Hulu vs. Hulu Plus: Which is Best for You?

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Hulu is a worthy competitor to the two most popular streaming companies: Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. But when choosing between Hulu vs. Hulu Plus, which do you choose?

What’s so great (and not so great) about Hulu, and how can you know whether Hulu or Hulu Plus is best for you?

I’ll share a bit about the pros and cons of both Hulu package offerings, and talk about some questions you can ask yourself to determine which one might be best for your TV viewing needs.

The Hulu Story

Among the many streaming options like Netflix, Sling TV, Pureflix and more, there exists the popular Hulu and Hulu Plus (also call Hulu + with Live TV).

Although the Hulu company was originally started in 2006, it wouldn’t be called “Hulu” until late 2007/early 2008, depending on your source.

Today, Hulu is fully owned by The Walt Disney Company. According to their website, Hulu grew to over 41 million subscribers in 2021 – an increase of over 28 million subscribers from the 2016 numbers.

People are definitely using Hulu as a source of streaming TV and movies, and using it in large numbers.

So, what makes Hulu so popular, and if you’re considering Hulu which program option is best for you?

Hulu’s popularity begins with basic Hulu, so we’ll start there.

Hulu Basic

The Basic Hulu is Hulu’s most popular plan to date. At just $5.99 a month (or $59.99 per year) you can stream Hulu TV shows and movies to a variety of devices.

Some of these compatible devices include your TV, your tablet, your PC, your smartphone and more.

You will have to view “limited” commercials with the Hulu basic package, although the site doesn’t specify what it means by “limited”.

You also have the option to choose Hulu Basic with No Commercials for $11.99 per month. However, “no commercials” doesn’t really mean “no commercials”.

According to the website, due to “streaming rights” there are a few shows that will have commercials before and after the episode airs, even with the “no commercials” option.

Shows that currently air commercials before and after even with the “no commercials” package only include Grey’s Anatomy, but that list can change at any time.

More details about that can be found on Hulu’s website.

The basic plan will give you unlimited access to Hulu’s streaming library, including exclusive series, Hulu originals, kids shows, hit movies and more.

A Wide Variety Of Shows And Movies

As I browsed the Hulu library I found a good number and variety of shows and movies that could encompass a wide range of tastes for many individuals and family members.

Some of the shows and movies include:

  • Hulu originals such as Summer of Soul, Changing the Game, and False Positive
  • Classic movies such as Iron Man, Dirty Dancing, and Shreks
  • Popular TV shows such as One Tree Hill, Hell’s Kitchen, and The Good Doctor

There were thousands of selections to choose from and that makes basic Hulu a good choice for many viewing households.

And the $5.99 per month price tag is affordable for most households as well.

You won’t find as big of a selection of movies and TV shows on Hulu as you will on Netflix, FYI.

But there is, in my opinion, a nice variety of shows and movies in every genre–even with Hulu’s Basic plan.

So, why would you want more? What would be the benefit of having Hulu Plus vs Hulu?

Well, that all depends on how set you are on seeing your favorite shows when you want to see them. Let’s talk a little bit more about Hulu’s premium package.

Hulu Plus (Hulu+ with Live TV)

If you’re interested in knowing the difference between Hulu vs Hulu Plus, you can find a serious reveal in its new name; Hulu Plus with Live TV.

With Hulu Plus with Live TV you’ll get the added streaming benefit of being able to view 50+ top cable and prime time channels live.

You can avoid having to wait until their shows’ episodes are available through traditional streaming, which can sometimes be several months.

Sports fans may especially find interest in Hulu with Live TV as it includes several different sports channels in its live stream package, including:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN News
  • The Olympic Channel

And more. Some of the other channels included with Hulu with Live TV? Check out the list below.

  • National Geographic
  • The Disney Channel
  • The History Channel
  • HGTV
  • The Travel Channel
  • Fox News
  • Fox Business
  • CBS
  • ABC
  • Fox
  • CNN
  • The Food Network

And others. There’s over 75 total channels available with Hulu with Live TV.

The great thing about being able to live stream on-demand with your favorite channels is that you won’t have to wait to see the big game or the big event happening on your favorite mainstream TV channel.

You’ll be able to stream in real time and catch events as they’re happening, and at only $64.99 a month.

Note that Hulu Plus With Live TV does include ads, however you can have Hulu (No Ads) Plus With Live TV for $70.99 per month.

As you can see, Hulu with Live TV is much more affordable than many cable packages, which are often running $100 or more per month these days.

Hulu With Live TV Compatible Devices

Hulu with Live TV is available on a number of different devices, including Roku, Fire TV Stick, Xbox One, Apple TV, Playstation 4, and other Apple devices such as iPods, iPads and iPhones.

And Hulu is also compatible with Android phones and tablets, Windows PCs, Windows phones, Kindle Fire and more.

