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Hulu Review: Free Trial, Cost, Shows, Service Info, and More

Thinking about trying Hulu? Read our Hulu review for details including how to start a Hulu free trial.

Our Rating
User Experience
3/5
Value
4/5
Features
4/5
Monthly Cost
Starting at $7.99

Our Rating

Package Name On-demand showsSimultaneous StreamsPrice Website
Hulu w/ Limited Commercials75+1$7.99/mo.View Package
Hulu w/ No Commercials75+1$11.99/mo.View Package
On-demand showsSimultaneous StreamsPrice Website
75+1$7.99/mo.View Package
75+1$11.99/mo.View Package

Eye IconHulu Review

Hulu is an on-demand streaming service/binge-watching paradise. Watch hundreds of movies and shows at home or on the go.

Pros

  • Awesome original shows
  • Covers (most) previous seasons and new seasons of shows
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • Costs extra to limit commercials
  • Commercials on some shows no matter what (e.g. The Simpsons)

Do you ever find you have too much time in a day? Do you want to fill that empty space with incredible shows? Hulu will gladly suck up all your free time for a reasonable price each month—just don’t be surprised when commercials rear their ugly heads.

Hulu pricing and add-ons

There’s only one Hulu package, but you can customize your watching preferences with add-ons.

PriceOn-demand showsOn-demand movies
Hulu with Limited Commercials$7.99/mo.75+65+ See Plans
Hulu with No Commercials$11.99/mo.75+65+ See Plans

These two packages are basically the same thing with one big difference. You guessed it—one limits commercials and the other doesn’t—well, kinda (more on that below).

Hulu with Limited Commercials

At $7.99 a month (Netflix costs $10.99 a month), Hulu is actually a really affordable price for the number of shows and movies you get.

To put it in perspective, most of the shows on Hulu include every past season. For example, you get 21 seasons of South Park, nine seasons of Seinfeld, and (gulp) 14 seasons of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. So the amount of episodes you get for the price is pretty staggering.

Movies are always changing, but expect around 60 or 70 movies to choose from at a time. That may not sound like much (Netflix has a couple thousand movies), but Hulu’s movies are generally newer releases. Unfortunately, you probably won’t find the exact movie you want, but you’ll have enough to choose from.

You’ll have to suffer through commercials with the base plan, but you can always pull out your phone and scroll through Instagram or Twitter while you wait.

Hulu with No Commercials

You have all the same movies and shows to choose from with the no commercials plan, but you can watch them more efficiently. Whether you decide to pony up for the no commercials plan depends on how much you value your TV-watching time.

Want to watch more shows in less time? Get those commercials out of here. Or you can keep commercials in there (and they will pop up all the time) and save $4 every month.

Sadly, you’ll still occasionally encounter ads with the no commercials plan. So far, we only experienced commercials while binge-watching The Simpsons. Out of all the shows to include commercials, it just had to be the best show ever created. Typical.

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What about live TV?

Hulu also has a live TV service (Hulu with Live TV) that gets you over 55 channels. With Hulu Live, you get access to all the on-demand content as well. We’ve got a whole Hulu Live review you can check out if you’re interested.

Premium channel add-ons

You can throw HBO, SHOWTIME, and CINEMAX on to your Hulu package. Here’s a breakdown of the pricing:

  • HBO—$14.99 a month
  • SHOWTIME—$8.99 a month
  • CINEMAX—$9.99 a month

The only exciting deal you get here is SHOWTIME. The stand-alone SHOWTIME streaming service costs $11 a month, so you’re saving a few bucks every month going with Hulu. The other two premium add-on channels cost the same as you would find anywhere else, so it’s not a great price and it’s not a bad price. It’s just sort of anti-climatic.

But are the shows any good?

Taste in shows all comes down to your opinion, but by and large, Hulu has something for just about everybody. Whether you like gritty dramas like Handmaid’s Tale, niche classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or documentaries like The Beatles: Eight Days a Week, you’re bound to find something you like on Hulu.

Popular network shows

One of the biggest advantages Hulu has to offer over Netflix is its massive library of syndicated shows. Sure, Netflix offers that as well, but Hulu gets you way more shows than Netflix does. For example, if you want to take a nostalgia trip to the 90s, Hulu’s got Boy Meets World and Seinfeld. Netflix doesn’t have either.

Hulu also helps you stay up-to-date with concurrent shows like This Is Us and Rick and Morty. When new shows drop, you’ll see them on Hulu within a few days of airing. Yet another thing that Netflix doesn’t do.

Not that we’re throwing shade at Netflix (we love Netflix), but it’s worth appreciating that Hulu does things differently than Netflix—and some of them really pay off.

Hulu original shows

Hulu offers up some exclusive shows for subscribers, and some of them are quite good. Some are . . . not that good.

The most notable Hulu original is The Handmaid’s Tale, which is a tough but super-riveting watch. You’ve also got comedies like Difficult People (it’s a love-it-or-hate-it kind of show) and teen soaps like Runaways.

Overall, Hulu doesn’t have quite the same firepower as Netflix when it comes to original shows (see Stranger Things, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and House of Cards), but there’s enough to keep life interesting.

Streaming quality

Because all of Hulu’s content is on demand (as opposed to live TV), you can get better quality with less internet speed. Here are all the resolutions and accompanying internet speed requirements:

  • SD: 1.5 Mbps
  • 720p HD: 3 Mbps
  • 1080p HD: 6 Mbps

Apologies to all of you with spanking new 4K TVs—Hulu doesn’t support 4K resolution quite yet. Hopefully this changes in the near future, but for now, the resolutions max out at 1080p.

User experience

Hulu is sort of like a Picasso painting. Certain bits and pieces may look a little awkward, but the overall effect makes for an impressive experience. (We’re sorry, Pablo, for comparing your art to a streaming service.)

Interface

Hulu’s interface may look inspired by the light and space artist James Turrell. But unfortunately, aesthetic beauty doesn’t translate to ease of use.

A lot of times, finding shows on Hulu can be difficult. If you know exactly what you want to watch, it’s easy to just use Hulu’s search function and (cross your fingers) that your show shows up. But if you just like to browse TV programs, the suggestions can be a little wonky.

Compared to Netflix that spits out tons of things to choose from in the same breath, Hulu is less convenient because it requires some digging. You have to navigate to the Browse section, and even then, don’t expect the suggestions to be anything revelatory. The algorithm they use to suggest films is subpar to say the least.

Thankfully, once you’ve started a show, like Seinfeld, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, or Handmaid’s Tale, you’re just a button click away from continuing onward. They clearly had binge-watchers over browsers in mind with the interface.

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Hulu review summary

If you’re looking for shows, you’ve found a home in Hulu because it has so many. The price point is also pretty generous for the amount of stuff you get. Sure, you have to suffer through some commercials and the interface can be a little weird at times, but warts and all, it’s a binge-watcher’s paradise.

Have any thoughts or questions about Hulu? Let your voice be heard in the comments below.

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