- -Great Original Content
- -Current Network TV Seasons
- -Supports most devices
- -You pay extra for no commercials
Hulu is an internet based TV streaming service that boasts one of the largest TV show catalogs available online today. While I’ve mentioned Hulu in various articles on cable TV alternatives, I have yet to provide a full review of Hulu. Today I’m going to provide you with everything you need to know about Hulu to help determine if the content available through Hulu is worth the cost.
What is Hulu
Hulu is a joint venture between Fox, NBCUniversal, and Disney that provides online TV shows and movies to internet connected devices. Most shows on ABC, Fox, NBC, and The CW are available one day after they air their national broadcast.
While Hulu is ad-supported, their are options that will allow subscribers to completely avoid watching commercials. Hulu also offers a back catalog of movies and TV shows originating on cable and network television. They have also recently developed a strong stable of original content, with the much hyped The Handmaid’s Tale premiering April 26.
How Much Does Hulu Cost
New customer sign up for a 1 week free trial. Customers have the choice of two plans. The first plan costs $7.99 per month and includes “limited commercials”. The other option costs subscribers $11.99 per month and provides users with an “ad-free” experience.
I’ve put “ad-free” in quotes as there are some shows that air commercials before and after the show. Otherwise, the show streams uninterrupted. This is due to licensing agreements with the content providers. The following shows fall into this category: Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon A Time, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Scandal, New Girl, Grimm, and How To Get Away With Murder.
In addition to the 2 available plans, subscribers can elect to add Showtime to their subscription for an additional $8.99 a month.
What Shows Are On Hulu
Hulu airs the current season of most hit shows airing on ABC, NBC, Fox, and The CW. New episodes are available for streaming one day after they air on their respective networks. This means you can watch the latest seasons of shows like “Empire”, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “The Flash”, “Modern Family”, “The New Girl”, “Once Upon a Time”, and more.
Combining Hulu with a subscription to CBS All Access will provide On demand capabilities for almost every prime time show on all major broadcast networks.
In addition to the latest episodes of network TV, Hulu provides thousands of episodes of hit TV shows on cable. Granted, many are on a one season delay. Meaning Hulu won’t provide a season until it’s roughly a year old. However, there are notable exceptions like “The Daily Show” which does air the latest episode.
Hulu also has a fairly decent arsenal of original programming. Shows like “The Path”, “Difficult People”, “11.22.63”, and “The Mindy Project” are only available on Hulu, adding additional value to the service.
Hulu also provides a way to watch Showtime without cable. Subscribing to the Showtime add-on service though Hulu provides everything Showtime offers to it’s pay TV subscribers without having to carry the weight of a cable TV subscription.
In addition to a vast library of TV shows, Hulu also offers a decent selection of movies. This website does a great job of keeping track of new movies available on Hulu.
How to Watch Hulu On TV
The easiest way to watch Hulu on TV is through an over the top streaming device like Roku; the device my family uses. Hulu is supported by the following popular streaming devices
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Google Chromecast
- iOS, Android, and Windows Smartphones and Tablets
- Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3 and 4, Wii and Wii U
- and much more
Here is a full listing of devices supported by Hulu. If you do not have one of these streaming devices, Hulu is supported by the major computer browsers. Therefore, you can simply hook you laptop or PC to your television and use your TV as a monitor. I explain how to do this in my guide on How to watch Netflix on your TV. Hulu is supported on the following browsers: Internet Explorer 10 or above, Firefox 15 or above, Safari 5 or above, Chrome, or Edge.
How Does Hulu Work
Once you subscribe to Hulu, you are provided with a one week free trial. If you cancel your subscription in the trial period you will not be charged a subscription. After that you are charged monthly, and can cancel at any time with no penalty.
Depending on the device you are using, setting up Hulu may vary. However in all cases it’s very straightforward. Setup typically involves downloading an app to the device and simply logging in with the username and password you used when you signed up for Hulu.
The service itself is extremely stable. I’ve been a subscriber for over 2 years and have never had an issue. I can’t even remember ever having an instance when a show was dropped or even buffered. Hulu is one of the most dependable streaming services I have ever used.
Content on Hulu is 720p HD when available. In other words, if the show has availability in 720p high definition, Hulu will offer it in that resolution. To stream Hulu in 720p HD it’s recommended you have an internet connection speed of at least 3 Mbps. However, you can stream in standard definition with just 1.5 Mbps without much buffering.
I’m a Hulu Subscriber and find the service to be well worth the money. I currently have the $7.99 per month subscription, but we have contemplated getting the ad-free subscription as Hulu is currently the only time we even see commercials any more. With that said the quality of service and content available make Hulu a great value at either price. If Hulu has the content you want, it’s well worth the price. Hulu is easily a top notch 5 star streaming service.
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