Hulu has been in existence for many years, but a few years ago, it launched a Live TV service, which made it Hulu + Live TV. This service offers over 90 channels that you can stream for $76.99 per month. It is pretty competitively priced with the competition, especially when you consider the fact that Hulu and Disney Plus are bundled at that price.
Hulu + Live TV was designed as an alternative for users who want to cut the cord from traditional cable companies but still be able to watch their favorite shows on cable TV. The Live TV streaming service is in addition to the Hulu library, which has grown to be quite large over the last decade or so. This arguably makes Hulu + Live TV one of the better options out there for streaming TV.
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What is Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV is exactly what it sounds like. It’s Hulu and the streaming Live TV service we all want.
The service was announced in May 2016. Launching in Beta on May 3, 2017, it was originally called “Hulu with Live TV” and then changed to “Hulu + Live TV”. At launch, it had 50 channels for users to stream and included five OTA channels – ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and The CW – for most markets.
Initially, it was priced at $39.99, making it very competitive with YouTube TV at the time, which was $35. In December 2019, Hulu upped the price to $54.99 per month. This was after it continued to add more channels. Hulu raised prices in December 2020 to $64.99 per month. And again in December 2021 to $69.99. This 2021 price increase was to bundle in Disney+ and ESPN+. Making it a really good option and, technically, a price decrease. In October 2023, prices went up again to $76.99 per month.
According to the latest estimates, Hulu + Live TV has just under three million subscribers, making it the second-biggest streaming Live TV service in the country.
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How much does Hulu + Live TV Cost?
Update: On August 10, 2023, Disney announced that the price of Hulu + Live TV is going up to $76.99 monthly. That’s a $7 increase over the previous price. ESPN+ and Disney+ are still included (a $14 value). These prices will go into effect on October 12.
Hulu + Live TV is currently priced at $76.99 per month for the base subscription. This subscription includes access to around 90 channels and the entire Hulu on-demand library, which boasts over 10,000 titles primarily from networks owned by Disney, NBCUniversal, and some from ViacomCBS. Essentially, the ad-supported version of Hulu is included in the Live TV service.
For that price, you are also getting the full Disney bundle. So for $77/month, you’re getting Hulu, Hulu + Live TV, Disney+ and ESPN+. You can bundle Live TV with ad-free Hulu and Disney Plus for an additional $14 per month.
What Add-ons are available?
There are some add-ons available for Hulu + Live TV as well. You can add STARZ for $8.99 per month, Cinemax for $9.99 per month, Showtime for $10.99 per month, and HBO MAX for $14.99 per month.
Additionally, you can upgrade your cloud DVR service from only 50 hours to 200 hours for $10 per month. And you can upgrade to unlimited simultaneous screens for $10 per month. Or you can bundle the enhanced cloud DVR and unlimited screens together for $15 per month.
There’s also a new sports add-on, which will cost you $10 per month. It includes Redzone, MAVTV Motorsports Network, Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, TVG, and TVG2.
Finally, two more add-ons are available. There’s an Entertainment Add-On and an Espanol Add-on that will bring you additional channels. The Entertainment Add-on brings American Heroes Channel, CNBC World, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, DIY Network, FYI, LMN, and Science for $7.99 per month. Hulu added five ViacomCBS channels to this add-on in April 2021: BETher, MTV2, NickToons, TeenNick, and MTV Classic. The Espanol Add-on brings you content from CNN en Español, Discovery en Español, Discovery Familia, ESPN Deportes, History Channel en Español, and Universo for $4.99 per month.
There are plenty of options available with Hulu + Live TV and plenty of ways to add more content to your Hulu subscription. But it can get expensive pretty quickly.
Can I bundle it with Disney+?
Disney used to allow you to bundle Disney+ and ESPN+ with Hulu + Live TV. But as of December 21, 2021, they are automatically bundled in Hulu + Live TV for $70 per month.
This move was done in a way to streamline the different plans that Disney has for its different streaming services. Remember that Disney has a majority ownership in Hulu. Comcast owns a small sliver of the service, along with a few other companies. Disney owns around 60% of Hulu.
There is another bundle available for $82.99 per month, which gives you Hulu and Disney+ without ads. Along with ESPN+ (with ads).
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What channels are included?
As of December 2021, Hulu + Live TV has 75 channels available in its base subscription plan. They are listed below.
- ABC News Live
- Animal Planet
- Big Ten Network (BTN)
- Cartoon Network
- CBS Sports Network
- Cheddar Business
- CNN International
- Comedy Central
- Cozi TV
- Discovery Channel
- Disney Channel
- Disney Junior
- Disney XD
- ESPN 2
- ESPN News
- ESPN U
- ESPN College Extra
- ESPN Bases Loaded
- ESPN Goal Line
- Food Network
- Fox Business
- Fox News
- NBC Golf
- History Channel
- Investigation Discovery
- National Geographic
- Nat Geo Wild
- NFL Network (Added July 29, 2021)
- Nick Jr.
- Olympic Channel
- ESPN SEC Network
- SyFy Channel
- Turner Classic Movies (TMC)
- Travel Channel
- Tru TV
- TV Land
- Universal Kids
What premium channels are available?
Hulu + Live TV does allow you to subscribe to a few premium channels within your subscription as well. These include STARZ, SHOWTIME, Cinemax, and HBO MAX. These can also be subscribed to independently, but subscribing through Hulu makes it easier to pause or unsubscribe completely. These also work with TV logins. Just look for the option to log in with Hulu Live TV in these premium network apps, and you’ll be good to go.
