Is Hulu Worth Getting?

FT Contributor  | 

With an increasing number of streaming services available to consumers, it’s getting hard to choose which ones are worthy of your monthly subscription fee and which ones you can cut from your budget. Hulu is a popular streaming service for many consumers who have cut the cable cord because it offers live TV, as well as access to movies and shows on demand. 

If you’re comparing streaming services, learning more about how Hulu stacks up will help you decide if it’s the right service for you. By comparing the pros and cons of the service, analyzing how the monthly fees fit into your budget, and figuring out how Hulu compares to other services, you’ll know whether it’s worth signing up.

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What Is Hulu?

Hulu is a platform that allows you to stream TV and movies. As a subscriber, you gain access to the platform’s on-demand TV shows and movies. You can also watch live TV on certain available networks if you choose the live TV membership.

While Hulu is similar to cable television services, there are differences. With cable, a company representative must come to your home to hook your TV up to the service and ensure you have access to the service you enrolled in. With Hulu and other streaming services, there’s no set up required.

Once you sign up for an account with the streaming service, you can access entertainment through the platform on any device that has access to the internet. You’re responsible for paying a monthly subscription fee to continue receiving access to the platform.

When you sign up for Hulu, you only have access to the TV and movies the service provides. While these entertainment options are consistently updating and changing with the service, a plethora of live TV channels aren’t available as they usually are with a cable company subscription.

How Does Hulu Work?

When you sign up for the Hulu streaming service, you must create an account with the platform. Signing into your account allows you access to the platform’s live TV and on-demand shows and movies. However, with Hulu and all other streaming services, your device must have access to the internet to watch these shows and movies.

As an internet-based service, you can access Hulu from any device, including your phone or tablet. In today’s fast-moving world, this feature makes streaming services like Hulu more appealing than cable television.

What’s on Hulu?

Hulu is a frontrunner in the streaming world because it offers a wide variety of programming. It’s one of the only streaming services that offers live TV streaming as well as on-demand services. Some of the live TV streaming channels you gain access to as a Hulu subscriber include the following:

  • NBCUniversal;
  • CBS Corporation;
  • Discovery Network;
  • A&E Network;
  • Turner Broadcasting System (TBS, TNT, CNN, The Cartoon Network);
  • 21st Century Fox;
  • The Walt Disney Company.

Live streaming TV allows you to watch news broadcasting, sporting events, and other time-sensitive programming as it’s happening.

Additionally, Hulu offers on-demand television shows and movies. Much of this entertainment is brought to the platform from other networks. However, Hulu also produces its own entertainment content in the form of shows and movies. Without a subscription to Hulu, you can’t gain access to these unique shows and movies produced by the platform.

How Much Is Hulu?

There are two Hulu plans you can choose from that offer different features and have different costs. The basic Hulu plan allows access to all TV shows and movies currently on the platform. You can stream this entertainment on any device with limited ads. This service is $5.99 per month and you can cancel your subscription at any time. For additional monthly fees, you can request no ads or you can add on:

  • Showtime;
  • Cinemax;
  • Starz;
  • HBO.

With the Hulu + Live TV subscription, you have access to all on-demand entertainment on the platform, as well as select live TV channels. Hulu offers over 60 live channels that include sports, news, and entertainment programming. For additional fees, you can add on the same channels as the basic Hulu subscription allows for, or you can add:

  • Enhanced cloud DVR capabilities;
  • Unlimited screens;
  • Additional live TV entertainment channels.

You’re also able to record up to 50 hours of live TV on your account to watch later. Live TV is accessed online and through supported devices. This service is $54.99 per month and you can cancel or downgrade your plan at any time.

Hulu Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Original entertainment: With a Hulu subscription, you gain access to original programs that can’t be accessed on any other platform.
  • New episodes: Hulu is quick to add new TV episodes to the platform, sometimes the very next day after it airs on live TV.
  • Optional add-ons: With optional add-ons, you can choose certain channels or features you want to add to your plan.
  • Affordable starting price: Hulu offers one of the most affordable basic plans in the streaming service space when compared to other companies.

Cons

  • Ads: If you don’t opt for the “no-ad” version of the streaming service, you’re forced to watch short commercials before every show.
  • Missing shows: If you’re subscribing to the service to watch older shows, you may be disappointed. The platform is known for skipping seasons on shows that were previously released.
  • Downloading: Hulu recently began to allow its users the ability to download programming to watch offline. However, this capability is limited to devices equipped with iOS or iPadOS operating systems.

Hulu vs. Netflix vs. Amazon

Comparing Hulu to other popular streaming services, including Netflix and Amazon, may help you determine if it’s the right platform for you. If you don’t have cable or another way to access live TV, Hulu may be a great option for keeping up with sports or news programs.

If your purpose for signing up for a streaming service is to watch older TV shows, Netflix may be a better bet. Netflix has a larger library of shows and movies and also offers unique programming produced by the platform. Amazon offers free shipping on the site with a streaming service subscription, which is useful if you shop on the site frequently.

There are advantages to signing up for a streaming service, such as building your credit if you use a credit card to pay. You can access many entertainment options for a fraction of the cost of cable. Hulu may be the best streaming option for you if you want access to the platform’s original programming and live TV.


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