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Unlimited streaming of current and classic TV shows and movies.
9 / 10  Review Rating

There are few streaming services as well-known and as popular as Hulu. One of Netflix’s oldest competitors, Hulu is an affordable streaming service that boasts a great selection of on-demand movies and TV shows — including an impressive slate of originals that holds its own against the legendary lineups on Netflix and Max. But Hulu is in a crowded market (or two of them, actually — for more on Hulu’s entry into the live TV streaming market, read our review of Hulu Plus Live TV). Can it hold its own against Netflix and Max — or, for that matter, its sister service Disney Plus? I revisited Hulu this year to find out, and I was impressed by what I found.

Hulu Pros and Cons


  • Extremely affordable
  • Great original content
  • Recent episodes of some shows available
  • Can be bundled with Disney Plus and ESPN Plus


  • Basic plan includes ads
  • Smaller library than pricier competitors

What You Can Watch on Hulu

Hulu offers two main subscription options: “Hulu” and “Hulu + Live TV.” The first one, which we’ll be talking about in this review, is an on-demand streaming service. Paying your subscription fees each month gives you access to a catalog of movies and TV shows, and you can stream any of those titles as much as you want and whenever you’d like to. (The second option, “Hulu + Live TV,” includes a cable-like selection of live TV channels. It competes with cable, as well as with other live TV streaming services like DIRECTV. It’s so different from the basic Hulu plan that it merits its own review, which is why I’m only going to be talking about plain-old “Hulu” in this review.)

Industry insiders who look at Hulu’s on-demand service would call it “SVOD,” which stands for “subscription video on demand.” The rest of us would just say that Hulu looks a lot like Netflix: It charges you a few bucks a month for unlimited streaming of a limited catalog.

Hulu on iOS
Hulu on iOS

There’s one major difference between Hulu’s approach and Netflix’s, though: Hulu has ads. On the basic subscription plan, your on-demand streaming will be periodically interrupted by short commercial breaks. These ads aren’t skippable. In my testing, I found the length of Hulu’s ad breaks to be pretty reasonable. Personally, I don’t mind breaks so much — they give me time to refill my glass of water or grab a snack. If you can’t stand them, though, you can always pay a little extra to subscribe to Hulu’s ad-free plan and do away with them entirely.

Like Netflix, Hulu has original content. Much of it is excellent. Hulu has won critical praise for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a grim but excellent series based on Margaret Atwood’s novel. Hulu has made hits out of “Little Fires Everywhere” and “The Dropout,” among others.

Hulu - Fire TV - original movie
Queuing up “Palm Springs” on Hulu with an Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Hulu also makes original films. If you’re looking for a place to start with those, I’d recommend the hilarious “Palm Springs” (2020). (I’m no culture critic, but you don’t have to take my word for it.)

Hulu’s licensed library is impressive, too, though it’s not quite as large as the ones you might find with some competitors (Netflix, for example, has more shows and movies — though it’s also more expensive than Hulu, which is something we’ll talk more about in a later section).

Hulu’s streaming rights deals aren’t always exclusives, so don’t be surprised if you see licensed titles in Hulu’s library that are also available on Amazon Prime Video — or even on a free service like Crackle. But some content deals are exclusives, and Hulu’s library is generally very impressive. It feels like something in-between the massive quantity of Netflix and the highly curated little library of Max: a medium-sized library with a lot of enjoyable content and very few true stinkers.

How It Felt to Use Hulu

Like most other streaming services, Hulu puts a lot of focus on content discovery features. Its menus are packed with recommendations, trending content, and other lists of movies and TV shows that its algorithms suggest you’ll be interested in watching.

Sometimes, all of the content discovery features on streaming apps like Netflix can annoy me. I know I can be pretty indecisive sometimes, but I’m okay with that: I’d rather just be able to look through an organized menu and figure things out for myself. I find it particularly frustrating when services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video hide my watchlist, favorites, or “previously watched” sections behind their excessive recommendations. I have some great news: Hulu doesn’t have this problem.

While there are plenty of recommendations to be found in Hulu’s app, it’s also very easy to find your saved shows. It’s also shockingly easy to find menus of just movies or just TV shows, and — wonder of wonders — you can even drill down by genre within these categories (no “secret Netflix codes” required). This can sometimes make it clear that you don’t have a lot of options, which might be why other streaming services avoid it; I occasionally worked my way through every single title Hulu had in a given genre without finding something. But I’d rather have that happen and then go read a book than spend my whole evening flipping through algorithmic menus like the ones on Netflix, seeing titles multiple times in different categories and never being sure if I’ve seen every option or not.

Hulu's on-demand menu as seen on Mac
Hulu is packed with great things to watch.

Like its fellow Disney-backed service Disney Plus, Hulu also has a “hub” system that makes it easy to find content based on larger brands (and, in some cases, genres or themes). This doesn’t work quite as well on Hulu as it does on the brand-dominated Disney Plus, where categories like “Star Wars” and “Marvel” are obviously pretty meaningful to fans. But it’s a nice feature all the same, and it helps make Hulu feel a bit more organized and a bit easier to navigate.

