Hulu With Live TV is believed to be the biggest live TV streaming service (also known as a Multichannel Video Programming Distributor, or MVPD) in the United States. And that hedging isn’t any fault of Hulu itself, as we’ll explain in a second. The important thing you need to know is that if you want to watch live, linear television,is an excellent option.
As the name implies, this is all part of the Hulu service, which is owned by Disney. It’s a relatively simple product, and it’s priced competitively, though there are some parts of it that are more complicated than they need to be.
At last count, Hulu With Live TV had some 4.1 million paying subscribers in the United States. That probably makes it the leading option, and we treat it as such. YouTube TV last reported “more than 3 million” subscribers, but that was way back in October 2020. It hasn’t given a public update of any kind since. Hulu, on the other hand, releases subscriber numbers along with the Disney earnings every three months. One way or another, it’s pretty darn popular in the United States, and for good reason.
The end result is that you have a live streaming service akin to what you’re probably used to with cable or satellite. It’s just that instead of decoding video via some sort of dedicated service like coax cable or satellite, you’re doing … basically the same thing via your internet connection, only for less money (probably) and greater ease of switching.
Hulu With Live TV price and plans
The Hulu With Live TV price and plans scheme is pretty simple. There’s a single plan, with 90 channels. (We’ll go into deal on them below.) That single plan costs $70 a month and actually comes with a couple pretty huge incentives — ESPN+ and Disney+. We’ll talk a little more about that in the next section.
Your Hulu With Live TV subscription also comes with unlimited recording, which was added in early 2022 as a freebie. (It also matches what’s available on YouTube TV, though the service itself still costs $5 more a month.)
There are other add-ons available, too, so you’re able to watch more from within the Hulu app itself. They include:
- Unlimited Screens at $10 a month: This allows you to watch on as many devices as you want on your home network, and up to three at once while you’re on the road. (With the exception of five devices at once at home of the four add-ons below.)
- HBO Max at $15 a month
- Showtime at $11 a month
- Cinemax at $10 a month
- STARZ at $9 a month
There’s also a trio of “network add-ons” that add even more channels to you Hulu With Live TV experience. Here’s how they break down:
- Sports Add-on ($10 a month): You’ll get NFL RedZone, MAV TV, Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, TVG and TVG2.
- Entertainment Add-on ($8 a month): American Heroes Channel, BET Her, CNBC World, Cooking Chanel, Crime + Investigation, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life Channel, DIY Network, Great American Country, Military History, and MTV Classic.
- Español Add-on ($5 a month): CNN Español, Discovery en Español, Discovery Familiar, ESPN Deportes, Fox Deportes, Universo, History en Español.
Hulu With Live TV and the Disney Bundle
It used to be that you had to pay extra if you wanted to make Hulu With Live TV part of the “Disney Bundle.” That is, a package deal that gets you the main Hulu on-demand service (which you’ll need to watch the best movies on Hulu), Disney+, and ESPN+. But now it’s even more simple. When you subscribe to Hulu With Live TV, you also get ESPN+ and Disney+ included with that $70-a-month fee.
So, yes, it’s the Disney Bundle, and then some. And while it’s possible to get a live TV-only plan from Hulu for just $1 a month less, that’s … not smart. Take the free services.
Compare that to if you were to use YouTube TV — the No. 2 streaming service (probably) — along with the traditional Disney Bundle. You’d pony up $65 a month for YouTube TV, and another $14 a month for the Disney Bundle. Or if you go with Hulu With Live TV (which includes the Disney Bundle and live TV), you’re saving about $10 a month, or $120 a year. That’s not nothing.
Hulu With Live TV channels
Hulu With Live TV has 90 channels as of the spring of 2022. That’s a decent amount, though not the biggest number you’ll find in the streaming world. On a cost-per-channel basis, you’re paying around 77 cents per channel right out of the gate. That’s also not the greatest ratio, but it’s also not horrible.
Following are the channels that are currently available on Hulu With Live TV. Note that it’s possible that some channels may be unavailable where you live — that’s a pretty standard caveat amongst all the providers. And while we’ll do our best to keep this list up to date, channels do come and go as contacts expire.
