May 13, 2019

Hulu vs Hulu Plus Live TV

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Hulu offers an on-demand service and a live TV service. Which one is right for you? Read on to find out.

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Hulu offers both live TV channels and an on-demand library. Their live TV has 60+ channels, while their on-demand service has thousands of movies and TV series.

In this review, we compare all their plans so you'll know which option is best for you.

But first, here are the latest promotions for Hulu.

At a Glance

  • Live TV Only
    Hulu offers a live TV only service offering 60+ live and on-demand channels.

  • Hulu
    Hulu refers to their on-demand streaming library. It has thousands of series and movies, as well as Hulu original programming. The basic plan has ads, but you can upgrade to an ad-free version.

  • Hulu + Live TV
    This package features both their on-demand library and their live TV service.

Now that you understand their service, let's go through them in detail.


First, let's dive into their on-demand service. Hulu has thousands of on-demand shows and movies in their streaming library, just like Netflix.

The difference is that Hulu airs up-to-date episodes of the latest shows from ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, and The CW. You can watch the latest episodes of shows like Empire, The Flash, Modern Family, etc. a day after the episode airs.

There are a few complete shows like Family Guy, South Park, and Seinfeld, but these aren't really their focus. For complete seasons, we recommend Netflix instead.

What might win you over are Hulu's original series. They have a few big hits like The Handmaid's Tale, Castle Rock, and Casual. If you like these shows, you'll only be able to find these on Hulu.

Tip box: If you only care about Hulu's original series, you can buy them on Amazon Video too.

One downside of their streaming service is that it comes with ads. There's a pricier ad-free plan, but some shows will still have ads.

Live TV Only

Hulu's Live TV Only service has many cable TV channels and local networks.

Here's a list of some of their live TV channels:

  • A&E
  • Boomerang
  • Bravo
  • BTN
  • Cartoon Network
  • CBS Sports Network
  • CNBC
  • CNN
  • CNNi
  • Disney
  • Disney Junior
  • Disney XD
  • E!
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN-U
  • Food Network
  • Fox Business
  • Fox News
  • FreeForm
  • FS1
  • FS2
  • FX
  • FXM
  • FXX
  • Golf
  • HGTV
  • HLN
  • Lifetime
  • Discovery
  • TLC
  • Motor Trend
  • Animal Planet
  • ID
  • National Geographic
  • Nat GEO Wild
  • Oxygen
  • Pop
  • Sprout
  • Syfy
  • TBS
  • History
  • Travel
  • TNT
  • TruTV
  • Discovery Channel
  • TLC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Motor Trend
  • Animal Planet
  • Turner Classic Movies
  • USA
  • Viceland

For a full list of their channels, click here.

You might find local networks like CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX too. However, this depends on the deals they have with local affiliates.

They also offer add-ons with their live TV service. You can choose to add premium channels such as SHOWTIME, Cinemax, HBO, and STARZ.

The Live TV Entertainment add-on gives more lifestyle content. You'll get the American Heroes Channel, CNBC World, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, DIY Network, FYI, Lifetime Movies, and Science channels.

Finally, Spanish viewers can add their Español Add-On. It gives you CNN en Español, Discovery en Español, Discovery Familia, ESPN Deportes, History Channel en Español, and Universo.

As part of the live TV subscription, you'll also get a 50 hours Cloud DVR. You can upgrade this to their Enhanced Cloud DVR, which gives you 200 hours of storage instead. The upgrade also lets you fast-forward through the ad breaks in your recordings.

The Live TV plan allows you to stream on two devices at the same time. For more streams, there's the Unlimited Screens upgrade. It allows any number of streams on your home network. You also get three streams for when you travel.

For premium networks, you only get a total of 5 streams, even with the Unlimited Screens upgrade. Only 3 of these can be outside of your home network.

Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV service is simply a combination of both their on-demand and live TV service. If you're planning on subscribing to Hulu's Live TV plan, we recommend adding their on-demand library as well. After all, it'll only cost you an extra $1 per month.

Yup, you heard that right. Hulu's Live TV only costs $43.99/month, while Hulu + Live TV costs $44.99/month—a difference of $1.

Because of that, we really don't see a reason for not adding their on-demand service if you're getting their live TV.

On the other hand, Hulu's standalone streaming library costs $5.99/month (ad-supported) or $11.99/month (no ads). It's a lot cheaper than their live TV plan, so if you care about cost, you might just want Hulu instead.

Which Plan Should I Get?

For Hulu, the only real choice is whether you should get just Hulu, or Hulu + Live TV.

It doesn't make sense to just get their live TV service. For $1/month, you can have their on-demand library too.

However, choosing between just Hulu and Hulu + Live TV makes more of a difference, and it depends on what you like to watch.

If you like sports, live programming, and lifestyle entertainment, then Hulu + Live TV is for you. You'll be able to watch all your favorite channels for much less money than cable.

Hulu + Live TV has no contract, no installation fees, and no equipment fees. You can also cancel your service anytime.

On top of that, you'll also be able to watch thousands of series and movies on their on-demand library, which includes their original programming.

On the other hand, if all you want are the latest episodes of currently-running shows, then Hulu is enough. If you don't mind ads, you can get the basic plan for less money too.

Bottom Line

If you're looking for a cheaper replacement for cable, then go with Hulu + Live TV. You get to watch plenty of channels and enjoy their on-demand library as well.

However, if you really don't care for their on-demand library, we recommend looking at other providers. Some let you customize your channel selection, and you can get smaller packages for less money (like Sling TV for instance).

If you want to keep up with the latest episodes of current series, or if you like Hulu's original programming, then Hulu's on-demand service is a no-brainer.

However, if you like binge-watching complete seasons of previous shows, then have a look at Netflix instead—it might be a better fit for you.

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More from CreditDonkey:

Hulu Live Review

Netflix vs Hulu Plus

Cheap TV Service

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