Hulu Plus – Is It Worth the Extra Cost?

Hulu Plus

$7.99 / month
9

Overall

9.0/10

Strengths

  • Vast library of Hulu Originals, other programming
  • Cheaper than Netflix & Amazon Prime
  • Live TV Option is comparably priced
  • One month free trial

Weaknesses

  • No free option available

HOOOOOLOOOOOO…. what a weird name for a streaming service.

But I remember the Super Bowl ad featuring Alec Baldwin showing Hulu as this vast government conspiracy.

It was really hokey but I remembered it. I guess that’s the point!

And for a while, I used to watch a lot of shows on Hulu. It was easy, I could keep my watchlists, and it was also free.

But then they took away the free and I’d largely forgotten about the service. Today, I’m a Netflix and Amazon Prime watcher until I saw an add for Castle Rock. Castle Rock is one of Hulu’s Originals and is based on the characters from some of Stephen King’s stories. It’s a fascinating idea and a collaboration between King and J.J. Abrams, one of my favorite directors and producers, so I took another look at what Hulu was doing.

The story is a fascinating concept… but only available on Hulu.

And Hulu is a lot different now.

Table of Contents
  1. What is Hulu?
  2. Hulu vs. Hulu Plus
  3. How Much is Hulu?
  4. Hulu Disney Plus Bundle
  5. Hulu Originals
  6. Hulu with Live TV

🔃Updated January 2023 with new monthly prices and features.

What is Hulu?

Launched in 2008, Hulu is a streaming video service that is a joint venture with Disney, 21st Century Fox, Comcast (by way of NBCUniversal), and AT&T (by way of WarnerMedia). AT&T owns 10% while each of the other partners owns 30% each.

It started as a free service but Hulu Plus was added in mid-2010 as a paid subscription. With Hulu Plus, you still had commercials and advertising but got access to more content, including access to the content from the current season of a show plus the show’s entire library.

Much like Netflix and Amazon, Hulu has its own library of content that is available only on Hulu.

Hulu vs. Hulu Plus

When Hulu first launched, you could watch streaming shows for free. There are a few commercials but it was free so you expected there to be ads.

Eventually, they introduced Hulu Plus. Hulu Plus was free Hulu but you now had access to a much larger library and “limited” commercials.

Today, Hulu (free) as a standalone service plan no longer exists. You cannot watch anything for free on Hulu.

In fact, they no longer refer to Hulu and Hulu Plus – it’s all Plus. For the sake of this article, we’ll still refer to Hulu Plus as a name because that’s what most people are familiar with. You can no longer watch anything on Hulu without getting a subscription.

How Much is Hulu?

Hulu Plus has two main plans and then two (No Ads) versions of those plans:

  • Hulu – $7.99 per month
  • Hulu (No Ads) – $14.99 per month
  • Hulu Bundle Trio Basic – $12.99 per month
  • Hulu Bundle Trio Premium – $19.99 per month
  • Hulu + Live TV – $69.99 per month

The Base Plan is $7.99 a month, making it cheaper than Netflix ($9.99/mo for the Basic HD plan) and Amazon Prime ($139/year), and comes with a free trial. The $5.99 per month plan has limited commercials. Turning off Ads is an Add-on that makes it $14.99 a month.

They is also a special bundle where you can get Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+ (Disney Bundle Trio Basic) for $12.99 a month. Ad-free version (Premium) is $19.99 a month. No trial is available for this.

Then there’s the Hulu + Live TV, which is $69.99 per month and there’s a 7-day trial.

If you want to watch anything on Hulu, you’ll have to buy the subscription.

They also offer add-on premium packages and you can add these to any plan:

  • HBO: +$14.99
  • Cinemax: +$9.99
  • Showtime: +$10.99
  • Starz: +$8.99

Here are technology features you can add onto your package:

  • Enhanced Cloud DVR: +$9.99
  • Unlimited screens: +$9.99
  • Enhanced Cloud DVR & Unlimited Screens: +$14.98
  • Español Add-On: +$4.99
  • Entertainment Add-On: $+7.99

Hulu Disney Plus Bundle

The most interesting package was one that was added most recently because it includes Disney+. They’ve decided to package Disney+ and ESPN+ into Hulu and charge a flat $12.99 a month. If you’re wondering why this package includes ESPN, it is a Disney owned network.

Disney+ on its own is only $7.99 a month (7-day trial), so this gives you Hulu and ESPN+ for just an additional $5 a month… which is the price of the Base Plan.

Effectively, you get ESPN+ for free.

Are you trying to add Disney Plus to your existing Hulu account?

You’ll want to go into your Disney Plus account and click on your profile icon in the upper right. Then tap Account and look under the Subscription section. There, you will see the option to switch to the Disney bundle.

If you used a different email, you’ll need to change your Disney Plus email. It’s also under Account, go there and look for Change email.