A&E, ABC, ABC News Live, ACC Network, Adult Swim, Animal Planet, BET, Big Ten Network, Bloomberg Television, Boomerang, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CBS, CBS News, CBS Sports Network, Cheddar News, CMT, CNBC, CNN, CNN International, Comedy Central, COZI, Crime & Investigation, CW, DABL, Discovery, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, E, ESPN, ESPN College Extra, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, Food Network, Fox, Fox Business, Fox News, Freeform, FS1, FS2, FX, FXM, FXX, FYI, Golf Channel, HGTV, History, HLN, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, Lifetime Movies, Localish, Military History, MotorTrend, MSNBC, MTV, NASA, Nat Geo Wild, National Geographic, NBC, NBC News Now, NBCLX, News Nation, NFL Network, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, Olympic Channel, OWN, Oxygen, Paramount Network, Pop, QVC, SEC Network, Smithsonian Channel, Start TV, SYFY, TBS, TCM, Telemundo, TLC, TNT, Travel Channel, Tru TV, TV Land, Universal Kids, USA, VH-1, Vice.
What can you watch Hulu With Live TV on?
The short version is that you can watch Hulu With Live TV on any device that you also can use to watch Hulu proper, and that means basically any modern piece of hardware. (Hulu’s website has the full list, of course.)
That includes things Android and iOS devices, including iPhones and iPads. It also includes Android TV, Apple TV, Google TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and various smart TV platforms.
And you always can watch in a web browser, if that’s your thing. In other words, Hulu With Live TV is available pretty much everywhere.
What it’s like to watch Hulu With Live TV
At its simplest level, Hulu With Live TV is pretty much like every other internet-based live TV service. You’ve got access to all sorts of channels. (And so long as it’s got the channels you actually want to watch, you’re good to go.) It’s not as fast as some cable TV experiences, but it’s also not so slow to change channels that you’ll be overly frustrated.
The whole thing has the overall look and feel of the rest of the Hulu app, which is great — until it isn’t. While the user experience is great when it comes to on-demand material, there are some speed bumps when it comes to the live side of the shop.
The live guide itself is just fine. It’s nicely designed and easy to read. It defaults to recently watched channels, which isn’t awful. And the full list of available channels is just one click away in the menu. But that list is in alphabetical order, and that can leave you clicking a whole lot to get to something further down the alphabet. There is a “Favorites” list, but it’s damned near impossible to figure out on your own how to add a channel to that list. Nor is there any option to customize the full channels list. (YouTube TV, for example, allows you to reorder channels any way you want, and to even hide channels you never want to see.)
The overall experience is mostly fine on platforms like Roku and Amazon Fire TV, which takes care of the two biggest in the world. Press the down button on the directional pad and it’ll take you back to the live guide. (There’s no method of simply jumping from one channel to another.)
Things get a good bit messier on Apple TV. At some point you’ll see a little note on screen instructing you to swipe up (not down) to get to the guide. Except that more often than not doesn’t actually take you to the guide. Instead, what you need to do is press the back button first so that the top-level navigation items show up — the menu options like Home, Live, TV, Movies, Sports, My Stuff, etc. And then you can swipe up on the directional pad to get back to the live guide. It’s messy. And like many other times in Apple TV, it’s too easy to accidentally swipe the wrong way at the wrong time. Frankly, it’s a much worse experience than what you get on the other platforms, and that’s too bad.
Hulu Live video quality and 4K
Hulu With Live TV serves vide at either 720p or 1080p resolution, at up to 60 frames per second. That’s standard, though actual resolution will depend on the video source itself, as well as what device you’re watching on. The list of hardware that supports Hulu Live in 1080p is fairly short. There’s Apple TV (4th gen and up), Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, PlayStation 4, select models of Samsung TV, and the Xbox One line.
Otherwise, 720p is what you’ll get.
Missing from that conversation altogether is any sort of 4K content. While there is some on-demand content available from Hulu 4K resolution, you’ll not find anything live in 4K. YouTube TV, meanwhile, has a 4K option available for more money.