Everyone has heard of Hulu—but how many people really know all the benefits it offers? It has advantages and disadvantages like any other streaming platform, but Hulu is one of the most impressive. The service has plenty of cost-effective features that nearly any subscriber is sure to love.
Though Hulu is one of the leading streaming platforms, it’s still not the most popular. However, maybe more people should give it a chance. Hulu surely won’t let you down if you’re looking for something new, whether it’s a TV show or a movie.
Hulu was released in its beta form in 2007, but it debuted to a broader, more public audience in 2008. It was an early pioneer of the streaming service model that offers paid programming with ads for a lower subscription price.
Disney acquired Hulu in 2019. This allowed Hulu to be bundled with numerous other platforms and subscriptions under The Walt Disney Company. More deals and bundles have come as a result, including Hulu bundles with Disney+ and ESPN+ as well as deals for gamers. This type of bundling makes it an interesting streaming platform, unlike any other before it.
You can select Hulu packages based on your household’s needs, like with other streaming services. It sometimes offers great deals that can entice viewers for a fraction of the cost they would usually pay, such as its student discount that provides students with Hulu’s basic plan for just $1.99 per month.
All other times, Hulu costs around $7 per month for its most basic plan, which includes excellent features such as:
- Hulu’s streaming library of thousands of movies and TV episodes, with most new episodes available to watch the day after airing
- The service’s catalog of Hulu Originals
- The ability to stream via phone, laptop, TV, or tablet
- Up to six user profiles, with the ability to watch on two different screens simultaneously
The ad-free plan goes for around $13 per month, which isn’t a bad price compared to other options. This plan also gives you the ability to download and watch Hulu’s streaming library.
A Hulu + Live TV plan, including access to Disney+ and ESPN+, is available for a little more per month. Still, at around $70 monthly, you’re paying for an expansive library of 75+ channels that you likely won’t get at the same price with many cable providers, including Unlimited DVR access. Hulu is a cost-effective option and a great replacement for cable TV.
Hulu has all the content you would expect from a streaming service. It hosts various television shows and movies, and even includes live TV options and original content that Hulu developed itself. Here’s some of what you’ll find in its library:
Hulu is known for its TV shows more than anything else. It has an expansive library of both modern programs and classic shows that date back decades—a catalog almost unmatched by any other streaming service. Check out some of the most popular TV shows on Hulu:
- The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu Original)
- This Is Us (ABC)
- Candy (Hulu Original)
- New Amsterdam (ABC)
- Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
- Normal People (Hulu Original)
- Abbott Elementary (ABC)
- Broad City (Comedy Central)
- Dopesick (Hulu Original)
- The Dropout (Hulu Original)
- Dave (FX)
- Master Chef Junior (FOX)
Hulu’s movie options are less well-known, but they’re still exciting. Hulu hosts films from every genre, such as drama, comedy, horror, and more—meaning you’ll almost definitely find something that fits what you’re looking for. The streaming service creates original movies, too. Here are some of the top movies you can watch on Hulu:
- Ghostbusters: Afterlife
- The Bounty Hunter
- Venom: Let There Be Carnage
- Death on the Nile
- The Vow
- La La Land
Hulu poses a perfect offer if you’ve been looking for an opportunity to get rid of your cable subscription. You can see nearly every game or match you have been watching with cable, and you can also have more than 70 live channels at your disposal. The only complaint many people have is the interface—it works less like a guide and more like the rest of Hulu, meaning it can be challenging to navigate if you’re not used to it.
Different live channels are available depending on where you live. You can enter your zip code on its website to learn more about the channels you can receive when you switch from cable to Hulu. It’s worth the investment if you feel like you’re paying too much for cable.
