Netflix vs. Hulu

by | Apr 5, 2019 | Brand Guides, Provider Comparisons (Versus), Streaming Guides

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 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 also offers its own stellar original programs. The downside is frequent commercials can sour the experience, and you have to pay extra to get rid of them.

netflix logohulu logo

Price

$7.99–$13.99/mo.

Price

$7.99–$39.99/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 by default (unlimited with add-on)

Cloud DVR Storage

N/A

Cloud DVR Storage

Up to 200 hours

Start Your Free TrialStart Your Free Trial
netflix logo

Price

$7.99–$13.99/mo.

hulu logo

Price

$7.99–$39.99/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 by default (unlimited with add-on)

netflix logo

Cloud DVR Storage

N/A

hulu logo

Cloud DVR Storage

Up to 200 hours

netflix logoStart Your Free Trial
hulu logoStart Your Free Trial
 

Packages & 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 with 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$7.99/mo.SD only1No
Premium $13.99/mo.Up to 1080p2No
Standard$10.99/mo.Up to 4K Ultra HD4No
Basic
Pricing$7.99/mo.
ResolutionSD only
Multiple Streams1
LivestreamingNo
Premium
Pricing $13.99/mo.
ResolutionUp to 1080p
Multiple Streams2
LivestreamingNo
Standard
Pricing$10.99/mo.
ResolutionUp to 4K Ultra HD
Multiple Streams4
LivestreamingNo

Data effective 01/18/18. 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$7.99/mo.Up to 1080p2No
Hulu (No Ads)$11.99/mo.Up to 1080p2No
Hulu with Live TV$39.99/mo.Up to 1080p22No
Live TV Only $38.99/mo.Up to 1080pNo2No
Hulu
Pricing$7.99/mo.
ResolutionUp to 1080p
Multiple Streams2
LivestreamingNo
Hulu (No Ads)
Pricing$11.99/mo.
ResolutionUp to 1080p
Multiple Streams2
LivestreamingNo
Hulu with Live TV
Pricing$39.99/mo.
ResolutionUp to 1080p2
Multiple Streams2
LivestreamingNo
Live TV Only
Pricing$38.99/mo.
ResolutionUp to 1080pNo
Multiple Streams2
LivestreamingNo

Data effective 01/18/18. Offers and availability subject to change.

The basic Hulu plan gets you the on-demand streaming library for just $7.99, which is a great price. There’s a catch though: you’ll get occasional commercials. If you’re not a fan of commercials, you can remove them for an additional $4.00 per month with Hulu (No Ads). Spoiler alert: it’s totally worth it.

Hulu with Live TV is also a sweet deal. It includes the entire Hulu on-demand streaming library along with a selection of live channels. But we don’t recommend the Live TV Only option. You lose the whole on-demand library and save only $1 per month. That’s not worth it—just get the whole package. You should also know that, unlike Netflix, all Hulu plans stream in HD, so you can take full advantage of your TV’s high resolution with a smooth picture.

 

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:

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

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 service. 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 Friends 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

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 with Live TV. The service costs $39.99 per month and includes all the regular Hulu on-demand programs as well.

The base Hulu with Live TV service includes 50+ channels, and there are a handful of add-ons that can increase this to about 60 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 with 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

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 with 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 with 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.

 

Advantages and Disadvantages of PlayStation Vue and DIRECTV NOW

netflix logo

Advantages

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

Disdvantages

    • No live TV
    • Frequent library changes
hulu logo

Advantages

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

Disdvantages

    • Costs more to remove ads
    • Lacks 4K 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:

  • The Exorcist
  • Goldfinger
  • Ocean’s Eleven
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Apollo 13

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, PlayStation Vue, DIRECTV NOW, or Sling. They’ll hook you up.

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

No, not currently. But AT&T occasionally runs promotions on DIRECTV 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.

Get faster internet so you can take full advantage of your new streaming service. Find the best packages and prices in your area.

About the 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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