Netflix vs. Hulu

Netflix is the original streaming king, but can it keep Hulu from stealing the crown?

netflix logo
  • Outstanding original shows and movies
  • Multiple pricing tiers
  • No live TV
hulu logo
  • Excellent streaming quality
  • Unlimited DVR
  • Higher subscription costs

The Bottom Line

Netflix offers top-tier original shows and movies and a frequently updated library, making it perfect for viewers who like on-demand entertainment and lots of it. But it has no live TV and the revolving door of popular shows might prove frustrating for some.

Hulu shines in the TV department, with rapidly updated episodes and a live TV option. It’s affordably priced and also offers its own stellar original programs. The downside is frequent commercials that can sour the experience, and you have to pay to get rid of them.

netflix logohulu logo

Price

$8.99–$15.99/mo.

Price

$5.99–$50.99/mo.

Live Channel Count

N/A

Live Channel Count

60+

On-Demand Content

Yes

On-Demand Content

Yes

Resolution/Quality

Up to 4K Ultra HD

Resolution/Quality

Up to 1080p Full HD

Simultaneous Streaming

Up to 4

Simultaneous Streaming

Up to 2 included (unlimited with add-on)

Cloud DVR Storage

N/A

Cloud DVR Storage

Up to 200 hrs.

Start Your Free TrialStart Your Free Trial
netflix logo

Price

$8.99–$15.99/mo.

hulu logo

Price

$5.99–$50.99/mo.

netflix logo

Live Channel Count

N/A

hulu logo

Live Channel Count

60+

netflix logo

On-Demand Content

Yes

hulu logo

On-Demand Content

Yes

netflix logo

Resolution/Quality

Up to 4K Ultra HD

hulu logo

Resolution/Quality

Up to 1080p Full HD

netflix logo

Simultaneous Streaming

Up to 4

hulu logo

Simultaneous Streaming

Up to 2 included (unlimited with add-on)

netflix logo

Cloud DVR Storage

N/A

hulu logo

Cloud DVR Storage

Up to 200 hrs.

netflix logoStart Your Free Trial
hulu logoStart Your Free Trial
 

Packages and Pricing

Free Trials

Both Netflix and Hulu offer lengthy free trials so you can take them for a test drive before committing.

  • Netflix offers a one-month free trial on all its plans, no commitment required. Just remember to cancel before the month is up—otherwise you’ll be automatically billed.
  • Hulu offers a one-month free trial on its standard on-demand packages, and a one-week free trial on the Hulu + Live TV service.

The best part about streaming providers is that contracts just aren’t much of a thing. Even when you do subscribe, you can always change your mind. You have to commit just one month at a time.

Netflix Packages

PricingResolutionMultiple StreamsLivestreaming
Basic$8.99/mo.SD only1No
Standard $12.99/mo.Up to 1080p HD2No
Premium$15.99/mo.Up to 4K Ultra HD4No
Basic
Pricing$8.99/mo.
ResolutionSD only
Multiple Streams1
LivestreamingNo
Standard
Pricing $12.99/mo.
ResolutionUp to 1080p HD
Multiple Streams2
LivestreamingNo
Premium
Pricing$15.99/mo.
ResolutionUp to 4K Ultra HD
Multiple Streams4
LivestreamingNo

Data effective 11/5/19. Offers and availability subject to change.

Netflix offers three service tiers. All three get you access to the full Netflix library. The differences are in the maximum resolution and how many devices you can use simultaneously.

You can stream on just one device with the Basic plan—and only in standard definition, no HD. For that reason, we’d skip the Basic tier, unless you like the low price more than a better picture.

The Standard tier adds HD resolution and a second device, so you and another person can stream at the same time. This is the best deal for most people.

Finally, Premium brings the resolution up to 4K and the simultaneous devices up to four, so it could be good for large families who want a sweet picture.

Hulu Packages

PricingResolutionMultiple StreamsLivestreaming
Hulu$5.99/mo.Up to 1080p2No
Hulu (No Ads)$11.99/mo.Up to 1080p2No
Hulu + Live TV$44.99/mo.Up to 1080p2Yes
Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV$50.99/mo.Up to 1080p2Yes
Hulu
Pricing$5.99/mo.
ResolutionUp to 1080p
Multiple Streams2
LivestreamingNo
Hulu (No Ads)
Pricing$11.99/mo.
ResolutionUp to 1080p
Multiple Streams2
LivestreamingNo
Hulu + Live TV
Pricing$44.99/mo.
ResolutionUp to 1080p
Multiple Streams2
LivestreamingYes
Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV
Pricing$50.99/mo.
ResolutionUp to 1080p
Multiple Streams2
LivestreamingYes

Data effective 11/5/19. Offers and availability subject to change.

The basic Hulu plan gets you the on-demand streaming library for just $5.99, which is a great price. There’s a catch though: you’ll get commercials. If you’re not a fan of commercials, you can remove them for an additional $6.00 per month with Hulu (No Ads). Spoiler alert: it’s totally worth it.

