Hulu with Live TV Review
Hulu + Live TV debuted in 2017 and joined a lineup of other live TV streaming providers trying to snag those cord-cutters. If you’re a proud cord-cutter yourself and all you want is the most popular live channels and a handful of local options, then Hulu Live should serve your needs quite nicely.
|Hulu + Live TV (Limited ads)||$44.99/mo.||60+||View Plans|
|Hulu + Live TV (No ads)||$50.99/mo.||60+||View Plans|
Hulu + Live TV increased its package price a little since last year, but it also lowered the cost of its add-ons. For us, it balances out to be a better deal since we go for no commercials and the Enhanced DVR + Unlimited screens bundle add-on.
Hulu’s killer combination of original content and on-demand service alongside live TV channels still wins big points from us.
Hulu + Live TV compatible devices:
- Apple TV (fourth generation and up)
- Amazon Fire tablets
- Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick
- Xbox One and Xbox 360
- Roku and Roku Stick (on certain models)
- iOS and Android smartphones/tablets (via Hulu app)
- Google Chromecast and Google Chromecast Ultra
- Web browsers
- Smart TVs: Samsung and LG (certain models)
- Nintendo Switch
You don’t need a set-top box like you do with a cable TV subscription. You can watch Hulu + Live TV on almost any device. Either download the app to your device or within the browser on your smart TVs.
Keep in mind, AT&T TV NOW (formerly DIRECTV NOW) and YouTube TV will both give you more live channels than Hulu + Live TV for a similar price, so make sure Hulu runs all your favorite shows before you settle on its service.
Neither ABC nor CBS are currently live in our area, and we were pretty bummed we couldn’t watch Grey’s Anatomy or The Late Late Show live.
What does Hulu + Live TV offer?
With its library of on-demand and original content, Hulu + Live TV is a force to be reckoned with.
While you can get more channels from another streaming service, we like that Hulu + Live TV comes with Hulu’s entire library of on-demand and original content. Your Hulu Live subscription includes Hulu’s $5.99 Limited Commercials plan.
If you already have that plan, then the Live TV part is just an upgrade that lets you watch more stuff in one place.
You can add unlimited screens as an option for $9.99 per month, or bundle it with an enhanced DVR for $14.98 per month.
For the most part, Hulu’s live TV channels are up to par. But unfortunately, you can’t get Viacom channels—like MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central—with Hulu + Live TV (at least not yet). However, competitors AT&T TV NOW and Sling TV will both let you get your Broad City fix.
Add-ons can get expensive
|Hulu + Live TV||$44.99/mo.|
|No commercials upgrade||$6.00/mo.|
|Enhanced cloud DVR||$9.99/mo.|
|Enhanced cloud DVR + unlimited screens bundle||$14.98/mo.|
Hulu Live’s extras add up fast. For example, your Live TV plan comes with a cloud DVR. Great—we love cloud DVRs! But you get only 50 hours of storage. Want more than that? The next step up is Hulu + Live TV’s enhanced cloud DVR with 200 hours of storage—for $9.99 per month.
These add-ons are cheaper than they were last time we wrote about Hulu + Live TV, and both the DVR and unlimited screens option are $5 less than they used to be. If you bundle the add-ons, it comes to about $15 less than last year’s bundle offer.
The DVR isn’t impressive enough to start throwing out your Blu-ray players, but at least you have two DVR options.
And don’t forget about the cost of premium channels. Hulu offers standard pricing for its premium channels like HBO and SHOWTIME, whereas a streaming service like PlayStation Vue gives you a deal on premium channels at its highest-tier plan.
What about commercials?
Do you hate seeing so many ads? Hulu has a plan for that: the No Commercials option is available for $6 more per month. Together with the Enhanced Cloud DVR, that’s an extra $16.99 per month, and you’re still at only the 60+ channel level.
In comparison, YouTube TV offers 73+ channels for $50 per month, and its cloud DVR has unlimited storage.
Hulu Live also restricts how many screens you can watch on at once. On the regular plan, you can only watch Hulu + Live TV on two screens. If you want more, you can upgrade to the unlimited screens add-on—for $9.99 per month.
For that price, you might as well get cable or YouTube TV and have more than 60 channels.
Hulu + Live TV user experience
Hulu’s updated interface is a lot easier to navigate.
Hulu’s live TV features a traditional grid view these days, and it takes far fewer clicks to get to what you want than the last time we reviewed it. The My Stuff section is also a lot easier to navigate and displays episodes in a large window so you’re not left scrolling endlessly.
The video player view includes time functions like rewinding, skipping, and timeline jump-clicking. It also shows you what’s playing next.
Hulu’s window can play in a minimized form while you browse for another show. Other services like Netflix make you leave a program before starting another one, which may cause anxiety for those who hate sitting in silence.
