Hulu with Live TV offers everything you miss about cable

Hulu wants to help you cut the cord for good.

Mar 17, 2020, 9:10 am*

Streaming

John-Michael Bond 

John-Michael Bond

hulu_live_tv_cost_channels

Weaver Family Farms/ Youtube

Hulu and Hulu with Live TV Pricing

Hulu with commercials $5.99
Hulu with no commercials $11.99
Hulu with Live TV (with commercials) $54.99
Hulu with Live TV (with no commercials) $60.99

Hulu with Live TV is one of the best ways to cut the cord.

It’s never been easier to break up with your cable company, thanks to live TV streaming options. Sling TV, YouTube TV, and FuboTV provide great alternatives for replicating a traditional TV viewing experience on a streaming device, but Hulu with Live TV offers something a little different. You still get great streaming live TV, but you also get access to Hulu’s deep catalog and an app that learns what you like and recommends programs to you. You can even get a discounted Disney+ membership just for signing up for Hulu or Hulu with Live TV. Here’s everything you need to know, step by step, about Hulu live TV, from a complete channel list to the cost of different packages and premium add-ons.


Hulu Plans and Pricing

Hulu’s pricing is incredibly simple to understand. It ultimately boils down to if you want Hulu with or without ads. Hulu’s standard plan includes all of its streaming content, with ad breaks sporadically included throughout programming. This plan costs $5.99 per month. If you’d like unlimited streaming without ads, there’s an $11.99 per month plan that skips commercials.

Hulu with Live TV is exactly what it sounds like: Hulu’s traditional on-demand streaming service with the bonus of live TV channels. Combining the best parts of Hulu and cable television, without having to negotiate with a cable company, Hulu with Live TV provides a middle ground for people transitioning into cord-cutting. Hulu with Live TV is $54.99 per month, and includes the standard Hulu streaming package. If you’d like Hulu with Live TV without ads in your streaming content, that plan costs $60.99 per month. Note, however, that doesn’t mean your broadcast TV is ad-free—just Hulu’s streaming content.

Hulu’s Live TV option only comes with one basic package, but it’s an impressive lineup. Even without any add-ons, Hulu has the most complete package of channels around. Here’s a look at what comes with it. Food Network, Nat Geo, TNT, and the Travel Channel are all included, along with lesser-known gems like classic cartoon channel Boomerang and outsider news specialists VICE. You can expect the same channels as you’d get in a standard basic cable package, with a few glaring exceptions. Viacom is out, so you don’t get Comedy Central, MTV, Spike, or Nickelodeon. In addition, AMC is not included, so you’ll have to get you’ll have to watch The Walking Dead fix elsewhere.

Hulu offers the widest range of news options, letting you switch between Fox, MSNBC, or CNN to see how the different sides are seeing things. While FuboTV has more sports options, Hulu comes with 12 separate sports channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, and ESPNU

This puts Hulu with Live TV in the top tier cost-wise when it comes to streaming TV. While its 60+ channel package is worth the cost, those who might be more budget-minded may want to look to rivals like Sling TV, Philo, and Vidgo, though that choice comes with fewer channels. 

Hulu with Live TV costs $54.99 for 60-plus channels of sports, news, and entertainment. Your subscription includes access to Hulu with Limited Commercials (a $7.99/month value), letting you dive into Hulu’s deep catalog of movies, TV shows, anime, documentaries, scary movies, and must-see Hulu originals.

If you want to access Hulu’s streaming library for on-demand entertainment without commercials, you can upgrade for $6 per month, bringing your total cost $60.99 per month.

Hulu also offers a $9.99 a month “unlimited screens” add-on that lets an unlimited number of people stream over a Wi-Fi connection or up to three people to stream at once on mobile.

An Enhanced Cloud DVR option is also available for an extra $9.99 a month, giving you 200 hours of Cloud DVR recording and the ability to fast-forward through commercials on your recordings. You can combine those two features—Enhanced Cloud DVR and Unlimited Screens—for just $20 a month.