Add-Ons

For those attached to their favorite premium movie channels such as HBO, Hulu with Live TV – although it doesn’t come with those channels – does allow you to purchase movie channels as add-ons every month.

For between $8.99 per month and $14.99 per month extra, you can also have access to HBO, Cinemax, Starz, and Showtime with your Hulu package.

There’s a lot to like about Hulu. So, with all of the different benefits of the two packages, how can you know which one is for you?

Let’s talk about some questions you can ask yourself as you decide.

What’s Best for Me: Hulu vs Hulu Plus?

The answer to that question depends on a number of different things. Let’s start with viewing habits.

What Are My Viewing Habits?

The first question you’ll want to ask yourself concerns your viewing habits. Are you a big TV watcher or not so much?

Do you have those prime time shows or sporting events you just have to see, or could you take them or leave them?

If you absolutely cannot miss the newest episodes of This is Us or American Idol, you may want to go with the Hulu with Live TV option.

Conversely, is TV is something you only watch when there’s nothing else to do and you don’t know the difference between The Goldbergs and The Bachelor?

If so, you’ll likely be fine with regular Hulu as an added option for TV viewing choices when there’s nothing else going on.

Your viewing habits are going to be a big determining factor in whether or not Hulu with Live TV over Hulu basic is a good use of your money.

If you love your TV shows – and love seeing new episodes when they air and not several days or weeks later, you’ll definitely want to choose Hulu with Live TV over regular Hulu.

What is My Budget?

Budget also makes a difference in whether or not you’ll want to choose Hulu or Hulu Plus.

While even the Live with TV package isn’t astronomically expensive at $64.99 per month plus taxes, the cost does add up over the course of a year or more.

With the regular Hulu plan you’ll be paying $5.99 plus taxes each month or $59.99 for the year (if you don’t choose the more expensive “no commercials” plan and pay annually).

However, with the Hulu with Live TV package you’ll pay nearly $800 plus taxes for the year.

Your Financial Goals Matter

If you have serious and important financial goals such as getting out of debt or catching up on retirement savings, $800 a year is not a small amount of cash.

This is especially true when you add it together with other smallish cost-cutting measures.

As you decide which Hulu package is for you, it might be a good idea to take your budget and financial goals into account.

Ask yourself which package brings more value to your life when you think of it in partnership with your financial goals as well.

If you’re sitting pretty financially and have little or no money goals or worries, $44.99 per month probably won’t break your bank account.

Also, if you do have targeted financial goals you’re working on but want to get the Hulu Plus package as a primary source of entertainment for the year, it may bring enough value to your family to warrant the cost.

After all, a year’s worth of Hulu Plus is definitely cheaper than a weekly trip to the movie theater.

As you determine your budget, it’s helpful to take all of these considerations into account when deciding on a Hulu package.

Am I Considering Hulu as a Replacement for Cable or Satellite?

Are you considering Hulu as a replacement for your current cable or satellite plan?

If so, the money savings could make your choice an easy one – even if you do choose the Hulu with Live TV package.

It’s not uncommon to pay $100 per month or more even for basic cable and satellite packages. In fact, I know many people who pay $200 a month or more for cable.

Hulu with Live TV is a lot cheaper than that, yet offers many of the same benefits. Though it only comes with a bit over 50 channels, it does carry a lot of the more popular cable channels as we discussed earlier.

And honestly, how many of the 150 channels that your cable package comes with do you really watch anyway, right?

Hulu with Live TV does offer a valid option for replacing your current cable or satellite package if it costs the same or less than you pay now.

And if it has many of the channels you currently watch on cable anyway.

Compare The Lineups

But you’ll have to check out the available lineups on both and compare to be sure you’re not losing any of the channels you absolutely love to watch on cable.

And you’ll want to be sure to do this before deciding whether or not to make the switch.

Conversely, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth living without any channels you’ll lose in order to save some cash.

The bottom line is that switching to Hulu or Hulu with Live TV is a viable option for those currently subscribed to a cable or satellite package.

It’s also a great option for those who are simply looking for more TV and movie viewing options at an affordable price.

Summary

Streaming packages may not be for everyone, but they could be a good choice for those looking for cost-effective options for more TV viewing choices.

Personally, my family and I have used streaming services for over ten years now.

When we moved from our home in suburbia to a hobby farm, we decided to ditch the cable package and try a streaming package.

And we couldn’t be happier. There are always plenty of TV show and movie options for our entire family.

In addition, streaming gives us a more expansive TV viewing selection on those days in the cold Midwest when hanging out outside isn’t an option.

The added bonus is that we’re savings hundreds of dollars per year over our old cable TV package, and using our money savings to create a better financial picture for ourselves.

If you’re looking at a Hulu package, whether or not you choose Hulu or Hulu with Live TV will vary based on your budget and your viewing preferences.

But with either plan, I think you’ll find Hulu a worthy alternative to cable and satellite TV packages. There’s plenty to offer, and often at a fraction of the price.

