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Hulu is home to such an impressive library of movies and TV shows that we believe it’s worth of a place among the best streaming services on the market. While the Disney-owned platform doesn’t grab as many headlines as Netflix, Max or even its stablemate, Disney Plus, Hulu is in the big leagues when it comes to A-list content.
If you’re looking for critically acclaimed TV, Hulu delivers spectacularly, with the likes of The Bear, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Great rubbing shoulders with timeless classics such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Frasier and The X-Files. They’ll also soon be joined by fifth outing for vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows and the long-awaited eighth season of Futurama. The streamer also has you covered for movies, with both impressive selection of classics, and homegrown releases like time-loop comedy Palm Springs and Predator prequel Prey.
As impressive as the Hulu line-up is, however, it’s worth remembering that – as has also been the case over at Disney Plus – Hulu has seen its library trimmed down in recent weeks, potentially dimming its star slightly. There’s also bigger changes afoot for the platform, following reports that Hulu is set to join forces with Disney Plus before the end of 2023, as Disney prepare to unleash a new-look super-streamer to take on the other big-hitters in the market.
For now, however, a Hulu subscription remains one of the best options available for anyone looking to stream quality TV into their home. This handy guide will tell you everything you need to know about Hulu before you sign on the (metaphorical) dotted line – from prices, free trials and where to watch, to the availability of 4K options.
Hulu explained: what is Hulu and Hulu + Live TV?
As our Hulu review explains, signing up to the platform gets you access to more than 1,600 TV shows and over 2,500 films. That’s a lot of content for what you’ll spend on it, and you’ll get access to programs and films from other major US networks, too.
There are also a bunch of different bundles and add-ons you can bolt onto your Hulu subscription. Premium channels, such as HBO Max or Showtime, can be added for an extra monthly fee, and you can cancel or switch up these perks when you want to. In short: Hulu is about as flexible a streaming service as you could want.
So, what’s the best bundle to purchase? Newcomers will want to cast a glance over the Hulu + Live TV subscription, which offers more than 75 channels for a reasonable price, and is packaged with Disney Plus and ESPN Plus for good measure. Our Disney Plus bundle guide provides plenty more details if we’ve just piqued your interest.
With Cloud DVR (Digital Video Recorder) – you can record up to 50 hours of live television with this feature – and a sizable back catalog of content, a Hulu subscription is definitely worth mulling over. You can buy the Enhanced Cloud DVR to increase your storage to 200 hours, and/or bolster your line-up with the Entertainment Network and Español Network add-ons, too.
Know which plan you want to go for? Sign up to Hulu now!
As we mentioned earlier, it looks like change is afoot at Hulu, following Disney CEO Bob Iger’s recent announcement that Disney Plus and Hulu are set to join forces before the end of the year in what’s been described as a “one-app experience”.
Although Iger confirmed that Disney will “continue to offer Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus as stand-alone options”, it appears that US viewers will soon be able to access a one-stop shop covering the family-friendly content traditionally associated with Disney Plus and the more grown-up fare that’s Hulu’s stock-in-trade.
If this proves to be the case the combined service would be more in line with the UK and Australia, where Disney Plus subscribers can view a broader range of movies and TV shows via the Disney Plus Star service. That will surely make the new-look platform an even more viable contender to behemoths like Netflix, Max and Prime Video in the ongoing streaming wars.
Hulu shows and movies: what’s available?
An entry-level Hulu membership grants you access to numerous hit shows and the chance to catch new episodes the day after broadcast. There’s also a plethora of kid-friendly options, not to mention Hulu Originals, and TV series and films both old and new from major studios – see, we weren’t lying when we said you’ll never be short of things to watch on Hulu.
Our best shows on Hulu and best Hulu movies guides are an excellent place to start if you’re a first-time subscriber looking to find out what’s on offer. If you’re looking for a quickfire guide to the best Hulu content available, though, read the list below:
- The Act
- American Horror Stories
- The Bear
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- The Dropout
- Fleischman is in Trouble
- The Great
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- How I Met Your Mother
- It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
- Little Fires Everywhere
- Love, Victor
- Normal People
- Only Murders in the Building
- Palm Springs
- Pam & Tommy
- The Patient
- Rick and Morty
- Schitt’s Creek
- What We Do in the Shadows
- The X-Files
As we mentioned earlier, Hulu also carries TV series from other networks, including A&E, AMC, VH1, MTV, TNT, Disney Channel, National Geographic and Discovery. That means you’re only a click away from Sons of Anarchy (FX), Modern Family (ABC), Broad City (Comedy Central), and animated classics like Bob’s Burgers, King of the Hill and Family Guy (Fox).
