Hulu with Live TV Review

Hulu with Live TV Review

We recommend: Try Hulu with Live TV for free.

The skinny bundle market just got even more crowded. Hulu, the streaming video on demand service that is best known for competing with the likes of Netflix and Amazon, has waded into the skinny bundle market with a live TV service. Hulu with Live TV offers Hulu subscribers exactly what the name suggests: live streaming TV networks, which puts the company in competition with skinny bundle veterans like Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW. Hulu with Live TV is still in beta, but we took an early look at the fledgling service to see how it stacks up against its more established competition. Here’s our Hulu with Live TV review.

Hulu with Live TV Review

User Experience

Hulu with Live TV has a pretty elegant app, which is good – but it also has its own app, which is bad. Hulu puts its two services side-by-side on its website, so I don’t understand why they couldn’t have integrated this new functionality into their existing app. You can watch on-demand content on the new app, so you don’t really need the old one. I’m not sure why the old one is still around.

Hulu with Live TV review - app

The Hulu with Live TV app is simple, elegant, and – of course – very much a fan of Hulu’s own content (screenshot from iOS).

With that said, the new app is really nice. It’s elegant and easy to navigate, and it offers a ton of options for content discovery. You can choose a program from the customized “lineup” (swipe up on mobile to move between full-panel suggestions), save programming to the “My Stuff” tab, choose on-demand content, or search. Live TV is under the same tab as the on-demand content, which is a little odd (why not give it its own tab?), but not a big deal.

Hulu with Live TV review - customize

Customizing suggestions on iOS

Hulu has some nice user-friendly features, including some custom content discovery that is based on your responses when you first open the app (you can choose favorite genres, channels, and shows). There’s also a DVR which, unfortunately, will cost you extra – more on that in the pricing section of this Hulu with Live TV review.


Hulu with Live TV review - channel lineup

While different skinny bundles organize their channels differently, there has never been a ton of daylight between the main competitors in terms of numbers and quality of channels. The usual suspects appear in pretty much all skinny bundles: ESPN/Disney networks, Viacom networks (though PlayStation Vue recently lost those), AMC networks, and the like.

Unfortunately, Hulu with Live TV has broken this trend. It arrives on the scene with some very noticeable holes in its channel lineup.

Hulu’s new service is missing Viacom channels, and there is reportedly no plan to add them soon. That means no MTV and no Comedy Central, among others. Also missing are Discovery Communications (Discovery Channel, among others) and AMC Networks (AMC, of course, among others).

You can add Showtime as an extra, but fans of HBO and Starz are out of luck.

Like other skinny bundles, Hulu offers local broadcasts of the four major networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC) in select markets. But Hulu’s local broadcast markets are far fewer than other skinny bundles’ – right now it’s just New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

The good news is that Hulu with Live TV does offer Fox properties (Fox, FX, FS1, and others) Disney properties (ESPN, Freeform, Disney Channel, and others), NBC properties (NBC, Golf Channel, NBCSN, and others), plus channels from A&E Networks, Turner, Scripps, and CBS. Some regional sports networks are available in select areas, bolstering a pretty solid sports channel lineup. All told, there are over 50 channels in the lineup.

Overall, though, Hulu with Live TV’s lineup compares unfavorably to what’s already on the market.

Streaming Quality

In my trials, Hulu with Live TV streamed extremely well. It was smooth and in consistent HD, and channels loaded pretty quickly – more quickly, in fact, than I’d expect of the competition. This was true on Wi-Fi and only slightly less true on my mobile network, which was very impressive. It’s a shame there weren’t more great channels to watch in this crisp HD.


Platform support for Hulu with Live TV is a little weak at the moment. iOS, Android, and Apple TV apps are already live, and you can use Chromecast with the mobile apps, but fans of Roku, Fire TV, and other devices are out of luck for now. Those apps, along with much-needed Windows and Mac apps, are promised soon.

How Much Does Hulu with Live TV Cost?

Hulu with Live TV will set you back $39.99/month. That’s for 50+ channels. On a per-channel basis, this service is pricier than any of its competitors. DIRECTV NOW’s cheapest plan is $35 and comes with 60+ channels instead of 50+; Sling TV and PlayStation Vue are also cheaper on a per-channel basis.

Hulu with Live TV will give you a DVR if you pay extra, but PlayStation Vue includes this with the regular price, as does Sling TV (for users in the feature’s beta testing program).

You can try out Hulu with Live TV through its free trial.


The skinny bundle is the most-cable like alternative to traditional pay TV, and its relatively low price point makes it an ideal option for cord cutters who don’t want to go without live TV. There’s plenty of room in this market for a lot of healthy competition, so there’s nothing wrong with Hulu entering the fray a little late.