I found Hulu’s user interfaces and menu systems to be superb. Interestingly, I think they work better with just-plain Hulu than they do with Hulu + Live TV because the latter starts stuffing TV-related content where it doesn’t belong (for more on that, check out my review of Hulu + Live TV). Hulu’s on-demand service gets full marks here, and I hope more streaming services take Hulu’s lead in the user experience department.

Using Hulu’s Features

While performing my testing, I realized that I’m not a particularly demanding Hulu user. Other than adding titles to “My Stuff” — Hulu’s simple and very effective watchlist/favorites system — I didn’t feel much need to use many of Hulu’s features. (I still tested them all out, of course!)

Hulu OD - browser - My Stuff
The “My Stuff” screen as it appears in the Hulu web app

You’ll most often use Hulu to stream videos, but you can also choose to download a few for offline viewing. This feature is limited to mobile platforms. You can download videos and movies to up to five different mobile devices at one time, and you can save up to 25 total movies and TV show episodes (each download on each device counts separately toward this total).

Hulu also has user profiles, which is a very standard feature but still nice to see. You can set your own preferences and generate your own personalized recommendations without messing up the algorithm for your roommate, sibling, or significant other.

Hulu Streaming Quality

Hulu’s on-demand content streams at 60 frames per second and features picture quality as high as 4K Ultra HD — though the 4K content is pretty limited, and you’re more likely to end up watching your show or movie in 1080p. Hulu marks 4K-compatible content with a little “4K” badge, so it’s easy to track down 4K content in the service’s menus. Among other titles, Hulu’s originals are available in this top-tier streaming quality.

In my trials, I found Hulu’s streaming quality to be very impressive. As I’d expect from a long-tenured on-demand streaming service, Hulu was able to deliver reliable, high-quality streaming on all of my devices regardless of whether I was using a wired, Wi-Fi, or mobile network connection.

Hulu Platform Support

Platform support is a real strong suit of Hulu’s. Hulu’s latest app, which includes support for Hulu + Live TV as well as the on-demand version I’m talking about here, is available on every major streaming platform, mobile platform, web browser, and video game system. That includes all of our familiar favorites (like Roku, Fire TV, the Chrome browser, iOS, and Android) as well as some options that aren’t always supported by Hulu’s competitors (like the Nintendo Switch and — to my delight — the Firefox browser).

Hulu OD - iOS - home
The home tab of Hulu’s iOS app

I found the Hulu experience to be very consistent across all of the different platforms. No matter which device or platform you’re using, you’ll recognize the Hulu approach and the great user experience I’ve been praising.

I tested Hulu on Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android, Chrome, and Firefox.

Hulu Value

Hulu has a lot going for it, but its strongest suit may be its value. Hulu is strikingly affordable for a streaming service: It’s just $7.99 per month, which is half the price Netflix charges for its standard plan.

Of course, Hulu is different from Netflix. Its catalog is smaller. It also has ads, which users can pay a bit more to remove — ad-free Hulu costs $14.99 per month. But even with those differences accounted for, Hulu looks like an incredible value for the money.

Hulu’s pricing is reminiscent of Disney Plus pricing, which makes sense: They’re both owned by Disney. These streaming services are very cost-effective and seem to be built with subscription stacking in mind. It’s very easy to justify adding Hulu to an existing streaming budget without canceling something else; it’s even easier to combine Hulu with Disney Plus. The two are offered in a three-piece deal that also includes ESPN Plus.

Hulu OD - browser - show page
Checking out a show within Hulu’s web app

Hulu Review Verdict

Hulu has slowly earned a place near the very top of the on-demand streaming heap. Hulu is much cheaper than Netflix, which makes it much easier to add to a budget or combine with other streaming services. It offers more bang for your buck, and it chips away at Netflix’s dominance with little advantages like the more straightforward organization of the Hulu menus and the enticing discount deal that bundles Hulu in with Disney Plus and ESPN Plus.

In short, former “little brother” Hulu has some big-time appeal, and the service seems to only be improving with time. Now one of the elder statesmen of the on-demand streaming service, Hulu doesn’t feel like a knock-off or a newcomer. Pound for pound, it’s one of the very best streaming services that money can buy.

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78 thoughts on “Hulu Review

  1. C.M. says:

    Hulu Live is great IF you only use your account in one place. But for anyone who travels frequently or has more than one house that they use there streaming systems at, it SUCKS. You have to use your zipcode to set a “home” for your account. But you are only able to use this account in that zipcode. So for those of us who live in a large city that has several different zip codes, you can only use this in your home location. This also means that if you have more than one home; vacation home, lake house or lodgings used for work related trips, you are SOL. I travel for work and my husband and I watch our tv shows together as often as possible when we are apart and cannot do that with hulu and will be switching back to direct.

  2. C.M. says:

    100% agree! They should change this feature FAST.

