50.99/mo.|
|Enhanced Cloud DVR||200 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.
Noteworthy stream count, but only if you’ve got the cash
|Package||Simultaneous streams||Offline viewing||Price|
|Hulu||1||Coming 2019||$5.99/mo.||Free Trial|
|Hulu (No Ads)||1||Coming 2019||$11.99/mo.||Free Trial|
|Hulu + Live TV||2||Coming 2019||$44.99/mo.||Free Trial|
|Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV||2||Coming 2019||$50.99/mo.||Free Trial|
|Unlimited Screens||Unlimited 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.
Save on Enhanced Cloud DVR and Unlimited Screens
Everywhere but your big-kid game console
|Streaming device||Hulu + Live TV|
|Amazon Fire TV||✓|
|Amazon Fire tablet||✓|
|Android mobile devices||✓|
|iOS mobile devices||✓|
|LG TV Smart TVs (select models)||✓|
|Samsung Smart TVs (select models)||✓|
|Vizio SmartCast TV (select models)|
|Windows 10 phones|
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
Hulu streaming video quality
|Streaming type||Video resolution|
|Live TV and cloud DVR recordings||720p|
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 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.
- 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.
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.
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 (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.