But Hulu with Live TV isn’t just a day late – it’s also a dollar short. Hulu’s service is missing features and content that come standard with the competition. In a market with at least three strong contenders, Hulu has arrived offering a service that charges more and offers less. It’s easy to see why Hulu felt it needed a skinny bundle service, but it’s very hard to see why customers would need what Hulu came up with.

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About the Author

Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely is a freelance writer and a longtime cord cutter with a passion for technology and entertainment. You can find his work on and his tweets at @stephenlovely.

30 Comments on "Hulu with Live TV Review"

  1. I am in the process of cutting the cord. I do not yet subscribe to any of the six providers not available, and I am looking for advice and assistance. But this review is inane.

    It isn’t just how many channels you get. It’s **which** channels you get. Other services have a problem with Viacom, so holding that against Hulu is silly. The AMC lack is a more trenchant critique. You are simply in error in regard to DVR service for both Hulu and Sling. Offering HBO isn’t that big a deal — it’s called HBO Now.

    But Hulu has sports. The number one reason most cable subscribers I know hesitate to cut the cord is live sports. If you aren’t a sports fan (and the writer plainly is not, given his complete lack of attention to it), this may not make sense. But sports is king in the U.S. Look at the ratings, especially for the NFL, but also for the NBA playoffs or March Madness.

    Hulu has all the sports channels I could want, but for less money than anyone else. Sling’s offerings stink for sports fans. Reviewers keep writing about how cheap their basic package is, but the sports offerings are laughable. DirectTV requires a hefty chunk of change out of my pocket before it offers adequate sports coverage. PlayStation Vue was far, far out in front of everyone else till they increased their rates a few days ago, and even then their DVR service is better than Hulu’s. YouTube is not available in enough markets to be worth discussion. Fubo TV doesn’t have ESPN!

    • Thanks for the comment about sports. I’m about to switch to one of these services and I definitely want to keep watching sports live.

    • Justin hit exactly why I chose Hulu… sports… and that is why I chose Hulu. The sports packages along with the 50 hours of cloud storage and the price made it pretty easy. I simply didn’t get all the sports channels I wanted nor the storage with Sling TV’s $40 package.

  2. Thanks so much for your reviews. I have cut the cable for economic reasons, not realizing that MSNBC is not included with my Roku and Hulu. I’m into my second week of the trial period. Can you suggest the cheapest way to add MSNBC? Sports is not a factor for this 84 year old widow. The advertising is also not a problem for me.

    • Take a look at Sling TV packages. Think this will be the one I’m going to use. I am not a sports enthusiast, so their lack of channels for this allows me other channels I would probably not get.

    • MSNBC is listed as one of the Hulu channels.

  3. I live in central Florida and my Hulu Live keeps buffering too much for my liking. I don’t like the large icons. I’ll keep Hulu live for a month to see if the buffering gets better. If not, I’ll go back to PS Vue.

  4. It is important to keep in mind that the price of Hulu also includes the Hulu on demand streaming service that has been competing with the likes of Netflix and Amazon for years. The strength of this on demand service has historically been current television, often becoming available the day after air. Of late Hulu has been adding strong original contact, a greater selection of films and prior seasons. The current television would significantly negate need for DVR as much of what you might record would be available on demand. With all of this in mind, Hulu is a more than viable contender.

  5. As a note, the $39.99 price includes Hulu’s on-demand content, which is priced stand-alone at $7.99. For those who already subscribe to Hulu’s on-demand service, Live TV is $32 more.

  6. Jason Marshall | November 17, 2017 at 3:28 am | Reply

    So far Hulu is terrible. It frequently pauses and literally stopped in the last 10 seconds of a game. It’s horrible. The interface is extremely hard to use and you never know if you’ve actually scheduled your shows because there’s no automatic setting that I could find. Save your money, use another service. Hulu sucks!

  7. I’m baffled that you complimented their interface. It is just horrific.

  8. I don’t want to watch TV on my computer or phone but on my television, so which company offers the best deal that will do that? My Cox Cable bill is just way more than I can afford and I don’t even have HBO or any of those channels, just a package that includes the Hallmark Channel, WE tv, Bravo, Lifetime, etc.

  9. As mentioned in an earlier comment, Hulu is best suited for the sports enthusiast who is looking to cut the cord on cable/satellite. Listen to these sports options: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, NBC Sports, CBS Sports Network, BTN, SEC Network. Can’t beat that line up. Hulu also has most of the basic lineup that cable/satellite has. The picture is excellent. Each streaming service will attract its own crowd but Hulu is the option for the sports fan.

  10. My smart TV, is not compatible for Hulu live streaming. Can I use a Roku to live stream Hulu and is there any additional monthly fee to do this?

  11. Been using Hulu Live TV since October 2017. Getting ready to cut them out. I find it hard to navigate lots of commercials up to 300 seconds that’s one of the reasons I cut the cord. I’m running 100+ Mbps and it buffers. Better things out there.

