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Hulu + Live TV review | Price, features and data usage
This streaming service now offers live streaming and content you can download to watch later.
What is Hulu?
Hulu is a streaming service that allows you to watch movies and TV shows anytime, on demand. Its plans include options with and without ads, those that allow you to watch TV as it airs and the ability to download select shows and movies to watch offline.
While Hulu offers thousands of shows and movies, its Live TV selection is still limited to just over 60 channels. So if you’re looking for something to replace cable entirely, it might not be enough to make the cut.
What's in this guide?
- What is Hulu?
- Hulu deals
- Hulu pros and cons
- What can I watch with Hulu?
- What is Hulu + Live TV?
- Compare all Hulu plans
- What devices and platforms are compatible with Hulu?
- What features can I add to Hulu?
- How much data does Hulu use?
- Does Hulu ever go on sale?
- Compare streaming services
- Bottom line
- Frequently asked questions
Hulu pros and cons
- Includes a good range of compatible devices.
- Hulu has loads of popular content.
- Improvements include the Cinemax, HBO, Showtime and Starz add-ons.
- Select content from the streaming library is now downloadable.
- Hulu + Live TV offers the option to watch TV as it airs.
- Record up to 50 hours of live content to your cloud DVR.
- The Showtime package is more expensive than the service itself.
- The cheapest tier has lengthy commercial advertisements.
- No-ad plans have content that still require an advertisement.
- You only get slightly over 60 TV channels.
- You can only download movies and shows to select iOS devices.
- The option to download content is only available to no-ad plan subscribers.
What can I watch with Hulu?
Award-winning series are the biggest stars of Hulu‘s streaming library. Its original drama series The Act took home an Emmy in 2019, but it also hosts a number of binge-worthy shows from other networks. Have a feel-good night with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, or catch up on Succession by adding HBO — all in one place.
On the movie front, its library still has some newer flicks, but mostly features older titles like Face Off and Saturday Night Fever. You can expand the catalogue to access newer releases by subscribing to the Cinemax HBO, Showtime, or Starz packages.
What is Hulu + Live TV?
Hulu competes with cable by offering over 60 on-demand and live channels. The channels are additional to the normal Hulu streaming library, and add-ons like access to unlimited screens at once, enhanced DVR storage and extra networks can enhance any plan
Adding live TV can tack on almost $40 a month if you’re upgrading from Hulu with ads to Hulu + Live TV with ads. Knocking off those pesky advertisements bumps it up another $6 each month.
What channels do I get with Hulu + Live TV?
Channels include popular entertainment, family, movies, news and sports networks. What’s available to you will depend on your location, but can include:
- ABC News Live
- Animal Planet
- Big Ten Network
- Cartoon Network
- CBS Sports Network
- Cheddar Business
- CNN International
- Cozi TV
- Discovery Channel
- Disney Junior
- Disney XD
- ESPN 2
- ESPN Bases Loaded
- ESPN College Extra
- ESPN Goalline
- ESPN News
- Food Network
- Fox Business
- Fox News
- History Channel
- Investigation Discovery
- Motor Trend
- National Geographic
- Nat Geo Wild
- NBC Golf
- Olympic Channel
- SEC Network
- Smithsonian Channel
- Travel Channel
- Tru TV
- Universal Kids
Compare all Hulu plans
Is upgrading worth it?
The On-demand streaming and No Commercials Plan offers can boost your Hulu viewing pleasure. But if you’re uncertain whether these enhancements are worth the extra cost, take advantage of their 30-day free trial to help you decide.
What devices and platforms are compatible with Hulu?
What features can I add to Hulu?
Several add-ons are available to round out your Hulu experience if you’re willing to pay more each month.
Add premium networks to any plan:
Add extra features exclusive to Live TV plans:
- Enhanced Cloud DVR
- Entertainment Add-on
- Español Add-on
- Unlimited Screens
How much data does Hulu use?
Like all streaming services, Hulu can chew through a hefty amount of data depending on how heavily you use it. 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 its 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 2020‘s deals for Hulu using our Black Friday page.
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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.
Hulu + Live TV is taking a big swing at gathering the hundreds of thousands who’ve cut cable by offering a dense library of on-demand content and live TV channels. It’s far from the only service available though, and you may find one that meets your needs at a better price when you compare your online streaming options.
Frequently asked questions
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