  3. Steve says:

    I’m thinking of getting Hulu but from what I read it’s not worth the time or effort

  4. Vanessa says:

    This is super helpful — thank you!

    1. Stephen Lovely says:

      Thank you for reading!

  5. Ida Wortham says:

    I recently subscribed to Hulu TV Live. 60 channels sounds great but there’s not some additional Channels I would certainly watch if available such as OAN and Newsmax. I chose this program to get the ESPN channels, SEC, local channels abc nbc & cbs , Fox News, Fox Business and a few others everything else is a total waste!! As a senior citizen and on a fixed income I try to get what I want for the cheapest price. Are there any plans to add additional channels that are not liberal cable but have a little better choice for conservatives. There is no balance in the news channels.

  6. william says:

    Question – I am not sure how “cutting the cord” saves me money. My Xfinity (X1 Starter Pro+ Dp / Internet) service costs about $125 a month and I get 125+ Channels (more than I need + local sports + DVR box) with 600 Mbps Internet speed. Even if I cut out TV service, I will still need Internet service which is about $65/month. Now, to get back to square one, I will have to subscribe to a streaming service (Hulu / Sling) and pay $60 a month for same local TV channels. In short, pay Xfinity $125/month or pay Xfinity $65 + Streaming service ($60) = $125 per month. No savings $ at all. Am I missing something here?

    1. Stephen Lovely says:

      Not necessarily! Cord cutting saves money by cutting pay TV, but you can eat back into those savings by adding other types of pay TV back in. If you’re dead set on getting live TV and need certain channels, it’s possible that you won’t save money by switching to streaming.

      A few things to keep in mind: Are you on an introductory rate with Xfinity? If so, cord cutting might be the cheaper option once your Xfinity bill switches to the standard price. If you’re not a huge sports fan, you might want to check out Philo, which is much cheaper than Hulu + Live TV because doesn’t have sports, news, or local networks. Finally, you could consider using on-demand services (like Netflix and regular, no-live-TV Hulu) and antenna TV for a cheaper alternative to the live services.

  7. Steve says:

    I’m sorry but Hulu is a terrible service. I’ve had live for well over a year and can’t tell you how many time I have to clear the cache or reboot my firestick to get it to just work. And no, it’s not a firestick issue. Netflix always works just fine.

    1. Frustrated Family says:

      Amen brother! We also experience the same issues, and only with Hulu. Changed to firestick 4K, which hasn’t helped at all, plus it has it’s own problems playing nicely with Hulu’s poorly designed channel guide service.

  8. Ernie says:

    Srew you Hulu for stealing Hockey from the fans. You gonna
    charge 40 dollars a game to watch the sport now! Canada might actually have an open rebellion against you!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hulu is the worst. Stream lagging, glitches, stop and start broadcasting. And they’re raising the price….for what? So we can miss live streaming? Fix your problems before we leave you.

    1. mike says:

      i agree, the app is horrible, constant buffering and getting thrown out of the app. they need some serious fixs soon

      1. Anonymous says:

        Still doing that in 2024. Thinking of changing

  10. 2catarrh says:


  11. Anonymous says:

    Hulu live sports freeze and are blurry. Used other services, unique problem

  12. John says:

    Hulu is crap. Pause your show, restart from the beginning. Tired of this pathetic software platform that can’t handle the basics. Find some new programmers.

  13. SA says:

    It’s time I leave Hulu along the side of the highway. Too expensive and they aired the first episode of Law & Order (season 24), then shut it down.

    So now I can save my 7 bucks plus tax every month!

  14. Thhhhhhhhhh says:

    Hulu Live + sucks terribly. Massive delays on sports (live comparison to YouTube TV & up to 2 min delay on various games) unable to reorder the channel line up and in reading the Hulu technical comments both of these have been complaints for years (hello, this is 2022!). Heading back to YouTube TV.

  15. Gerald says:

    like others say, half the time it’s nearly unwatchable on the TV, with more time spent hanging, buffering, and crashing and reloading than actually running. the other half the time it only hangs a few minutes every hour. (frontier internet, firestick) however, on an ipad, there is no problem.
    most of the time there’s no error message but sometimes it comes up with error p-dev320. googling that gets a bunch of sites that say it’s a Hulu problem. lots of rebooting, reinstalling, etc. didn’t help, just like the websites say it probably won’t.
    same thing has started happening with Disney+ but to a much smaller extent

  16. Robert Lawrence says:

    We are getting a little miffed at HULU WOKEness. Seems this Streaming service-HULU-is evolving into a far left institution. Is there a more of middle of the road TV streaming organization that offers better movies? More sensible TV adds, not promoting shit that should not be seen on TV?
    We watch movies, good honest news networks, college sports, documentaries, and series like Yellowstone, History material….No Leftist crap!

    1. Anonymous says:

      If you think HULU is woke then you really are only interested in OAN and FOX and any other channels that cater to your political views, in which you will never be happy.

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