Hulu + Live TV is also a sweet deal. It includes the entire Hulu on-demand streaming library along with a selection of live channels. And if you don’t like commercial breaks every few minutes, upgrade to the Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV.

You should also know that, unlike Netflix, all Hulu plans stream in HD (1080p), so you can take full advantage of your TV’s high resolution with a smooth picture. Many Hulu Originals can be watched in 4K Ultra HD.

 

TV Shows and Movies

Original Series

Netflix and Hulu doubled down on original programming, and both services crank out hits like nobody’s business. No matter what type of shows you’re into, you shouldn’t have any problem finding some great originals to watch with both providers.

Netflix Originals

Netflix pours millions of dollars into creating Netflix Originals, and it’s resulted in some of the most popular shows in the business:

  • House of Cards
  • Stranger Things
  • The Haunting of Hill House
  • Black Mirror
  • Orange Is the New Black
  • Making a Murderer

The Most Popular Netflix Show in Each State for 2019

The average Netflix user watches about two hours of content per day. (High five if you also just found out you’re above average.) Everyone has different tastes, of course, but some shows are too good—or too ingrained in pop culture—to miss.

Did you watch your state’s most popular Netflix show in 2019?

Netflix show popularity map

America’s most popular Netflix show in 2019 was The Umbrella Academy.

Premiering in February 2019, The Umbrella Academy was watched by 45 million households within the first four weeks. And it was the most googled Netflix show in 15 states for 2019.

Comic adaptations were also popular choices in last year’s report, when 19 states’ favorite shows were based on comics or graphic novels. Many of those shows (RIP Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Daredevil) were cancelled in 2018, which let The Umbrella Academy swoop in to fill that niche when the Marvel properties jumped ship.

Orange Is the New Black finished strong.

Orange Is the New Black has been one of the most successful Netflix originals since its debut in 2013. The show’s final season released in July, so it’s no surprise that it was this year’s second-most popular show.

Orange Is the New Black claimed the honor of being 11 states’ most popular Netflix show in 2019. Two of these states—West Virginia and Michigan—also favored the show last year (and it’s been the most searched Netflix show in West Virginia three years in a row).

We’re creepin’ it real with Black Mirror, The Haunting of Hill House, and Stranger Things.

Black Mirror and The Haunting of Hill House were the most popular Netflix shows in eight and six states, respectively.

Stranger Things—despite dropping its most popular season to date in July 2019—was repped as the favorite only in Utah, where it has been the most popular Netflix show for the past three years. What can we say? Utahns know what they like, and what they like is sci-fi mixed with ’80s nostalgia and government conspiracies (and Suzie).

How We Ranked the Shows

Our team at HighSpeedInternet.com compiled a list of the most popular shows on Netflix in 2019. We narrowed the list down to the top 11 shows with the highest search volume this year and then used Google Trends to find and rank each state’s most searched Netflix show.

Hulu Originals

Although not as prolific as Netflix, Hulu also has several majorly successful originals:

  • The Path
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • 11.22.63
  • Becoming Bond
  • Harlots
  • Future Man

On-Demand Shows and Movies

Netflix and Hulu both started out with just on-demand content, and it’s still the majority of what’s available on each service—even with the rise of live streaming TV. But there are some key differences between how each provider curates its library.

Netflix

Netflix started with movies (remember getting the DVDs in the mail?), but it’s since shifted its focus to TV, acquiring popular series like Arrested Development and creating original phenomenons like Stranger Things. It’s become so common that “streaming” is practically synonymous with “Netflixing”. Unlike Hulu, Netflix releases entire seasons of a show at once rather than trickling them out episode by episode over the course of several months. For binge-watchers, this is great. But for those of us that like watching the newest stuff? Not so much.

Hulu

Hulu’s on-demand streaming library is often more current than the Netflix library. Many shows are available to stream just a day or two after they air—you’ll have to wait longer than that on Netflix. Hulu also keeps shows around longer than Netflix (remember what we said about it being a revolving door?).

Another major difference between Hulu and Netflix is that Hulu shows commercials during on-demand shows. Even if you upgrade your plan to get rid of commercials, they’ll still show on some programs because of streaming rights.

Live Channels on Netflix vs. Hulu

Netflix doesn’t offer live TV and hasn’t announced any plans to do so. Meanwhile, Hulu does have a live streaming service called Hulu + Live TV. The service costs $44.99 per month and includes all the regular Hulu on-demand programs as well.

The base Hulu + Live TV service includes 60+ channels, and there are a handful of add-ons that can increase this to about 70 total channels. Here are some of the options:

  • Entertainment add-on with channels like DIY Network and Science
  • Español add-on with Spanish-language channels
  • Premium channel add-ons like HBO and SHOWTIME

Hulu + Live TV also has the best local channel selection of any live streaming provider. It’s free to try for a week, so it’s worth taking it for a spin even if you’re not ready to cut the cord quite yet.

netflix logo

  • Live Channels Available: N/A
  • Premium Channels: N/A
 

Start Your Free Trial

Hulu logo

  • Live Channels Available: 60+
  • Premium Channels: HBO, CINEMAX, SHOWTIME, STARZ

Start Your Free Trial

 

Compatible Devices

NetflixHulu
Amazon Fire TV
Roku*
Apple TV*
Chromecast
Roku TV
PlayStation 3*
PlayStation 4*
Android Mobile
Android TV*
iPhone
iPad

*Hulu is only available on select models of Android TV, Roku, Samsung TV, Apple TV, and LG TV. Live TV is not supported on PlayStation 3 and 4. 

