We’ve talked about the video on-demand powerhouse, Hulu in the past. If you don’t need local channels, live sports or news, it is a great, inexpensive option for streaming your favorite shows the day after they air. But, the biggest issue with cutting the cord is finding a way to keep your viewing experience as close to the experience you get from traditional cable and satellite television providers. Only a couple of streaming services have been able to pull this off, Hulu + Live TV is one of them. Let’s get into the details…
Beginnings of Hulu + Live TV
Hulu was created in 2006 with the concept and goals of combining content from some of the worlds biggest media companies. ABC/Disney, Fox, and NBC (Comcast) executives partnered in the venture to provide their content in one online streaming platform. It was eventually launched in February of 2008, with Hulu.com as the destination for all of their programming.
Almost a decade later in 2017, Hulu launched “Hulu+ Live TV” and set a new standard for streaming services being the only service to offer a large on-demand video catalog plus original content and live TV including sports, news and local channels.
A quote from the Hulu press release announcing their Live TV options; “We have always believed that TV should fit your lifestyle, not the other way around,” said Ben Smith, Hulu’s SVP and Head of Experience. “You shouldn’t have to think about whether something is live, recorded or on demand, or care about which device you’re using. TV is about connecting with the shows, movies and sports you love – and we want to make that really easy for you, no matter where you’re watching.”
Hulu + Live TV Plan
The package for Hulu with Live TV is simple. One package, one price – with some additional optional add-ons:
|Features||Hulu w Live TV||Regular Hulu||Learn More|
|Free Trial||7 Days||30 Days||Hulu w/ Live TV | Hulu|
|Monthly Price||$44.99/mo||$5.99/mo||Hulu w/ Live TV | Hulu|
|On Demand Library||Yes||Yes||Hulu w/ Live TV | Hulu|
|Hulu Original Content||Yes||Yes||Hulu w/ Live TV | Hulu|
|Number of Channels||60+||N/A||Hulu w/ Live TV | Hulu|
|Cloud DVR||Up To 50 Hours||N/A||Hulu w/ Live TV | Hulu|
|Live TV||Yes||No||Hulu w/ Live TV | Hulu|
|# Devices (Simultaneous)||2||2||Hulu w/ Live TV | Hulu|
|No Ads Add-on||Yes ($6/mo)||Yes ($6/mo)||Hulu w/ Live TV | Hulu|
|Unlimited Device Add-on||$4.99/mo (3 mos.) then $9.99/mo||No||Hulu w/ Live TV | Hulu|
|Enhanced DVR Add-On||$4.99/mo (3 mos.) the $9.99/mo for up to 200 Hours||N/A||Hulu w/ Live TV | Hulu|
|HBO®||$14.99/mo||$14.99/mo||Hulu w/ Live TV | Hulu|
|SHOWTIME®||$10.99/mo||$10.99/mo||Hulu w/ Live TV | Hulu|
|CINEMAX®||$9.99/mo||$9.99/mo||Hulu w/ Live TV | Hulu|
|STARZ®||$8.99/mo||$8.99/mo||Hulu w/ Live TV | Hulu|
|Visit the Hulu w/ Live TV Site for more info||Visit Hulu.com for more info|
Subscribers stay with Hulu with Live TV for huge the selection of on demand shows, Hulu Original programming like the award-winning show, “The Handmaid’s Tale” and classic shows like Seinfeld, Friends, Family Guy, South Park, The Simpsons as well as new popular shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
How to Watch Hulu Live TV
Basically, the ways to stream Hulu plus Live TV are the same as regular Hulu. The main difference is the app and if your device has been able to upgrade to a new enough version to handle the live tv interface and DVR functionality. Below is a list of devices compatible with the newer Hulu app.
Computers and Laptops
The first and easiest way to stream Hulu is through their web page. By using the website you have access to all of their programming through your web browser. As the original way to watch Hulu programming, it continues to be one of the most popular ways to watch. To watch Hulu videos on your computer, make sure you have the following:
- Mac OS X 10.9 or above, Microsoft Windows 10, and Chrome OS
- The latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge on Windows 10
- HTML5 enabled
For smooth playback, you need minimum download speed of 1.5 Mbps for Standard Definition videos. You need additional bandwidth to stream in HD and 4K Ultra HD.
Gaming consoles are no longer single use, game-play devices. The current generation of consoles has expanded their applications to become all-in-one entertainment centers. Consequently, streaming services are supported on many of the newer game systems and Hulu is no exception. To stream Hulu on your gaming console you need the Hulu app. After downloading the app, all you need is your log-in information and you’ll be ready to watch on a number of consoles, including:
- Xbox One
- Xbox 360
- Wii U
**While the Hulu app is available on PS3 and PS4, Hulu with Live TV is currently not available through these apps.**
One of the most convenient ways to watch Hulu is to simply download their app from the Google Play Store, or the Apple App Store. This will give you access to all your shows from your phone. The app is very smooth and it is a great option for watching while on the run.
