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Hulu + Live TV Review: Is it Worth the Price?

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Hulu + Live TV is the best live TV streaming service for families and other diverse households. It provides an excellent selection of 85+ live TV channels, the best on-demand library in the industry, and an amazing live sports service with ESPN+ and family/kid-oriented content with Disney+.

In a hurry? Get a complete entertainment service for just $76.99/mo including simultaneous streaming on virtually any device and an unlimited cloud DVR.

Try Hulu + Live TV for 3 Days Free!

Pros and Cons Of Hulu + Live TV

✔ On-demand library❌ Lack of league-specific networks
✔ Unlimited DVR❌ Limited RSN support
✔ ESPN+ & Disney+❌ Only 2 simultaneous screens

Hulu + Live TV Overview

Hulu + Live TV is really four different things packaged together:

  • Live TV: 85+ live TV channels. These include pretty much everything you expect from a cable TV package including all the local channels in your area.
  • On-Demand Library: This is what Hulu is known for and over 40 million people subscribe just for it. This library is by far the best in the industry when it comes to current TV shows although it also includes a substantial library of films and older shows. Finally, you get access to all Hulu Originals. (Black Friday details)
  • Disney+: One of the best on-demand streaming services and the go-to place for Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars films and shows.
  • ESPN+: Increasingly essential source for streaming live sports — especially when it comes to college games and soccer.

In addition to this extraordinary selection of content, Hulu + Live TV comes with an unlimited cloud DVR, so you can record as much live TV as you like and store it for up to 9 months. It also allows streaming on up to two devices at the same time.

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There are two options that most subscribers will want to consider. The first is Unlimited Screens. For an extra $9.99/mo, you can watch on as many devices as you like. This is a good thing to have if you have a large household. The two devices that come by default should be fine for smaller households.

For an extra $6/mo, you can get the No Ads version of the plan. This removes ads from the on-demand library. Note that there are still going to be ads with live TV channels. However, you can record shows on the included DVR and fast-forward through them.

There are other add-ons including premium channels that we discuss below.

See our complete channel lineup comparison with FuboTV and DIRECTV STREAM.

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Hulu BBC America
Hulu’s on-demand service offers BBC America programming.

What Channels Does Hulu + Live TV Have?

Hulu + Live TV comes with a wide range of channels from entertainment and movies, family, news, sports, and more. For a more thorough discussion, see our packages page.

Here are all the non-local live TV channels on Hulu + Live TV in alphabetical order:

In addition, Hulu + Live TV provides access to the following local affiliates when they are available:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • The CW
  • Fox
  • NBC
  • Telemundo.

For a full discussion of the channel lineup, see our Hulu + Live TV Packages article.

We also have a Hulu Live Local Channels Guide with all you need to know about network affiliates and regional sports networks (RSNs).

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ESPN+ on Hulu Live Guide
Live sports action on ESPN+

Stream Sports On Hulu + Live TV

The Hulu + Live TV plan has a good list of sports channels. You get immediate access to ESPN, ESPN2, and three other ESPN network channels. Additionally, it provides the important ESPN league channels ACC Network (ACCN) and SEC Network (SECN).

They also include CBS Sports Network (CBSSN), Fox Sports 1 (FS1), Fox Sports 2 (FS2), Big Ten Network (B1G), Golf Channel, NFL Network, and MotorTrend.

There is also a Sports add-on that provides NFL RedZone and a handful of other channels. See below.

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Regional Sports Networks on Hulu + Live TV

For fans of local MLB, NBA, NHL, and MLS channels, regional sports networks (RSNs) are critical. They allow you to watch pretty much every game of the season. So if you are up to it, you can watch almost all 162 games of your local major league team.

Hulu + Live TV provides access to SportsNet New York and all the NBC Sports RSNs: Bay Area, Boston, California, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington. This is a great addition to an already excellent streaming service.

Note, however, that you only get these regional sports channels if you are in their broadcast areas. This is not a limitation of Hulu; this is just how RSNs work.

If you want to know more about RSNs, see our Bally Sports Guide. It explains everything.

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Disney+ and ESPN+ Are Included with Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV includes both Disney+ and ESPN+. You can find out more about both:

By themselves, you’ll have more entertainment and sports programming than you could reasonably watch. But combined with Hulu’s on-demand library and 85+ live TV channels, you should be able to watch anything you’re interested in.

