After a decade of providing recorded video content through its website and app, Hulu finally dove headfirst into the live streaming TV pool in early 2017.
Competition is getting fiercer all the time as more providers try their hands at meeting that sweet spot between offering enough channels while remaining cheaper than cable.
Compare Now: Hulu Live TV Plans & Packages
Has Hulu TV accomplished that? You be the judge as we look at the Hulu channel lineup, pricing info, and features. Stay tuned for our full Hulu live TV review!
Table of Contents
Key Considerations When Choosing a Streaming Service
You'll get the most out of your viewing experience if you choose wisely. Keep these factors in mind:
- Price: Particularly if you're going to have multiple subscriptions, you'll want to watch the costs. Extras like premium channels can add up quickly as well.
- Content type: Not all streaming TV is created equally. Make sure your chosen provider carries your favorite shows, sporting events, and movie options.
- Discounts/free trials: Most streaming providers - including Hulu TV - offer a free trial so you can make sure it's a good fit before you buy. They also run promotional deals from time to time so watch out for the best deal.
- Internet connection: You definitely want high-speed internet in order to fully enjoy streaming without annoying buffering. Make sure you have a minimum of 3 Mbps for one user, 5 Mbps for HD or multiple streams.
Hulu TV Plans
You have a few different choices of Hulu packages. The channels are the same with all Hulu plans. The options vary according to whether you want regular Hulu along with the Hulu with TV, and whether you want commercials in your on-demand content.
Hulu with Live TV
This plan includes the regular Hulu content with limited commercials, along with access to live television. You get more than 50 channels including:
- Live local stations
- Plenty of sports coverage - ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports 1 and 2, NBCSN, college sports like the Big Ten Network and SEC, plus extras like the Golf Channel and Olympic Channel
- News channels such as CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and more
- Kids' channels like Disney, Cartoon Network, and Boomerang
- Lifestyle and entertainment essentials like Food Network, HGTV, History Channel, National Geographic, TNT, and USA
Unfortunately, Hulu with TV is afflicted by the same problem as PlayStation Vue - no Viacom channels. These include the likes of Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and MTV. Rumors abound that these channels will eventually come to Hulu live TV but only time will tell.
Hulu Live TV Only
This Hulu plan comes without the regular version of Hulu (Hulu originals and extensive on-demand library). It only saves you a buck over the main plan so it's not exactly a huge saving, and the content you miss out on is considerable.
Hulu with Live TV with No Commercials in Streaming Content
It's a bit convoluted and the Hulu website doesn't make it very clear, but for a few extra bucks, you can opt for the no-commercials version of the regular Hulu.
You still won't have the ability to fast forward through commercials on your Hulu live TV (or skip them altogether), because, well, that's the way the cable networks operate.
See all of the Hulu live TV channels.
Hulu TV Prices
As far as Hulu live TV prices, they're pretty competitive with comparable services like YouTube TV.
If you just want the typical selection of shows and movies along with sports and news you won't have much trouble sticking to the budget, plus you get a ton of regular Hulu content in their streaming library which almost makes it like a two-for-one.
Where you can get into trouble with the price point is if you start adding all kinds of extras (which we'll talk about in a moment). Hulu with Live TV does a good job of giving you plenty of extra options - and they aren't exactly cheap.
So what add-on channels can you get with your Hulu TV plan?
- Entertainment add-on - comes with several channels including the Cooking Channel, DIY, and Lifetime Movies
- Español add-on - ESPN Deportes, Familia Discovery, Universo and more
Your Hulu live TV DVR plan comes with 50 hours of cloud DVR storage. For an additional monthly fee, you can upgrade to Enhanced Cloud DVR, which gives you 200 hours of recording time.
You get two simultaneous streams with Hulu TV.
You can upgrade to unlimited screens - with a caveat. You get unlimited streams at home, and you can stream three at the same time on the go.
Hulu Live TV Sports
As I mentioned earlier the live sports networks included are pretty standard. You get the usual combination of college, national and regional sports.
Why? Because you won't find add-ons like NFL RedZone, NBA League Pass, or the NHL Network. That said, if the normal broadcast sports coverage is sufficient for the sports fan in you then Hulu is certainly adequate.
Hulu TV Compatible Devices
Hulu with live TV works with a wide range of compatible devices:
- Android phones and tablets
- Apple iPhone and iPad
- Apple TV (4th gen and later)
- Google Chromecast
- Echo Show
- Amazon Fire TV, Fire Stick, and Fire tablets
- PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4
- Samsung and LG Smart TVs (select models)
- Xbox 360 and Xbox One
- Nintendo Switch
- PC and Mac
Hulu TV User Experience
The biggest complaint about the Hulu live TV viewing experience is that the interface is poorly organized. You can only see what's on now and what's coming up. If you want to see beyond that you'll have to do a lot of clicking. There's not really a Hulu TV guide, per se.
Once you get past the menu's learning curve you should be fine. If you're already accustomed to Hulu's rather busy, overlapping interface then you'll be right at home from the get-go.
See how real customers have responded to the service in our Hulu Live TV reviews.
Benefits of Streaming TV
Joining the cord cutters offers many advantages over traditional cable TV:
- Cost: Fortune reports that switching to streaming can save you an average of $85 a month, even when you factor in the cost of internet.
- Flexibility: Even though we don't yet have completely à la carte options yet, streaming TV allows you to pick and choose your content to a greater extent than regular television providers.
- Freedom: Streaming pay-TV providers charge month-to-month. That means no contracts and no surprises after the first year when your cable bill typically soars once your promotional offer expires.
The bottom line:
- Hulu with Live TV is a decent offering if you're looking for a basic cable-type experience.
- Add-ons can easily put your bill over the top.
- Compared to YouTube TV, which offers similar channels but free unlimited DVR storage for the same price, Hulu has some work to do.
- Getting the regular on-demand Hulu content basically for free makes this option a good solid deal if you've got to watch your favorites like the Handmaid's Tale or other original Hulu TV shows.
- There is a huge variety of supported devices to make viewing convenient.
If you're undecided about live TV streaming services altogether, see all of your local options. Find TV providers in your area in just seconds.
Compare Now: Hulu Live TV Plans & Packages