If you are on an Android device, you must be running Android 5.0 or above and have a screen size of 800×480 pixels.
iPhone and iPad Devices
If you have an iOS device, you need to be running iOS 11.0 and above. That generally includes:
- iPhone 5S or later
- iPad 5th generation or later (iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro, and iPad mini 2, 3 and 4)
- iPod Touch Gen 6 or later
The number of cord-cutters is growing at a significant rate. As a result, the market has been flooded with feature packed devices to stream all your favorite subscription based services. Here are examples of some of the top streaming devices:
- The Apple TV is one of the oldest devices to be released. Multiple generations of devices have been introduced since its inception. The latest Hulu app works with 4th Generation of better Apple TV.
- The Google Chromecast, one of the newer and unique options, was released in 2013 with an extremely affordable pricing option and small form factor. One of the main differences is its complete lack of traditional UI, with all of the content streaming being powered through an outside device. With most phone and tablet apps supporting its functionality (including Hulu), it offers a more simplistic approach to online streaming. Google has also recently released a 4K model of the Chromecast, giving you the ability to stream any available 4K content right through your enabled app.
- The Roku has been another long-standing streaming device. They have prided themselves on offering a more traditional “set-top” based device, with most models including a remote. With 4K HDR models, small compact “stick” based models, and other feature varying devices, they have offered a well-rounded line-up of products to fit their customer’s needs. You’ll need to keep your Roku updated for the latest Hulu app to work with all features, here are the models that have the ability to run the newer app:
- Roku Ultra
- Roku Premiere and Premiere+
- Roku Express and Express+
- Roku 3 and 4
- Roku 2 (model 4210)
- Roku Streaming Stick (model 3500 or later)
- Roku TV
- 4k Roku TV
The last, and possibly one of the most convenient options, is the integration of smart devices into newly manufactured TVs. With built in streaming apps, new Ultra-HD, 4K, and 4K HDR televisions potentially have a default Hulu app built in.
Smart TVs including Vizio Smartcast, Samsung TVs, LG’s and others all depend on the model. We suggest checking out the Hulu Help Center or trying the trial of Hulu Live to see if all features are enabled on your model.
Can I watch Live Sports and News Online?
The short and long answer is YES! Streaming live sports, news and local channels are the holy grail when it comes to streaming television services. As mentioned above, Hulu is one of the few companies that pull this off along with a large on-demand library and also while creating some awesome Hulu Original content.
What About My Local Channels?
This is an area where streaming TV services in general, including with Hulu Live, has room to improve. I will start off by saying that Hulu has one of the largest coverage areas of live local channels available for a streaming service. As cable and satellite TV providers have been figuring out for years, negotiating with all the local and regional media outlets is a difficult and never ending task. Being able to offer your local news and stations is probably one of the most important features for the success of a streaming service.
The best way to see if Hulu Live is covering your area, is the check this page. In the lower right hand paragraph, there is a link to check the channels available in your ZIP Code. This will give you an idea on the locals you will get with your service.
Hulu Original Series
As far as original content is concerned, Hulu has really stepped up its game as of late. Although Hulu is not necessarily synonymous with original programming, they have been steadily adding quality series that are definitely worth watching. Among the noteworthy original programs are The Mindy Project, Difficult People, East Los High, The Hot Wives of Orlando, Shut Eye, Harlots, the animated comedy The Awesomes , and more recently The Handmaid’s Tale. There is much more that is worth checking out.
Things To Consider
We’ll go into more detail in our full review of Hulu Plus Live TV, but a couple of things we like and dislike. We like the quality, options and “operation” of the service. The picture quality is great, shows load quickly and we have yet to have any freezes, hiccups or issues with any of our streams.
We dislike the menu and user interface. It is different that anything else we have used and takes some getting used to. Hopefully I can get used to it, or learn how to adapt it to what I watch on a regular basis but the navigation, on my Roku Premiere, seems clumsy and not intuitive. We’ll go into more details on this in our full review coming soon.
Overall, the Hulu + Live TV Option is a top tier service that easily rival’s Sling for a top TV service and at around $15 more per month than Sling’s Orange + Blue package, you get a better experience and more options for watching original content and on demand shows.
This is one service that is worth checking out. Get the trial with a week free to play with it and see what you think. We think it is worth it, but that is something you need to check for yourself. Our full review is coming soon, check back here for a link to it.