The rapid growth of the cord-cutting community is the final nail in the coffin of cable TV services. Whether you like the change or not – there are many benefits of switching from your regular cable TV to an online streaming service. Hulu is a great example.
The streaming service Hulu is very popular among cord-cutters in the US. With award-winning original shows, documentaries, and a plethora of on-demand movies and TV shows, it is rapidly catching up with Netflix’s content library.
Hulu also has its own live TV service, which is loaded with 65+ American TV channels, providing linear scheduled entertainment, news, sports, infographic, and kids’ content.
Many of you probably have already found Hulu + Live TV while searching for streaming services on the web. Now you might wonder if the service is worth the monthly subscription of $54.99.
Today we are going to take a closer look at Hulu’s on-demand offerings, as well as its live TV streaming service.
What is Hulu + Live TV?
Hulu + Live TV is an OTT (over-the-top) streaming platform that is focused on delivering on-demand content, with live channels from major television networks. It is the result of a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and Comcast.
It is one of the golden trios of Disney’s subscription-based streaming brands, alongside Disney+ and ESPN+. While Disney+ only offers Disney movies, shows, and originals, Hulu’s library is built upon hundreds of content from several television networks, such as HBO, ABC, AMC, FOX, Adult Swim, NBC, and many more. Hulu also has its own original programming, which they brand as Hulu Originals.
As of February 3, 2020, Hulu has an active 30.4 million user base, with over 3.2 million Hulu + Live TV subscribers. Since the service is currently exclusive to the United States, it is yet to see how Hulu performs after its rumored international expansion in 2021.
Hulu currently offers three plans to its users. These are:
- Hulu ($5.99/month)
- Hulu (No Ads) ($11.99/month)
- Hulu + Live TV ($54.99/month)
One of the most popular monthly plans is the $5.99 Hulu plan. You get unlimited access to Hulu’s on-demand streaming library. However, it has limited advertisements. Subscribers can upgrade to the Hulu (No Ads) plan by paying the $6 difference later down the road for removing the advertisements.
Hulu’s on-demand content library is loaded up with movies, as well as TV shows from premium networks like HBO, ABC, BBC America, SHOWTIME, FOX, FX, NBC, Adult Swim, Freeform, Comedy Central, Starz, and many more.
Some of the most-watched TV shows available on Hulu include Grey’s Anatomy, The Outsider, The Good Doctor, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Avenue 5, Fargo, The Good Place, The Resident, Rick and Morty, South Park, Game of Thrones, Outlander, and dozens more.
Hulu’s on-demand movie collection is also reasonably large. Popular movies, such as Spider-Man Far From Home, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Men In Black: International, Pokemon Detective Pikachu, Alita: Battle Angel, Venom, Aquaman, Shazam, Us are available at the time of this writing.
Hulu Originals are even better. From award-winning masterpiece The Handmaid’s Tale to Looking for Alaska, Wu-Tang: An American Saga, Ramy, Futureman, Jawline, The Accident, 11.22.63, The Act – The list doesn’t end.
New members get a 1-month free trial, which is more than enough for most users. Some TV shows are available only when you pay for the premium add-ons separately, which we will discuss in a bit.
Hulu + Live TV
For $54.99/month, Hulu + Live TV bundles the on-demand library with live TV channels. Hulu also offers a Live TV Only plan, which costs $53.99/month. Since the price difference between the two plans is only $1, it doesn’t make any sense to not go for the Hulu + Live TV plan.
Below is the list of 65+ channels offered by Hulu. Although some channels might not be available in your area, you can visit hulu.com/live-tv to check out the availability of channels.
Hulu + Live TV Channels
Depending on you and your family’s watching habits, you are unlikely going to miss out on regularly watched channels. Hulu’s sports coverage is excellent since you get channels like CBS, FS1/FS2, NBCSN, TNT, Golf, BTN, and the whole set of ESPN. From the NBA, NFL, NHL to NCAA college and English Premier Leagues, you can watch almost every major sports events.
If not so interested in sports-centric content, there are plenty of entertainment channels you can watch, including ABC, A&E, FOX, NBC, etc.
While Hulu offers a decent lineup of channels, the absence of MTV, Hallmark, AMC, PBS, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, NBA TV, and NFL Network might be a dealbreaker for some people.
Fortunately, Hulu’s on-demand library covers several TV shows from AMC and Comedy Central to make up for the exclusion of those channels.
Channels included in Hulu + Live TV
|ABC||ABC News Live||CBS||CBSN||FOX|
|NBC||ACC Network||A&E||Animal Planet||BTN|
|Boomerang||Bravo||Cartoon Network||CBS Sports Network||Cheddar Business|
|CNBC||CNN||CNN International||Cozi TV||CW|
|Discovery Channel||Disney Channel||Disney Junior||Disney XD||E!|
|ESPN||ESPN 2||ESPNEWS||ESPN U||ESPN College Extra|
|ESPN Bases Loaded||ESPN Goal Line||Food Network||FOX Business||FOX News|
With Hulu + Live TV, you also get 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage. You can stream on up to two devices at the same time too.
