You might have heard of “cord-cutting”, the newest wrinkle in this age of digital TV. It generally refers to the act of disconnecting cable TV services in favor of other, cheaper TV streaming services. While there has been a significant rise in the number of cord-cutters, there’s still a large bevy of those who hold cable TV by their finger and haven’t been able to let go completely.
Since its inception, Hulu has launched several streaming service bombs at its audience, providing them with the best of content. Today, the company is revered as a strong competitor against Netflix(a known platform), with over 12 million subscribers. In case you’re not aware, Hulu now has a new weapon in its collection of entertainment ammunitions, called Hulu Live TV.
What is Hulu Live TV?
Baby boomers would know that Live TV is basically the traditional way of watching television in which the content can be viewed as its being aired. That means, unlike video-on-demand or other online streaming services, live TV offers real-time broadcast. Hulu’s Live TV service is the company’s attempt at luring those who love watching their favorite shows as its being telecasted but hate paying a high price for it at the same time.
Price and Availability
Hulu’s Live TV plan is priced at $38.99 per month which is actually an awesome deal if you compare it with cable TV plans and prices. You can check the updated Hulu price here. There’s also a 7-day free trial for you to try out this service and subscribe only once you’re completely convinced. As of now, this service is only available in the U.S. but Hulu plans to expand to other regions very soon. One can reach out Hulu customer support for any query regarding plan 7 pricing.
What Do You Get in the Package
At $38.99, you not only get to watch Live TV but also get an access to Hulu’s video-on-demand programming including popular shows like Seinfeld, The Handmaid’s Tale, South Park, and the Path. Plus, you also get add-on features such as over 50 hours of Cloud DVR and unlimited screens for simultaneous viewing.
There are about 50 Hulu Live channels offered in the Live TV plan including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, A&E, CNN, CNBC, Disney, Cartoon Network, ESPN, National Geographic, History Channel, Boomerang, Oxygen, Viceland, FX, FS1, FS2, etc. To boot, most of the content is available in HD and the channels load up within 2-3 seconds, augmenting the viewing experience.
Hulu’s services can be watched across a ream of devices including smartphones or tablets running on Android and iOS, laptops or desktops operated by Mac OS or Windows, media streaming players like Google Chromecast, Apple TV, and even gaming consoles like Xbox One. As per Hulu, more devices are coming soon on their catalog.
If you’ve been a Hulu subscriber for a while, you’ll notice that the streaming company has tweaked the existing interface in order to accommodate more TV categories. Since the interface has remained unchanged in like forever, this was a much-needed refurbishment that users have been finding quite delightful to use.
We love how colorful, easy, and efficient the new interface is with regards to new recommendations that’s carefully suggested in sync with the viewing history. The fonts are bigger, clearer, and more appealing compared to the old interface. Hulu has also ditched the green and white menu and moved over to a more attractive color scheme. The best part about its interface is that it is uniform across all platforms, unlike a few other services.
However, we did experience a few flaws as far as navigation is concerned. Once you’re deep into the system on some page categorized under a sub-menu, getting back to the main screen is a tall order.
Furthermore, Hulu’s new interface has a complex channel guide for Live TV programming. You have to go all the way to the top and keep scrolling down an expansive list of networks to see what’s being shown live. If you know what you want to watch, this wouldn’t bother you much but if you’re an average couch potato surfing channels randomly, this could be pretty bothersome.
Why Hulu’s Live TV Service is Better Than Others?
Live TV services such as Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and DirecTV are some of Hulu Live TV’s major rivals but Hulu sets itself apart in one big way. How do you ask? For starters, Hulu’s live TV service is bolstered by its comprehensive library of on-demand shows. Moreover, if you compare the offerings on other websites, you’ll realize that Hulu actually gives you more than other services.
For example, Sling TV offers only 30 channels at a price of $20/month whereas Hulu’s live TV plan includes 50 channels at $39.99 a month with much more premium content. This may not necessarily be cheaper but it’s surely more value for money.
As great a service as Hulu’s Live TV may be, it does come with its own set of drawbacks. Despite a wide range of TV networks under its wing, some of the most popular channels are missing. AMC, HBO, Viacom have somehow not made an appearance on Hulu Live TV bundle. This means that viewers will be missing out on hit shows like the Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and the Daily Show.
The lack of these channels on Hulu is surprising to a great extent because Sling TV and other streaming sites do offer either one or more of these channels in their package bundles. Although there are chances of Hulu adding these channels in the future, we can’t exactly be sure of when.
Additionally, Hulu’s base plan for Live TV offers 50 hours of DVR. If users need more, they’ll have to pay an extra $15 for 200 hours. Plus, the Showtime feature is charged at an extra cost of $9 per month. If you opt for most of these add-on bundles in addition to the base plan, the total monthly cost can go up to $75, which defeats the whole purpose of cutting the cable cord.
Even through all of the above-mentioned shortcomings in Hulu’s Live TV service, it does stand as a strong contender for cable TV. Most of the channels it offers will satiate the needs of a mediocre TV viewer who wants both, live TV as well as on-demand streaming. However, as Hulu’s new service lacks a few TV network biggies, we wouldn’t recommend ardent TV watchers to rely on it completely.
Also, let’s not forget that this service is still available in Beta, which means that the actual software may take some time to be published. All in all, it does offer a great value!