Hulu With Live TV Review: Is it Worth $65 A Month?
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Cable TV is a sizable expense for many families. The average monthly cable bill is $200 per month. Streaming services like Hulu Live help people slash their bills without missing their favorite shows and live sports.
Hulu with Live TV is one of the top cable replacement options. However, its recent price increase means it may no longer be the value people want.
This review examines whether or not the service is a good cable alternative.
What is Hulu With Live TV?
Hulu is one of the most popular cable alternatives on the market. The on-demand service launched as a joint business between ABC and Fox to offer their programming to a broader audience.
They added Hulu plus Live TV in 2o17. By the end of 2020, the service boasted over 36 million subscribers.
For $64.99 per month, the provider offers access to dozens of channels and its entire on-demand library of television shows.
Disney now owns the live streaming service. It is a top competitor to cable alternatives like YouTube TV and Sling TV.
Cost and channel offerings are often the two most important factors in choosing a streaming platform. The Hulu live channels do not disappoint. You get over 65 popular networks with live TV shows and Hulu live sports.
The networks you get access to are listed below.
|ABC News Live||ESPNews||NBC|
|ACC Network||ESPNU||NBC Golf|
|A&E||ESPN College Extra||NBC SN|
|Animal Planet||ESPN Bases Loaded||National Geographic|
|Big Ten Network (BTN)||ESPN Goal Line||Nat Geo Wild|
|Cartoon Network||FOX News||Pop|
|CBS Sports Network||FS2||Smithsonian Channel|
|Cozi TV||History Channel||TNT|
|Discovery Channel||Headline News||Universal HD|
|Disney Channel||Investigation Discovery||USA|
You’ll notice several things as you look at the Hulu Live TV channel list, including:
- Local networks and major news channels
- A full suite of sports offerings, including the ESPN family of channels, Fox Sports 1 and 2 (FS1 and FS2), BTN, NBC Golf, and more
- Dozens of lifestyle and entertainment networks
- If a channel isn’t available, you can likely find content in the on-demand area of the platform
YouTube TV has more channels, making it a worthy competitor with the same monthly price.
How Much is Hulu Live?
It costs $64.99 for a monthly subscription to Hulu with Live TV. This puts it on the higher end of the spectrum with alternatives like YouTube TV and fuboTV. Both competitors offer more channels, while the latter stands out for sports.
This price gets you access to both live TV and the on-demand library offered by the service. That allows you to watch popular originals like The Handmaid’s Tale or Letterkenny.
The service isn’t the cheapest, but there are ways to save money. For example, you can switch between the two Hulu packages whenever you wish. There is no contract, so you can make changes at any time.
Like any cable alternative, Hulu Live has add-ons you can purchase to further enhance your viewing experience. Here are the available add-ons.
Entertainment Add-on ($7.99 per month): American Heroes Channel, CNBC World, Cooking Channel, Crime + Investigation, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, DIY Network, Military History Channel, and Science.
Espanol Add-on ($4.99 per month): CNN en Espanol, Discovery en Espanol, Discovery Familia, ESPN Desportes, History Channel en Espanol, and Universo.
HBOMax: $14.99 per month
Cinemax: $9.99 per month
Showtime: $10.99 per month
Starz: $8.99 per month
Depending on what you add to your Hulu subscription, it’s easy to spend $100 or more per month. While still cheaper than cable, it does sacrifice a significant amount of your savings from cutting the cord.
Look and Feel
The interface has an intuitive look and feel. This hasn’t always been the case.
When you launch the platform, you see a simple home page with cover art for a show the service is promoting. This gives it a less busy look than before and makes it easier to navigate.
The top of the interface has four main tabs, including Home, Live TV, My Stuff, and Browse. If you want to access your DVR recordings and favorites, you simply click on My Stuff to get to it.
We’ve used various streaming services, and Hulu Live sets itself apart with its user-friendly interface.
The Hulu TV guide was once the worst in the space. Fortunately, the provider gave it a significant upgrade a couple of years ago. It now has an easier, smoother feel.
The guide has show data for 14 days, allowing you to easily see what’s airing over the next two weeks. When you see a show or live sporting event you want to record, simply click the show to access the record feature.
