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Hulu With Live TV Review: A Great Option for Cord-Cutters!

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Hulu with Live TV is a good replacement to a pricey cable contract. Read our review to see how well the 60+ channel platform works as a replacement.

I wish Hulu with Live TV had been around three years ago. I remember sitting at my kitchen table paying bills, including our $110 per month DirecTV bill. Paying that bill each month made me sick to my stomach.

So, we decided to cut the cord. While it meant breaking our contract, it was worth it. Within two months we recouped the $100 or so that it cost to break contract and leave early.

In the three years since, we’ve experimented with most of the streaming services in the market. As with our other streaming service reviews, this Hulu with Live TV review covers everything you need to know about Hulu Live TV including what channels you’ll get, what devices you can watch Hulu with Live TV on, how reliable the platform is, how it differs from traditional Hulu and Hulu Plus, and of course, what it costs.

If you’ve been looking for a reason to cut the cord on your expensive cable contract, Hulu with Live TV could be just the streaming service to satisfy your needs.

What is Hulu With Live TV?

 

Hulu has been around for nearly a decade. I still remember when it burst onto the scene with cheesy Alec Baldwin commercials advertising Hulu as “an evil plot to destroy the world.” In reality, it turned out to be a way to destroy overpriced cable contracts.

Hulu is a streaming service and a great way to watch the content you love without overpaying for it or getting yourself locked into an expensive contract.

Traditional Hulu or more simply, Hulu, is similar to Netflix in that it offers access to shows from major networks like ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox as well as cable networks like HGTV, History Channel, and more.

At $5.99 per month, Hulu is incredibly affordable; the only downside is that you have to wait 24 hours after a show first airs to watch it. Hulu, like Netflix, is a popular option for those wanting a bare-bones way to get content. Check out our Netflix vs Hulu guide to see which service may be better for you.

The exception to the 24-hour rule is Hulu original content, like the critically acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale. You can watch new episodes of that right away.

Hulu with Live TV is simply an upgrade of traditional Hulu.

Hulu Live TV offers several compelling additions beyond Hulu, which is what gives it a higher, yet still reasonable, price tag of $44.99 per month. Here’s what you’ll get with Hulu with Live TV that you won’t get with just Hulu:

  • 60+ live TV channels
  • Cloud DVR service (letting you record live shows when they air and watch later if it’s more convenient for you)
  • Ability to stream to two devices at once
  • Hulu’s complete library of content

We go into depth on Hulu with Live TV channels below but for now, just realize that Hulu Live gives you the ability to watch (and record) more content as well as to stream it on multiple devices, than straight up Hulu will.

If watching sports on ESPN, FS1 or catching the latest HGTV shows when they air is important to you, or being able to record content so that you can watch it when it’s convenient for you matters to you, Hulu with Live TV could be well worth the additional $32 per month.

Hulu Plus vs. Hulu Live TV

 

It’s easy to get confused when you start searching for Hulu reviews online. You’ve likely seen results for Hulu Plus reviews, along with Hulu Live TV reviews and Hulu with Live TV reviews. All three of these terms mean the same thing.

When Hulu first began offering content beyond what is now known as legacy Hulu or just Hulu for $5.99 per month, it called it Hulu Plus. Now, that upgraded service is marketed as Hulu Live TV or Hulu with Live TV.

So, whether you’re looking for Hulu Plus channels or Hulu with Live TV channels, you’re talking about the same thing. Check out our guide on Hulu vs. Hulu Live to see which is best for you.

Hulu Live TV channels list

 

Channel lineup is one of the most important factors when choosing a streaming service. After all, you want to be sure you can watch your favorite shows.

As mentioned above, the Hulu Live TV channel list is solid. Hulu Live TV channels span the spectrum from news and sports to cartoons and lifestyle channels as well as all the traditional networks.

The Hulu with Live TV channel lineup is comparable to Sling TV, as you can see in our Sling TV review.

So, what channels come with Hulu with Live TV?

The short answer is 60+ channels. Hulu also allows you to watch local TV without cable in many cases. Exactly which local channels you get will depend on where you live but it will most likely include all the major networks. Hulu Live TV packages are full of many popular channels.

Your potential Hulu Live TV channel lineup could include:

  • ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, A&E, Big Ten Network, Boomerang, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CBS Sports Network, CNBC, CNN, CNN International, Disney, Disney Junior, Disney XD, E!, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, ESPN Goal Line, Food Network, Fox Business, Fox News, FS1, FS2, Freeform, FX, FXM, FXX, FYI, NBC Golf, HGTV, History Channel, HLN, Lifetime, Lifetime Movies, MSNBC, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, NBCSN, Olympic Channel, Oxygen, Pop, SEC Network, Smithsonian Channel, SyFy, TBS, TCM, Telemundo, TNT, Travel Channel, TruTV, Universal Kids, USA, Viceland

That’s a big block of channels, so let’s unpack the Hulu with Live TV channel list by category.

