Hulu Review

7.8

Good

Price 9 out of 10

Interface 7.5 out of 10

Compatibility 9.2 out of 10

New Shows 8 out of 10

Hulu is a streaming service which has been around for a long time. As one of the most well-known names in the industry, it made a name for itself by offering the latest TV show episodes, even while they were airing on traditional TV services. They added to their content offering by creating a selection of original series, and a few years ago they launched a live TV bundle called Hulu with Live TV. In other words, Hulu is a varied and diverse service, and a strong contender in the streaming services industry.

There are many channels available to watch with Hulu. If you’re looking for entertainment content, you can go for Adult Swim, Food Network, Hulu Original Series, Lifetime and TLC to name but a few. For kids, options include Cartoon Network, Disney Junior, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Universal Kids. Finally, a mixture of news channels are available – Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, CNBC and ABC News.

Hulu places a priority on providing TV shows, so if you’re looking for a high quality catalog of series to browse through, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s the lowdown on what you can expect with this streaming service. 

Pros and cons

Pros

  1. Large catalog. Hulu understands the ‘binge’ mentality, so it stocks full seasons of the shows you want to watch. You won’t need to worry about only being able to watch up to a certain point, as Hulu makes investments to ensure everything you need is on its platform.
  2. Navigation. This streaming platform is incredibly easy to use, with a clean layout and a simple search function to access your content.
  3. Managing your account. If you want to keep track of certain TV shows or movies, you can add them into the My Stuff category. For picking up where you left off, you can click on the Keep Watching tab.

Cons

  1. Lack of films and original content. As Hulu places a focus on TV shows, you may then conclude that competitors will have a better range of movies and original shows. Netflix is one of the main contenders here.
  2. Paying more to remove ads. If you want an ad-free plan with Hulu, this will cost more. Meanwhile, other competitors will offer all of their plans without ads.
  3. Not available worldwide. Currently, Hulu is only available in the US and Japan. This means that locations across Europe, Australia and so on will only be able to read news about new shows without being able to watch them.

Types of content available

To browse the available content, go to the ‘Browse’ button in the top left hand corner and select the filter. For example, if you want to watch TV shows, this is a filter, with genre sub categories including action, drama, family, game shows and comedy. Further filters are available as you scroll, so you can view content that it’s been predicted you will enjoy based on your preferences or viewing history. Furthermore, you can view which content is popular at the moment, which series have new episodes available, Hulu Originals and newly added shows. 

Available TV shows on Hulu include The Handmaid’s Tale, America’s Got Talent, Life of Kylie and King of the Hill. There are bite-sized episodes available for those who don’t have a lot of time on their hands, and you can catch up on missed episodes from both current and returning network shows. Many top comedies and dramas such as American Dad, Archer and 12 Monkeys are available to binge from the very first episode. Further filters include Staff Picks, International, Teen Shows and Anime Favourites.

When it comes to movies on Hulu, there is a similar selection of genre sub categories to use as filters, such as classics, history, horror and science fiction. Personalised recommendations are available at the top of the movies page, and there are also popular movies shown for users to browse. For example, people may be watching Deadwood The Movie, Jumanji and Night School. 

Certain movies are exclusive to Hulu, such as Ben is Back, Destroyer and Backtrace. Similarly, Hulu Originals are also showcased on the movies page, with titles including All That We Destroy, Ask Dr Ruth and Treehouse. If you want an 80s movie binge, to watch a critically acclaimed film or to browse staff picks, this is also possible. If you have an addon, such as HBO, Showtime or Starz, you can watch titles such as The Meg, Crazy Rich Asians, Den of Thieves, I Feel Pretty and Dr Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who.

Top Hulu TV shows and movies

The Handmaid’s Tale

Offred is one of a few remaining fertile women who must be a concubine for the Commanders in a dystopian society. She begins illegal relationships and dreams of being reunited with her daughter.

Castle Rock

This TV series takes place in the Stephen King multiverse. Death row attorney Henry Deaver is lured back to Castle Rock after an anonymous phone call. He returns to help a sinister man locked up under Shawshank Prison.

Marvel’s Runaways

Six teenagers come together against their mutual enemy – their criminal parents, who are part of a group called the Pride. They go on to live on the run as they figure out how to stop the Pride for good.

Seinfeld

A TV series based on real-life experiences from the comedian’s life. It was created by both Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, and stars a fictionalised version of Seinfeld. It is often described as a show about nothing.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Buffy Summers learns she is one of the chosen women who must play the part of Vampire Slayer. She wants to live a normal life but grows to accept her destiny.

Futurama

Fry is accidentally frozen and wakes up 1000 years in the future. He is taken in by his only family member – an elderly scientist. He works for his cargo delivery service alongside Leela, Hermes, Amy, Bender and Zoidberg.

The Path

Aaron Paul plays Eddie Lane, who is part of a new age spiritualist movement called Meyerism. However, he questions his faith right before he climbs its ladder, and his wife becomes suspicious when he meets with a Meyerist defector.

