Hulu Announces Live TV Streaming, but How Does it Compare to Other Services?
Hulu promised to launch a live TV streaming service this spring, and the streaming service provider remained true to its word. Wednesday during its annual Upfront presentation, Hulu announced the launch of Hulu with Live TV. For $39.99 a month, viewers can now subscribe to more than 50 live sports, news, entertainment and children’s channels, which includes Hulu’s existing on-demand content. This also includes 50 hours of recording storage, up to six profiles and two simultaneous streams. Options to upgrade storage and in-home screens are also available.
Here’s the channel lineup for Hulu with Live TV.
The service is still in beta, and there are few things you should know before jumping to subscribe. Most importantly is that it isn’t available on all devices. As of right now, Hulu with Live TV is only available on Apple TV (4th generation), Xbox One, Google Chromecast, and iOS and Android mobile devices. That means Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick and Samsung Smart TV users will have to wait to get live TV through Hulu, as the streaming service provider says those devices will be supported “soon.” Also, if you’re used to the “No Commercials” plan for your on-demand viewing, you’ll have to cough up an extra $4 a month because the live TV upgrade defaults to the $7.99 version, which includes commercials. If you want to fast forward through commercials in shows you’ve recorded, you’ll have to upgrade to the Enhanced Cloud DVR for $14.99 a month.
If you decide to upgrade to Hulu’s live TV service, there are four premium add-ons you can purchase:
- Enhanced Cloud DVR for $14.99 a month: This adds 200 hours of recording storage and lets you record as many shows as you want simultaneously and watch them from anywhere. This also records new episodes of shows or games you’ve designated as favorites. It’s also your ticket to fast-forwarding through commercials in recorded content.
- Unlimited Screens for $14.99 a month: This gives you unlimited simultaneous streams inside your home and three outside your home.
- Enhanced Cloud DVR + Unlimited Screens for $19.99 a month: Pretty self-explanatory. It bundles the two services so you save $9.99 a month if you want both.
- SHOWTIME for $8.99 a month: Watch unlimited SHOWTIME on-demand.
TechCrunch offers a nice walk-through of the service, including Hulu’s new user interface, which is automatically included in the Live TV subscription and, for those who don’t upgrade to live TV, is currently only available for Xbox One, Apple TV (4th generation) and Android mobile devices (so not even iOS and Chromecast users get the new interface just yet).
Hulu isn’t your only option for live TV streaming services, however. There are a few more out there, so you should do your research before making the upgrade. Make sure you keep your individual needs in mind, like how many devices/screens you need, what channels you want, what devices you use, etc. These are a few of the more popular options you should take a look at:
Cost: $20 for 30 channels (Sling Orange), $25 for 45 channels (Sling Blue), $40 for 50 channels (Sling Orange + Blue)
Simultaneous Streaming: 1 device for Sling Orange, 3 for Sling Blue, 4 for Sling Orange + Blue
Devices: Apple TV (4th generation), Amazon Fire TV, Roku (LT and higher), Chromecast, AndroidTV, Xiaomi, LeEco, AirTV Player, ZTE, Channel Master, LG webOS 3.0, iOS and Android mobile devices, Xbox One, computer
Premium Channel Add-ons: HBO – $15, Cinemax – $10, Showtime – $10, Starz – $9
DVR: Cloud DVR, which has limited features right now
Cost: $35 for 60 channels, $50 for 80 channels, $60 for 100 channels, $70 for 120 channels
Simultaneous Streaming: 2 devices
Devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Chromecast (built-in), Google Cast, LeEco, iOS and Android mobile devices, computer (Roku is coming soon)
Premium Channel Add-ons: HBO – $5, Cinemax – $5, Starz – $8
Cost: $39.99 for 45 live TV channels; $44.99 for 60 live TV channels, plus regional and national sports networks; $54.99 for 90 live TV channels, plus Access and Core Channels and sports, movie and entertainment networks; $74.99 for 90 Elite channels, plus HBO and Showtime
Simultaneous Streaming: 5 devices, but only one PS4 or PS3 at once and three mobile devices at once
Devices: PS4, PS3, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, iOS and Android mobile devices
Premium Channel Add-ons: HBO – $15, Showtime – $10.99
DVR: Cloud DVR
Cost: $35 for 40 channels
Simultaneous Streaming: 3 devices
Devices: Chromecast, iOS and Android mobile devices, computer
Premium Channel Add-ons: Showtime – $11, Fox Soccer Plus – $15
DVR: Cloud DVR
CNET put together a channel comparison for Hulu, Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV, including the subscription level the channels are included in. Make sure you check it out before deciding which service to go with so you’re sure you’re getting the channels you actually want.
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