Hulu became one of the first rivals to Netflix when it launched back in 2007. Plenty of platforms have entered the competitive battle for US streaming supremacy since, but Hulu has remained a significant player, with over 47.2 million subscribers and counting.
An enticing selection of essential new movies and TV shows – alongside an impressive back catalogue of older material – makes it easy to see why Hulu remains one of the best streaming services available. Not only is the platform the home of acclaimed TV shows, such as Atlanta, The Handmaid’s Tale, Only Murders in the Building, and The Bear, it’s the place to go for original movies including Prey and Palm Springs, or hit reality series like The Kardashians.
Hulu also gives you access to a broad back catalogue of retro content that’s the envy of many of its rivals, as well as the option of signing up for the comprehensive Hulu + Live TV plan.
So, if you’re wondering whether to add Hulu to your raft of streaming platforms, this page will tell you everything you need to know about the pros and cons of subscribing.
Hulu explained: what is Hulu and Hulu + Live TV?
As our full Hulu review explains, signing up to a basic Hulu subscription delivers access to more than 2,500 films and 1,600 TV series. You’ll get content from major networks and original stuff from Hulu, too, but one of its standout features is the sheer volume of options available with different bundles and add-ons. For example, you can add premium channels like HBO Max or Showtime for an extra monthly fee, and cancel/switch at any time.
The Hulu + Live TV subscription grants you more than 75 channels for a reasonable cost (keep reading for more detail on price), as well as Disney Plus and ESPN Plus (see our article on the Disney Plus bundle for more information). If you’re missing traditional cable, this is the plan for you as it offers a mind-boggling amount of shows, while Hulu’s Cloud DVR enables you to record up to 50 hours of live television.
Additionally, you can purchase the Enhanced Cloud DVR to increase your storage to 200 hours, or bolster your line-up with the Entertainment Network and Español Network Add-ons.
Know which plan you want to go for? You can sign up to Hulu now! (opens in new tab)
Hulu shows and movies: what can you watch now?
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An entry-level Hulu membership lets you binge entire seasons of hit shows, catch new episodes the day after broadcast, enjoy kid’s entertainment and Hulu Originals, and watch TV series and films old and new from major studios. The following list is just a sample of what’s available. For our roundups of the top options, see our best shows on Hulu and best Hulu movies lists.
- Future Man
- House of Gucci
- Little Fires Everywhere
- Love, Victor
- Normal People
- Only Murders in the Building
- Palm Springs
- Schitt’s Creek
- The Act
- The Bear
- The Dropout
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- The Great
- The Patient
- What We Do in the Shadows
- Woke and Ramy
- The X-Files
The platform also hosts older shows from dozens of networks, among them A&E, AMC, VH1, MTV, TNT, Disney Channel, and Discovery. So, you’re just a click away from shows like Sons of Anarchy (FX), Modern Family (ABC), Broad City (Comedy Central), and animated classics like Bob’s Burgers and The Simpsons (Fox). Whatever you pick, chances are you’ll have a lot of fun watching it.
With a Hulu + Live TV plan you can enjoy all this and over 75 live channels. Choosing the Disney Plus and ESPN bundle delivers a wild amount of content to your screen.
What’s new on Hulu?
There’s an impressive range of content coming to Hulu in March 2023, including classic movies, plus new film and TV releases. Here are a few of our top picks:
- Groundhog Day (1993) – added March 1
- The Shape of Water (2017) – added March 1
- LA Confidential (1997) – added March 1
- Glory (1989) – added March 1
- The Departed (2006) – added March 1
- History of the World, Part II (new) – added March 6
- Boston Strangler (new) – releasing March 17
- FX’s Great Expectations (new) – releasing March 26
- Rye Lane (new) – releasing March 31
How much does Hulu cost?
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Hulu’s Basic Plan now costs $7.99 a month (with ads) and $14.99 a month (without ads). This brings the ‘with ads’ subscription in line with that of Disney Plus, but inflates the ads-free subscription above Disney Plus’ by some way – Disney Plus’ no-ads package costs $10.99. See our ‘versus’ section below for more on how Hulu compares to other big streamers.
The Hulu + Live TV plans, which include ESPN Plus and Disney Plus, are now $69.99 a month (with ads) and $82.99 a month (without ads). Alternatively, you can grab a Live TV-only subscription for $68.99 a month but, seeing as you’ll have to forgo the Hulu streaming library as well as Disney Plus and ESPN Plus content, we don’t see why you wouldn’t just pay the extra dollar.
Hulu: is there a free trial?
Oh yes! And it’s a doozy. If you want to try the standard Hulu package or its no ads equivalent, you’re entitled to a 30-day Hulu free trial, which gives you a month to explore the platform’s thrillingly diverse programming.