Add-Ons With Hulu + Live TV

The base Hulu + Live TV plan includes everything you would expect from a cable TV package plus lots that were unimaginable a couple of years ago. But you have various options for more.

Hulu’s Channel Packages

  • Premium Channels: HBO Max (7 channels for $14.99/mo), Cinemax (2 channels for $9.99/mo), Showtime (various channels for $10.99/mo), and Starz (5 channels for $8.99/mo).
  • Entertainment: Includes AHC, BET Her, CNBC World, Cooking Channel, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, Magnolia Network, Great American Family, Nicktoons, MTV2, MTV Classic, Science, and TeenNick for $7.99/mo.
  • Sports: Gets you NFL Redzone, MAVTV, Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, and both TVG channels for $9.99/mo.
  • Español: Includes CNN en Español, Discovery en Español, Discovery Familia, ESPN Deportes, Fox Deportes, History Channel en Español, and NBC Universo for $4.99/mo.

Hulu’s Tech Add-Ons

The basic Hulu + Live TV plan allows you to simultaneously stream on two screens. To watch live TV with Hulu on unlimited screens, you need to pay $9.99 extra.

Note: Previously, Hulu offered a cloud DVR add-on for $9.99/mo. This is no longer necessary since Hulu added an unlimited DVR to its base service.

When you purchase an unlimited screen add-on alongside premium channel bundles like HBO Max or Showtime, only five separate devices can stream from one account at-a-time (for those premium channels). Out of these devices, three can be away-from-home mobile devices.

Our Hulu + Live TV Packages Guide provides more information on all your add-on options.

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Hulu Live Performance and Experience

We signed up for the free 7-day trial (no longer available) of the Hulu + Live TV plan, and here’s what we found.

After you enter your personal details and billing information, you’re offered the add-ons we covered above. Then, you get a chance to personalize your Hulu account before you start streaming live channels.

The app is very slick and works well. Whether it’s useful features like picture-in-picture live TV or the simple account management options, it’s definitely easy to learn and use.

Perhaps the hundreds of categories of shows can be confusing, but that’s the gift and curse of customization.

Try Hulu + Live TV for 3 Days Free!

hulu picture in picture
Hulu Live’s picture-in-picture option.

Personalizing Your Hulu + Live TV Account

You can select what types of content you want to watch, like documentaries, or genres like Horror, Sci-Fi, or slow-burn drama, to name a few. Then, Hulu asks you to choose some specific movies and TV shows you might want to stream on-demand — these are added to your library of favorites.

Sports fans will be glad to know that Hulu + Live TV streamers can also select their favorite teams to watch live from six different sports leagues across five sports.

hulu live tv personalization
For our trial account, we chose to follow Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls.

Before you complete the sign-up, you also choose your favorite channels, which will appear in the My Stuff tab. As you complete the personalization process, Hulu will ask if you want to share your data with content providers — we said no.

hulu live tv my stuff dashboard
All of the personalized content, including favorite movies, TV shows, sports teams, and networks, are shown under a tab named My Stuff once you log in.

You can also toggle your Hulu dashboard between light and dark color schemes.

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Browsing and Navigation On Hulu + Live TV

The main dashboard greets you with a featured movie or TV show. As a Hulu + Live TV subscriber, you’ll then see rows of streamable content from both the live networks and the on-demand content library.

hulu live tv live channel guide
Live network guide for favorite channels under the Live tab.

You can choose from seven different tabs:

  • Home: The main directory of both on-demand content and live networks, recommended based on your favorites and general popularity. Here you can also carry on watching unfinished programs, and browse between funky categories like “Bingeable TV” and many more.
  • Live: A live network guide where channels are categorized by sports, news, movies, and kids channels. You can also view all available channels in a single list, or view your recently watched or favorite networks under a separate tab.
  • My Stuff: All the personalized content, including favorite movies, TV shows, sports teams, and networks are shown under this tab. Any of your favorites that are set to be taken down from the Hulu streaming library appear under an “Expiring” row — this is pretty useful.
  • TV: A directory of TV shows split into 35+ browsable categories. You can navigate by clicking on a category, which then shows you even more categories of live, upcoming, popular, and various sub-categories of the types of networks you want to watch. The categories are useful if a bit overwhelming.
  • Movies: Similarly laid out to the TV tab, categories on categories, along with featured movies in the foreground.
  • Sports: A directory of all the current live sports shown on Hulu as well as upcoming sports games categorized by leagues like MLB and NHL. You can also see a row of all sports networks offered by Hulu + Live TV.
  • Hub: This is Hulu’s unique section for its Hulu Originals and FX on Hulu series. You can watch original shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and Little Fires Everywhere, or go with FX on Hulu and watch shows like Dave, Breeders, and A Teacher. The Hub tab also shows all available channels below the featured original and FX streams.
hulu live tv category browsing
Category browsing screen under the TV Shows tab.

