For many people, Hulu is synonymous with The Handmaid’s Tale. That may have been the service’s shining star a few years ago, but these days, Hulu is so much more than its breakthrough show. In fact, Hulu isn’t just an on-demand streaming service anymore. It’s also a live TV provider, making it an excellent contender for an alternative service if you’re considering cutting the cable TV cord.
In an effort to make the platform accessible to as many people as possible, Hulu offers a tremendous variation between its plans and packages. You can get a solid on-demand plan for under ten bucks a month. Or, you can get the service’s premium live TV plan for around sixty bucks a month, a price that’s right in line with comparable companies. Along the way, you can pick and choose from various add-ons to tailor your viewing experience to your liking.
The wide range of options is great for making sure your Hulu membership reflects what you want to watch, but figuring it all out can feel like a bit of a headache. One look at all the plans and add-ons, and you might think it’s just easier to stick with what you’ve already got.
To save you from having to do a deep dive into Hulu’s FAQs, we’ve created a full breakdown for the four main Hulu packages and each one’s pricing. Plus, we covered all the premium channels and add-ons that Hulu offers, explaining exactly what each one entails. By the end of this, you’ll feel confident that you know exactly which plan is right for you.
|Hulu||Hulu (No Ads)||Hulu + Live TV||Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV|
|Free trial length||1 month||1 month||7 days||7 days|
|Number of channels||None||None||65+||65+|
|Cloud DVR storage||None||None||50 hours||50 hours|
|# of simultaneous streams||2||2||2||2|
|Live sports available||No||No||Yes||Yes|
Let’s cover the first question anyone wants answered when considering a new service: how much does Hulu cost? As you can see, Hulu plans start at $5.99/mo. and go all the way up to $60.99/mo. To be clear, none of these prices include premium add-ons. We’ll get to those in a bit.
Unfortunately, Hulu doesn’t offer annual subscriptions, which means you can’t get a discount on the Hulu monthly cost by committing to a year. That said, with the basic plan, Hulu costs only $5.99/mo., making it one of the most affordable options on the market. If you want to upgrade to Hulu without commercials, Hulu Plus costs $11.99/mo. and is still competitively priced amongst similar streaming services.
If you’re looking for more than just on-demand programming, Hulu + Live TV costs $54.99/mo. and includes over 65 live channels, along with the Hulu on-demand library. If you still want to watch your Hulu originals and other on-demand shows without advertisements, you can upgrade to the Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV plan for $60.99/mo. Of course, commercials will still play during live TV broadcasts just as they normally would.
Once you’ve chosen a plan, Hulu’s sign up process is easy. All you have to do is visit the website or download the app (available via the App Store or Google Play). From there, you’ll need a credit card and email address to create an account. When you sign up, you’ll automatically receive a free trial, so you can make sure you’ve chosen the right package. The on-demand plans include a one-month long free trial, while the live TV plans come with one week free.
Hulu’s traditional service consists of thousands of on-demand titles, including everything from fan favorites like Grey’s Anatomy to new original programming like Normal People. Depending on which of the Hulu subscription plans you choose, these shows will either run with or without ads. (A small caveat: due to licensing agreements, Hulu ads play before and after three shows: Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This is regardless of which plan you’re on.)
With both Hulu Basic and Hulu + Live TV, you can watch your shows wherever and whenever you want. Accessing the service across devices is easy, whether it’s on a mobile device, smart TV or web browser. Hulu’s supported device list is extensive, which means the set-up you already have in your home will likely work with Hulu. You can simultaneously stream up to two devices at once. Plus, you can create separate user profiles, so your viewing history and personalized recommendations remain tailored to you.
Hulu + Live TV
The Hulu + Live TV price is considerably higher than Hulu’s on-demand options, but that’s because you get so much more. Hulu + Live TV provides you with access to over 65 live channels, which run the gamut and are sure to include some of your favorites. For sports fans, Hulu’s live TV offerings include ESPN and FS1. If you want to catch the nightly news, Hulu + Live TV has ABC, CNN and FOX in its line-up. Kids have options, too, with channels like Cartoon Network and Disney Channel.
The entire Hulu on-demand library is also included in Hulu + Live TV. By throwing in the on-demand portion, Hulu makes its live TV packages considerably more tempting. The $54.99/mo. cost might feel steep at first, but when you consider all you’re getting, the service becomes quite competitively priced. Comparable live TV services come in around the same price point, and none of them includes a full on-demand streaming service as an added bonus.
Other features include 50 hours of cloud DVR storage and the standard two simultaneous streams per account. If that’s not enough for you, both of these features can be upgraded.
Hulu Add-On Packages
You’ll likely gravitate toward one or two of the main Hulu plans, depending on whether you’re looking for a streaming service or a live TV provider. But even after picking one of those plans, there might be a few more features you’d like to add. Or, perhaps you want a premium channel like HBO so you can watch the latest episode of Westworld.
For all of Hulu’s plans (both on-demand and live TV), you can add the following premium channels: Cinemax ($9.99/mo.), HBO ($14.99/mo.), Showtime ($10.99/mo.) and STARZ ($8.99/mo.). You can mix and match these to your heart’s desire. Choose one of them, all of them or none of them; it’s entirely up to you. If you choose to bundle Showtime and STARZ together, Hulu offers a slight discount, so you can get the two for $14.99/mo.
Now, with the live TV plans only, you can choose between additional features. If you want more than the standard 50 hours of cloud DVR storage, you can upgrade to unlimited for $9.99/mo. If you want to stream across an unlimited number of devices, you can upgrade to unlimited screens for $9.99/mo. (Should you want both unlimited cloud DVR storage and simultaneous screens, you can add both for the discounted price of $14.99/mo.)
Additionally, Hulu + Live TV subscribers can supplement their channel line-up with the Entertainment Add-on ($7.99/mo.) or the Español Add-on for $4.99/mo. The Entertainment package consists of 11 additional channels, including Cooking Channel, Discovery Family, Lifetime Movies and more. The Español package includes seven Spanish-language channels, such as ESPN Deportes, FOX Deportes and NBC Universo.
Which Package Is Best For Cutting the Cable TV Cord?
If you want an alternative to traditional cable, Hulu + Live TV offers the most complete solution. Not only do you get access to Hulu’s extensive on-demand library of shows, but you also have over 65 live channels to choose from at any given time. Hulu + Live TV is great for entertainment, lifestyle and sports fans alike. No matter what you want to watch, you’re sure to find plenty of it amongst Hulu’s channel line-up. Try the service for yourself with a Hulu free trial.
If you’re not quite ready to pay the Hulu price for a live TV package, always remember that you can install an antenna in your home. With a physical antenna, you can access your local ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC channels free of charge. Pairing an antenna system with Hulu’s Basic or Plus packages might just give you the right mix of premium on-demand content and live TV. Then, if you find yourself wanting more, you can always upgrade.
If you’re still on the fence, sign up for a Hulu trial, so you can test it out for free. Depending on which package you’re considering, the free trial will run for either a week or a month. Either way, that’s plenty of time to figure out whether Hulu is right for you. As for our recommendation: if you’re looking to cut the cable TV cord, Hulu + Live TV is an excellent option across the board.
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