You can see Hulu on multiple devices
What is Hulu with Live TV and can it replace your cable subscription?
Streaming cable replacement is becoming an increasingly attractive option for cable cutters across the board, with more choices than ever before. Hulu's Live TV option is a relative newcomer to the scene, but is it worth it?
What is Hulu with Live TV?
Essentially, this is how Hulu competes with companies like Sling by adding live TV to its existing service.
Hulu with Live TV bundles the live TV service with its basic streaming package. This means that you have unlimited access to Hulu's streaming catalog (with "restricted commercials"). That alone may make it one of the most enticing options for people who are already subscribed to the Hulu service, as it eliminates the cost of multiple streaming plans.
It should be noted, however, that live TV is not yet available on all devices that have access to Hulus other Streaming plans. For example, there is a Hulu app for Android TV that does not yet support Live TV. Here is a list of the devices that can currently access Hulu with Live TV:
- Mac / PC
- iPhone / iPad
- Android phones / tablets
- Fire TV / Stick
- Apple TV (4th generation)
- Xbox One / 360
- Choose Samsung TV models
The last one is a bit ambiguous, so you'll have to dig a bit more for your particular TV model when looking for live TV support. Otherwise, Hulu says "more devices [are coming]". So if you don't see your platform here, maybe one day it will.
Unlike other streaming platforms, Hulu takes a one-and-do approach to packages: it offers a single package, and that's exactly what you get. It includes a wide variety of popular channels, although the lineups vary from region to region. For a list of all the channels available for your area, visit the Hulu Live TV page.
Since Hulu only offers one package with Live TV option, there is only one price: $ 39.99 / month. Considering that it also includes Hulu's "limited commercial" streaming package - which costs $ 7.99 alone - that's not a bad price. By the way, you can get a live TV-only tariff even without the streaming package. However, at $ 38.99, the price is only $ 1 lower.
There are also optional add-ons:
- No commercial plan for streaming packages only ($ 4 / mo)
- HBO ($ 4.99 for the first 6 months, $ 14.99 / month after)
- Cinemax ($ 9.99 / month)
- Showtime ($ 8.99 / month)
- An expanded DVR service that increases storage from 50 hours to 200 hours ($ 14.99 / month)
- Increase simultaneous streams from two to unlimited ($ 14.99 / month). Note, however, that this option only applies to "Home" screens (TVs, etc.) and limits mobile use to three simultaneous streams.
How Hulu works with live TV
The pricing scheme seems pretty competitive for all of Hulu's offerings with live TV, but that's a moot point when the service isn't very good.
And here's the thing: Hulu with live TV is just ... not very good. However, it's not that the streaming quality is bad, it's the user interface. It's positive worst Streaming interface I've ever seen in person or been forced to use. It is terrible.
What makes it so bad First of all, it's not intuitive. Trying to find your live TV channels is just confusing. They're in the My Channels tab of the primary Hulu UI. However, that doesn't mean it's live TV at all (at least for me).
This is a vertical list of channels. The name "My Channels" indicates that this is a list of favorite channels. But it never gave me an option to choose my favorites so just tossed it every single channel in this list. This is objectively the worst way to deal with a "favorites" list, even if it does, which is never made clear.
To get to everything that's running you need to scroll all the way down and click on the "More Networks" option. This then shows everything that is right at that second.
And that's all you get: no grid view, no duct lineup view, no option to see what happens later. Exactly what is currently going on - at least in these Part of the interface.
You have the opportunity to see what's coming your way; but only per channel. To do that, you'll need to jump from the Live tab to one of the other applicable tabs: Entertainment, Sports, Kids, News, AZ, or On Demand Only (which obviously has nothing to do with Live TV).
Once you've figured out which category you want to watch, you'll be given a list of the channels in that category. You then need to select a channel to see what's on and what's coming.
Note: On some devices such as Fire TV, you can click the menu button in Live View to jump directly to the “Guide” for that channel.
To make that clear, you are here now three Menus deep to find general information that literally shows every live TV streaming platform in the world on the main screen. It's really inconceivable how this interface was presented as a good idea before you know how many hours have been put into developing it. Madness.
And if you want to see what's on on other channels, you have to exit the channel menu that was just displayed, navigate to another channel, and repeat this process for each channel you want to check out. It makes trying to find something worth watching a grueling experience nobody looks for when it comes to television. That should relax.
Oh, and when I tried to get a list of all the channels in the A-Z menu, it stopped at C. Cool.
In all honesty, it's so hard to overcome the absolute, it's really difficult to talk about the rest of the ministry. Once you've found something to watch, the streaming quality is fine. Pause and playback work. At least that's what happens as expected.
When it comes to using the DVR, there isn't a clear label that says "Record" as you might expect. No, you have to click a button that says "Add to my stuff". When you do this, the same button changes to "Stop record" immediately. You knowBut that's just not intuitive. At all.
Speaking of "My Stuff," this is pretty much the storage pen for all of your favorite things. Shows, networks, recorded programs, films, sports and teams can be found in this section. It kind of makes sense to put all of this under My Stuff, but it just doesn't feeling like a grainy approach. Most people just won't get it.
Can Hulu replace your existing service with Live TV?
Sure, if you're a punishment glutton.
Take a look, once you get used to the (horrible) surface, maybe you can learn to use it. Perhaps the most important thing to you is having a service that you can get more out of, and that is understandable. The just Perk Hulu's Live TV package is the addition of their on-demand package along with live TV that you cannot get from competing services.
But if that's not enough to sway you (and honestly it shouldn't be) then you should look around - at least until Hulu realizes what a disaster the UI really is and fixes it.
Good luck while you wait.
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