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Hulu’s Useful Live Streaming Features

Here are some features that stand out from the live-streaming experience on Hulu + Live TV:

  • Picture-In-Picture: Hulu allows you to minimize streams and carry on wandering in the browser/app. We opened a stream and then went back to the browsing screen, but the stream stayed open. We carried on browsing while watching the show, even when we switched between different tabs within the Hulu website.
  • Carry-on-Demand: We began to watch a live episode of Rick & Morty on Adult Swim East, and Hulu then suggested that we keep watching the episode in its on-demand version at the time where we left off. This is cool.
hulu live tv picture-in-picture
This is what picture-in-picture browsing looks like — the black screen is censored as we can’t show live content in a screenshot.
  • Stream Settings: You can set video quality as well as the autoplay function. When available, you can set audio preferences and subtitles. The subtitles can be customized in font, color, and size.
  • DVR Management: When you record a live show, the DVR manager can be accessed through My Stuff > Manage DVR. Here you’ll see a visual presentation of what you’ve recorded over the last 9 months.
Once you start to record content to your DVR, you can manage it with a visual dashboard.

Hulu’s live TV features are practical, especially the picture-in-picture mode, since you can roam your Hulu dashboard freely while watching live TV on the same screen.

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Account Management On Hulu + Live TV

hulu live tv account management
The account management screen for Hulu + Live TV customers.

The account overview section shows you the following billing and subscription info:

  • Upcoming Charges: The amount and date you’ll be charged next.
  • Base Plan & Add-Ons: The base plan, it’s cost, and any channel add-ons you’ve selected like HBO Max, Starz, Showtime, and Cinemax and technical add-ons like Unlimited Screens.
  • Payment Info: Manage your payment method and use any gift codes.
  • Pause or Cancel: Take a break or cancel your plan entirely.
  • Personal Settings & Devices: Manage your personal data as well as active devices.

The account page is clutter-free and simple to manage.

Creating User Profiles on Hulu + Live TV

Under your Account > Profiles, you can create a new streaming profile to customize by clicking “Add Profile.”

  1. Give the profile a name
  2. Choose whether you want the content to have an active child filter for kid-friendly programs only
  3. Enter your date of birth
  4. Select “Create Profile.”

Then you can customize the profile for someone else, or just let them do it.

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Hulu + Live TV Technical Specifications

Anyone who subscribes to the Hulu + Live TV plan is opting in for the following specs:

  • Available Resolutions: SD (480p), HD (720p, 1080p), Ultra HD (4K)
  • Frames-per-second (FPS): 60 fps

Note that 4K streaming is only available on selected on-demand shows, while live TV channels have a maximum resolution capacity of either 720 or 1080 pixels.

Hulu + Live TV’s performance and speed also depend on the device you stream on, since each device has its own performance peak and capacity. See the list of supported devices, or refer to Hulu.com for the exact supported models.

Hulu’s Internet Speed Requirements

When you stream live TV or recorded content with Hulu, your recommended internet connection depends on the type of content.

Also, the higher the resolution, the more internet bandwidth you need. Hulu’s official internet speed recommendations per content type are as follows:

  • Hulu’s Streaming Library – 3.0+ Mbps
  • Live streams – 8.0+ Mbps
  • 4K streams – 16+ Mbps

When you stream on Hulu, you can also select a “Data Saver” mode at the expense of higher resolutions.

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Hulu’s Unlimited Cloud DVR Storage

Hulu’s live TV plan comes with unlimited cloud DVR storage included in the monthly price of $76.99/mo.

The Hulu + Live TV plan allows you to pre-record multiple shows on your DVR, and stream those recordings on any supported device.

The only downside of this unlimited cloud DVR (and this is true of all such plans, not just Hulu’s) is that it is time-limited. You can record as much as you like, but after 9 months, it is deleted.