Switching and sitting through ads
One thing we don’t love about surfing around on Hulu’s interface is that by clicking into a new show, you’ll start with some ads that you can’t skip. The timeline jump also doesn’t work for getting past 2–3 minutes’ worth of ads.
So if you’re looking for a particular Always Sunny clip within an episode, you may have to sit through the same ads over and over, which is its own type of hell.
Hulu + Live TV cloud DVR
Hulu + Live TV’s cloud DVR is convenient and easy to use—but sometimes you’re stuck watching on demand.
Hulu’s cloud DVR works almost exactly the way YouTube TV’s DVR does. Click the + icon to add a show or episode to My Stuff, and all future episodes will be saved for you there.
Hulu doesn’t actually let you record very much. We think that defeats the purpose of a DVR.
Unfortunately, Hulu doesn’t actually let you record very much. If there’s an on-demand version of the show available, you must watch that version. We think that defeats the purpose of a DVR—which is to let you fast-forward through unwanted commercials. Plus, that makes it not so much of a DVR as a subscription feature.
If you upgrade to Hulu’s No Commercials plan for an extra $6 a month, you can avoid commercials for most of Hulu’s on-demand content. But keep in mind, the “no commercials” label doesn’t apply to live TV.
Hulu + Live TV vs. other streaming services
We like Hulu for its original and on-demand content, but other streaming services have more live TV options.
While Hulu has competitive pricing for the channels you get, you don’t get to choose between tiered packages with variable pricing and channel offerings like you do with other streaming and cable services.
Hulu Live TV does have most of the popular cable live channels, but there are some notable exceptions, including the CW and Investigation Discovery.
|Streaming service||Channels||Price||Maximum # of simultaneous streams||Details|
|Hulu + Live TV||60+||$44.99/mo.||2||Free Trial|
|Sling TV||30–50+||$25–$40/mo.||4||Free Trial|
|AT&T TV NOW||60–120+||$40–$75/mo.||3||Free Trial|
|PlayStation Vue||50–90+||$49.99–$84.99/mo.||5||Free Trial|
|YouTube TV||86+||$49.99/mo.||3||Free Trial|
Offers vary by location.
Hulu + Live TV vs. Sling TV
Sling TV is the original live TV streaming service, and it’s still the cheapest option out there. If you want live TV and you’re on a budget, then Sling is a solid choice. That said, Hulu has on-demand and original content you won’t find on Sling.
To get the best of both worlds, we recommend signing up for Sling’s Blue plan alongside Hulu’s $5.99-per-month no commercials streaming plan. That way, you get 45+ channels and access to live TV on basically every device as well as Hulu’s unique content—and at Sling’s price of $30.99 per month, you’ll still pay less than you would for Hulu + Live TV.
Hulu + Live TV vs. AT&T TV NOW (formerly DIRECTV NOW)
AT&T TV NOW has more channels than Hulu + Live TV (or any other live TV streaming service, for that matter). For channel junkies, there’s really no better option. But we have found AT&T TV NOW to be a bit clunky to use.
That said, AT&T TV NOW has better options for US sports lovers than most streaming services out there, including Hulu Live. If you don’t care about Hulu’s on-demand content and you want lots of channels, including sports streams, then AT&T TV NOW should be your pick.
Hulu + Live TV vs. PlayStation Vue
PlayStation Vue gives you fewer channels than Hulu, and for more money. PlayStation’s lowest-priced plan costs the same as Hulu + Live TV, and for only 50 channels instead of 60.
PS Vue may have a sleeker look, but Hulu offers a better price. And the fact that Hulu has better original content makes Hulu + Live TV take the prize on this one.
Hulu + Live TV vs. YouTube TV
Hulu Live has an edge over YouTube TV when it comes to original content. We’ve heard way more about shows like Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale than we have about anything from YouTube Red. (Although we heartily recommend YouTube Red’s cat documentary Kedi.)
Hulu Live also has a few more local channels than YouTube TV, and it works with more streaming devices too. YouTube TV doesn’t currently work with Amazon Fire TV devices. So points for Hulu. That said, YouTube TV has way more channels than Hulu does.
For now, we’ll call it a tie, depending on whether you want original content or more channels.
The bottom line: Is Hulu + Live TV good?
Hulu + Live TV shows a lot of promise, especially in the way it combines on-demand and original content with live television.
Hulu + Live TV summary
- Live TV channels alongside original and on-demand content
- Add-on and premium channel options
- Mid-range pricing
- Cloud DVR
- Service available on most devices
We’d like to see Hulu Live offer channels like Comedy Central. But in the meantime, we’re happy we at least have Food Network’s Cupcake Wars (which YouTube TV does not have) and HGTV.
As Hulu continues to develop its live TV channels, we think its original and on-demand content will help it stand out from its competitors.
Hopefully our Hulu + Live TV review has helped you make a decision. What TV streaming service do you use? Are you going to add Hulu + Live TV to the mix? Let us know in comments!