  12. Hulu with Live TV is a pain in the ass. The constant buffering, skips, freezes, repeating of scenes over and over and over again, it’s annoying. For the price I’m paying, I should not be having these issues. To be honest, Hulu with Live TV is not even worth it. The number of times I have contacted their tech support for this junk is unreal. Even though it’s a beta version, it should not have been released until all of the issues were fixed. I’m looking for other options cause this app sucks.

  13. I would like to cut the cord with Spectrum. I am looking for Fox News, History Channel, TLC, Discovery and Nat Geo. Does any package carry these channels and if so how much we are in the Los Angeles area?

  14. I agree with others about Hulu live TV buffering is terrible. I try to watch Cramer on Mad Money for the past two days, and it’s terrible. The commercials are playing, but Cramer is still talking. The live TV has sucked so far. I just cut the cord finally after doing all kinds of research, and have so far only signed up for Hulu with Live TV because of the channels I watch, and Hulu has them. Too bad the service is terrible. I will probably cancel, and try Sling next. I bought two Rokus ( one for my 2016 LG 4k HD TV, and the other for my 2008 Panasonic Plasma HD TV). That set me back $135. I also signed up for Showtime for the first month, but haven’t used it that much, so will drop that. Hulu charges $8.99 a month for that. Have not really had streaming issues watching old movies, but the live TV from Hulu is terrible with buffering. My Comcast double play TV/Internet got up to $236 a month, so it was bye bye finally. I now pay $55 a month for 60 Mbps for internet and streaming with Comcast. Tack on another $52 a month for Hulu with Live TV, for big savings, too bad Hulu doesn’t live up to their services. I hope Sling is better. If it’s the same with Sling, I will just resort to buying rabbit ears for local stations, and maybe the $10.99 package for Netflix to watch movies.

  15. Hulu asks for your zip code to see what channels you get but they don’t tell you if your IP address changes (no fault of yours), then your channels change so you no longer get what you have paid for, your channels. Other stations you have no idea where the town is at or even close to you. Please beware.

  16. I too, have Hulu Live. It constantly buffers with plenty of streaming speed. A lot of the time, the voices don’t sync, when it goes to commercials, you are still hearing the program you were watching. On our favorite local channels, when we begin watching our 7 PM show, you get the 4 PM news broadcast – 3 hours behind! To watch our favorite prime time programming, we almost always have to watch it the next day because of one or all of the above reasons. I have called customer support various times. They apologize, say they are aware of the problems, and are working on it. No changes yet! I’m looking for a different streaming service!

  17. What others have said. Constant buffering on Hulu Live. “We’re having trouble loading your program – try again.” Screens. Short snippets of live TV repeat and then continue. Longer sections – usually with commercials – repeat over and over and over. You’re watching live TV and then you realize you’re now watching a program that was on two, three or four hours earlier. They especially seem to have an aversion to Rachel Maddow: while she is on you get repeats of earlier MSNBC programs. When you tune-in and select a live program it may take several tries to actually see it. Instead you get earlier programming. I’ve wasted my money on it for four months but have decided to drop Hulu Live – I may keep plain Hulu – and go with streaming Sirius/XM radio for my MSNBC addiction. It’s much cheaper and I know from listening in the car that it is seamless and reliable.

  18. I’m hooked on PBS which I can get (more or less) with my over-the-air antenna but I don’t see their channels listed on any skinny Bundle. I’ve bought an Amazon Fire Stick but no PBS channels. At the moment, I’m with Spectrum and record everything on my 8 year old TiVo and pay my Continuing Care Retirement Community $39/month for cable.

    • I have Fire TV and it has the PBS app and you chose the local station. You may have to add the app.

  19. I tried Sling for a couple weeks now and while the program streaming is good quality their offering is not. I signed up with them due to the availability of channels that I currently watch but when I went in to search for those programs found that they are only available in “limited network areas.” Therefore I cannot get what I signed up for. I am trying Hulu just for the trial period to see if it does at least offer the programming it says it does. I am very disappointed with Sling so read the small print folks! There is a way to see what program is available by zip code.

  20. Jeremy Gilchrist | June 22, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Reply

    I live in Houston and I love sports. We have a channel on Xfinity (I pay $180.00 a month for cable only) called Roots. This allows me to watch my home teams Astros and Rockets games. If I cut the cord, I believe I will lose this option of watching my home teams? Any suggestions. No wonder young adults don’t care for sports anymore, they can’t watch them!

  21. I am considering cutting the cable but my disabled husband watches Fox News. I only can find Fox News Sunday on Hulu. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  22. It’s not clear to me if I would get Fox News Live with Hulu? Can you tell me the most inexpensive way I can watch Fox news with Hulu.

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