More than 200 million global subscribers and a reliable monthly rotation of new shows and movies have helped makeNetflix the Kleenex of the streaming video world -- and our favorite streaming service. But does it necessarily represent the best value?
Plenty of competitors are eyeing Netflix's spot, and one of the most popular is Hulu. The Disney-owned streaming service has made some moves to better compete with Netflix. Hulu has a low monthly $8 base price, the Disney bundle with ESPN Plusis an excellent value, and its premium add-on channels are an optional cherry on top.
In a time when inflation has crept into household budgets, you might be looking to cut back on the number of subscriptions you pay for every month. Both Hulu and Netflix offer more TV shows and movies than you can ever watch. If you had to drop one to save money, which would it be? Or is there a way to trim costs but continue to use both?
Let's take a look.
The streaming pioneer upped its price plans and will soon offer a lower-priced ad-supported option for the first time. Netflix continues to lean into originals while providing a vast selection of licensed TV shows and movies. Its interface makes it easy to shuffle through content based on genre, popularity or audience age group.
Read our Netflix review.
Hulu raised its fees too, but you can watch films, originals and current shows from major networks on-demand. And the Disney bundle with ESPN Plus opens you up to more content. Pick from four plans and decide whether to lose the ads, or whether the premium programming is worth the cost. But be on the lookout for the new Disney Bundle pricing and live TV subscription plans on Dec. 8.
Read our Hulu review.
Streaming services compared
|Service||Monthly price||What you get||Simultaneous streams||Offline viewing|
|Hulu||$8||On-demand HD movies and shows, ad-supported||2||No|
|Hulu (No Ads)||$15||On-demand HD movies and shows, ad-free||2||Yes|
|Hulu plus Live TV (ad-supported)||$70||Live TV from dozens of channels plus HD on-demand||2||No|
|Hulu plus Live TV (ad-free)||$76||Live TV from dozens of channels plus HD on-demand, ad-free||2||Yes|
|Netflix Basic||$10||On-demand SD movies and shows||1||Yes (one device)|
|Netflix Standard||$15.50||On-demand HD movies and shows||2||Yes (two devices)|
|Netflix Premium||$20||On-demand HD/4K movies and shows||4||Yes(four devices)|
Who's the boss of lower costs?
Netflix and Hulu both changed their price models
Many services are jacking up prices, and Hulu is no exception. Its price went from $7 to $8 in 2022 for basic service with ads. The $13 ad-free version increased to $15 monthly, while the live TV option went up by $5 and includes Disney Plus and ESPN Plus at no extra charge. By Dec. 8, if you want to add the Disney bundle to a base plan that doesn't include live TV, it will start at $10 monthly for the ad-supported option and $20 a month for ad-free. Hulu (without live TV) allows you to stream on two screens at once.
In comparison, the now-$15.50 subscription is Netflix's most popular plan since it offers high-definition video and the ability to stream two things at once. Netflix's Premium optionmaybe worthwhile if you have a fancy4K HDR TVyou want to show off or a big household that needs more than two streams. Just be prepared to cough up $20 per month.
Beyond price, what's the big difference between Netflix and Hulu?
Netflix and Hulu stand apart in how they deliver content
Netflix doesn't publicize the exact amount of content on its service, but one 2020 report fromBusiness Insidersuggested Netflix offered more than 1,800 TV shows and 3,700 movies. While Hulu has a larger selection of TV shows, what's more important than the sheer amount of content is the two services' different approaches.
Hulu offers more traditional TV than Netflix and draws mainly from ABC andFox. It lost new episodes of NBC and Bravo shows to Peacock and its CBS catalog is shrinking. But because of Hulu's content partnerships, it's easy to watch the latest from niche networks like FX, Cartoon Network, Funimation or Freeform. And with Disney Plus and ESPN Plus tacked on to most of its packages, viewers have gained a wider selection. Like Netflix, Hulu offers thousands of TV and movie titles to choose from. However, unlike Netflix's global subscriber base, Hulu is only available in the US.
What may give you pause about Hulu is that you have to pay extra if you don't want to watch ads. That $8 base price means you have to sit through several rounds of commercials that interrupt whatever you're watching. For an ad-free experience, it'll cost you an additional $7. The same holds true for its live TV plans, which cost $70 for the ad-supported version and $76 without ads. The live TV plans and the Disney Bundle will change on Dec. 8, and you may pay more depending on which services you keep.
With Netflix, there are no ads on its $10 plan. You can stream back-to-back episodes of your favorite TV shows or immerse yourself in a Jeffrey Dahmer serieswithout a two-minute wave of commercials. The power to disrupt your viewing experience lies in your remote control. Until the streamer launches its cheaper, ad-supported version, $10 is the basic entry fee.
