Hulu vs. Netflix: Which Streaming Service is for you?

Hulu on-demand and Netflix both also offer subscribers original programming to enjoy. Netflix, in particular, provides one of the best and largest libraries of original movies and TV shows out there, which makes it a particularly appealing option.

Hulu vs. Netflix Compared

 

 Hulu (On-demand)Netflix BasicNetflix StandardNetflix Premium
Monthly Price$5.99 for ad-supported, $11.99 without ads$8.99$12.99$15.99
Number of movies1,171+3,766+3,766+3,766+
Number of TV shows1,382+1,606+1,606+1,606+
Screens you can watch simultaneously (per account)2124
HD availableYesNoYesYes
Ultra HD availableYesNoNoYes
Original contentYesYesYesYes
Free trial length1 month1 month1 month1 month
Content add-ons availableYesNoNoNo

Pricing

Hulu’s basic plan costs just $5.99/mo. Netflix’s entry-level option is $8.99/mo.

However, while Hulu’s $5.99/mo. basic membership provides access to its entire content library, its movies and TV shows are supported by ads. For $11.99/mo. users can remove commercials from all but a select few programs. Possibly the best deal available through the service is a bundle that throws in Disney+ and ESPN+ for $12.99/mo., just $1/mo. more than the ad-free Hulu service.

Netflix has three plans — none of which include commercials. Its Basic option doesn’t allow viewers to watch content in high definition (HD) and restricts them to one screen at a time. The service’s Standard plan enables HD video quality and provides two simultaneous streams. Its Premium offering delivers 4K streaming and enables users to watch on four screens at the same time.

Netflix is also trialing an Ultra service for $16.99/mo., which offers four ultra-high-definition (UDH) streams. The company has yet to confirm if or when this option will become widely available.

Content

Hulu provides a solid range of original content, headed up by the dark and harrowing series The Handmaid’s Tale. It also includes the particularly terrifying Castle Rock, The Act and Letterkenny, a comedy about people trying to make life interesting in their small town. Other noteworthy series include George Clooney starring in Catch 22, which is based on the Joseph Heller novel and The Looming Tower, which stars Jeff Daniels and Martin Skarsgaard as senior FBI and CIA agents butting heads in the build-up to 9/11.

Hulu’s range of movies is headed up by the entire James Bond franchise, other than the films featuring Daniel Craig. However, the first two Craig movies are available through HBO on Hulu.

Other standout movies are Ridley Scott’s epic American Gangster, which stars Denzel Washington, Sylvester Stallone in Creed II and Tom Cruise’s latest outing as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

It also includes eye-opening documentaries Blackfish, which explores the inhumanity involved in keeping killer whales in captivity and Cold Case Hammarskjöld, a Danish film that begins with the investigation of a 1961 plane crash that killed the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Leading TV shows on Hulu include comedies like Arrested Development, which stars Jason Bateman and Michael Cena, Dan Harmon’s Community, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and cult hit Parks and Recreation with Amy Poehler and Chris Pratt.

However, Hulu can’t compete with the quality and quantity of content available on Netflix. This includes Roma, which made Netflix the first video streaming service to take home the Oscar for Best Picture.

Other great original movies on Netflix are Breaking Bad: El Camino, which features Aaron Paul and Jesse Plemons in a continuation of the TV series and Martin Scorsese gangster epic The Irishman, which stars Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro.

Other movies worth watching are Golden Globe-nominated Dolemite Is My Name, which stars Eddie Murphy and Wesley Snipes, a biopic of serial killer Ted Bundy played by Zac Efron in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile and the Academy Award-winning Marriage Story, which features Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson.

Netflix also offers a broad range of high-quality original TV shows. This includes the likes of Breaking Bad, political drama House of Cards, prison drama Orange Is the New Black and cult science-fiction horror series Stranger Things.

Netflix is also renowned for its high-quality exploratory documentaries, such as recent hit Tiger King, as well as crime docuseries like I Am A Killer, Making A Murderer and The Staircase.