What’s new on Hulu?
There’s plenty of exciting new TV shows and movies coming to Hulu in what’s left of June. Here’s the best of what’s still to come before the end of the month:
- Barbarian (movie) – releasing June 25
- Guns Akimbo (movie) – releasing June 28
- Grown-ish final season premiere (TV series) – releasing June 29
- The Grand Budapest Hotel (movie) – releasing June 30
The treats are also set to keep arriving on Hulu in July. Here are some of next month’s highlights:
- Beverly Hills 90210 seasons 1 and 2 (TV series) – releasing July 1
- CSI: Miami season 5 (TV series) – releasing July 1
- A Good Day to Die Hard (movie) – releasing July 1
- Alien (movie) – releasing July 1
- Aliens (movie) – releasing July 1
- Bohemian Rhapsody (movie) – releasing July 1
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (movie) – releasing July 1
- Closer (movie) – releasing July 1
- Dog Soldiers (movie) – releasing July 1
- Ford v Ferrari (movie) – releasing July 1
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (movie) – releasing July 1
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (movie) – releasing July 1
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall (movie) – releasing July 1
- Mrs Doubtfire (movie) – releasing July 1
- Rise of the Planet of the Apes (movie) – releasing July 1
- The Jewel Thief (documentary film) – releasing July 13
- What We Do in the Shadows season 5 premiere (TV series) – releasing July 14
- Futurama season 8 (TV series) – releasing July 24
How much does Hulu cost?
Hulu’s Basic Plan (i.e. the ad-supported one) costs $7.99 a month / $79.99 a year. However, students can grab a Basic Plan for as little as $1.99 per month (check out the Hulu Student plan to see if you’re eligible). If you want a plan without ads, you’ll have to stump up $14.99 a month.
The Hulu + Live TV plans, which include ESPN Plus and Disney Plus, are $69.99 a month (with ads) and $82.99 a month (without ads). You can also grab a Hulu with Live TV-only subscription for $68.99 a month. However, considering you’ll forgo the Hulu library – plus Disney Plus and ESPN Plus content – with the Live TV-only package, you might as well get Hulu + Live TV to gain access to all of the available streaming content.
Check out our Hulu plans and prices guide for a full breakdown of subscription options and add-ons.
Hulu: is there a free trial?
There is – and it’s a great deal, too! You can try Hulu’s standard package or its no ads equivalent for free for a whole month (read our Hulu free trial guide for more), which gives you 30 days to explore the platform’s diverse line-up.
Signing up to this offer allows you to watch Hulu’s best TV shows and movies, work out if its library is worth the investment, and sign up for a subscription if you’re happy with what’s on offer. The opportunity to try before you buy has rarely been so enticing.
How to sign up to Hulu
So you want to sign up to Hulu – great news! Here’s how to do it:
- Head to the Hulu website
- Click on the ‘Start Your Free Trial’ button
- Select a plan to subscribe to
- Enter your email address, password and other details
- Click ‘Continue’ and enter your billing information
- Submit your information to sign up
Hulu app: what devices can you watch on?
The Hulu app and its many features are supported by lots of devices. If you own one or more of the below, accessing Hulu will be a breeze:
- Amazon Fire tablets
- Amazon Fire TV (Fire OS 5.0 or later)
- Amazon Fire Stick
- Android phones and tablets
- Android TV devices (select models)
- Apple iPhones and iPads
- Apple TV (4th generation or later)
- Contour 2 and Contour Stream Player*
- Echo Show (8, 10, and 15)
- LG WebOS smart TVs (select devices)
- Nintendo Switch (R1 and Lite)
- Roku (select models)
- Samsung smart TVs (select models)
- Various internet web browsers
- Vizio SmartCast TVs
- Xfinity Flex Streaming TV Box*
- Xfinity X1 TV Boxes*
Click here for a more detailed list of Hulu-compatible devices and models.