How to sign up for Hulu and Hulu Live TV

Don’t stress if you’re new to cord-cutting. Signing up for Hulu, whether you want just the streaming service or Hulu with Live TV, is a breeze. Here’s what you need to do. 

  1. Go to Hulu’s website.
  2. Select the “Start Your Free Trial” banner. 
  3. Now it’s time to select your plan. Hulu offers new subscribers a free trial, but the length of your free period depends on what service you’re trying. The standard Hulu streaming service offers users one full free month to try out the service before being charged. Hulu with Live TV on the other hand only comes with a seven-day free trial before you start getting charged. Select the plan that’s right for you, from Hulu to Hulu with Live TV (No Ads). 
  4. Enter your email, billing address, and select a password. We highly suggest making a unique password for your Hulu account, especially if you plan on having multiple users. Different members of your household can have their own unique Hulu profiles. This allows parents to set content restrictions for their kids, and also lets each person have an individualized viewing list. However, this also creates a security issue when users log in on their own devices. You don’t want a child (or worse, a roommate) having your bank password, so make sure your Hulu logins aren’t also used for something important. It’s just smarter that way. 
  5. Choose your designed payment method. You will not be charged by Hulu until the end of your trial period. 
  6. Start watching your favorite shows.
  7. Go to Hulu’s website.
  8. Select the “Start Your Free Trial” banner. 
  9. Now it’s time to select your plan. Hulu offers new subscribers a free trial, but the length of your free period depends on what service you’re trying. The standard Hulu streaming service offers users one full free month to try out the service before being charged. Hulu with Live TV on the other hand only comes with a seven-day free trial before you start getting charged. Select the plan that’s right for you, from Hulu to Hulu with Live TV (No Ads). 
  10. Enter your email, billing address, and select a password. We highly suggest making a unique password for your Hulu account, especially if you plan on having multiple users. Different members of your household can have their own unique Hulu profiles. This allows parents to set content restrictions for their kids, and also lets each person have an individualized viewing list. However, this also creates a security issue when users log in on their own devices. You don’t want a child (or worse, a roommate) having your bank password, so make sure your Hulu logins aren’t also used for something important. It’s just smarter that way. 
  11. Choose your designed payment method. You will not be charged by Hulu until the end of your trial period. 
  12. Start watching your favorite shows.

What streaming devices work with Hulu and Hulu Live TV?

Hulu with Live TV works with Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, select smart TVs, as well as Apple and Android devices, and the Xbox One and Xbox 360. You can also stream Hulu with Live TV on Nintendo Switch. That’s one more reason Hulu is one of the best options for streaming live TV.

Hulu Compatible
Streaming Devices

Roku Apple TV Chromecast
Amazon Fire TV Smart TVs iOS
Android Xbox One Xbox 360
Playstation 3 Playstation 4 Nintendo Switch

The streaming quality is solid across all apps. I watched on both a 55-inch 4K TV using the Xbox One Hulu app, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 3, Chromecast, Roku streaming stick, Roku TVs built in-app, Apple TV, and on an iPhone SE. In each case, live TV looked good. When streaming live, channels vary between 720p and 1080p. When we originally reviewed the Hulu with Live TV service, it occasionally struggled with picture quality. However, since its launch, the picture has improved dramatically. Unless you’ve got a weak connection, you’d never notice a difference from broadcast HD.


What shows are on Hulu? 

Netflix may still be the first name that comes to mind when you think about streaming services. In many ways, though, Hulu is actually better. For one thing, it’s currently more like the Netflix people once knew rather than what Netflix is today. While Netflix has myopically focused on its admittedly great original content, its catalog library has shrunk over the past few years. Hulu, on the other hand, is a treasure trove of classic movies, new releases, indie cinema, and decades of TV. 