Hulu with Live TV Major Network Channels

  • ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC

Hulu Live TV Sports Channels

  • CBS Sports Network
  • ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, ESPN Goal Line
  • FS1, FS2
  • NBC Golf, Olympic Channel
  • SEC Network (or perhaps the Big Ten Network , BTN, depending on where you live)

Hulu with Live TV Lifestyle Channels

  • A&E Network, Bravo, E!, Food Network
  • HGTV, History Channel, Lifetime, Lifetime Movies
  • National Geographic, NAT GEO Wild
  • Travel Channel, TRU TV

Hulu Live TV Network Channels

  • FX, FXM, FXX
  • Oxygen, Pop, SyFy
  • TBS, TCM, TNT
  • Telemundo

Hulu with Live TV Channels for Kids

Hulu Live TV’s channel lineup for kids is nothing to sneeze at and offers some content you won’t find on Netflix.

  • CN (Cartoon Network)
  • Disney Channel and Disney Junior
  • Disney XD
  • FreeForm
  • Universal Kids

Hulu with Live TV News Channels

Hulu Live offers all the major news networks so you can watch the latest headlines live or record them on your DVR for later.

  • CNBC
  • CNN, CNN International
  • Fox News
  • Fox Business
  • Headline News (HLN)

As you can see, selecting Hulu with Live TV gives you plenty of options, making it easy to watch and record all of your favorite shows.

In fact, the Hulu Live TV channel lineup rivals all the other major streaming options in the space. Thanks to their original content, Hulu is also one of the best alternatives to Netflix for your content needs.

A Note About Commercials on Hulu with Live TV

 

Unless you’re in advertising, you probably hate watching commercials. Unfortunately, unless you’re looking at streaming platforms like Netflix or HBO Now, there’s no way to avoid them.

Traditional Hulu content contains commercials, unless you upgrade to the “commercial-free” version for an extra $6 per month. However, even then, Hulu will tell you that certain shows still contain limited commercials.

Just like broadcast TV, Hulu with Live TV contains commercials because you’re watching it live.

However, there are ways to upgrade your Hulu Live TV subscription to be able to fast forward through the commercials; for an extra $14.99 per month, you can get an enhanced DVR, which comes with the ability to record up to 200 hours of content and to fast forward through ads.

If you absolutely can’t stand to surf on your smartphone during commercials, it may be worth it to you to upgrade your total cost to $54.99 per month and get Hulu Live TV with an enhanced DVR.

Even at that rate, you’ll still be paying nearly half of what the average cable subscription costs.

What Devices Can I Watch Hulu Live TV on?

 

One of the things that makes Hulu with Live TV so popular is how easy it is to access. It’s very likely that you can already watch Hulu Live TV with what you already have in your home.

All you need is to put the Hulu app on your device and you’re ready to go.

Hulu Live works with all of the following devices:

If you just have a desktop computer in your home, you can watch Hulu with Live TV on it easily through any web browser including Google Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari.

If you have a Samsung smart TV in your living room, you can likely watch Hulu with Live TV on it. This is one of the ways we can watch Hulu Live TV in our house. We just navigate to the apps section of our Smart TV menu and search for Hulu. After installing the app we simply launch it and go.

If you don’t have a smart TV but do have one of the following gaming consoles, you can watch Hulu with Live TV on it as well:

  • Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox 360

In our home, our favorite way to watch The Handmaid’s Tale and all our favorite Hulu content is through our Amazon Fire TV Stick. We just press the home button on our Amazon Fire Stick remote, select Hulu and go.

The nice thing about using Amazon Fire TV or Amazon Fire TV Stick to watch Hulu is that you can take your favorite shows with you when you travel.

How Reliable is the Hulu with Live TV Platform?

 

We’ve enjoyed Hulu for years and have never experienced buffering or quality issues with its platform.

One of the nice things about the Hulu with Live TV platform is that unlike YouTube TV, it doesn’t come in a separate app. So if you already have Hulu and are used to navigating its content, you don’t need a separate Hulu with Live TV app. They are one and the same.

Hulu redesigned its app for Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, and Android operating systems, ensuring that it would work seamlessly with them.

Another plus for the design of Hulu with Live TV is that it is consistent across platforms so that no matter what kind of device or operating system you are watching it on, your experience will be the same. This is a small thing that makes a big difference in the ease of use and an enjoyable, hassle-free experience.

Whether you want to watch Hulu with Live TV on your smartphone, tablet, computer, or TV, you will see the same colors, menus and clarity.

