Hulu with Live TV offers everything you miss about cable

Hulu with Live TV brings a massive streaming library and a solid channel package together.

May 15, 2020, 6:16 pm*

Streaming

John-Michael Bond 

John-Michael Bond

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Hulu

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 either Hulu or Hulu with Live TV. Here’s everything you need to know, step by step, about Hulu’s streaming service option, from a complete channel list to the cost of different packages and premium add-ons.

 


 

Hulu with Live TV plans, channels, and cost

The Hulu plan options are incredibly simple to understand. Perhaps the hardest thing to remember is that Hulu and Hulu with Live TV are two different things.

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

If you just want Hulu, which is a big streamable library of movies and shows, it ultimately boils down to if you want the service 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.

 


 

What’s on Hulu?

Hulu 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. 

Hulu’s movie listings offer 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 Live TV Channels

Hulu with Live TV is exactly what it sounds like. It’s Hulu’s on-demand streaming service boosted 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 only comes with a single lineup of channels, but it’s an impressive lineup even without the add-ons. It’s a 69-channel lineup that rivals its competitors—including ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. You won’t get notables like AMC, MTV, and VH1, but you will get more ESPN channels than you might have known existed, the Disney suite of channels, and plenty of news and entertainment options.

There’s a $6 difference between the ads and no ads option, but remember that the higher rate only takes ads away from what streams in the Hulu library. (It doesn’t magically remove ads from whatever live TV you’re streaming!)

ABCABC News LiveCBS
CBSNFoxNBC
ACC NetworkA&EAnimal Planet
Big Ten NetworkBoomerangBravo
Cartoon NetworkCBS Sports NetworkCheddar Business
CNBCCNNCNN International
Cozi TVThe CWDiscovery Channel
Disney ChannelDisney Jr. Disney XD
E!ESPNESPN2
ESPNewsESPNUESPN Bases Loaded
ESPN College ExtraESPN GoallineFood Network
Fox Business NetworkFox News ChannelFreeform
FS1FS2FX
FXMFXXGolf Channel
HGTVHistory ChannelHLN
Investigation DiscoveryLifetimeMSNBC
MotorTrendNASANational Geographic
Nat Geo WildNBCSNOlympic Channel
OxygenPop TVSEC Network
Smithsonian ChannelSyfyTBS
TCMTelemundoTLC
TNTTravel ChannelTruTV
Universal KidsUSAVice TV

 

 

 

What else is on Hulu and Hulu with Live TV?

 

 

Hulu with Live TV local channels

The service comes with as many as 69 channels, with the final number mainly depending on where you live, and possibly including network TV stations like ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and The 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 with Live TV 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

Entertainment Add-On$7.99
Spanish Language Add-On$4.99
HBO$14.99
Cinemax$9.99
Showtime$10.99
Starz$8.99

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.

Subscribers can also add extra channels via the Entertainment and Español add-ons.

HULU ENTERTAINMENT ADD-ONS

American Heroes ChannelCNBC WorldCooking Channel
Destination AmericaDiscovery FamilyDiscovery Life
DIY NetworkFYILifetime Movie Channel
Science Network  

HULU SPANISH-LANGUAGE ADD-ONS

CNN en EspañolDiscovery en EspañolDiscovery Familia
ESPN DeportesHistory Channel en EspañolUniverso
Hulu with ads$5.99
Hulu no ads$11.99
Live TV
+Hulu
$54.99
Live TV
+Hulu (no ads)
$60.99

 

 

What streaming devices work with Hulu and Hulu with 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.

Apple TViOSRoku
Amazon FireChromecastAndroid and Android TV
Smart TVsXbox OneXbox 360
PlayStation 3PlayStation 4Nintendo 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.

 


 

Hulu with Live TV DVR and multiple screens

An Enhanced Cloud DVR option is available on Hulu with Live TV 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.

Hulu with Live TV 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.

You can combine those two features—Enhanced Cloud DVR and Unlimited Screens—for just $20 a month.

 


 

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 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 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. YouTube TV

If cost is a concern, YouTube TV is now a little cheaper than Hulu with Live TV: $49.99 a month vs. $54.99 or $60.99. 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.

 


 

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 with Live TV is the killer app.

 


 

How to sign up for Hulu and Hulu Live TV

Don’t stress if you’re new to cord-cutting. Becoming part of Team Hulu, whether you want just the Hulu library access or the full Hulu with Live TV package, 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.
Hulu with ads$5.99
Hulu no ads$11.99
Live TV
+Hulu
$54.99
Live TV
+Hulu (no ads)
$60.99

Live TV Service Guides

AT&T TV NOW CBS All AccessFubo TV
Hulu with Live TVPhiloPluto TV
Sling TVVidgoYouTube TV

Premium Streaming Service Guides

Acorn TVAmazon PrimeApple TV+
BritBoxCuriosity StreamCrunchyRoll
DC UniverseDisney PlusHulu
HBOMaxNetflixShudder
ShowtimeStarzRooster Teeth

Entertainment Channel Guides

A&EAMCAnimal Planet
BBC AmericaBETBravo
Cartoon NetworkComedy CentralDiscovery Channel
Disney ChannelDisney XDE!
Food NetworkFreeformFX
FXXHallmark ChannelHGTV
History ChannelIFCLifetime
MTVNat GeoNickelodeon
Nick JrParamount NetworkScience Channel
SundanceSYFYTBS
TLCTravel ChannelTruTV
TNTTV LandUSA
VH1WillowThe Weather Channel

Streaming Device Guides

Amazon FireApple TVAndroid
ChromecastiOSPlaystation
RokuSmart TVsXBox

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