Hulu used to be simple — just a site with all the latest clips and episodes from your favorite shows. Watch some ads, watch some free TV. Easy, right? Not so much anymore. Hulu is no longer free, and on top of that, offers different pricing plans and add-ons.
So what plan should you go with? That depends on your situation. You'll have to consider how many people will use this account, if you can tolerate ads, if you're looking for HBO, Cinemax, or others ... it can be overwhelming. Lucky for you, this article will walk you through each option. By the time you finish reading, you'll be ready to pick a plan and get watching on your preferred iOS or Android device.
First, we have the "Limited Commercials" plan, which is Hulu's nice way of saying "lots of ads." Don't be mistaken — choosing this plan means sitting through commercial breaks on every show. According to Hulu, expect to see about nine minutes of ads per hour (2/3 the 16 minutes of ads on network TV). That may or may not sound like a lot to you, but it will feel like a lot.
Hulu's ads are also ridiculously repetitive. You will see the same few ads recycled over that nine minutes per hour. By the end of one episode, you just might be pulling your hair out.
So, why subjugate yourself to this torturous experience? That limited commercial plan is $8 a month, Hulu's cheapest offering.
Hulu's second main option — and one you may see advertised more than Limited Commercials — is its "No Commercials" plan. At $12 a month, your wallet may be a tad lighter than you'd like, but you'll be free of those terrible advertisements ... for the most part.
Hulu admits that due to streaming rights, certain shows will still display ads, even if you pay extra for the "No Commercials" experience. Because that makes sense, right? When I hear "No Commercials," I expect some of what I watch to contain ads still. That's how English works, no?
This plan should be the Limited Commercials subscription, while the current Limited Commercials plan should be called "Boat-Load of Ads." I'm just trying to keep it real here, Hulu.
For those curious, the current line-up of shows that will still stream with commercials are Grey's Anatomy, Once Upon A Time, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Scandal, New Girl, Grimm, and How To Get Away With Murder. If you don't watch any of those shows, feel free to ignore the above rant.
"Hulu with Live TV" is Hulu's answer to, well, live TV. For $39.99 a month, you receive Hulu's entire streaming library, in addition to an extensive list of cable TV channels. Channels range from CBS, NBC, ABC, and affiliates like CNBC, Freeform, and MSNBC, to channels like AMC, FX, TNT, and USA. Of course, the subscription comes with sports channels as well, and gives users 50 hours of cloud DVR storage.
A "No Commercials" plan is also available for Hulu with Live TV for only four dollars more a month. The same restrictions from Hulu's normal commercial-free subscription apply here. However, note that all live channels will still be filled with ads like a regular cable subscription.
If you're looking for a simpler cable setup, this plan may be right for you. It's either $28 or $32 more a month than Hulu's No Commercials plan, so if you were going to pair Hulu with your current cable provider anyway, there might be some savings there.
If you aren't interested in many of these channels, however, or don't mind waiting a day to watch your favorite shows, you might not need Hulu with Live TV on top of a normal Hulu subscription.
A new subscription comes with a one-week free trial.
Hulu offers add-ons to any of the above subscriptions. Choose from premium channels like HBO ($15/month), Cinemax ($9.99/month), and Showtime ($8.99/month), for an additional monthly fee. If you've wanted to check out the shows with any of these outlets, it's not a bad deal.
For $15 per month each, Hulu also offers Enhanced Cloud DVR, which expands storage limits to 200 hours, as well as an Unlimited Screens option, which allows an unlimited amount of devices to be streaming while at home, but only three "on-the-go." Again with the misleading language, Hulu.
So, that's Hulu in a nutshell. Whether you're looking for a way to replace your current cable plan, or you just want to watch that interesting Hulu Original everyone's talking about, there's a plan for you.
Which plan works best for you? Let us know in the comments below!