Hulu offers premium network, entertainment, and feature add-ons. You can combine the add-ons with the main subscription plans. Here are the add-ons available on Hulu:
- HBO ($14.99/mo)
- Cinemax ($9.99/month)
- SHOWTIME ($10.99/month)
- STARZ ($8.99/month)
- Entertainment Add-on ($7.99/month): AHC, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life Channel, CNBC World, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, FYI, Lifetime Movies, SCI, Great American Country
- Español Add-on ($4.99/month): CNN en Español, Discovery en Español, History Channel en Español, NBC Universo, ESPN Deportes, FOX Deportes
- Enhanced Cloud DVR ($9.99/month): 200 hours of cloud DVR storage, unlimited simultaneous recordings.
- Unlimited Screens ($9.99/month)
- Enhanced Cloud DVR + Unlimited Screens bundle ($14.99/month)
The list of devices that support the Hulu app is relatively large. Most of the devices have access to both on-demand and live programming, while a few older devices are restricted to on-demand + add-ons only. You can check out the eligible devices below.
Currently Supported Platforms
- All smartphones and tablets running Android 5.0 Lollipop or later versions
- Apple iPhone and iPad device running iOS 12 or higher
- Select Android TV and boxes, including Sony Bravia (2015 models or later), Hisense, NVIDIA Shield, and Xiaomi Mi Box
- Apple TV (4th gen) and Apple TV 4K
- Amazon Fire Tablets (4th gen or higher)
- Amazon Firestick, Firestick 4K, Fire TV, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Edition Smart TVs
- Roku devices including Roku Streaming Stick (model 3500 or later), Roku 2 (model 4210), Roku 3 / 4, Roku Express / Express+, Roku Premiere / Premiere+, Roku Ultra, and Roku TVs
- Chromecast devices and Smart TVs with built-in Chromecast
- LG Smart TVs with webOS 3.5 or higher
- Samsung Smart TVs (2015 models or later)
- VIZIO SmartCast TVs
- Nintendo Switch
- Sony PlayStation 3 and 4 (No live TV)
- Microsoft Xbox 360 and Xbox One
- The latest version of HTML5-compatible web browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari
On these devices, you can only access Hulu’s on-demand streaming library. You won’t find the live TV channels, content from add-on networks, or any of the newer features.
- Apple TV (2nd & 3rd gen)
- Roku Streaming Player (model 2400-3100) and Streaming Stick (model 3420 or earlier)
- LG TVs running webOS 3.0
- Samsung Smart TV and Blu-Ray players (2013-2015 models)
- Sony Internet TVs (2012-2014 models)
- TiVo devices, including Premiere, Roamio, Bolt, and Mini
Is Hulu + Live TV Worth It?
Now that you pretty much know everything about Hulu’s offerings, you might ask us about the overall experience. Since we have spent quite some time with the service at this point, we will talk about some of the essentials of Hulu’s streaming service.
Image and Audio Quality
Hulu introduced 4K content back in 2016, then killed it in 2018 due to low demand. Last year, Hulu relaunched 4K streaming with a vast selection of titles.
Some of the Hulu Originals are available for streaming in 4K, but the absence of HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma), HDR10, and Dolby Vision is a bummer. Despite that, 4K content still looked exceptional in our testing. Other on-demand movies and TV shows are maxed out at 1080p Full-HD resolution.
On the other hand, the live TV channels are mostly capped at 480p and 720p, with a few channels available in 1080p. Some sports and news channels are also available in 60fps, similar to what we have seen on YouTube TV as well.
We tried streaming live TV on three different devices: Apple TV 4K, Sony Bravia Android TV, and Firestick. All of them ran the stream without any hiccups, though we did encounter some dropped frames. As we used a high-speed internet connection, your mileage may vary. An 8mbps internet connection is required for streaming in 1080p. For 4K, you at least need a 25mbps internet connection or higher.
Audio quality is exceptional, with 5.1 surround sound on board. Excluding on-demand content a few live TV channels, the audio quality is stuck at 2.0 stereo.
Cloud DVR is a feature that we see on many live TV streaming services. Hulu offers 50 hours of DVR recording with its Hulu + Live TV plan, which can be upgraded to 200 hours with the Enhanced Cloud DVR ($9.99/month) add-on. You can schedule DVR recordings from the channel guide, then access it from the DVR library. In addition, you get to option to record the upcoming episodes and reruns too.
In case your Cloud DVR storage is low, the new recordings will replace the older ones. Also, you can’t skip advertisements without the Enhanced Cloud DVR add-on. In case you forget to record an episode of your favorite TV show, you can always access it from Hulu’s on-demand streaming library.
The redesigned TV guide is broken into several categories and genres. You also see the program schedule, which you can select for setting up DVR recording. In the My Stuff section, you can add your favorite content and keep track of new additions.
The player consists of all the basic playback controls, such as pause, rewind, skip, fast-forward, and timeline scrubbing. If you want to browse the streaming library during live playback, the player gets minimized in a corner.
One thing that we hate is unskippable advertisements in Hulu’s streaming library. Even with the Hulu (No Ads) plan, you might encounter an ad at the start of a few movies and TV shows.
Despite a few shortcomings, Hulu’s vast collection of on-demand original content and 65+ live TV channels are worth the asking subscription prices. The premium network add-ons, Cloud DVR, and 4K content are also a few of the elements that make Hulu one of the best streaming services available in the US.
Before you decide to go for Hulu, you should definitely check out the other reviews that we have done on live TV streaming services. If you want us to cover more services in the future, you can tell us in the comments below.