Using Hulu with Live TV is pretty easy. It allows you to set up different profiles, so that if you have kids like us, your content comes pre-filtered for age and preference.

After you choose your profile, the home screen loads with featured content and shows that Hulu thinks you will like, as well as shows you’ve been watching.

There’s an easy to see “Keep Watching” column that makes it a breeze to find the latest episode of your show fast.

You can also search by category like “horror,” “kids,” “comedy,” “Hulu originals” and more. Each click leads to a set of clickable submenus to guide you through the content.

The only downside is that you can’t get back to the home screen with one click. You have to back click multiple times to get all the way back. More than once, I’ve made the error of clicking the home button on my Fire TV remote only to boot myself out of the Hulu app.

Hulu with Live TV does have one thing missing from its platform that would make it much easier to use. There is no full channel guide on the home page. You must find the “Live TV” option, and then it will take you to the channel guide. If you’re watching a show, you simply click down and it brings up the guide.

Hulu with Live TV is a good replacement to a pricey cable contract. Read our review to see how well the 60+ channel platform works as a replacement.

Does Hulu with Live TV Include DVR?

 

The quick answer to this question is, yes.

Hulu with Live TV comes with a DVR feature that allows you to record up to 50 hours of content, which is included in the $44.99 monthly charge.

As mentioned earlier, you can choose to upgrade your Hulu with Live TV subscription to the enhanced DVR option, which gives you two critical abilities:

  • Record up to 200 hours of content
  • Fast forward through commercials on content you’ve recorded

The enhanced DVR option will cost you an extra $14.99 per month, bringing your total Hulu with Live TV cost to just under $60 per month.

With the average cable contract costing double that, it makes Hulu with Live TV an attractive option, even at its most expensive package level.

Hulu With Live TV Review: Our Take

 

If you are looking for a solid streaming service with good functionality, plentiful channel lineup that includes all of your favorite sports, news, lifestyle, and major network TV shows, there’s not many better options out there than Hulu with Live TV.

One advantage that Hulu with Live TV has over other streaming services like DirecTV Now and Sling TV is the ability to record live TV shows on the included cloud DVR functionality.

There’s no clunky box. All your favorite shows go into the cloud and wait there for you to watch them. Hulu with Live TV is a solid option to consider if you want to cut the cord.

If you’re not sure whether or not you’ll like the service, try it now risk-free with Hulu’s free 7-day trial.

 

Have you used Hulu or Hulu with Live TV? What did you think of its channel lineup and viewing experience? Do you use a different streaming service? Do you still have a cable subscription? What is keeping you from cutting the cord?

The following two tabs change content below.

John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

36 Comments

  • Karen says:

    Does Hulu work without a smart TV?
    What if you have 3 TVs?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good question Karen. Hulu does work without a smart TV as you can stream it on a computer or smart phone. If your TV has a USB or HDMI port you can connect a laptop to it and watch that way. Hulu only allows you to stream on two devices at once.

      • Cheryl says:

        I’m only able to get Hulu “live” on one TV, and I have the app on all 3 smart TV’s. How do you stream from the 2nd TV? I’ve already tried logging all the way out and back in and all I get is the regular Hulu. Can’t even figure out how to cancel.

        • John Schmoll says:

          Sorry to hear that Cheryl. Have you tried uninstalling Hulu completely, then reinstalling it? That has worked when I’ve had a problem with the platform. Beyond that, I’m not certain. For a second TV, you need to have the app on that one as well.

  • Kathleen Smith says:

    I have Hulu live and I also have Netflix and Sling. When I am watching Hulu live I often get “connection error” and when I go into my network it says there is no known problems and I have to go into another streaming app in order for Hulu to open back up. This does not happen with Netflix or Sling so I know it’s not my Internet connection. Also it really doesn’t do it on Hulu if I’m not in “live” mode. Do you have any ideas because I am ready to drop Hulu?

  • James Alexander, Jr. says:

    I’ve enjoyed HULU. Almost perfect. U found 2 problems that I find deal breakers. I couldn’t find a HULU package with OWN or TV One. Also, unlike any other service, every now and then a channel with display a Big Red Box with background music reading Commercial Break. Reluctantly, I had to find a package (actually a combination of packages)

    • John Schmoll says:

      Sorry to hear that James. The commercial break experience you’re mentioning is actually common across all streaming providers. They have their own way of doing it, but they all do something very similar. Personally, I’d rather that than to have to watch every commercial. 🙂

  • Jamie says:

    We are considering this as a cable free option for our family. So if I am in the bedroom.. husband in living room we can both watch at the same time? But if one of the kids is on IPAD they can’t watch? Can you upgrade the amount of devices you want to be able to use at one time? Thanks!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good question Jamie! Yes, that’s correct on both counts. You can add the “Unlimited Screens” option for $14.99 per month. It allows unlimited devices, including three mobile devices.