Netflix also has distribution rights to most movie studios as well as TV programming from the likes of NBC, CBS, CW, Warner Brothers and some Disney titles. But its strongest draw is its original content. The streamer continues to attract A-list directors and actors like Steven Spielberg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Shonda Rhimes and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to pump out originals. The company is also expanding internationally, building studios and production teams to create and distribute contentaround the world.
It's worth noting that shows and movies come and go from streaming services all the time. The only thing you can really count on is for original programming to stick around (though shows may still get canceled).
What originals do they offer?
Scripted or unscripted, Netflix and Hulu pump out plenty of originals
Netflix wins hands-down. Its selection of original content is a seemingly inexhaustible firehose. From reality shows to feature films and kids content, there's an abundance to watch. The company garnered a 2021 Oscar win for the film Ma Rainey's Black Bottom starring Chadwick Boseman, and some of its best shows include Squid Game, Stranger Things, Cobra Kai and Lucifer. Netflix also has its own Fyre Festival documentary and plenty of true crime content to boot. For most titles, Netflix allows you to stream all episodes of new shows immediately, instead of doling one episode out per week like Hulu and other traditional providers.
Hulu is no slouch at originals either, but it's no Netflix. The streamer struck gold during the 2021 awards season with The United States vs. Billie Holiday.However, the jewel in Hulu's crown is undoubtedlyThe Handmaid's Tale, arguably one of the best shows of the past few years. Hulu does have a number of lower-profile programs that have garnered some critical praise including The Great, Reservation Dogs, Prey and the WeWork documentary. If you don't have cable (and don't live in the UK), it's also one of the only places you can watch critic favoriteKilling Eve.
Which streaming service wins?
With the addition of the Disney bundle and its growing slate of TV shows and originals, Hulu is morphing into a worthy contender. And with Netflix's current price plans, it's certainly an easier financial pill to swallow than ever before.
Unlike music streaming services, which pretty much all have the same catalogs, video streaming can offer different and sometimes complementary content. If you can afford both then you should -- and at $18 a month total it's still relatively affordable, especially if you've already cut the cable cord.
If we had to choose only one, however, then Netflix wins, and that's mostly based on the strength of its original content. Once it launches its cheaper plan, Hulu may face stiffer competition.
Netflix has more high-quality, Original content than Hulu does.
While Hulu has a larger selection of TV shows, what's more important than the sheer amount of content is the two services' different approaches. Hulu offers more traditional TV than Netflix and draws mainly from ABC and Fox. It lost new episodes of NBC and Bravo shows to Peacock and its CBS catalog is shrinking.
Netflix has loads more original shows and no commercials, but right now, Hulu has a slight edge over the streaming service giant: The low $8-per-month cost of its basic plan, which is a tremendous value if you don't mind watching commercials.
- #1 Netflix.
- #2 Amazon Prime Video.
- #2 Disney+
- #4 Funimation.
- #4 Hulu.
- #4 HBO Max.
- #4 Peacock.
- #8 Crunchyroll.
HBO Max and Hulu come to mind when thinking of the best overall original catalogue. While HBO Max tends to blur the line between what's an HBO original versus an HBO Max original, the platform still has an impressive catalogue of original works.
Video resolution for Netflix's advertising tier will be 720p rather than 1080p, the quality of Netflix's standard plan that costs $15.49 per month. The company's basic plan without advertising is $9.99 per month and also has 720p resolution.
Unlike Netflix, Hulu does offer a few extras. For example, you can bundle premium channels, like HBO, or add Disney+ for an extra fee. Hulu also notably offers a live TV option for those who want a true cable experience.
Hulu is more than just a place to catch network TV's next-day airs. The streaming platform has ramped up its original content, going all-in on thoughtful and entertaining storytelling with its line-up of TV shows. There's a genre for everyone here — dystopian sci-fi, family drama, fantasy-themed horror, etc.
Hulu: Our ad-supported plan costs just $7.99/month (or $79.99/year) and gives you access to our ad-supported streaming library. Students looking for a deal? Get Hulu (ad-supported) for $1.99/month, if eligible. Additional terms apply.
|Access to local channels||The cost of add-ons can really add up!|
|Hulu's on-demand streaming library is included.||Very few regional sports networks|
|Base package includes Disney+ and ESPN+.||Only two screens at once unless you upgrade|
We think Amazon is the best value in streaming entertainment, with Netflix a close second. But that's not to say Hulu isn't worth a subscription; in fact, many people pay for all three services.
Netflix is unsurprisingly the most popular video streaming platform in the United States. As of September 2022, the share of households subscribing to the service amounted to 78 percent. Second was Amazon Prime Video with 72 percent of people interviewed stating to subscribe to it.
The cheapest live TV services for cord-cutting are the free ones: Pluto TV and Xumo. There are paid ones that cost very little, like Philo, Frndly TV, and Sling (especially the individual Blue or Orange plans).
