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Published On: Sat, Sep 30th, 2017

Hulu with Live TV can help you cut the cord for good

Cutting the cord has never been easier thanks to online streaming TV options. Both Sling TV and FuboTV provide great alternatives for replicating a traditional TV viewing experience on a streaming device, but Hulu offers something a little different. You still get great streaming live TV, but you also get access to Hulu’s deep catalog and an app that learns what you like and recommends programs to you. Here’s everything you need to know about Hulu live TV.

What is Hulu with Live TV?

Hulu with Live TV is exactly what it sounds like: Hulu’s traditional on-demand streaming service with the bonus of live TV channels. Combining the best parts of Hulu and cable television, without having to negotiate with a cable company, Hulu with Live TV provides a great middle ground for people transitioning into cord-cutting. The only catch is that its menus take a little bit of getting used to.

The service comes with 50 plus channels, with the final number mainly depending on where you live. We tested the service in Los Angeles and had nine local channels in addition to everything included with the basic package. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, by contrast, you would get four local channels. You can check on Hulu’s website what is available in your zip code.

Hulu with Live TV also brings additional on-demand options to the traditional Hulu service. For example, with the standard Hulu package, you can only stream the first two seasons of Rick and Morty. However, on Hulu with Live, you can currently stream every aired episode of the current season in beautiful HD. What shows and events each network are streaming on-demand depend on the networks, but the added content takes some of the sting out of Live’s cost.

Photo via Hulu

How does Hulu live TV work?

Unlike its competitor Sling TV, Hulu’s live TV interface doesn’t have a traditional grid showing you what’s playing at any given moment. Going to the Live menu will show you what’s playing, but the listings are ordered based on the shows and networks you tend to watch the most. That can be annoying if you like just flipping between channels to discover new content, but Hulu also offers a quick guide to let you channel surf during commercials: By pressing up on your remote, you can bring up a “more to watch” menu that shows you what other shows are currently on.

Hulu’s “based on what you like” system takes some getting used to, but the app does a great job of getting to know you. When you first log into the service,  Hulu asks what channels and shows you like the most, and as you watch more, it molds your listings based on your viewing habits.

The basic subscription allows two people to watch on two separate screens at once.

Photo via Hulu

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Hulu Live TV devices

Hulu with Live TV works with Roku, Apple TV, Google ChromecastAmazon Fire TV, select smart TVs, as well as Apple and Android devices, and the Xbox One and Xbox 360.

The streaming quality is solid. I watched on both a 55-inch 4K TV using the Xbox One Hulu app, on Roku, and on an iPhone SE. In each case, live TV looked good. When streaming live, channels vary between 720p and 1080p. On-demand content is remarkably sharper, living up to Hulu’s standard streaming content. Interestingly, while the picture quality was never particularly mind-blowing on live TV, I never once experienced buffering, with the exception of on a few ads.

Photo via Roku

Hulu with Live TV channels

Hulu’s Live TV option only comes with one package, but it’s an impressive lineup. Food Network, Nat Geo, TNT, and the Travel Channel are all included, along with lesser-known gems like the horror channel Chiller and Viceland. You can expect the same channels as a standard basic cable package with a few glaring exceptions. Viacom is out, so you don’t get Comedy Central, MTV, Spike, or Nickelodeon, which could be a deal-breaker. In addition, AMC is not included, so you’ll have to get you’ll have to watch The Walking Dead season 8 elsewhere.

Hulu offers the widest range of news options, letting you switch between Fox, MSNBC, or CNN to see what the different sides are arguing. While FuboTV has more sports options, Hulu comes with 12 separate sports channels, including ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3, and ESPN U. Without any add-ons, Hulu has the most complete package of channels around. Here’s a look at what comes with it.

Photo via Hulu

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Hulu Live TV cost

Hulu with Live TV costs $39.99 for 50-plus channels of sports, news, and entertainment. Your subscription includes access to Hulu’s streaming service as well as extra on-demand content, with the added bonus of getting access to Hulu Limited Commercials. After the extra ads that come from live streaming TV, it’s nice to get a break during on-demand content.

Hulu also offers a $15 a month “unlimited screens” add-on that lets an unlimited number of people stream over a Wi-Fi connection or up to three people to stream at once on mobile.

An Enhanced Cloud DVR option is also available for an extra $14.99 a month, giving you 200 hours of Cloud DVR recording and the ability to fast-forward through commercials on your recordings.

Screengrab via Hulu

Hulu Live TV vs Sling TV 

Choosing between Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV is a difficult proposition that mostly depends on your needs. Hulu costs $39.99 a month. That’s $20 more than Sling Blue and $14 more than Sling Orange, or the same price as Sling Orange + Blue, which you’ll need if you want to watch ESPN. And if you want MSNBC on Sling TV, you have to buy a “news” add-on. But Sling TV does have big names like Disney (ESPN) and Viacom (Comedy Central/MTV/etc.) that add tremendous value. 

Either way, if you’re looking for a complete package, you’re going to be paying close to $40. You might as well get the most for your money, and Hulu live TV includes the service’s on-demand library. 

Photo via Etaphop photo/Shutterstock (Licensed) Remix by Jason Reed

Is Hulu Live TV worth it?

Hulu’s live TV is a delightful molding of live broadcasting and a traditional streaming experience, but it’s far from perfect. Learning its menu system can take a little bit of time, especially if you’ve just recently made the switch from cable to streaming. However, if you’ve been using Hulu as your primary viewing option for a while, the user experience is quick to pick up.

If you can afford $40 a month and don’t mind learning a new system, Hulu with Live TV is the best option on the market for streaming live TV. Hulu has the most channels, great on-demand options, and comes with a standard Hulu subscription. Each service has its charms, but at the moment Hulu is the killer app.

Read more: http://www.dailydot.com/

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Hulu with Live TV can help you cut the cord for good