Hulu offers new episodes of broadcast TV shows from channels like ABC, NBC, FOX, Disney, FX, BBC America, A&E, VH1, and MTV. New episodes are added the day after they air. You’ll also find a host of classic TV shows from King of the Hill to ER to Rick and Morty to LOST and Living Single. The TV collection alone is worth giving Hulu a try. 

What’s on Hulu
Best Movies on Hulu
Hulu Original Series
Best Shows on Hulu
Best Anime on Hulu

It’s the same story when it comes to movies. Browsing through Hulu’s movie listings offers something for everyone in the family. It doesn’t matter if you want obscure horror, Hollywood blockbusters, family films, documentaries, or even classics from decades past. Hulu has a blend of everything, including big-name titles you’ll actually recognize like Shrek or Mission: Impossible – Fallout. In the past year, it’s also become one of the best services for indie titles. Not everyone lives near an arthouse theater, but Hulu turns your home into one with titles like Destroyer, The Nightingale, Sorry to Bother You, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, and Border

Of course, Hulu isn’t just about its catalog titles. Like many other streaming services, Hulu has heavily invested in original content. What might surprise you the breadth of Hulu’s original content. It’s won critical acclaim with titles like the dystopian sci-fi of The Handmaid’s Tale, Castle Rock’s extended Stephen King universe, and Letterkenny’s Canadian charm. 

Horror fans have gotten extra attention, thanks to Blumhouse’s monthly Into the Dark movie series. Even its original comedy series are worth your time; consider acclaimed titles like Ramy, Shrill, and Pen15. Hulu’s also nabbed headlines with its curated original documentaries, including Fyre Fraud and the haunting Amazing Jonathan Documentary.

hulu with live tv nintendo switch Photo via Nintendo

What channels are on Hulu with Live TV?

While Hulu started as a standard streaming service, it now offers a live streaming cable TV package. Users just fire up the Hulu app and then navigate over to the Live TV tab to start watching. Users get 60+ channels of live streaming TV, including major channels like Bravo, CNN, Cartoon Network, MSNBC, Lifetime, and the Food Network. Hulu with Live TV also includes local channels, though exactly how many you’ll get depends on where you live.

Each Live TV membership includes free cloud DVR, with 50 hours of free storage. More storage can be purchased for a small monthly fee if you need it. Hulu with Live TV is also great for sports fans, providing access to the NCAA, NBA, NHL, NFL, and Premier League. Users also get a host of sports-focused programming from the likes of ESPN and the Big Ten Network.

HULU WITH LIVE TV CHANNELS
ABC CBS NBC
Fox CW Telemundo
ACC Network A&E Adult Swim
Big Ten Network Boomerang Bravo
Cartoon Network CBS Sports Network Cheddar
Chiller CNN CNN International
CNBC Disney Channel Disney XD
Disney Junior E! ESPN
ESPNU ESPNews EPSN-SEC Network
ESPN2 Food Network Fox Business Network
Fox News Channel Fox Sports 1 Fox Sports 2
Freeform FX FXM
FXX FYI Golf Channel
HGTV History Channel HLN
Lifetime Movie Network Nat Geo Wild National Geographic
NBCSN Oxygen Network POP
Smithsonian Sprout SYFY
TBS TCM TNT
Travel Channel TruTV Universal Kids
Viceland

Hulu with Live TV Local Channels

The service comes with 60-plus channels, with the final number mainly depending on where you live. Those “plus” channels are major network TV stations like ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and CW. Because of the way TV networks negotiate their local access, different parts of the country get access to different channels. For example, when we tested Hulu with Live TV in Los Angeles, we got nine local channels in addition to everything included in the basic package. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, by contrast, you would get four local channels. It’s a long list—so check this article for the full rundown of what local channels are available on Hulu where you live.


Hulu On-Demand and Offline Content

Hulu with Live TV membership comes with a standard Hulu membership and additional on-demand content. There are plenty of shows, from new episodes of Rick and Morty to USA original series that aren’t available for standard Hulu members to stream. By subscribing to Hulu with Live TV, you gain early access to a host of content normal Hulu subscribers will have to wait to see.  