Letterkenny

A TV series which focuses on the goings-on in a small community in Canada. Wayne and Katy are siblings who run a farm and produce stand. Other groups in the community include the farmers, the local drug addicts, the natives and the out of towners on the local hockey team.

You’re The Worst

Jimmy and Gretchen meet at a wedding and decide to pursue a relationship. Their respective egos soon make life difficult as they battle it out. Jimmy receives tiny royalty checks for a single novel and Gretchen lives a sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle.

Wu-Tang: An American Saga

Set in New York City during the cocaine epidemic which took place at the start of the 1990s, this series chronicles the Wu-Tang Clan being formed. Diggs turns to rap so he can try to reach fame – going against the lifestyle of his brother Divine, who used drug selling to improve his family’s lifestyle.

User Interface

Hulu has worked to keep its user interface as consumer friendly and efficient as possible. Those who are watching on streaming players such as Roku, Fire TV and Apple TV will be able to make use of a grid guide which allows you to view shows up to 14 days into the future. You will also be able to see which shows are coming out in the next few weeks and plan recordings well in advance.

The Hulu app lets viewers see a grid of shows, allowing for easy choice and selection. There will be options to look through categories such as Sports, News, Movies and Kids. The personalisation level is high, as you can look at My Channels and Recent to access content you’re prone to regularly watching.

In terms of the on-demand interface, you will see rows of content displayed in a similar fashion to competitors such as Disney Plus and Netflix. You will be able to click on one of the titles under Keep Watching, or navigate to Jump Back In to return to shows you hit pause on in the past. There are also other useful categories such as TV, Movies, News, Kids and New Movies.

How to watch

There are many devices you can use to stream Hulu. For example, you can use your Android TV (for on-demand services only), Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV and Roku. If you want to watch Hulu on the go, you can load this provider on Android, iOS and Fire devices. Alternatively, compatible video games consoles are the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 (for on-demand services only), the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Wii U (for on demand) and the Nintendo Switch. You can also use Echo Show, the in-browser app for PC, Mac and other desktop devices, certain smart TVs and TiVo if you’re using on-demand services only.

Hulu basic

$5.99
A month

Hulu (No ads)

$11.99
A month

Hulu + Live TV

$44.99
A month

What setup do I need?

To get started with watching Hulu, you will need to be using one of the supported devices as listed above. There are system requirements if you’re using a laptop or computer – for example, a Mac OS X 10.9 or above, Microsoft Windows 10 and Chrome OS. You’ll need HTML5 enabled, as well as JavaScript and Cookies. 

For standard definition (SD) streaming, you will need a minimum bitrate of 1.5Mbps. For high definition (HD) of 720p, it’s 3Mbps. To get 1080p, you’ll need 6Mbps, and 4K Ultra HD requires 16Mbps. Most Hulu Originals are 4K Ultra HD supported, but only a select list of other programming will allow streaming in this resolution. You can currently use 4K Ultra HD with Apple TV (minimum 5th generation), Chromecast Ultra, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, LG TVs of the 2017-2018 UHD models, Roku and Roku sticks of the 3810X, 3920X, 4400X and 46*0X models, Vizio SmartCast TVs and Xbox One.

If you want to use Hulu for live TV, you will be able to stream broadcasts and Cloud DVR recordings up to 720p on Android TV, Chrome browser, Chromecast, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, iPhone, iPad, LG TV with WebOS 3.0 and above, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Samsung TV and Vizio SmartCast TVs. If you want to stream in 1080p, you should use Apple TV models that are 4th generation or later or the Xbox One.

Video streaming will adjust according to the internet speed Hulu detects is available, as well as the streaming device being used. This means that you’ll be given the best experience possible with your setup. The Hulu support center states that a consistent viewing experience generally requires sustained download speeds of 3.0Mbps for the Hulu streaming library and 8.0Mbps for live streams. That said, viewers may be able to stream with a 1.5Mbps connection, but the quality will not be as high. It’s also worth bearing in mind that watching multiple videos simultaneously or using the internet connection for additional activities may take up additional bandwidth and negatively impact streaming performance.

How to cancel Hulu

  1. Navigate to your Account page on a computer or mobile browser.
  2. Select the Cancel option under Your Account.
  3. Follow the instructions which appear on the screen.
  4. You will receive a confirmation email once the cancellation is complete.

If you are billed for Hulu through a third party, there may be different steps involved if you want to cancel your subscription. This may apply if you pay for Hulu through Amazon, Roku, iTunes, Spotify or Sprint.

Plans available 

  • Hulu (No ads) (First month free then $11.99 a month): This ad-free plan gives users unlimited access to the Hulu streaming library. You can watch TV series, movies, Hulu Originals, kids programs and more. Some shows will play with an ad break before and after the video. Specifically, due to streaming rights, Grey’s Anatomy, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and How To Get Away With Murder cannot be included in the No Ads plan and play without interruption along with a short ad break before and after each episode.
  • Hulu (First month free then $5.99 a month): The ad-supported plan gives users access to the streaming library, complete with TV shows, movies, original content and family friendly content.
  • Hulu + Live TV (First week free then $54.99 a month): This plan gives users the ability to watch both live and on demand television from over 60 channels. The access includes the Hulu streaming library on the ad-supported plan. Terms apply to this subscription, such as the free trials for Live TV and Add-Ons only being valid for new and eligible returning Live TV subscribers. Additionally, location data is required in order to access the mobile version of Live TV subscription content, and you can navigate to hulu.com/live-tv to check the channel availability in your location.