* While Contour devices, PlayStation 3, and Xfinity devices have the latest Hulu app, they don’t support live TV programming.
Is Hulu available in 4K and HDR?
Yes. Some of Hulu’s greatest shows are available with a sharper image, deeper color, and 8 million pixels (px) support. However, this feature isn’t supported across the board. Hulu is home to over 4,000 titles, but only a tiny fraction of that number come with 4K support.
Almost every Hulu Original is available to stream in the higher definition format, though, so fans of The Handmaid’s Tale need not worry. Other titles you can watch in 4K Ultra HD include Marvel-inspired supernatural thriller Helstrom, while some FX titles, such as Devs and Mrs America, are also available in 4K. Any content available in this format will display a 4K badge on their landing pages.
Lastly, you can watch 4K UHD content on the following: Apple TV (5th generation and above), Chromecast Ultra, Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, LG TVs (2017 UHD models and above), Roku, Samsung TVs (2019 UHD models or later), Vizio SmartCast TVs, and Xbox One (S and X models). HDR isn’t supported right now, so all 4K UHD content will be streamed in Standard Dynamic Range (SDR).
Hulu vs Netflix vs Prime Video vs Max
Netflix, Hulu’s main rival, boasts over 5,000 films and TV series, and produces hundreds of TV shows and movies a year, including Stranger Things.
Hulu’s previously mentioned price increase means we can’t vouch for it as a cheaper alternative anymore, but it still provides great value for money. Netflix’s basic with ads tier is $6.99 a month ($1 less than Hulu’s ads plan) and the basic without ads plan is $9.99 (Hulu’s is $5 more expensive at $14.99).
However, you can only stream on one device with Netflix’s basic subscriptions, and it only supports 720p video quality. That’s set to change in the near future, following Netflix’s announcement that it’ll be introducing two-device support and 1080p streaming to its basic with ads plan – this option is already available in Canada and Spain. By contrast, Hulu currently allows you to stream simultaneously on two devices globally, and also gives you the option to buy unlimited streams for $9.99 a month, without putting limits on streaming quality. Suddenly, Netflix’s ad-supported tier doesn’t sound quite so magical, does it?
Prime Video is comparable in price to Hulu, with a full Amazon Prime membership costing $14.99 per month and the Prime Video-only option coming in at $8.99. With around 18,000 titles, Prime Video’s content library is massive, though the overall quality is open to debate. The service includes plenty of high-profile Amazon Originals such as The Boys, The Rings of Power, and Invincible, as well as high-calibre movies old and new.
Prime membership also delivers other bonuses like free order delivery, Prime Reading, and ad-free music streaming, which justifies its comparatively expensive price point. On the downside, you’re limited to three streams per account and – when it comes to replicating the cable experience – Hulu + Live TV is a much more cost-effective option compared to adding individual Amazon Channels.
HBO Max, which has been one of Hulu’s biggest rivals in the US streaming market for several years, was replaced by the new Max service on May 23, 2023. Max’s ad-supported tier (Max Ad-Lite) has the same monthly price as the Hulu equivalent, though its ad-free option (Max Ad-Free) will cost you an extra dollar a month at £15.99. If you want more than two concurrent streams and 4K UHD resolution, however, you’ll have to stump up even more for the $19.99-a-month Max Ultimate Ad Free plan. (If you want to add Max as a bolt-on to your Hulu service, it’ll cost you $15.99 a month.)
On paper, then, Hulu may initially look like better value than Max, though it’s worth noting that the new Warner Bros Discovery-backed streamer arguably has the superior content library on its side. As well as ground-breaking HBO dramas like The Last of Us, The Wire, and Game of Thrones, subscribers get a wide range of titles from Warner Bros., their subsidiaries, and third-party companies. That means easy access to all Studio Ghibli animations, DC Comics movies, The Lord of the Rings films, and a selection of classic movies curated by TCM. Our guides to the best Max shows and best Max movies are a good way to work out if a subscription to Max is worth the investment.