THE BASICS: A standard Hulu subscription is $5.99 a month and gets you the full on-demand catalog.
NO COMMERCIALS: For $11.99 a month you'll get the on-demand catalog and almost zero adverts.
HULU WITH LIVE TV: For $54.99 a month you'll get more than five dozen channels, plus the on-demand catalog.
NOTE: The cost of Hulu With Live TV will be going up by $10 a month on Dec. 18, 2020.
Get a free trial at Hulu.com.
When you think of Hulu, you think of a couple things. One is The Handmaid's Tale, of course. And another is all those random series — both old and new — that you want to watch without dealing with DVR. And that's fine. That's more than fine, actually, because there's a ton of great stuff to watch on Hulu, whether it's a current series, or something that's long since gone off the air.
And that's just the start of things, because Hulu also now has Live TV. The channels vary depending on where you live, of course, so you'll need to check with Hulu to see what's available where you are. And it also has the marketing might of Disney and Disney+ behind it, which means more people than ever are signing up for Hulu.
And then there's also the fact that Hulu is now controlled by Disney, and caught up in the whole Disney+ bundle thing , which is pretty sweet. And that deal has had a large hand in making Hulu With Live TV the largest live TV streaming service in the United States with more than 4.1 million paying subscribers to Hulu with Live TV.
There's a lot going on with Hulu these days. Here's what you need to know.
What's the difference between Hulu and Hulu Live TV?
You have to think about Hulu as two separate things with mostly the same name. Hulu proper is the on-demand streaming service that has all kinds of movies and TV shows from a number of different places. Sometimes they're exclusive to Hulu — say, The Handmaid's Tale — and sometimes they pull from multiple studios.
Hulu also is where you'll find FX on Hulu, which is home to FX shows after the air on traditional TV. It's also where you'll find some truly excellent streaming exclusives like A Teacher, Devs and Mrs. America.
Hulu Live — also known as Hulu With Live TV — is exactly what it sounds like — it's live TV, available through Hulu.
Does Hulu with Live TV have a free trial?
Yes, it does. First you'll have to sign up for Hulu itself. But new and existing Hulu customers (who don't already have Hulu With Live TV) can try it free for seven days.
That free trial of Hulu With Live TV will get you full access to all of the live and on-demand channels, cloud-based DVR, and the full streaming library.
If you decide to cancel Hulu Live before the end of the trial, your credit card won't be charged.
How much does Hulu Live TV cost?
Hulu and Hulu With Live TV are available together for $54.99 a month.
With your subscription you'll get more than 60 live channels (see the full list below), the ability to watch on two devices at one time, and the ability to record 50 hours of live TV onto cloud-based storage.
In addition to all the live channels, you'll also have access to the entire Hulu on-demand library for that same $54.99-a-month price. If you want to get rid of ads on the on-demand content, you'll pay $60.99 a month.
Note: The cost of Hulu With Live TV will be going up $10 a month on Dec. 18, 2020. Here's how the plans break down after that date:
- Hulu With Live TV: $64.99 a month
- Hulu With Live TV and no VOD ads: $70.99 a month
- Hulu/ESPN+/Disney+ Bundle With Live TV: $71.99 a month
- Hulu/ESPN+/Disney+ Bundle With Live TV and no VOD ads: $77.99 a month
How to sign up for Hulu or Hulu with Live TV
- In your favorite web browser, visit Hulu.com/live-tv .
- Choose whether you want Hulu without ads, or Hulu with ads, or Hulu with Live TV.
- Enter email address, choose a strong password, and feed Hulu your name and birthdate and gender.
- Click Continue, then enter your payment information. You can use a credit or debit card, or choose "Express Options" for PayPal or AMEX Express Checkout.
- Now choose any premium add-ons like HBO, Showtime, Cinemax or STARZ. (If you've chosen Hulu with Live TV, you also can choose from the live add-on options.)
And that's that. You can now start watching anything and everything on Hulu.
The Hulu/ESPN+/Disney+ bundle
One of the best deals out there these days is the bundle that includes Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+. (All of those services are owned by Disney.) And you can still do that bundle in conjunction with Hulu Live TV.
