We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.
Hulu + Live TV review | Price, features and data usage
This streaming video-on-demand provider, Hulu, has 9 million paying subscribers. What do you get for your money?
Hulu pros and cons
- Good range of compatible devices
- Hulu has loads of popular content
- Made even better by the SHOWTIME add-on
- The SHOWTIME package is more expensive than the service itself
- The cheapest tier has lengthy commercial advertisements
What is Hulu
There’s no doubt the additional content that Showtime offers is a huge bonus for Hulu customers and it’s even better that you don’t have to sit through advertisements with SHOWTIME on Hulu but it’s hard to justify a monthly fee of $10.99 USD when you still have to sit through invasive commercials when viewing standard Hulu.
From new episodes of the latest shows as well as more niche offerings, Hulu has plenty to satisfy TV buffs of all stripes. On the movie front, its library is decidedly less impressive, featuring mostly older titles like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Saturday Night Fever. You can deal with this by subscribing to the Showtime package, which expands the catalogue with newer releases.
Hulu also features a range of original programming, including the Golden Globe-nominated comedy series Casual, Stephen King’s sci-fi thriller 11.22.63 and the romantic-comedy The Mindy Project.Hulu is definitely king when it comes to content. Recently, it bolstered its already stellar comedy line-up with Larry and Jerry’s lovechild Seinfeld and they continue to add fantastic TV shows and movies all the time. There’s also a lot of action to be found, with John Malkovich as Blackbeard in Crossbones (table 1, middle-left), everybody’s favorite gravelly voiced badass Jack Bauer in 24 and every season of Heroes (right in time for the rebooted series, Heroes: Reborn). In addition, SHOWTIME on Hulu offers a selection of premium shows and movies, albeit at a higher price
Compare all Hulu plans
What devices and platforms are compatible with Hulu?
How much data does Hulu use?
Like all streaming services, Hulu can chew through a hefty amount of data depending on how heavily it is used. As a guide, Hulu recommends a minimum Internet speed of 1.5Mbps for Standard Definition (SD) streaming. For 720p, that goes up to 3Mbps, while 1080p requires 6Mbps. At 4K Ultra HD, a 13Mbps connection is necessary for smooth playback.
In practical terms, this means that SD streaming uses up approximately 675MB an hour, 1080p uses 2.7GB every hour and 4K chews through a whopping 5.9GB an hour. Assuming an average of 10 hours of streaming a week, this comes out as approximately 27GB a month for SD, 108GB a month for HD and 236GB a month for 4K.
Does Hulu ever go on sale?
Hulu tends to offer their best deals during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with previous years having a monthly price of 99 cents a month or $12 a year for new and eligible returning subscribers. Find out about 2019‘s deals for Hulu in our Black Friday page.
Compare streaming services
Case study: Ezra's experience
My basic plan includes advertisements that come up awkwardly in the middle of scenes. I could forgive this if the streaming quality was strong and consistent, but I often have buffering issues that interrupt what I’m watching. Furthermore, films and TV shows are often pixelated and rarely play at high-definition.
Frequently asked questions
Ask an Expert