You can customise your Hulu subscription by adding content to your package.

  • Showtime on Hulu ($10.99 a month): Watch award-winning television, movies and championship boxing. Stream new episodes and movies as they begin to air on Showtime. Watch live feeds from a number of different devices, and use your Hulu login on the Showtime Anytime app.
  • Starz on Hulu ($8.99 a month): Watch original shows plus a range of theatrical releases. Stream various live feeds on supported devices and use your Hulu login to watch on demand and live content with the Starz app.
  • HBO on Hulu ($14.99 a month): Gain access to the most popular shows on the planet, such as Game of Thrones and Westworld. Watch top-rated movies, sports, family programs and documentaries. Stream live feeds from various compatible devices. Create an HBO account using your Hulu login.
  • Cinemax on Hulu ($9.99 a month): One for the movie fans, make the most of feature films and clips from behind the scenes. Stream movies and original series such as Banshee and Outcast. Track your watch history with the rest of your TV in one app.

Trials and subscription options

Hulu offers free trials to new customers, so they can see if they would like to keep streaming on the platform and go on to receive a paid subscription. Certain eligible returning subscribers will also be able to make use of a free trial. Examples include those who may have deactivated their account for some time, but received a promotional email encouraging them to sign up again via such an offer. 

During the free trial, you will get the same Hulu experience you would have as a paid subscriber. When you sign up as a new customer, you will need to enter your payment information upfront. However, this won’t be used to charge you right away. Instead, if you decide you want to proceed with a paid account following the trial period, you will simply be charged automatically once this timeframe expires. If you decide not to have a paid subscription, simply cancel your account payment before the trial is over to avoid making any payments.

The length of free trial available will vary according to whether you’re receiving a promotional offer, have signed up for a special deal or have selected a particular plan or add on. Some setups won’t be eligible for free trials.

Competitors

Cord cutters and video on demand fans will be aware of the competitors in the streaming service industry. Some companies, such as Showtime, Starz, HBO and Cinemax will partner with Hulu in order to create an expanded package and have both businesses gain revenue from customers. However, some of the main competitors include Netflix and Amazon Prime TV.

Hulu has an edge over other similar providers due to the fact it’s been around for so long and offers live TV as a separate package for those who want to watch content on popular networks. Furthermore, its focus on TV shows means that you won’t be missing out on key seasons or episodes once you get into a series. However, you won’t be getting as many movies or original series as you’d get with providers such as Disney Plus or Netflix. It may make more sense to get a bundle with Disney-owned Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN.  

What we liked about Hulu

While Hulu doesn’t offer as many originals as some other competitors in the streaming market, what it has created so far has included huge successes. For example, The Handmaid’s Tale and Marvel’s Runaways have been widely talked about and critically acclaimed.

Hulu offers a sought-after feature called TV Anywhere, which offers users up to 14 different logins so they can sign in to various channel apps. What’s more, you can enable Kids Mode so that certain content can be filtered out when children are using the service.

There is a DVR service in place for live TV customers, and it has a high level of functionality compared to other DVR setups out there. You can upgrade to 200 hours of recording time for $9.99 per month, and there is a feature in place whereby users can see how many hours they have left. Furthermore, there isn’t a limit on simultaneous recordings.

What we disliked about Hulu

Many streaming services will allow users to pay a monthly or yearly fee in exchange for content streaming which doesn’t come with ads. However, the on-demand service with Hulu requires users to pay twice as much if they want a ‘no commercials’ plan with the same content. What’s more, while the no commercials plan would lead people to anticipate this in the service, some commercials are still played at the beginning or end of a title.

The live television service with Hulu provides access to over 60 channels for live streaming, but the $54.99 per month price tag may be off-putting for some. If people want to stream on more than one screen at a time, they will find less flexible options with a basic plan compared to other streamers. The Unlimited Screens add-on is only available for an additional $9.99 a month.

Is Hulu worth it?

Hulu is a household name at this point, and it’s used by millions across the US. Its content library is unique due to top original titles and a focus on TV shows, and there are many ways to filter titles and find exactly what you want to watch. Being able to add premium services and live TV adds increased value to the service, where you would not be able to find it with other contenders. Functionality such as Kids Mode, TV Anywhere and the user-friendly interface will make it an appealing option for many. A lot of Hulu reviews out there will say that the best streaming service has a good range of content and flexible price plans. Hulu has a range of content catered towards those who like to binge watch TV series, and those who are on a lower budget can sign up for the plan featuring commercials. Overall, Hulu is a solid choice for those who want hours of streaming entertainment.

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