The bundle — including Hulu With Live TV — can be had for $61.99 a month, which is a really good deal considering it's just $7 a month more than if you get Hulu and Live TV on their own. If you want the bundle without ads on Hulu's on-demand content, it'll cost just $67.99 a month.
The best of three worlds
Disney+ is a massive behemoth. But it's also just one part of the Disney strategy. Team it up with Hulu and ESPN+ for less than the cost of all three separately and you've got a serious streaming experience.
Can you get Hulu with Live TV without the Hulu on-demand catalog?
You can, but it's not really something we'd recommend — because you're not really going to save any money. The "Live TV Only" plan costs $53.99 a month, or exactly $1 a month less than the full smash.
In other words, get the on-demand catalog. It's definitely worth $12 a year.
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The live channels you get with Hulu Live
Hulu With Live TV currently has nearly 70 channels. It's possible that what you get where you live may vary slightly (local and regional rules still apply here, especially when it comes to local broadcast channels), but the broad strokes should remain the same. Here's what the big list looks like:
- ABC News Live
- ACC Network
- Adult Swim
- Animal Planet
- Big Ten Network
- Bloomberg Television
- CBS Sports Network
- CNN International
- Cartoon Network
- Discovery Channel
- Disney Channel
- Disney Junior
- Disney XD
- ESPN College Extra
- Food Network
- Fox Business
- Fox News
- Golf Channel
- History Channel
- Investigation Discovery
- NASA TV
- National Geographic
- National Geographic Wild
- Olympic Channel
- SEC Network
- Smithsonian Channel
- Travel Channel
- Universal Kids
What add-ons are available with Hulu with Live TV?
Live channels aren't the only thing you can get with Hulu With Live TV. So long as you don't mind paying for them, there are a number of extras that can be had. Here's how they break down:
- HBO Max: $14.99. a month
- Showtime: $10.99. a month with a free one-week trial
- Cinemax: $9.99 a month with a free one-week trial
- STARZ: $8.99 a month with a free one-week trial
- Entertainment add-on: $7.99 a month, adds American Heroes Channel, CNBC World, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, DIY Network, FYI, Lifetime Movies, and Science Channel
- Español Add-On: $4.99 a month, adds CNN Español, Discovery en Español, Familia Discovery, ESPN Deportes, Universo, and History en Español.
- Unlimited screens: $9.99 a month with a free one-month trial
- Enhanced cloud DVR: 200 hours plus skip ads for $9.99 a month with a free one-month trial
- Enhanced cloud DVR and unlimited Screens: $14.98 a month after a one-month free trial
What devices support Hulu with Live TV?
If you can watch Hulu, you can watch Hulu With Live TV. They're built into the same app. And that means that you can watch Hulu With Live TV on just about every modern piece of streaming hardware.
That includes on a web browser on a Mac or PC. That means you're good to go on an iPhone or Android Phone, or and iPad or Android tablet. You can watch Hulu With Live TV on Roku and Amazon Fire TV, or on Apple TV and Android TV. Chromecast and AirPlay work, too, as do Xbox and Nintendo Switch. Same goes for PlayStation 4. (And presumably PS5 at some point.)
Certain smart TVs are supported, too, including select models from Samsung, LG and Vizio.
Does Hulu With Live TV have live sports?
Perhaps you've seen the commercials? Yes, Hulu has live sports. That includes broadcast events like you'll find on ABC, CBS Fox, and NBC, plus live sports on networks like ESPN and FS1.
There also are games on ACC Network, SEC Network and the Big Ten network.
The only caveat here is that local and regional channels can vary depending on where you live, so you'll want to plug in your ZIP code with Hulu first to double check.
Can you record live TV on Hulu?
Yes. Hulu with Live TV comes with 50 hours of cloud DVR storage out of the box, so you can record up to that much before having to make some tough choices about which Real Housewives series has to go.
Or if you need even more cloud-based storage, you can go for the add-on, which increases that storage time by 300 percent.
How many subscribers does Hulu With Live TV have?
Hulu With Live TV currently is the biggest live TV streaming service in the United States, with 3.4 million subscribers at last count. (Hulu's on-demand service, meanwhile, has 32.1 million subscribers.)
By comparison, YouTube TV has more than 3 million subscribers (we're assuming it has fewer than Hulu Live TV, otherwise they would have said so), and Sling TV has 2.25 million subscribers.
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