Hulu with Live TV Add-Ons

Unlimited Screens $9.99
Enhanced Cloud DVR $4.99
Entertainment Add On $7.99
Spanish Language Add On $4.99
HBO $14.99
Cinemax $9.99
Showtime $10.99
Starz $8.99

Families or roommates should consider the $9.99 per month Unlimited Screens add-on. A standard Hulu membership can be streamed on two devices at the same time. With the Unlimited Screens add-on, your account can be streamed on as many devices on your home network as you like. Unlimited Screens subscribers can also stream on up to three mobile devices at the same time. 

Subscribers can also pay extra to get more storage on their DVR. Standard Hulu with Live TV membership comes with 50 hours of free DVR space. That can be expanded to 200 hours of DVR space for $9.99 per month. One extra advantage of signing up for enhanced DVR is the ability to fast-forward through ad-breaks on your recordings, something standard Live TV subscribers can’t do.   

You could spend a year straight exploring the content that comes with a standard Hulu membership, but that doesn’t mean it limits your options. Hulu offers HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and Starz as add on premium channels to the standard package.

  • HBO: $14.99 per month 
  • Cinemax: $9.99 per month
  • Showtime: $10.99 per month
  • Starz: $8.99 per month

Subscribers can also add extra channels via the Entertainment and Espanol add-ons. The $7.99 Entertainment package adds the American Heroes Channel, CNBC World, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, DIY Network, FYI, LMN, and Science networks. 

Hulu Entertainment Add-Ons
American Heroes Channel CNBC World Cooking Channel
Destination America Discovery Family Discovery Life
DIY Network FYI Lifetime Movie Channel
Science Network    

For Spanish-speaking households, Hulu offers the $4.99 Espanol package that comes with CNN en Español, Discovery en Español, Discovery Familia, ESPN Deportes, History Channel en Español, and Universo.

Hulu Spanish-Language Add-Ons
CNN en Español Discovery en Español Discovery Familia
ESPN Deportes History Channel en Español Universo

Hulu vs. The Competition

Hulu with Live TV vs. Sling TV

Choosing between Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV is a difficult proposition that mostly depends on your needs. Hulu costs $54.99 a month. That’s significantly more than the $30 you’d pay for Sling Blue or Sling Orange, and $45 per month more than Sling Orange + Blue. There are advantages to both services, but Sling TV has roughly the same channel package as Hulu TV with minor exceptions. The biggest advantage of Hulu with Live TV has over Sling TV is access to the Hulu streaming service. However, since that can be had for $5.99 per month, Sling TV is currently a better deal than Hulu with Live TV. You could subscribe to Sling TV and Hulu streaming for less than the cost of Hulu with Live TV. 

However, Sling TV’s interface is significantly worse than Hulu with live TV. For the average user, Hulu with Live TV is easier to understand and simply better to use. If the user experience is worth paying for, Hulu with Live TV wins out. If you’re living on a budget you may want to consider Sling. 

Hulu live tv cost Photo via Etaphop photo/Shutterstock (Licensed) Remix by Jason Reed

Hulu with Live TV vs. FuboTV

If you’re a soccer fan, FuboTV is your only real option. The sports streaming service offers more soccer-related channels than any other streaming service on the market, making it easy to follow games from around the world. It’s also one of the better ways to watch NFL RedZone online, which is available as part of a 15-channel Sports Plus package for an additional $8.99 per month.

When it comes to basic cable, the channels for both services are comparable, and neither one has access to Viacom. After a recent price hike, FuboTV now costs $54.99-$79.99 per month, which is the same as Hulu with Live TV, but without the added benefit of Hulu’s library. What FuboTV has that Hulu doesn’t have, outside of sports, is extra channels. For $54.99, you get 112 channels to Hulu with Live TV’s 60+. And, unlike Hulu with Live TV, FuboTV has over 130+ sporting events per year in 4K HD. FuboTV users also get 500 hours of free cloud DVR storage. 