If a user-friendly interface is important to you, Hulu Live is one of the best cable replacement options.
The live TV streaming service space is growing increasingly crowded. Added features are where players attract more customers.
Here are a few of the features that set Hulu with Live TV apart from the competition.
Many people stay with cable or satellite because of the DVR capabilities. Hulu offers a 50-hour capacity cloud DVR at no extra cost.
This puts them in the middle of the road (or worse) amongst the competition. Sling TV offers the same capacity and is only $35 a month.
You can fast-forward through commercials on recorded shows, and there’s no limit on simultaneous recordings. Plus, you can stream recordings on any supported device.
If 50 hours isn’t enough, you can add the enhanced cloud DVR feature to get 200 hours for $9.99 a month.
Lack of space aside, the Hulu DVR does offer a helpful categorizing feature. It separates recordings into five categories. These include TV Shows, Movies, Kids, Sports, and Teams.
You can watch on two screens at once with Hulu Live. This puts them in the middle of the pack for simultaneous streams (Sling Orange offers one and fuboTV provides three).
If two simultaneous streams aren’t sufficient, you can add the unlimited screens feature for $9.99 per month. This allows you to watch on unlimited screens at home or three screens when you’re on the go.
If you want both the enhanced cloud DVR and unlimited screens, you can get those for $14.99 a month total.
Hulu is among the better streaming services for video quality. They offer 4K video for original content and most movies.
Many TV stations broadcast content at 720p, while most on-demand movies hit 1080p. This is true whether you get content from the on-demand library or live broadcasts.
We have fairly fast internet at our house and have rarely been disappointed in playback.
Users and Profiles
With Hulu Live, you can have individual profiles for up to six users. Profiles are customizable to your specific interests and preferences.
You can take it even further by allowing profiles to restrict viewing to specific content and block certain genres of programming.
There are no specific parental controls, but you can use the profiles feature to create a similar approach. The aforementioned profile features are available.
They also allow you to limit searches to only return viewing choices that meet the requirements you set.
However, children can get into their parent’s account to find content.
Hulu plus Live TV with most major platforms, including:
- Amazon Fire TV or Stick (all models)
- Android devices (5.0 and later)
- AppleTV 4th and 5th generation (4K)
- iPhones and iPads (iOS 10 and later)
- Chromecast devices
- Web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, and Safari)
- Roku Streaming Stick (model 3600X and later)
- Samsung Smart TVs
- Vizio Smartcast TVs
- Xbox consoles
- Nvidia Shield
- Nintendo Switch
- Xiaomi Mi Box
If you have a modern streaming device, it will likely work with the platform.
Pros and Cons
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a live streaming service. Here are some things to keep in mind when looking at Hulu Live.
- Lots of channels (seen by some as the best channel lineup in the space)
- Seamless interface
- Tons of original content
- Easy to use 14-day TV guide
- Reliable streaming
- Works with virtually any streaming device
- Some 4K content
- Can have up to six profiles per account
- On the expensive end of the tier
- DVR space is lacking unless you upgrade to the enhanced DVR
There is a lot to like about Hulu Live. It’s certainly on the expensive end, but it competes well against other players at that price.
Is Hulu Live TV different from Hulu?
Yes, they are different. The live streaming option gives access to live shows plus the expansive library of on-demand content plus original shows.
If you don’t choose the live service, you only receive access to on-demand and original content.
The base price for the on-demand option is $5.99 a month and $64.99 for the live option. You can upgrade or downgrade whenever you want since there is no contract.
Hulu on-demand is one of the best alternatives to Netflix for your content needs if you don’t want live TV.
You can read our comparison of the live and on-demand services here to learn more about how they differ.
Not many cable alternatives beat Hulu with Live TV if you want a solid streaming service with good functionality as well as a robust channel lineup that includes your favorite sports, news, lifestyle, and major network TV shows.
Yes, it is on the more expensive end of providers. However, it also has a lot of features you may not find elsewhere.
Hulu Live offers a free 7-day trial to try the service. You can keep it if you like it or cancel it if it doesn’t meet your needs.
With no contracts, there’s no risk in trying it before making a decision.
How much do you pay for television content monthly? What’s keeping you from cutting the cord on cable or satellite?
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.