How to sign up to Hulu
Registering with Hulu is pretty simple!
- Head to the Hulu website (opens in new tab)
- Click ‘Start Your Free Trial’ button
- Select a plan
- Enter your email address, password, and other details
- Click ‘Continue’ and enter billing information
- Submit your info and start streaming
Hulu app: what devices can you watch on?
The latest Hulu app and all its features, including Live TV and Premium Add-ons, are supported by the following devices:
- Android phones and tablets
- Android TV (select models)
- Apple TV (4th generation or later)
- Echo Show (8, 10, and 15)
- Fire Tablets
- Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
- iPhones and iPads
- LG TV (select models)
- Nintendo Switch
- Mac and PC browsers/apps
- Roku (select models)
- Samsung TV (select models)
- VIZIO SmartCast TVs
- Xfinity Flex Streaming TV Box*
- Xfinity X1 TV Boxes*
- Contour 2 and Contour Stream Player*
Click here (opens in new tab) for a detailed list of Hulu-compatible devices and models.
* While Contour devices, PlayStation 3, and Xfinity devices have the latest Hulu app, they do not support live TV programming.
Is Hulu available in 4K and HDR?
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If you’ve got the hardware to support 4K Ultra HD, you’re in luck. Some of Hulu’s best shows are available to stream with a sharper image, deeper color, and 8 million pixels pummelling your eyeballs. That said, it’s a pretty small selection – Hulu is home to over 4,000 titles, yet only around 70 get the 4K treatment. Luckily, almost all Hulu Originals are available to stream in the higher-definition format.
Titles you can watch in 4K Ultra HD on Hulu include supernatural thriller Helstrom, science-fiction comedy Future Man, every season of the multi-award-winning The Handmaid’s Tale, and horror anthology series Into the Dark. There’s also a clutch of FX titles to enjoy, such as Mayans MC, Black Narcissus, and the star-studded miniseries Mrs America. Any content available in this format will display a 4K badge on the details page.
You can currently watch 4K UHD content on the following devices: Apple TV (5th generation and above), Chromecast Ultra, Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, LG TVs (2017 UHD models and above), Roku, Vizio SmartCast TVs, and Xbox One (S and X models).
However, HDR is not supported right now, so all 4K UHD content would be streamed in Standard Dynamic Range (SDR).
Hulu vs Netflix vs Prime Video vs HBO Max
The most ubiquitous VOD platform, Netflix, boasts over 5,000 films and TV series. It produces hundreds of Netflix Originals a year, including Oscar-nominated films and highly popular shows like Stranger Things.
Hulu’s price rise has meant we can’t vouch for it as a cheaper option outright anymore, but it does still provide great value. For comparison, Netflix’s basic with-ads is $6.99 a month ($1 less than Hulu’s ads plan) and the basic without-ads plan is $9.99 compared to Hulu’s $14.99. However, you can only stream on one device with Netflix, whereas Hulu offers two (or the option to buy unlimited streams for $9.99 a month). Hulu doesn’t put limits on the quality of your stream, whereas Netflix’s two cheapest plans only stream in SD. To get two-device HD streaming on Netflix, you’ll pay $15.49 (and $19.99 for four Ultra HD simultaneous streams).
Prime Video (opens in new tab) is comparable in price for a full Prime membership ($14.99, and $8.99 for just Prime Video). With around 18,000 titles, its content library is more beefed up than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Granted, the overall quality is questionable, but Prime Video does include plenty of high-profile Amazon Originals including The Boys, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and Good Omens, as well as high-calibre movies old and new.
The Prime membership does deliver more, though, such as free delivery on your orders, Prime reading, and ad-free music streaming justify the inflated price. On the downside, you’re limited to three streams per account (you can purchase ‘Unlimited Screens’ with Hulu) and, when it comes replicating the cable experience, Hulu + Live TV is far more cost-effective than adding individual Amazon Channels.
HBO Max’s ad-free services is now the same price as the Hulu equivalent and is a couple of dollars more for the ads version. It allows you to watch three different devices at once – and in HD if your connection allows. If you’re a fan of HBO’s output – our guide to the best HBO shows will remind you why you should be – then registering is a no brainer. Yet as well as ground-breaking dramas like Six Feet Under, The Wire, and Game of Thrones, subscribers get a wide range of titles from Warner Brothers, their subsidiaries, and third-party companies.
That means easy access to all Studio Ghibli animations, DC Comics movies, The Lord of the Rings films, and a selection of classic movies curated by TCM. Alternatively, you could just add HBO Max to Hulu as a premium add-on.