  • Debbie Little says:

    I am looking into alternatives for cable. I dvr alot of network shows and have started using the on demand feature occasionally. With Hulu Live TV, will I NEED to record them? or are they available through the streaming? 50 hours is not alot with our family and I want to keep costs down by not adding more features.
    Thanks!

  • Jimmy says:

    Thank you for the review!
    I currently have the “no-commercial” HULU option. If I sign up for HULU with live TV, will the shows I watch not live, now have commercials?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Of course, happy to help. Good question. For the live content, it operates just like any other platform and you’d have commercials. On the on-demand stuff you watch now, under the Live platform, it stays the same. So, if it doesn’t have commercials now, it’ll stay that way.

  • Frank P says:

    Great review – thank you. With the Cloud DVR, can you record two or more shows at the same time?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Great question Frank! Hulu lets you record two shows at once on their DVR. If you upgrade to the 200 hour option, you can record as many shows at once as you like.

  • Bill Kahnk says:

    Can my wife and I “share” Hulu LIve TV if she is in one state and I am in another?

    Also, if we have two homes (say, MN and AZ), how does Hulu determine which local channels and which Regional Sports channeles we receive. (And is there a way for us to make that decision, if we prefer one location over the other?)

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good question Bill. Yes, you should have no problem sharing the two in your situation. They will actually both allow you to receive locals/sports channels based on where you’re at so you both should be good.

  • Nanci Rainey says:

    Do you offer a bundle pkg with alternate channels to add to the basic? For additional fee Sling had a package with Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies& Mysteries and Hallmark Drama.
    Are there complaints of losing connection or error in streaming with Hulu? I can never watch a TV program or a movie without interruption and sometimes “lost internet connection” error – yet there was no internet issues on my end. I wouldn’t want to leave one streaming service for another if the same issues prevail.

    • John Schmoll says:

      You may not realize this Nanci, but we’re not Hulu. 🙂 That said, nope, all the channel package options for Hulu are listed here in the post. You’ll want something like Sling TV if you want that kind of customization.

  • Jim Bratton says:

    I have HughesNet, 5G and 2.4G, for my internet provider. I have a new Samsung Smart TV. I’m looking for an alternative to DirecTV and am interested in Hulu. I have streaming issues with watching live streaming on Hughesnet, very slow with many buffering interruptions. Will I have the same issue with streaming Hulu? I may have my iphone, ipad and computer all on at the same time on occasion.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Hulu recommends at least 8 Mbps for internet speed to watch Hulu live without issues, and more if you’re on multiple devices. You may want to check with HughesNet to see what they’re providing you.

  • Tiffany Patchell says:

    How long do you have to wait for the episode to air on Hulu Live? Example…is Real Housewives of New York airs on Tue nights, do I have to wait until Wed?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Great question! It’s the same wait time as standard Hulu, you have to wait 24 hours. However, you can also program their DVR to record all new episodes and you can watch that whenever you like.

  • Matt Young says:

    Wow- thanks for this info. With Veronica Mars starting new again this month I was going to start a Hulu account anyway, but with all this now I know I can cancel my cable tv!

  • Cathy Elliott says:

    We have had DirecTV since the early 90s and are looking to change. First, we were looking at Dish but streaming Hulu Live sounds interesting. My question, we currently have 2 Directv receivers. Each receiver mirrors the broadcast to 4 additional tvs. 10 TVs total in different rooms….5 TVs display receiver one…. 5 TVs display the second receiver. The result is, we can watch different programs at the same time. His TV choice and her TV choice, if you will. Will we need two Hulu Live accounts in order to watch different channels at the same time?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Nope, Hulu allows you to stream on two devices at once. 🙂 You can add the unlimited screens add-on, which allows for five screens at once, for $14.99 per month.

  • William says:

    Hey all this sounds great. I’m a cable subscriber and pay approximately $160.00 plus a month for a bundle.
    For any of these new packages don’t you need wi-fi- in the home
    Cheapest is Approximately $70.00
    Bucks a month.
    Little illiterate in these matters be gentle.

  • Teresa Blom says:

    My TVs in MN are 2009 Samsung’s and I can stream through SONY DVD for Hulu and Netflix through one TV only. To switch to HULU live would I need a fire stick for each?

    My TVs in AZ are smartTVs. No fire sticks needed?

    Should I buy my own routers for each location?

    Will one plan cover both locations?

    • John Schmoll says:

      I’ll just list answers in order below for sake of ease:

      1. No, as long as you can access it on both. Having one on one TV could make it easier so you can stream through the DVR on the other

      2. If your TV has the Hulu app already, or ability to install, no

      3. No

      4. Yes

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