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    Comments

    1. We rarely watch TV live because we are too impatient for the constant commercial breaks. Yes, we’re spoiled by on-demand programming and I’m willing to wait a day to watch a show in 45 minutes at my convenience instead of live for 1 hour with commercial breaks.

      Now, if it’s like a series finale…that might be different, but I think Seinfeld and Friends were some of the last hurrahs, because internet and DVR (Tivo) started coming out around that same time.

      So, I personally prefer Hulu to Hulu Plus for that reason.

    2. Correct me if I’m wrong…but, the reason we are paying for Hulu Live TV is because we like to pause, rewind and have the captions. Are these features available for Hulu Limited?

      • Well, I’m not sure what you mean by Hulu limited. Upon researching their website it appears there’s just Hulu and then Hulu with Live TV. However, if you mean just the basic Hulu, then you may need to get the Enhanced Cloud DVR option to have all of those capabilities. Per the website, it appears you can add this option for $14.99 per month. I hope that helps.

    3. I would like to know why the $39.99 price the first month has then gone up each month since. They’ve been charging me $45 one month, then $51 this month. Did the prices go up 5 dollars per month each month?

      • If I were you I would definitely contact them to find out. You can try to reach them through their contacts page on the website. There should be an email address, help page, phone number, or some way to reach them and ask. I hope you get to the bottom of it.

    4. We have two homes, about 250 miles apart. Rather than have two cable TV accounts, can we just sign-up for one HULU + Live TV service and use it at one place or the other. We have different WIFI services at each residence.

      • That’s great, Marshall! That saves you money. After all, why pay for the same thing twice?

    5. I want to watch Bravo, Top Chef, Fox News and NFL Football. I have Netflix and Amazon Prime with Firestick. I’m on a limited income.

      • Hopefully Hulu can help with that. I would check to see if they have most of want you want and then decide from there if you want to go with them or not.

    6. We are thinking of switching from cable to Hulu. The one thing holding me back is that you do not offer AMC. Do you plan on having that channel in the near future?

      • This website does not offer any channels at all. You have to click on the links in this post if you want to check on what Hulu offers. Once you do that, if you do not get answers, look for their contact information on the site and ask them directly.

    7. I’m thinking of transitioning from cable. Two of my favorite channels are National Geographic and The Science Channel. Does Hulu offer these and what plan would I ask for?

      • You can find that out by using the links in this post to go to Hulu and check. Since their program schedule and station selection are subject to change, it’s always best to go directly to the source to find out. 🙂

    8. I have been using Hulu with Live TV for several months now, and I love it. But recently, I discovered that they do not include AMC in their live package. Since I am a fanatic of Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, I am now switching to Philo at a significant discount of only $20/month!

      • I am sorry you are not able to see some of your favorite shows through Hulu. Unfortunately, it seems that no single television entertainment provider has it all. I’m glad you were able to get it for less money, though. 🙂

    9. Does Hulu live have closed caption?

      • According to what I saw on their site, I believe that they do.

    10. Can you ACTUALLY list for the public the channel lineup for the $5.99 or $8.99? I ain’t buying nothing unless you tell me what I am getting. Pay $5.99 or $8.99 without classic NETWORK! No way! Oh, yeah, and I want you to get MTV to play music videos again.

      • While we appreciate your comments, you need to direct them to Hulu. This website has nothing to do with the channel lineup, price, or music videos. Please follow the links in the post, go to the site, and check with them. You should find a channel lineup and you can also send them an email with any other questions you might have.

    11. I like the MSNBC network broadcast. Can I get MSNBC Live with both Hulu and Hulu Plus?

      • Channel listings can change at any time. Therefore, the best way to find that out plus see all of the other channels offered is to follow the links in the post and go to the site. You should be able to see what shows are available in your area. If that doesn’t tell you, try contacting them with the contact information found on their website.

    12. My understanding is that you need a hard wired cable or Internet connection to get Hulu live TV. They don’t tell you that when you order it but when you open the app it asks you to enter your cable provider number. I only have a Verizon mifi jetpack so this doesn’t work for me.

      • An internet connection would be necessary to use Hulu Live Tv as it is a streaming service! You shouldn’t need a cable sign in as it replaces your cable however!

    13. We have basic hulu. Our DVD player will no longer play it. Is there another option that will work ?

      • You’ll just need a way to stream if you want to keep using YouTube! If you have a smartTV or a gaming system you may be able to use that. You can also use a laptop if you’re willing to deal with a smaller screen. If you don’t have a different option, you maybe want to check into an alternative to Hulu!

    14. Say I want to watch the show that played at 8pm but, not until 9pm because there were 2 shows at the same time. Can I do this or is hulu live mean just the one time to watch it?

    15. I am interested on the $54.99 hulu plan. what is the total monthly charge with tax and anything else included?

    Comments are closed.