This means that if there is something you want to share for years to come, you need to move it someplace permanent.

Unlimited cloud DVR storage is certainly easy. And many people prefer it. We prefer set amounts. For example, FuboTV gives you 750 hours of storage, but it lasts forever.

Hulu + Live TV Streaming Devices

Hulu subscribers can stream live TV or on-demand content from Hulu’s library with over 20 types of devices. All Hulu plans allow simultaneous streams from two devices at-a-time. With the Live TV plan, you can upgrade to streams on unlimited devices for $9.99 with an add-on.

For the exact device model numbers, refer to our Hulu + Live TV Device Guide.

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Smart TVs and Displays That Work With Hulu + Live TV

  • Amazon Echo Show
  • Android TV-enabled TVs
  • LG TVs
  • Samsung TVs
  • VIZIO SmartCast TVs.

Mobile Devices That Hulu Supports

  • Android
  • Amazon Fire Tablet
  • iOS (iPhones/iPads)

Gaming Systems For Streaming Hulu + Live TV

  • Nintendo Switch
  • PlayStation 4/5
  • Xbox One

Other Devices and Boxes For Hulu

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku
  • Xfinity Flex

Hulu + Live TV can also be viewed on all the major web browsers.

You can watch on-demand content only with Hulu on the following:

  • Contour Stream Player
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xfinity X1

You can add or remove devices from your list of approved devices by heading to “Account” > “Manage Your Devices.”

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Hulu + Live TV Alternatives

For some of us, $76.99/mo is a whole day’s work, so we want to know what we’re paying for. One way to get an idea of the value you’re getting is to compare Hulu + Live TV’s offer to similarly priced live TV streaming services.

We choose to compare Hulu’s live service with DIRECTV STREAM and FuboTV because both cost the same and are contract-free. Note that these are the basic plans compared, and add-ons are available for all three.

Free Trial✔ (7 days)✔ (5 days)
Free Cancellation
Phone Support
Live Chat Support
Ad-Free Streaming*$
Fast Forward Ads*
Cloud DVR StorageUnlimited1,000 hoursUnlimited
Cloud DVR Storage Length9 monthsUnlimited9 months
Available Resolutions480p
Frames Per Second (FPS)Up to 60Up to 60Up to 60
Min Internet Speed**8.0+ Mbps7.0+ Mbps8.0+ Mbps
*On-demand and DVR content only. **Recommended internet speeds by each provider.

There are other services worth considering. YouTube TV ($72.99/mo) is the streaming service most like Hulu + Live TV but with nothing close to its on-demand content.

If price is a major concern, Sling TV offers two different streaming plans for $40.00/mo each with many low-cost add-ons available.

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What’s Missing on Hulu Live?

Some other streaming services outshine Hulu + Live TV in a few areas.

Some sports channels like the MLB Network, NBA TV, and NHL Network are missing, although Hulu Live does have the entire ESPN suite available, including ESPN College Extra. Besides, plenty of MLB, NFL, and NBA games are still streamed on Hulu live.

Hulu + Live TV also doesn’t provide AMC. But for most things, you could sign-up for AMC+, which is an amazing deal.

The two-screen capacity on multi-screen streaming is a downside since Hulu + Live TV’s broad channel categories make it an ideal choice for roommates or families. But two devices are probably good enough most of the time, and if not, you can upgrade to unlimited screens for $9.99/mo more.

Wrapping Up

Hulu + Live TV is hard to beat. Adding 85+ live TV channels to its outstanding on-demand library was always a good deal. But the inclusion of ESPN+ and Disney+ makes it irresistible. Its only real downside is that it doesn’t have many options for more exotic channels.

Try Hulu + Live TV for 3 Days Free!

More Information on Hulu + Live TV


Is Hulu Live good for the NFL playoffs?

Hulu + Live TV is a great streaming service for NFL football fans that allows you to stream NFL games from preseason through regular season and all the postseason — up to and including the Super Bowl. It provides all the channels you need to watch every NFL playoff game: CBS, ESPN, Fox, and NBC.

Things are a bit more complicated for regular season games, but that’s an issue with the NFL, not Hulu. You can watch NFL matchups on Sunday afternoons that air on your local CBS and Fox stations. Plus you can watch Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, and other special matchups like the International and Thanksgiving games.

