Streaming services are constantly changing, as is our review of Hulu with Live TV. Along with Sling TV and YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV lets you watch some of your favorite cable channels live, as well as many of your favorite cable shows on demand, making it one of the best streaming services.
However, unlike other cable replacements, Hulu’s $ 65-a-month live TV service integrates seamlessly into its already robust subscription streaming service (which is included in the cost). We just wish that price didn’t Keep getting better.
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At a glance, Hulu with Live TV is colorful, easy to navigate, effective at recommending new content, and priced right.
However, a multitude of ads, an edgy interface, and a host of expensive extras keep Hulu with Live TV from being the best cable replacement on the market right now. But for a product that is still technically in beta, it’s off to a surprisingly strong start. Hulu’s live TV service isn’t a must-have for those looking for a cable TV alternative (at least not yet), but it deserves your careful consideration.
Hulu with Live TV review: interface
Unlike YouTube TV, Hulu’s live TV service doesn’t come in a separate app; It’s part of the Hulu experience that you already know and love, or at least tolerate, depending on your level of patience with ads.
Hulu redesigned its app from the ground up for Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android, and Xbox One, though it’s now available on most platforms. Instead of the old green and white menus, Hulu’s interface now makes use of the full spectrum of colors, focusing on a simple pastel blue-green-pink scheme. It is colorful, but not distracting.
Hulu also deserves some praise for an interface that is remarkably consistent across platforms. If you know how to control your Android app, you won’t need to learn anything new to get it running on Xbox One. The controls, images, menus, and even the overall sense of space are all the same, which is impressive considering the different sizes. of screen.
In particular, the service does a good job of quantifying user tastes and recommending relevant new content. You can drill down into some of your favorite categories, rather than just telling the service that you like vague descriptions like “comedy” or “horror.”
Getting around is pretty simple. In addition to a home screen filled with recommended content, you can access My Stuff (favorite shows and channels), Browse, Search, and Settings from the top or bottom of the screen, depending on the menu you’re using.
Each main menu leads to a large number of submenus. The home screen can recommend new things to watch or help you pick up where you left off in the Keep Watching section. The Browse menu lets you choose content by genre, as well as browse online, live, on demand, Hulu Originals, and other options. It is a robust and intuitive system that strikes a usable balance between simplicity and functionality.
The only downside to Hulu’s approach is that once you step into the menus, there is no easy way to get back to the main screen. You will have to click the back button several times.
Although that doesn’t take long, it makes me wonder if there could be an easier way to access the main menu, especially on touchscreen devices, where buttons aren’t a limiting factor. Menus lagged a bit behind on Xbox One as well, which is surprising for such a powerful system.
Hulu with Live TV Review: Availability and Pricing
Hulu with Live TV is currently available on Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android, and Xbox One. It later added apps for Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Samsung Smart TV, PlayStation 4 and 5, and Nintendo Switch.
Hulu with Live TV offers a variety of additional services that users can purchase in addition to the base cost of $ 65 per month. Removing commercials from Hulu content will add $ 5 to your monthly fee. Upgrading your DVR to 200 hours from the default 50 will cost $ 15, and allowing unlimited simultaneous streams in place of the default two will also cost $ 15, though you can save $ 10 if you buy both the expanded DVR and unlimited streams together.
Showtime costs an additional $ 9 per month, which added to the base rate would bring its potential total to $ 74 per month, or $ 99 with all of the above options. Add in all those extras and you can find some pretty decent complete cable bundles for less, which will negate the cost-saving appeal of cable cutting.
A note on that commercial-free $ 5 surcharge: It won’t remove commercials from individual networks’ on-demand shows, it won’t even remove all ads from Hulu; Some networks require that ads be shown before and after shows rather than in between. Paying for content and still having to sit around watching ads has always been my least favorite part of the Hulu service, and unfortunately it’s just as annoying as ever here.
