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Hulu Plus

Est. $7.99 per month
Reviewed
March 2014
by ConsumerSearch
Hulu Plus

Best TV streaming service

Pros
  • Current-season TV programs
  • Some high-quality movies
  • Good hardware support
Cons
  • Limited movie content
  • Licensing agreements can lead to user confusion
  • Movies and TV shows include ads

Bottom line

If you are thinking of ditching your cable company and you can't get live TV with a TV antenna, Hulu Plus becomes almost a must-have subscription streaming service.

Movie library

Older films save the day. Want the latest Hollywood hits? Don't look to Hulu Plus. Instead, streaming movies largely come from independent studios and independent distributors and range from surprisingly good to mind-numbingly bad. However, you'll also find the complete catalog of The Criterion Collection, a selection of older but exceptional quality films that are adored by film fans.

TV library

Tons of current-season TV. If you want to see episodes of many of this year's programs, Hulu Plus is the TV streaming service for you. The most recent episodes of most series from ABC, NBC, Fox and The CW are available as soon as the day after airing, with others delayed a week or longer depending on licensing rights. Licensing rights also determine how many episodes of a given series are available for streaming. Past seasons of CBS series are available as well, but not current ones; those are only available on the web at the CBS site. Because of licensing issues, some shows can be seen only on the free Hulu.com site, which can only be viewed on a computer or laptop, not your TV or a mobile device, although some workarounds are possible. Some can be seen only via Hulu Plus and some can be seen on both.

Hardware support

Growing strong. Until recently, Hulu Plus was available on only a limited number of devices. That has now changed to the point where Hulu Plus is among the best supported TV streaming services. That includes smart TVs and Blu-ray players from many consumer electronics makers, current- and previous-generation video game consoles, a bevy of set-top boxes including Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast, and more.

Our Sources

1. DigitalTrends.com

Hulu Plus is compared to Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant, and strengths and weaknesses are highlighted. No best service is named, although Mike Flacy says Hulu Plus is the top choice for those who want to see the latest TV shows without paying a premium price.

Review: Netflix Instant vs. Hulu Plus vs. Amazon Instant Video, Mike Flacy, Mar. 9, 2013

2. Geek.com

In this head-to-head comparison between Hulu Plus and Netflix, Russell Holly says that if you can only choose one service, Netflix is the best option for most. However, he adds that while Netflix has a bigger archive of TV shows, Hulu Plus is the better service if you want to see programs soon after they air.

Review: Netflix vs. Hulu Plus: Who Best Fits Your Video Streaming Needs?, Russell Holly, Sept. 26, 2013

3. CNET

This review looks at the Hulu Plus experience on an Android mobile device, but also addresses the quality of the service as a whole. Jaymar Cabebe calls the selection of titles "impressive," and says it's "arguably the best part about having a Hulu Plus account."

Review: Hulu Plus for Android Review: High-quality TV and Movies on the Go, Jaymar Cabebe, July 2, 2013

4. ShellyPalmer.com

New York City TV station tech guru Shelly Palmer calls Hulu Plus the best streaming choice for those who want to watch current-season TV shows. Wide hardware support is another plus, although the inclusion of ads is a minus.

Review: The Best Streaming Services, Shelly Palmer, Apr. 28, 2013

5. TomsGuide.com

Hulu Plus earns a spot in this listing of the 10 best streaming services. "If you want to catch TV shows almost as soon as they air, Hulu Plus may be right for you," Marshall Honorof says.

Review: Top 10 Online Streaming Video Services, Marshall Honorof, Jan. 1, 2014

6. TopTenReviews.com

Hulu Plus finishes third in this rundown of top places to get streaming TV and earns a Bronze award. Kent Dunn allows that Hulu Plus is the best TV streaming service for watching current TV shows, but is pretty annoyed about the inclusion of commercials.

Review: Hulu Plus, Kent Dunn, Not dated

Movie Streaming Runners Up:

Amazon Prime Instant Est. $100 per year

4 picks including: DigitalTrends.com, TopTenReviews.com…

M-Go Est. $1.99 and up per video

1 pick by top review sites.

Aereo Est. $8 per month and up

1 pick by top review sites.

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