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Hulu vs DIRECTV Stream

Last updated: August 24, 2021

Starts at $5.99/mo
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

DIRECTV Stream Pros: DIRECTV Stream Cons:
  • 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 more and better on-demand content (Hulu’s basic on-demand service is included in its Hulu + Live TV bundle). However, if you are looking for a DVR system with ample space, you’ll love DIRECTV Stream’s cloud DVR with 500 hours. 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 200 hours of DVR space.

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

DIRECTV Stream works with 10+ compatible devices. Hulu functions with 15+ 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. Both DIRECTV Stream’s channel lineup and Hulu’s channel lineup are pretty robust — you can expect 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. Hulu’s content earned 27 Primetime Emmy Awards last year. Examples of Hulu’s original series include March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step, The Looming Tower, The Handmaid’s Tale and I Love You, America.

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. DIRECTV Stream has a few entertaining original programs, such as Loudermilk, left over from the Audience Network. Still, 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’s focus is primarily squared 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, ESPN 2, NBCSN, and more.

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 $5.99 per month. Bundle Hulu with Disney+ and ESPN+ and you will spend $12.99.

Hulu + Live TV costs $54.99 per month. Regular Hulu without commercials runs $11.99 per month. Hulu + Live TV without commercials costs $60.99 per month. You can also add additional content to your Hulu service for more money. Examples of Hulu add-ons include Starz, Cinemax, Showtime and HBO Max.

DIRECTV Stream offers more than half a dozen packages. Check out our guide to DIRECTV Stream for the 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.