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Hulu with Live TV Review: Content and Channels
Hulu offers more than 74 channels for $ 65 per month, which is a fair price for a cable replacement. For the most part, Hulu even includes channels that you will want to watch. Hulu’s live television programming includes A&E, Bravo, CNN, Disney Channel, ESPN, FX, Food Network, Fox News, Fox Sports, History, National Geographic, Syfy, TBS, TNT, USA and many other programming valuable, including sports and children. ‘ content. Depending on your region, you will even get a generous variety of local channels, such as ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC.
Fortunately, some missing channels were added as the price went up. The Viacom channels were a glaring omission, particularly Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon, but now they are here.
By comparison, most other cable replacement services even offer BBC America. And there aren’t many options for premium channels, like Cinemax, HBO, or Starz. For whatever reason, you can’t get PBS as a local station either, which could be problematic if you have a terrible bout of insomnia.
The absence of some networks is forgivable, because you also have access to Hulu’s full line of streaming shows, movies, and original shows. Some of Hulu’s original series, like The Handmaid’s Tale, have caused quite a stir on the streaming scene. You can also stream episodes of Star Trek and Family Guy to your heart’s content, as well as watch a surprisingly decent selection of movies, which changes from month to month.
Hulu’s library isn’t as robust as what Netflix or Amazon Video offer, and you’ll have to sit around watching ads on many of the shows, even if you pay more to skip the commercials. On the flip side, the service costs $ 8 a month on its own anyway, so an extra $ 32 for a full cable replacement service isn’t bad. Plus, Hulu helped bring season 4 of the British satirical comedy The Thick of It to the United States, which is a bonus.
Hulu with Live TV review: DVR
Cable replacements have a pretty mixed record when it comes to recording shows for later playback. Generally, they either get it right (YouTube TV) or leave it out completely (DirecTV Now). Hulu has one of the best DVR setups among these services, but to get the most out of it, you’ll have to shell out some extra money.
Setting your DVR options is extremely simple: If you watch a show or movie you want to watch, just add it to My Stuff and Hulu will automatically record it when it turns on. Movies will be recorded once; shows will record every episode Hulu can find. You get 50 hours of storage, and the newer shows automatically delete the older ones. There doesn’t seem to be any time limit on how long you can keep content. (YouTube TV lets you keep the content for nine months.)
The system works well, but it’s not as generous as YouTube TV’s unlimited DVR capabilities. For 200 hours of DVR content, you must pay an additional $ 15 per month. It may sound like a lot, but considering that you can share a Hulu account with Live TV between two people, 50 hours could go by quickly. Ultimately, it depends on how much you record and how long you want to keep those shows.
Hulu with Live TV review: video quality
Hulu has made great strides with its video quality over the past year. Like its competitors Amazon and Netflix, the streaming service now offers 4K video for its original series and select movies.
Most television stations broadcast at 720p; most movies on demand go up to 1080p. This is true whether they come via Hulu’s on-demand service, on-demand libraries from networks, or live streams. Although Hulu does not provide any simple method to measure the resolution of a video, you can set limits in case you are watching on a measured connection.
From what I observed, the videos achieved HD quality in 5 to 10 seconds on a home Wi-Fi network without obstacles. Live streams and DVR took slightly longer than Hulu and on-demand content from the net. It would be nice if Hulu could pre-cache some of this content, maybe what’s at the top of your list on My Feed? – but as it stands, it’s no worse than any other streaming service, and it’s actually better than some.
Hulu with Live TV Review: Conclusion
Hulu with Live TV is a serious competitor. The redesigned interface of the streaming service is beautiful and quite easy to navigate. You get a lot of interesting channels at a reasonable price. You get access to Hulu’s robust streaming library, as well as some pretty generous sharing and DVR options.
But the advertising situation still leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth and the interface could be a bit more streamlined. The extras cost a lot of money and I question their usefulness to most people.
While these aren’t petty concerns, they don’t detract too much from what is ultimately a very solid effort on Hulu’s part. As our Hulu with Live TV review has shown, the service is one of the top contenders for its dollar, as its original shows are unrivaled on Sling, YouTube TV, and the rest.