Hulu is the go-to alternative for many previous (and some current) Netflix users. It offers a huge selection of TV and movies, as well as award-winning original content. Its ad-supported option is cheaper than even Netflix's Basic plan.
What's on Netflix reported that The Originals was removed from the streaming service on July 1, 2022. This was a bit before the five-year window elapsed following the end of the fifth season. Most contracts with The CW gave Netflix exclusive streaming rights for five years following the end of each series.
Viewers from the United States considered Netflix to be the streaming service with the best selection of original content, according to a 2022 survey. Roughly 40 percent of adults listed the SVOD pioneer as their number one choice for originals, whereas only 11 percent said the same about Amazon Prime Video.
Netflix is the TV network that has the best original shows in the United States according to a 2021 survey. 38 percent of consumers aged between 16 and 34 years voted for Netflix, seven percent for Disney+, and six percent for Hulu.
Oneflix is the latest startup looking to alleviate consumer headaches caused by a fragmented streaming video landscape.
Not all of it is good or worthwhile, but considering how good the best Netflix titles are (and the fact that you can still watch Better Call Saul there), I'd say Netflix is still worth the price…for now.
The streaming service will no longer be the home for cherished TV series, including “Quantico,” “Saved by the Bell,” “Gotham” and “Dark Matter.” Netflix will also scrap classic titles, like “Catch Me If You Can,” “Mean Girls,” “Taxi Driver,” “Dirty Harry” and “Dumb and Dumber.”
Netflix does not offer free trials, but you have the freedom to change your plan or cancel online at any time if you decide Netflix isn't for you. There are no contracts, no cancellation fees, and no commitments. You can sign up and take advantage of all Netflix has to offer.
A Netflix monthly subscription costs anywhere from $6.99 to $19.99. Netflix's new Basic with Ads plan costs $6.99 per month. The Standard DVD and Blu-ray plan start at $9.99 monthly, and the Premier plan starts at $14.99.
Hulu Standard Plan
Hulu's $5.99 starter plan offers full, on-demand access to the entire Hulu catalogue with limited ads. Here's what else you'll get: Ability to stream on 2 devices at the same time. TV and movie classics.
Though competition from rivals like HBO Max and Disney Plus is fierce, it's still the best choice for streaming entertainment, period. Netflix includes a wide variety of familiar network shows and more original series, films, documentaries and specials than any of its myriad competitors.
- A Teacher (2020) tv-ma 1 Season. Genre Drama. ...
- Devs (2020) 71 % 7.7/10. ...
- Love, Victor (2020) 69 % 8.1/10. ...
- The Looming Tower (2018) 74 % 8.0/10. ...
- UnREAL (2015) 78 % 7.8/10. ...
- Marvel's M.O.D.O.K. (2021) 71 % 6.3/10. ...
- Sasquatch (2021) 6.2/10. tv-ma 1 Season. ...
- Shrill (2019) 7.4/10. tv-ma 3 Seasons. Genre Comedy.
Thousands of Shows & Movies
Get full access to the Hulu streaming library – a $7.99/month value. Watch full seasons of exclusive series, classic favorites, Hulu Original series, hit movies, current episodes, kids shows, and tons more.
Hulu and Hulu + Live TV subscribers will see some ads while streaming shows and movies in the Hulu streaming library, while Hulu (No Ads) and Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV subscribers can watch those same videos without any interruptions.
One of the main downsides with Hulu Live TV is the price. At $69.99 per month it is not the cheapest live TV service around and some may find that the price is just too high for what they need.
No, Hulu does not come with Amazon Prime. You will have to purchase Hulu separately to access the on-demand library of movies and shows. Although Amazon Prime is an excellent service, it does not include bundles with Netlfiix, HBO Max, Hulu, or any other streaming service.
How does the free trial work? After signing up, new Hulu subscribers can try the Hulu plan of their choice for free. With either the Hulu (ad-supported) or the Hulu (No Ads) plan, you'll have unlimited access to our streaming library for 30 days. Once your free trial is over, you'll be charged month-to-month.
Hulu is a dependable option for streaming new and classic shows, as well as live TV on nearly every platform. It's a top choice among video streaming services.
- Limited Regional Selections. ...
- Netflix Has an Outdated Library. ...
- Internet Requirements. ...
- Data Cap Consumption. ...
- No Ownership of Media. ...
- Subscription Value. ...
- Loss of Channel Surfing. ...
- There Are Plenty of Netflix Alternatives.
Hulu no longer offers free content unless you're taking part in a trial plan. If you're looking for truly free movies and shows, please know that there are still free movie sites and websites with free TV shows.