In addition to original content, Netflix also provides access to Hollywood hits like Leonardo di Caprio movies Gangs of New York and Inception, Quentin Tarantino movies Inglorious Basterds, both Kill Bill movies and Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. There’s also plenty of comedy with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg playing dumb cops in The Other Guys, Ferrell appearing alongside John C. Reilly in Step Brothers and classic hits The Naked Gun and Police Academy.

Top TV shows on Netflix include thrilling crime investigation in Manhunt: Unabomber, which stars Paul Bettany and Sam Worthington and British show Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. It also has political thrillers in Madam Secretary and Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing. Plus plenty of excellent comedy shows, such as The Good Place, The Office (US) and Trailer Park Boys.

Device Compatibility

Hulu’s streaming library can be accessed on Android and Apple iOS mobile devices and Amazon Fire tablets. It’s also compatible with streaming devices such as Amazon Echo Show, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast, Roku, Roku Stick, TiVo, Xfinity Flex and X1. Hulu works on Mac and Windows web browsers. It’s also compatible with gaming consoles like Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. And internet-connected TVs like Android TV, Apple TV are compatible.

Netflix is available on mobile devices like Android, Apple iOS and Windows phones and tablets. Streaming systems like Google Chromecast, Nvidia Shield and Roku are compatible. As are Mac and Windows web browsers. Netflix is also compatible with internet-connected TVs, such as Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV as well as Hi-Sense, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sanyo, Sharp and Vizio smart TVs. Blu-ray players from Funai, Magnavox, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sharp and Toshiba have Netflix apps too. The service can also be accessed on game consoles like Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo WiiU, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Streaming Quality

Hulu’s content can be viewed in 720p, 1080p, 4K Ultra HD and 60fps HD video quality, dependent on device, content availability and internet bandwidth and speed. Netflix’s basic plan provides content in standard definition (SD), upgrading to Standard unlocks HD, and the Premium service enables 4K and Ultra HD.

Content Add-Ons

Hulu may have less content than Netflix but it enables subscribers to top up their options with add-on services. Netflix doesn’t provide any add-ons.

Hulu’s content add-ons include HBO programming for an additional $14.99/mo. Subscribers can watch movies and TV shows, which include HBO’s original programming, through the Hulu platform. Hulu users can get even more content through Cinemax ($9.99/mo.), SHOWTIME ($10.99/mo.) and STARZ ($8.99/mo.) add-ons.

Another great content option is a bundle that provides Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+ for $12.99/mo. This includes Hulu’s content library, recently launched streaming service Disney+ and plenty of sports action through ESPN+ for the same price as Netflix’s Standard package and $3 less than its Premium plan.

Hulu subscribers can also upgrade to Hulu + Live TV, which provides more than 65 live channels as well as access to the on-demand content library. It’s much more expensive at $54.99/mo. but has a seven-day free trial.

Sticking With DVDs

Streaming may well be all the rage these days but, for users that like a hands-on feel to their viewing experience, Netflix provides a DVD rental service. Netflix’s standard DVD plan provides unlimited DVD rentals and costs $7.99/mo. But subscribers can only borrow one movie at a time. Upgrading to the Premier plan, for $11.99/mo., enables users to rent two DVDs at once. It also has an HD Blu-ray DVD option, which offers the same service but for $9.99/mo. and $14.99/mo. respectively.

Should I Cut the Cable TV Cord With Hulu Or Netflix?

Hulu and Netflix are great options for people looking to the cord on cable TV. Both offer strong original content and sizeable libraries of high-quality movies and TV shows and are easily accessible on near enough any mobile phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device.

The basic Hulu and Netflix plans are competitively priced, with the option to bolster viewing options and streaming quality for a little extra money per month. While Hulu enables users to add further content and channels to their subscription.

Hulu and Netflix both offer a one-month free trial, which is ideal for testing out their services and exploring the range of content they have available.

Current as of June 2020*

Malin Curry

Article Author

Disclaimer: This article may have had additional images, links or data that was added by this site's editor.

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