If you have a Hulu With Live TV plan, you will be able to access over 75 live TV channels. This includes popular ones, such as:
- ABC, so you can keep up with the drama on shows like The Bachelor or The Bachelorette
- Adult Swim, to tune in to shows like Rick and Morty
- Children’s channels, like Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network
- Interest-specific channels, like the History Channel, National Geographic, or Food Network
On the sports side of things, you can watch basketball, football, golf, you name it—Hulu With Live TV likely offers it. Here are some of the popular sports channels you can access:
- ESPN 2
- NFL Network
Keep in mind that these sports and live channel lists are not exhaustive, as Hulu offers plenty more you can browse through. The official Hulu website does have a complete list of channels offered for sports and live TV.
Hulu can stream on just about anything with internet access. It can find a home on every single one of your devices, from smartphones (Android/iOS) to tablets to TVs. Here are all the devices you can watch Hulu on:
- Desktop browser
- Android phones or tablets
- Android TV (select models)
- Apple iPhones and iPads
- Apple TV (4th generation or later)
- Contour 2 and Contour Stream Player
- Echo Show
- Fire tablets
- Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
- iPhones and iPads
- LG TV (select models)
- Nintendo Switch
- Mac and PC browsers and apps
- Roku (select models)
- Samsung TV (select models)
- VIZIO SmartCast TVs
- Xfinity Flex Streaming TV Box and X1 TV Boxes
Some devices may only be compatible with classic Hulu, meaning they won’t be able to access live TV, among other perks and upgrades. These items are usually older models of TVs and systems, such as outdated Blu-ray Disc players or third-generation Apple TVs. Still, you can stream your favorite TV shows using the classic app—and you can always upgrade in the future.
Hulu isn’t available internationally. Right now, only households within the United States, including Puerto Rico and U.S. military bases, can take advantage of its expansive library. However, only families within the 50 states can experience live TV as a replacement for cable. Hulu may expand to be available in more locations in the future, but for now, it’s limited in its locations.
Hulu states on its website that the majority of its foreign-language content has English subtitles and Spanish subtitles on occasion. Unfortunately, not all languages are supported by Hulu, but depending on the show or movie, you may be able to change the language of subtitles or audio.
Thankfully, it’s quite easy to change the language on a TV show or movie on Hulu. Here are the directions on a desktop or a mobile device.
- Desktop: Click on the gear icon in the bottom left corner of the show or movie you’re watching. Here, you can change the language to any options listed or add subtitles.
- Mobile App: Click the gear icon in the top right corner, and change the default language by selecting one of the options available, or adding subtitles. Swipe down to return to your show or movie.
Because Hulu has multiple options, like live TV, it’s one of the most valuable streaming options out there. Depending on the content you’re looking for, your preferences may vary. Here is how Hulu compares to other streaming services in terms of pricing:
- Netflix: Netflix’s basic plan starts at $9.99 per month. Netflix has never required subscribers to watch advertisements. Most Netflix subscribers go for the Standard plan, which is $15.49, whereas the Premium plan is $19.99.
- Paramount+: The Essential plan on Paramount+ is $4.99, making it a competitive choice. The next tier is the Premium plan, which is $9.99 per month.
- Disney+: One benefit of a Disney+ plan is that you can bundle it with Hulu and ESPN to pay one final price. On its own, a Disney+ subscription is only $7.99 per month.
- HBO Max: HBO Max has two plans: ad and ad-free. The ad plan is $9.99 per month, and the ad-free plan is $14.99 per month, which may be a big difference for some subscribers.
- Peacock: NBC’s streaming service Peacock has three plans. Its first plan is free with limited ads. The next plan is Premium, which is $4.99 for limited ads. Lastly, the Plus plan is ad-free for $9.99 per month.
Remember, if you’re outside of the U.S., you likely won’t be able to access Hulu. Instead of tinkering with a VPN, which Hulu’s technology can likely detect, consider checking out other streaming services that can cover the same types of shows. You never know—you might find your favorite program elsewhere!
If you can access Hulu, it’s worth the price. Removing your cable subscription and paying for Hulu instead can give you access to a similar library with ads for a fraction of the cost. It’s still a competitive option for live TV. Consider paying for Hulu if you want an expansive library of movies, TV shows, and original content that can rival other streaming services while providing you with more features than cable—at a much lower cost.