Netflix is available on basically any device you want to watch it on, whether it’s a PC, smart TV, or even your PlayStation. This makes it one of the most versatile streaming options available.

Because they all have different interfaces, streaming devices have a big impact on the experience. We like Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV best.

Apple TV has a large catalog of apps and gives you access to the iTunes Store for music and movie purchases. Amazon Fire TV works seamlessly with Alexa for voice control, and you can grab the Fire TV Stick for a device that’s easy to take to a friend’s house or on vacation. It also works well with Amazon Prime Video (not much of a surprise there).

 Cloud DVR

You don’t need a DVR for on-demand shows on Netflix. You can just download episodes for long flights, road trips, or any other time you don’t have a good Wi-Fi connection—no DVR required. Select Netflix TV shows and movies are available to download to iPhones, iPads, Android devices, and PCs running Windows 10. Hulu reportedly has plans to launch a similar feature, but it hasn’t been released yet.

Hulu + Live TV is a different story—they offer a cloud DVR for this service. It records live TV programs to watch later. Your subscription comes with 50 hours of storage, and you can upgrade to 200 hours for an extra $14.99 per month.

 

Resolution/Quality

Resolution
NetflixUp to 4K Ultra HD
HuluUp to 1080p Full HD

Although Netflix offers some 4K entertainment, you have to choose the Premium plan to get it. Before you choose Premium for the 4K support, make sure your favorite shows are actually available at that resolution—not all programming is supported. Hulu offers HD streaming on all its plans, and while it’s only 1080p, that’s plenty for most users.

Recommended Internet Speed

Netflix recommends the following internet speeds for best results:

  • Standard Definition (SD): 3 Mbps per user
  • High Definition (HD): 5 Mbps per user
  • 4K Resolution: 25 Mbps per user

 

And here are Hulu’s internet speed recommendations:

  • Hulu: 3 Mbps per user
  • Hulu + Live TV: 8 Mbps per user

A sluggish connection could be a sign you need more speed. Find out just how much speed you need to keep your connection from glitching, buffering, crashing, and doing anything else unpleasant.

 

Simultaneous Streams

Netflix lets you stream on up to four devices at once, depending on the plan you choose:

  • Basic: 1 device
  • Standard: 2 devices
  • Premium: 4 devices

Hulu lets you stream on two devices at once with the base plans, and this can be upgraded to unlimited devices on your home network with a $14.99 add-on. But even with that add-on, you’ll be limited to three simultaneous streams on devices outside your home.

 

Pros and Cons of Netflix vs. Hulu

netflix logo

Pros

    • Multiple pricing tiers
    • Outstanding original shows and movies
    • 4K streaming

Cons

    • No live TV
    • Frequent library changes
hulu logo

Pros

    • Excellent live TV package
    • Unlimited in-home devices
    • Great local channel selection

Cons

    • Costs more to remove ads
    • No 4K Ultra HD options

Have your Netflix and Hulu too.

Each of these services is so close to streaming perfection—but not quite. What’s a binge-watcher to do? Well, if you’re like us, you’ll end up with both. Since the on-demand prices are so reasonable, there’s no reason you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Which provider is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

 

FAQ about Netflix and Hulu

Are there any shows on Hulu that aren’t on Netflix?

Yes. Netflix tends to cycle through programs frequently, so there are several popular shows that you’ll find only on Hulu:

  • Seinfeld
  • South Park
  • Rick and Morty
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

And of course, you can only get Hulu Originals on Hulu.

Does Hulu have movies?

Hulu does have movies! Most people know it as a TV service, but Hulu offers some serious cinematic classics:

  • Aquaman
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
  • Magic Mike
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Ghost World

Check out its current movie library to get the full list of what’s available.

Does Netflix have live TV?

Netflix doesn’t have live TV, and we’re not aware if it has any plans to offer live TV in the future. If you want live TV, go with Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Philo, or Sling TV. They’ll hook you up.

Does AT&T TV NOW come with my AT&T Internet plan?

No, not currently. But AT&T occasionally runs promotions on AT&T TV NOW. Before you sign up, check with an AT&T sales agent to see if there are any deals available.

Curious about other streaming services? Check out our streaming guides.

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Author -

Dave has written professionally for tech companies and consumer technology sites for nearly five years, with a special focus on TV and internet. He uses his industry expertise to help readers at HighSpeedInternet.com get the most out of their services. No matter the project, he prefers his coffee black (the stronger, the better).

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