The one thing you will miss during the NFL season is Thursday Night Football. That’s because it is only available through Amazon Prime Video. This is an issue with every streaming, cable, and satellite provider. But since most people already subscribe to Prime, this isn’t usually an issue.

Does Hulu + Live TV have a free trial?

Hulu + Live TV used to offer a free 7-day trial. But it no longer does. It does still offer a 30-day free trial for its on-demand plan. But even its on-demand bundle comes with no free trial. We figure they just don’t see the necessity. Hulu is a known quantity and their more advanced plans are such great deals, there is no point.

It’s possible that Hulu + Live TV will bring back its free trial. But experience suggests not. For example, last Black Friday, Hulu offered a great deal on a year of its on-demand plan. But nothing for its live TV plan. But we will alert you if this ever changes!

Why is Hulu + Live TV so expensive?

Live TV streaming is simply a lot more expensive than on-demand streaming. But Hulu + Live TV costs roughly what the competition does and offers a lot in return. Still, it used to be cheaper. Hulu raised the price of the Live TV plan from $54.99 to $64.99 in 2020, without offering much additional value for money. In 2021, they raised it again to $76.99/mo, but with the substantial addition of ESPN+ and Disney+.

Can I watch Hulu + Live TV ad-free?

Yes, you can watch on-demand content ad-free with the Hulu + Live TV plan for an additional $6 dollars on top of the $76.99/mo monthly subscription price. The ad-free live TV plan is listed on Hulu as the Hulu + Live TV (No Ad) plan. This allows you to watch and download ad-free streaming library content — it does not apply to live TV shows.

What internet speed is needed for Hulu + Live TV?

Hulu recommends minimum internet connection speeds based on the content you stream, and for Hulu + Live TV, the service provider recommends a minimum bandwidth of 8.0 Mbps. For the minimum internet speed recommendations to stream library content or 4K streams, see this technical specification review of Hulu + Live TV.

Why does Hulu keep buffering?

Sometimes users experience buffering problems with live-streaming services like Hulu + Live TV — this is because the data transfer is too slow. If your internet speed is fine and you’ve tested your connection speed, it might also be that Hulu is sending the data slower than needed. Hulu has close to 40 million users, so the servers may be overloaded at times. Check with technical support.

Why am I not getting my local channels on Hulu live?

Hulu states that live local and regional sports networks are available subject to your location. If you can’t stream a particular live sports channel, you may be outside the required location. You may also experience this on the move. To see what you can and can’t stream from your location with Hulu + Live TV, go to Hulu’s website and use the location checker to see access requirements.

How does Hulu determine your local channels?

Not all areas have the same local affiliates. Hulu must contract with the available stations. Hulu + Live TV offers national, regional, and local TV channels that are determined by the streamer’s location. As an online service provider, Hulu has access to your IP address, and so your location. This is how they restrict and free up access to the applicable TV channels in your locality.

How many devices can Hulu + Live TV be used on simultaneously?

The Hulu + Live TV plan allows two simultaneous screens to stream separate shows on a single Hulu account. This is true for both the $76.99/mo live TV and the ad-free live TV plans. Hulu offers an add-on for $9.99 where users can stream unlimited screens at once on a single account. See our device guide for details.

Does Hulu have original content?

Yes, Hulu offers original shows and movies to its subscribers. The exclusive content includes The Handmaid’s Tale, The Kardashians, Little Fires Everywhere, and Marvel’s Runaways. Besides, they have great original movies like Prey, The United States vs. Billie Holiday, among others.

What is the difference between Hulu and Hulu + Live TV?

Roughly speaking there are two kinds of Hulu plans. There is Hulu itself, which is an on-demand service like Netflix with pricing from $7.99/mo up to $19.99/mo. Built on top of this is Hulu + Live TV, which is exactly that: the base Hulu bundle with the addition of 85+ live TV channels. Its price starts at $76.99/mo.

(No Ads)
+ Live TV
+ Live TV
(No Ads)
Ad-Free Streaming Library
Download On-Demand Content
85+ Live TV Channels
Unlimited Cloud DVR

The basic Hulu plan gives access to the on-demand streaming library for $7.99/mo. The no-ad version costs $12.99/mo. The Hulu bundle adds ESPN+ and Disney+ on top of these for $7/mo more. See our Hulu On-Demand Review for details and find out if it is worth it.

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Frank Moraes
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