If you haven't already heard of it, Hulu is the increasingly popular, over-the-top streaming service that's gaining favor in the competitive world of TV streaming services – boosted by very affordable prices and flexible subscription plans.
While Netflix is still leading the pack with over 60 million subscribers, Hulu scooped up more than double their number of new subscribers in 2019. The full integration of Hulu by The Walt Disney Company should further challenge Netflix’s dominance, with Disney CEO Bob Iger promising greater value and more original programming for the streaming service.
Hulu, meaning both “holder of precious things” and “interactive recording” in Mandarin, has an estimated library of 1,500+ shows and 2,500+ films: offering award-winning original series like The Handmaid’s Tale, old and new episodes of Saturday Night Live, and recent, Hulu-produced movies such as Little Monsters. And if you want more? Well, you can sign up to access over 60 live TV channels, which offer sports, news, and documentary programming, as well as prime content from HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and Starz. Oh, and then there's the Disney Plus tie-in, too!
With the number of streaming services ever-increasing, we explain how Hulu prices and plans compare in terms of cost and subscriptions deals to the other main players in the market.
- Read more: our guide to the best TV streaming services
Hulu prices and plans: your quick guide
At $5.99 per month, Hulu currently offers the cheapest base price to access its on demand film and TV content. And for a competitively priced $44.99, you gain access to over 60 live television cable channels, including ESPN, Comedy Network, and TCM.
As listed below, additional services can be added for an extra monthly fee:
- Ad-Free service - $6.00*
- Unlimited Screens - $9.99
- Enhanced Cloud DVR - $9.99
- Entertainment Add-on - $7.99
- Español Add-on - $4.99
- HBO - $14.99
- Cinemax - $9.99
- Showtime - $10.99
- Starz - $8.99
* Adverts will remain on live TV broadcasts, while certain shows like Grey’s Anatomy are bookmarked by adverts, due to rights issues.
How do Hulu prices compare to Netflix?
Hulu’s low cost price for on demand content was always going to be hard to beat, with Netflix’s cheapest plan $8.99. At $12.99 its Standard offering provides access to HD-supported content and the use of two screens simultaneously. But these features are already available within Hulu’s $5.99 subscription.
Where Netflix’s Premium service allows you to stream to four screens at once for $15.99, Hulu lets you upgrade to Unlimited Screens for the same price – meaning you can connect to innumerable devices, which is ideal for larger households.
Hulu does fall short on quantity of content, with Netflix having over 4,600 films to Hulu’s approximately 2,500, as well as some acclaimed original programming (Black Mirror, Orange is the New Black). However, when it comes to live broadcasting, Netflix has no equivalent to the Hulu + Live TV offering, with 60+ channels.
Need more help to choose? Then take a look at our dedicated Hulu vs Netflix guide.
How do Hulu prices compare to Amazon Prime Video?
An Amazon Prime account will set you back $12.99 monthly, or $9.92 annually.
For those only seeking entertainment, it’s $8.99 to access Amazon Prime Video’s film and TV library. You can set up separate accounts for other members of your household, but can only stream to a maximum of two devices, with no option to increase this, unlike with Hulu’s Unlimited Screens add-on.
If you’re a student, becomes a worthy challenger for Hulu’s 'most cost effective' crown. With an annual subscription, you get access to Amazon Prime Video and its cache of over 18,000 movies, plus TV, unlimited music and more, which works out at $4.99 per month
As for live TV offerings? Amazon Channels offers a good selection that can be individually added to your account, but you need to be an Amazon Prime member to do so. Channels cost anywhere between $0.99 per month (The List) and $28.99 (NBA League Pass), with the average being around $7. If you’re after a hassle-free alternative to Cable, Hulu + Live TV might be the better option, with a fixed bundle of over 60 channels for a monthly $44.99 price tag.
How do Hulu prices compare to Disney Plus?
Disney Plus will grant access to a comprehensive library of Disney content when it launches on November 12. But this is no purely specialist venture, and will encompass Pixar’s output, documentaries, The Simpsons, the Star Wars saga, as well as exclusive new films and TV series.
Whereas Hulu has a broader scope and more adult (TVMA and R-Rated) content, Disney Plus is aimed squarely at families, with no content exceeding a PG-13 rating. It’s a dollar more expensive than Hulu’s basic plan, but minimally less if you purchase the annual $69.99 subscription. If you’re not a fan of Marvel, Star Wars, or animated features, however, you might find its appeal limited, with only around 500 films currently, significantly less than Hulu.
However, Disney Plus has a very enticing subscription plan, which bundles together its platform, plus the ad-supported Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99 per month. That’s a bargain that will keep both little and big kids entertained.
How do Hulu plans compare to PlayStation Vue?
For those with the cash, PlayStation Vue offers a cutting-edge television experience, with its multi-view feature, five concurrent streams, and powerful DVR. Starting at $49.99 per month, you get access to 50 channels, with these piling up as you ascend the pricing tiers before peaking at over a hundred at Ultra level ($89.99). This includes HBO, Showtime, and almost everything else available.
For an additional $9.99, Hulu’s DVR storage capability is still limited to 200 hours, far exceeded by PlayStation Vue, which facilitates over a thousand hours of recordings. But Hulu + Live TV still offers the best value overall. This subscription will give you over 60 channels for $5.00 less than PlayStation Vue’s Access Plan, which totals only 50 channels. You only really get value for money at the top Ultra level, and so PlayStation Vue might be best suited to TV-devouring completists.
How do Hulu subscriptions compare to YouTube TV?
Like Hulu, YouTube TV has adverts during on demand content – unless you shell out an additional $11.99 to go ad-free – and a decent selection of sports, news, and entertainment channels. For an extra charge you can add up to 11 additional networks, such as Fox Soccer Plus and Starz, but there’s no option here to add the revered HBO. While YouTube TV’s subscription fee is marginally higher than Hulu’s at $49.99, it includes a dozen or so extra channels. They also have a respectable library of movies and shows.
Although you’re limited to a maximum of 3 simultaneous streams, YouTube TV offers a good deal if television is your jam, with free unlimited DVR storage. Never again will you be afraid of missing your favorite shows, which remain in your library for 90 days before being removed.
How do Hulu deals compare to HBO Now?
If you’re considering HBO Now, you’re here for the programming and not for the savings. The platform lets subscribers access the network’s entire back catalogue for a $14.99 monthly fee, which includes a broad range of quality films and some of the most distinctive television in recent memory (The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Six Feet Under, etc.).
With over 1,000 film and TV titles, it’s a case of quality over quantity. You can stream to unlimited devices – in theory – and most content is available in HD. While it has no live TV element like Hulu, most new shows and movies are available at the same time as they’re broadcast.
For the connoisseur of television drama, HBO Now is a tantalising proposal. But as a single-network platform, with no option to add additional channels, its scope is limited and monthly fee steep when compared with Hulu. Additionally, if you’re desperate to catch HBO’s latest unmissable show, it’s possible to add the network directly to your Hulu account, and cancel it at a later date.
You can find more information about how to sign up to Hulu here. If you’re still unsure whether it’s the ideal choice for you, we’ve also compared the best TV streaming services currently available in more detail.