Netflix offers the widest selection of movies and thousands of older TV shows, while Hulu Plus offers a larger collection of current-season TV shows and a smaller selection of movies. One disadvantage with Hulu Plus is ads; Netflix offers an ad-free experience.
Sadly you cannot get a free Netflix subscription with your Amazon Prime account. However Amazon Prime does give you access to watch Amazon Prime Video as one of the many perks of an Amazon account.
How do you share a Hulu account? There's no special way to share your account with others. Simply provide your login credentials and they're good to go. General profiles have access to the account settings, though users can only see the last four digits of your payment method.
Tubi. Tubi boasts the largest content library of all the free streaming sites, with more than 40,000 titles to choose from. This includes hundreds of kids' shows like Barney and Yo Gabba Gabba, cartoon shows like Pokémon The Series and The Flintstones, plus films like The Matrix, The Sandlot and Hulk.
Netflix. Compared to other streaming services, no one offers more high-quality content at a single price than Netflix.
It added that half of TV consumers now subscribe to three or more of the Big 5 of Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon and HBO Max, up 10 percentage points since 2021 and nearly double what it was in 2020.
Outside of a few “skinny bundles,” most streaming packages are just as expensive as cable TV. We still consider streaming TV a cheaper alternative in the long-term, however, since price increases tend not be as severe with streaming services as they are with cable TV.
- ABC News Live.
- ACC Network.
- Adult Swim.
- Animal Planet.
- Big Ten Network.
- Xfinity TV. 3.75. Starting from. $20.00. /mo. Available channels. 185. View Plans. ...
- Spectrum TV. 3.5. Starting from. $59.99. Available channels. 125+ View Plans. Read review.
- Cox TV. 2.75. Starting from. $53.00. /mo. Available channels. 250. ...
- Sparklight TV. 2.25. Starting from. $42.00. /mo. Available channels. 100.
- Amazon Prime Video — free for Prime members, $8.99 per month for non-members.
- Apple TV+ — $4.99 per month.
- Discovery+ — $4.99 per month with ads, $6.99 per month without ads.
- Disney+ — $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year.
- Frndly — $6.99 per month.
Netflix and Hulu stand apart in how they deliver content
While Hulu has a larger selection of TV shows, what's more important than the sheer amount of content is the two services' different approaches. Hulu offers more traditional TV than Netflix and draws mainly from ABC and Fox.
- Amazon Freevee. Amazon Freevee. Formerly IMDb TV, this is a premium free streaming service brought to you by Amazon. ...
- Hoopla. Hoopla. ...
- Tubi TV. Tubi TV. ...
- Plex is one of the free streaming apps better than Netflix. Plex.
- The Bear (2022) new. Trailer. 86 % 8.2/10. ...
- Only Murders in the Building (2021) 76 % 8.1/10. tv-ma 1 Season. ...
- Candy (2022) Trailer. 65 % tv-ma 1 Season. ...
- The Girl From Plainville (2022) 76 % 6.8/10. ...
- The Dropout (2022) Trailer. 75 % ...
- Dollface (2019) Trailer. 54 % ...
- Dopesick (2021) Trailer. 67 % ...
- Letterkenny (2016) 8.8/10. tv-ma 10 Seasons.
The other two plans are the most expensive ones and, in addition to Hulu's content library, also include access to more than 60 live TV channels, which is something Netflix does not offer. The plan will set you back $69.99 per month with ads on Hulu, or $75.99 a month without ads.
Streaming. While Yellowstone isn't currently on Netflix or Hulu, all four season are now available to stream on Peacock.
- Hulu. Hulu is the go-to alternative for many previous (and some current) Netflix users. ...
- Disney+ ...
- Peacock. ...
- HBO Max. ...
- Paramount+ ...
- Amazon Prime Video. ...
- Your local library.
- Squid Game (season 1), a Korean survival thriller -- 1.65 billion hours.
- Stranger Things (season 4), a retro sci-fi series -- 1.35 billion hours.
- Dahmer, a true-crime serial killer series -- 856.2 million hours.
Netflix is the home of amazing original programming that you can't find anywhere else. Movies, TV shows, specials and more, all tailored specifically to you.
(Surprisingly, no Netflix show has run for more than 100 episodes.) The current record-holder for Netflix's longest running series is Grace and Frankie, the sitcom starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin whose lives are thrown upside when their respective husbands announce they are leaving them to marry each other.
Is Everything Everywhere All at Once on Hulu? They're not on Hulu, either! But prices for this streaming service currently start at $6.99 per month, or $69.99 for the whole year. For the ad-free version, it's $12.99 per month, $64.99 per month for Hulu + Live TV, or $70.99 for the ad-free Hulu + Live TV.
It's a device issue. Compatibility: Some content on Hulu is not available on all devices. Check to see if your device supports the latest Hulu app, as well as premium network streaming if you're missing these networks or programming.