While FuboTV has more channels, it’s missing some big names that might be a deal-breaker for families. You don’t get Cartoon Network, Disney, or TNT, for example. Due to the vast number of options that come with the added bonus of Hulu streaming as part of Hulu with Live TV, we give Hulu with Live TV an edge over FuboTV. (Unless, of course, you’re a soccer fan.)

hulu with live tv vs fubotv Photo via FuboTV

Hulu with Live TV vs AT&T TV Now

Once upon a time, DirecTV Now was Hulu with Live TV’s greatest competition. DirecTV has since morphed into AT&T TV Now, and its subscribers have experienced increased costs, changes to the app, and fewer options. AT&T TV Now’s cheapest package now starts at $60 per month for 45+ channels. While this includes HBO, it’s still $10 per month more than Hulu with Live TV for 15+ fewer channels. Hulu with Live TV is the clear current winner over AT&T TV Now.

hulu with live tv vs directv now DirecTV Now

Hulu with Live TV vs. YouTube TV

If cost is a concern, YouTube TV is now cheaper than Hulu with Live TV: $49.99 a month vs Hulu’s $54.99. Both have notable features. For example, YouTube TV allows you to create up to six accounts, all of which come with unlimited DVR and the ability to fast-forward through ads, so long as you’re all using the same address. But if we had to choose, Hulu with Live TV is still the better option. That’s because, while you are getting roughly the same number of channels, a Hulu subscription comes with access to Hulu’s full library, local channels, and the ability to add HBO.

hulu with live tv Hulu
Aaron Paul in the Hulu original series ‘The Path’

Is Hulu and Hulu with Live TV worth it?

Hulu’s live TV package is a delightful melding of live broadcasting and a traditional streaming experience, but it’s far from perfect. Learning its menu system can take a little bit of time, especially if you’ve just recently made the switch from cable to streaming. However, if you’ve been using Hulu as your primary viewing option for a while, the user experience is quick to pick up.

If you can afford $54.99 a month and don’t mind learning a new system, Hulu with Live TV is the best option on the market for streaming live TV. Hulu has the most channels, great on-demand options, and comes with a standard Hulu subscription. Each service has its charms, but at the moment, Hulu is the killer app.


Live TV Streaming Services
Hulu Live TV Sling TV Fubo TV
YouTube TV AT&T TV Philo
VidGo AT&T Watch CBS All Access
Best Premium Streaming Services
Netflix Hulu Disney Plus
Amazon Prime HBO Apple TV+
Starz Shudder DC Universe
BritBox Curiosity Stream WWE Network
Acorn TV Rooster Teeth CrunchyRoll
Where to Stream Popular Cable Channels
A&E AMC Animal Planet
BBC America BET Bravo
Cartoon Network Comedy Central Discovery Channel
Disney Channel Disney XD E!
Food Network Freeform FX
FXX Hallmark Channel HBO
HGTV History Channel IFC
Lifetime MTV National Geographic
Nick at Nite Nick Jr Nickelodeon
Paramount Network Science Channel Showtime
Starz Sundance SYFY
TBS Telemundo TLC
Travel Channel TruTV TNT
TV Land USA VH1
Viceland Willow The Weather Channel
Live Sports Channel Streams
ESPN ESPN2 ESPN3
ESPNU ESPN Deportes ACC Network
Big Ten Network BeIN Sports Fox Sports
FS1 FS2 MLB Network
Mountain West Network NBA TV NBC Golf
NBC Sports Network NFL Network NFL Redzone
NHL Network Pac 12 Network Tennis Channel
SEC Network DAZN UFC Fight Pass
News Channel Streams
CNN CNBC Fox News Channel
HLN MSNBC ESPN News
Streaming Devices
Amazon Fire Roku Apple TV
Android iOS Smart TVs
Chromecast XBox Playstation

The Daily Dot may receive a payment in connection with purchases of products or services featured in this article. 

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*First Published: Sep 24, 2017, 6:00 am