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Hulu vs DIRECTV Stream

Last updated: November 24, 2021

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Starts at $69.99/mo

Hulu and DIRECTV STREAM are two of the more attractive streaming services available to cord cutters. These two streaming heavyweights are direct competitors with plenty of similarities and several important differences. Here’s an in-depth look at each of these elite streaming services.

Hulu: An on-demand streaming service with a cable-like live TV option

Hulu Pros: Hulu Cons:
  • Expansive on-demand content library
    Hulu + Live TV gives access to live television channels
    Live TV option includes sports and news channels
  • Commercials in on-demand content (unless you pay extra)

DIRECTV STREAM: A live TV streaming service with several expansive bundles

  • Lots of live network TV channels
  • Plenty of price tiers
  • Plenty of sports, news, and local channels
  • Large bundles are proportionately pricey
  • Limited on-demand library and no original content

What's the Difference Between Hulu and DIRECTV STREAM?

In some ways, these are fairly similar streaming services — but if you dig down deep into the nuances of each streaming service, you’ll find there are some meaningful differences.

Hulu provides on-demand service as well as a live TV bundle known as Hulu + Live TV. DIRECTV STREAM, on the other hand, has only the live TV option.

DIRECTV STREAM has several price tiers and sizable bundles. Hulu has a single and comparably “skinny” bundle along with some add-ons.

DIRECTV STREAM is more expensive than Hulu, yet Hulu has additional and better on-demand content (Hulu’s basic on-demand service is included in its Hulu + Live TV bundle). However, if you’re looking for a DVR system with ample space, you’ll need to pay $10 a month for DIRECTV STREAM’s unlimited cloud DVR, though recordings only last 90 days. That’s enough room to turn plenty of your own live TV favorites into recordings that you can view on demand. Hulu + Live TV provides up to 200 hours of DVR space.

In terms of channels, DIRECTV STREAM has Hulu + Live TV beat, providing up to 140-plus channels compared to the 65-plus available through Hulu + Live TV. The flip side, though, is that this makes DIRECTV STREAM more expensive.

DIRECTV STREAM works with 10-plus compatible devices. Hulu functions with 15-plus devices. If you want to view several streams at once, Hulu is the better option, providing unlimited multiple streams. DIRECTV STREAM limits customers to three simultaneous streams.

What Can You Watch on Hulu vs. DIRECTV STREAM?

Hulu has two streaming subscription options. The simplest option, which is just called “Hulu,” provides on-demand content in much the same way as Hulu’s competitor Netflix does. A second option, “Hulu + Live TV,” provides TV channels that stream live.

DIRECTV STREAM also provides live TV channels. The channel lineups for both DIRECTV STREAM and Hulu are pretty robust — you can expect to see familiar networks like AMC, ESPN, FS1, FX, TBS, and more.

Hulu’s quantity and quality of on-demand original content vastly exceed that of DIRECTV STREAM. Hulu has more than 60 original shows, many of which have won Emmys. Examples of Hulu’s original series include “Dopesick,” “Only Murders in the Building,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “The Great.”

The short-lived Audience Network from AT&T once gave DIRECTV STREAM a form of original content, too, but AT&T has since canceled its original programming and shuttered the Audience Network. Hulu clearly has the advantage in this important category.

If you enjoy watching movies, you’ll love DIRECTV STREAM’s premium movie channels, which include HBO Max. HBO Max is available through DIRECTV STREAM, which makes sense: AT&T is the corporate parent of HBO. Hulu focuses primarily on on-demand shows and live TV as opposed to premium movie channels, but it does have several add-ons worth considering.

DIRECTV STREAM sports channels include NBA TV, TVG (horse racing), the Tennis Channel, Fox Deportes, the Golf Channel and more. Hulu + Live TV sports channels include the Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, and ESPN 2.

How Much Will You Spend on Hulu vs. DIRECTV STREAM?

DIRECTV STREAM is more expensive than Hulu. DIRECTV STREAM has several packages, each with unique pricing. Hulu’s pricing is comparably simple. Hulu costs $6.99 per month. If you bundle Hulu with Disney Plus and ESPN Plus, you will spend $13.99.

Hulu + Live TV costs $64.99 per month. Regular Hulu without commercials runs $12.99 per month. Hulu + Live TV without commercials costs $70.99 per month. You can also add extral content to your Hulu service for more money. Examples of Hulu add-ons include Starz, Cinemax, Showtime and HBO Max.

DIRECTV STREAM offers multiple packages. Check out our guide to DIRECTV STREAM for full details.

Hulu vs. DIRECTV STREAM: Which Should You Choose?

If price is your primary concern, Hulu is the better option. Its on-demand option is the cheapest choice here by far, and its live TV service is more affordable than DIRECTV STREAM's competing service.

If you want several entertainment packages to choose from and are open to spending a bit more in order to get all of the channels you crave, then DIRECTV STREAM may be your better choice.

Hulu is superior to DIRECTV STREAM in terms of original content, yet movie buffs may favor DIRECTV STREAM thanks to its premium movie channel add-ons.

In the end, the choice will depend on how much you value live TV. Do you need it at all? (If not, choose Hulu’s on-demand option.) Are you willing to pay a higher price for it? (If not, Hulu’s live TV option is your best bet.) Or are you looking to go all-out and get a premium experience stacked with channels? (If so, DIRECTV STREAM's larger bundles are there for you.) Once you know what you’re looking for, finding the right fit isn’t too tough.