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Netflix vs Hulu: Everything you need to know

Canada might be able to get a Netflix fix but Hulu is still exclusive to U.S. subscribers but with Disney taking the reins, that could all change soon.

If you’re a Canadian trawling for some sweet binge-watch action, Netflix and Hulu really ought to be at the top of your purchase list. With thousands of shows and movies between them, you can happily shut out the world, cook an oil drum sized container of popcorn and completely annihilate entire weekends.

Be that as it may, subscribing to both is an expensive proposition for the average couch potato. A decision has to be made, but we’re here to arm you with all the facts. So let’s get down to it…

Netflix vs Hulu: Price

Netflix offers potential customers three different avenues when it comes to subscribing: Basic, Standard or Premium. You will need to pay CAD$9.99 to secure the entry-level Basic service. The Basic service only allows you to stream to one device at a time and the content delivered will only be in Standard Definition (SD). Increase your monthly investment to CAD$13.99 and you’ll get a Standard service that allows you to watch content on two devices in High Definition (HD). Last but not least, CAD$16.99 a month will get you Premium, an option that offers 4K streaming and support for four devices at a time.

Looking over the fence, Hulu keeps things just as simple by offering three payment avenues. You can get the standard service for US$7.99 a month but this will be plagued with ads. Alternatively, paying US$11.99 per month, will get you a commercial-free experience. Last but not least, Hulu also offers fans of live TV a streaming package that comes with more than 50 channels for US$39.99 per month. You also get the option of three additional add-on channels: Showtime, HBO and Cinemax. These will set you back an extra US$8.99, US$14.99 and US$9.99 per month, respectively.

How do Netflix and Hulu’s content libraries compare?

Netflix has had great successes with its original content programming in recent years. For example, 2018 saw the service deliver a number of shows and films that received Rotten Tomatoes 90%+ “Fresh ratings”. Offerings like Nailed It, Big Mouth, Love, One Day at a Time, G.L.O.W., Wild Wild Country and The End of the F***ing World are well worth checking out.

Hulu delivered some great stuff in the same year, too. Subscribers to the service should check out The Handmaid’s Tale, Dimension 404, Difficult People, Freakish, The Path, Harlots, Casual and The Mindy Project.

With that said, today we’ll focus in the raw numbers of library totals. At last check (Dec. 26, 2018), Netflix CA had 1,639 TV shows and 4,010 movies for a grand total of 5,649 titles, whereas Hulu US boasted 1,655 TV shows and 2,512 movies which comes to a grand total of 4,167.

It’s a close race on the TV front, but Netflix CA wins at the time of writing thanks to its impressive film count. Check the graph for a better visual on how those two compare.

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What about kids programming?

Parents will be pleased to know that both Hulu and Netflix allow the setting up of child-centric profiles. Once enabled, these sorts of accounts will provide the best in kid viewing while filtering out the nastier content available elsewhere on the service. Side bonus: you can also password protect adult profiles for an extra layer of security.

Netflix offers a robust library of kids titles and also has the edge with a large collection of originals produced for younger audiences. Of particular note is the Netflix/DreamWorks collaboration that has delivered a bunch of great films and series such as Trollhunters (from Guillermo del Toro), Spirit Riding Free and All Hail King Julien.

That said, as of mid-2018, Hulu has snatched up its own selection of DreamWorks-related material in a multi-year content deal. Come 2020, Hulu will be the exclusive streaming home of theatrical releases like The Boss Baby 2, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Trolls 2. It’s also quite likely that some pre-Netflix legacy DreamWorks content (think: Shrek, Madagascar, etc.) will be found on Hulu.

Does Netflix CA or Hulu offer better quality streaming?

On the surface, both providers appear to be more or less the same, what with them both using an automated bit-rate adaption technology that intelligently streams content to you in line with your Internet speed. That said, in practice there are some creature comforts here and there that come into play and affect the user experience.

For example, Hulu and Netflix both offer a “recently watched list” – the idea being you can easily keep track of what’s been binged and you’ll even get a handy reminder when new episodes of your favourite series have arrived. Netflix’s “My List” handles all of this with aplomb whereas Hulu’s “Watchlist” sometimes doesn’t highlight new content, and when it does, the new content can get buried deep in the feed.

Beyond that minor peccadillo, both Hulu and Netflix offer similar viewing experiences, be it in SD, HD or Ultra HD (4K) resolution (and what’s available depends on which package you choose). While we think Netflix needs a better means to indicate to viewers what is and isn’t UHD content, it earns bonus points by offering a much greater volume of shows and movies in 4K.

Prospective Hulu subscribers ought to be warned that the service has had an iffy history with its 4K content – it’s clear that UHD is not a huge priority at the time of writing. In 2016 and 2017, Hulu experimented with some 4K content in the form of The Handmaid’s Tale and 20 odd James Bond movies, today those offerings have been all but removed from the service. When Hulu will reinstate this content (and provide much more in order to compete with Netflix’s own 4K offerings) is not known at this time. Watch this space.

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Why stop at Netflix and Hulu when you can compare them all? See what Prime Video and CBS All Access are offering in the table below.

Name Product Price p/month or equivalent Free trial? Service Simultaneous streams 4K/UHD?
Disney+
Disney+ [CA]
CA$8.99
7 Days
On-demand streaming
4
Yes
Prime Video
Prime Video [CA]
CA$5.99
1 month
On-demand streaming
3
Yes
Residents of Quebec aren't eligible for a free trial of Amazon Prime
Fubo TV Canadian Basic
Fubo TV [CA]
CA$15.99
7 days
On-demand streaming
2
Yes
fuboTV offers sports streaming for Canadians as well as Cloud DVR recording for live events and options for additional packages.
Shudder
Shudder [CA]
US$4.99
7 days
On-demand streaming
1
No
Shudder is a screaming service dedicated totally to contemporary and classic horror flicks.
Curiositystream
CuriosityStream [CA]
US$2.99
No
On-demand streaming
Yes
Yes
YouTube Premium
YouTube Premium [CA]
CA$11.99
1 month
On-demand streaming
1
Select titles
Crave + Movies + HBO package
Crave + HBO [CA]
CA$19.98
1-month
On-demand streaming
2
No
Includes hit movies and current HBO seasons, as well as six live streaming channels (Crave 1, Crave 2, Crave 3, Crave 4, HBO Canada, HBO Canada 2)
Crave
Crave [CA]
CA$9.99
1-month
On-demand streaming
2
No
Gives you access to Crave originals, past seasons of HBO shows, Showtime series, and a limited number of Family and Kids titles.
Acorn TV
Acorn TV [CA]
US$4.99
7 days
On-demand streaming
1
No
Acorn TV offers British TV shows on-demand.
CBS All Access
CBS All Access [CA]
US$5.99
1-month
On-demand streaming
2
No
Netflix Basic
Netflix Basic [CA]
CA$9.99
No
On-demand streaming
1
No
Netflix Standard
Netflix Standard [CA]
CA$13.99
No
On-demand streaming
2
No
Netflix Premium
Netflix Premium [CA]
CA$16.99
No
On-demand streaming
4
Yes
SundanceNow
Sundance Now [CA]
US$6.99
7 days
On-demand streaming
1
No
Club Illico
Club Illico [CA]
CA$9.99
No
On-demand streaming
1
No
Club Illico offers French TV shows and movies for a French-Canadian audience.
YouTube Premium Family Plan
YouTube Premium Family Plan [CA]
CA$17.99
1 month
On-demand streaming
6
Select titles
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