What devices are supported?
Hulu + Live TV can be watched in the browser on your laptop or desktop computer. As well as on most devices that have regular Hulu available.
These include Amazon Echo, Echo Show, Fire TV, Fire Tablets, Android, Android TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, iOS, NVIDIA SHIELD, Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Roku, as well as the following smart TV brands: Hisense, Samsung, Sony and VIZIO.
Currently, you can watch Hulu + Live TV on Chromecast with Google TV, but it does not integrate with the “Live” tab on Google TV yet. That is reserved for YouTube TV only right now.
So it is available on virtually every platform that you can think of—allowing you to watch TV virtually anywhere.
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What features are included?
Hulu + Live TV is not quite as feature-rich as some of the other streaming Live TV services on the market. But it does have a few features that help to set it apart. Of course, that is likely why it is cheaper than a lot of its competitors. These features include Cloud DVR, multiple users, unlimited simultaneous screens, enhanced playback, and much more.
Enhanced Cloud DVR
Like most other streaming Live TV services, Hulu also has its own cloud DVR.
Included with the base plan for $55/month, you will be able to record 50 hours of content. Hulu does have an upgrade available that will get you 20 hours of storage for $9.99/month. That’s pretty much the industry standard, and not the exception (YouTube TV is the exception).
The 50 hours that everyone gets may not seem like a lot. But keep in mind that you also have access to Hulu’s massive on-demand library. So you likely won’t be recording as much content as you would on FuboTV or YouTube TV.
You will be able to access everything that you have recorded by going to “My Stuff” within the Hulu app. This is also where you’ll find anything that you have bookmarked or saved to watch later on.
Keep in mind that what you record will be able to fast-forward and rewind. But things that are available on-demand or live TV, you won’t be able to fast-forward or rewind.
One of the features of live TV services that most people don’t talk about is the simultaneous streams. Most of them are capped at around two or three streams, including Hulu + Live TV.
Hulu only allows two simultaneous streams for watching Live TV. However, you can upgrade it to unlimited. But the “Unlimited screens” upgrade does have a big asterisk next to it. For $9.99/month, you can upgrade to unlimited screens and that allows for unlimited TVs, but you are still limited to three mobile devices. Those mobile devices include tablets and smartphones.
For most people, the two screens should be plenty, but having the option to upgrade to unlimited is a really nice feature to have even if you do need to pay $10/month for it.
Much like any other streaming service, Hulu also allows for up to six users per account. Now, these do not work like YouTube TV, where each user has their own login. You’d be using the same login, and you click on your profile.
Each profile has its content tailored to its preferences and interests, as expected. There are some unique parental controls available, too. Subscribers can create profiles that will restrict viewing to specific content, and they can block certain types of programs. There is also an option to limit searches to only return viewing options that meet their specific requirements.
It’s better than nothing, but offering up the ability for each user to have their own login would be better, and more secure. As you’re not sharing passwords.
Hulu has some enhanced playback features available, too. Viewers are able to rewind most live channels to the beginning of the show or movie currently running. This is in contrast with other services that only allow you to rewind to when you started, or fast-forward til you are live unless it is a show that you have recorded or are recording.
Additionally, Hulu ad-free subscribers have the ability to download movies and shows to watch while on the go. Even if you don’t have mobile data or WiFi available, this is not available for Live TV because, well it needs to connect to something to get the Live content.
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Can I watch Hulu + Live TV when I’m not at home?
Yes, unlike most cable companies, Hulu does allow you to continue to watch Live TV when you are not at home.
So if you’re going to be gone when the Super Bowl is on, you can watch it on your phone, on your laptop, or anywhere else, even if it is not at your home.
If you are outside of your market – say, for example, you live in Chicago and are visiting family in Atlanta – you will still be able to watch Live TV. The only caveat is that you won’t get your locals. You will get the locals for the channels in the market you are currently in.
Is it available in 4K?
Hulu, as well as its Live TV counterpart, streams in 720p, 1080p, and 4K UHD. Unfortunately, most streaming live TV channels do not broadcast in 4K. But you will get either 720p or 1080p, depending on the channel. Most channels do 1080p now, so you’ll get a really good-looking stream here.
As far as non-live TV content, the majority of the newer content is filmed in 4K, and there is even support for Dolby Vision on a lot of these titles.
Is there a free trial available?
Hulu used to offer a free trial for its Live TV product. But as of December 21, 2021, that free trial no longer exists. However, it does still have a free trial for regular Hulu, just not for its Live TV product.
Is Hulu + Live TV worth it?
Hulu + Live TV is perhaps the best value for streaming Live TV. And that is largely due to the vast on-demand library that it has been building up for over a decade. Most of its competitors have only a fraction of the content that Hulu does. So even if you don’t opt for the Live TV option, you can get Hulu and have plenty of content to watch, with new episodes landing daily and weekly.
At $54.99 per month, Hulu + Live TV is also far cheaper than some of the other services out there. FuboTV, YouTube TV, and AT&T TV NOW are priced at $64.99 per month. Sure, they have more channels, but not that many more. And they also don’t have that vast Hulu library of on-demand content. That makes Hulu + Live TV a pretty impressive option. And it’ll continue to add more channels in the coming months. However, fingers crossed that it doesn’t see as many price increases as other services have recently.
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