Hulu Originals

Hulu has an extensive list of original programming, much like Netflix and Amazon, as well as continuations of shows that were otherwise canceled like The Mindy Project (the first three were on Fox and the last three were on Hulu).

The Handmaid’s Tale is the most decorated of its original shows, having one a slew of awards including (as of 2019):

  • 2018 Peabody Award
  • 2018 Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama
  • 2017, 2018 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series to Elisabeth Moss
  • 2017 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series to Ann Dowd
  • 2017 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series
  • and a whole lot more…

The awards are quite extensive for that show and they aren’t the only ones.

Other programs include Casual, Difficult People, Future Man, Freakish, Harlots, Chance, East Los High, Runaways, and The Path – just to name a few.

Hulu more than holds its own in the original programming department!

Hulu with Live TV

There’s also a (relatively) new service, called Hulu with Live TV, in beta. Hulu with Live TV is essentially live television plus the entire Hulu streaming library. The monthly cost of Hulu with Live TV is a whopping $39.99 per month for two screens and 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage.

It has 50+ channels – ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, A&E, BTN, Boomerang, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CBS Sports Network, cheddar, CNBC, CNN, the CW, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, E!, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, Bases Loaded, ESPN Goal Line, Food Network, Fox Business, Fox News, FS1, FS2, Freeform, FX, FXM, fyi, Golf, HGTV, History Channel, HLN, Lifetime, Lifetime Movies, MSNBC, National Geographic, National Geographic Wild, NBCSN, Olympic Channel (btw, ever wonder how much Olympic athletes make?), Oxygen, Pop, SEC Network, Smithsonian Channel, SyFy, TBS, TCM, Telemundo, TNT, Travel Channel, TruTV, Universal, USA, Viceland, and more.

Check local channel availability as it may not match the national lineup

The Live TV offering is very much similar to SlingTV and other competitors. The price point is about the same too, with SlingTV’s Orange (lowest) package clocking in at $25/month, and SlingTV doesn’t have a library of syndicated and original content.

Hulu with Live TV works on practically every device you can think of – your computer, Apple devices (iPhone, iPad), Android devices, Roku, FireTV devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, XBox, Samsung TVs, LG TVs, and even the Nintendo Switch.

Get a free month of Hulu Plus

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools, everything I use) is Empower Personal Dashboard, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Deb Smyth
5 years ago

Hi Jim,

If I understand correctly, live programming contains ads that can not be avoided by using Cloud DVR storage and fast forwarding through them with Hulu’s basic ad-free service + live TV. Yet there is an upgrade they call Enhanced Cloud storage that implies (not clear) the ads on those recorded live shows can be fast forwarded. I’ve been unable to get clarification on that from the many sites visited today. If you can answer that question I’d be most grateful.

Joe Cabrera
4 years ago
Reply to  Deb Smyth

What happened to my AMC? Changed my roku to a firestick and the AMC now says you need a subscription. I believed AMC was included in the hulu plus programming.

Maureen
5 years ago

I’m a Yankee fan, Hulu is great an I get Yes service for Yankee games. But when
Local channel like WPIX shows Yankees I’m not getting it. Because it’s one channel Hulu doesn’t carry. What can I do?

Debbie
5 years ago
Reply to  Jim Wang

Do I pay $5.99 per TV in my house?

Glenn
4 years ago
Reply to  Jim Wang

Jim,
Thanks for your article. One question on the “unlimited screens for $9.99”. Does this mean all of our phones, TVs, computers in one household account for this price.

Best regards,
Glenn

Paige Rachal
5 years ago

I would like to talk to someone about Hulu .. can I get a email with a good number to contact

Gail Martin
5 years ago

Good Evening!
I am thinking about signing up for live tv Hulu. We have 4 TVs. How does that work?

Thanks so much

Pissy
5 years ago

Hello, I watch the tennis channel, can I get this on Hulu, if so how?

Buford D.Palmer
5 years ago

Do hulu have the golf Channel.

Roger
5 years ago

How many TVs can I run on one account

Dot
4 years ago
Reply to  Roger

We had Hulu for 30 days and they tell us we can’t have the live TV option now because out internet comes from a wireless network and is considered a hotspot. It works fine and we really like the service. What a bummer. Not sure what we will be left with.

Maryann
4 years ago

Is there a program guide available for Hulu? I live in the Phoenix area.

Patricia Shaffer
4 years ago

I can have several screens on my service I have now ….. but my son who doesn‘t reside with me is using one of my screens 。…….. I was told that with Hulu + Live unlimited screens …… they can‘t use the Live feature on any screen used outside the house…… but that would make my laptop not work, my phone, or my tablet if that is true …… Is this true ?

Frank
4 years ago

You can only watch Hulu Live on a TV in your house. Your tablet, phone, etc. will work anywhere. Just got off the phone with Hulu and they explained that to me.

Anthony
4 years ago

Hulu is on an Ad campaign for live sports, yet they do not have NFL network. Fail.

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