Hulu Streaming Service: A Comprehensive Review

An Introduction: Hulu and Its History

VOD service screen with remote control in hand.
Hulu is rising the ranks in aiming to become the most popular streaming service in the U.S. But why do users love it so much? Here’s a full review.

Hulu is an American streaming service founded in 2007 with its headquarters based in Los Angeles, California.

The company is partly owned by Walt Disney Entertainment, 21st Century Fox, Comcast and NBC Universal.

It started with a free and paid library. The free library was significantly smaller than the paid version.

Also, free content was only available via PC, while paid content can be accessed via special mobile or desktop apps.

Back in 2016, Hulu teamed up with Yahoo and founded a free streaming service called Yahoo View.

Hulu’s name hides an interesting story. According to a post on the company’s blog in 2008, the name is based on an ancient Chinese proverb that has two different meanings—holder of precious things and interactive recording.

As you can see, someone really thought this through, because it did not take long for Hulu to become exactly that—it is a place where you can find a bunch of interesting content.

Unfortunately, the service is currently only available in the United States and Japan.

In the U.S., it has more than 20 million subscribers, and it is the second most popular streaming company. Netflix is still the leader in the industry.

Features

What Hulu subscribers get for their money is the opportunity to watch the past episodes of their favorite TV shows and movies, new episodes a day after they air, and syndicated television.

Both HDMI and Chromecast are supported. Another important feature is recommendations.

It allows users to personalize their experience. They can also enable Stop Suggesting and Remove features to prevent similar or related content from popping up.

Hulu’s Live TV feature has been available since 2017 for extra payment and includes streaming of TV channels and sports events in real time.

You can pause or rewind the video, or record it with a DVR feature. Subscribers can also pay an additional $4 a month to watch an ad-free content.

The My Stuff feature helps you collect all of your favorite TV shows and movies, and organize them accordingly.

Fliptray helps you browse episodes while watching the video.

Television tv stream.
Hulu is an American streaming service founded in 2007 with its headquarters based in Los Angeles, California.

If you share your subscription with your family members, you can organize the content on six different profiles. Parental control is also available.

Programming

As already mentioned, Hulu offers its clients TV shows, movies and live TV.

The company delivers content of the following networks:

  • Big Ten Network
  • A&E
  • Bravo
  • E!
  • PBS
  • Fox Sports
  • FX
  • RT America
  • NFL Network
  • Oxygen
  • Esquire Network
  • SundanceTV
  • Syfy
  • NBCSN
  • Onion News Network

Hulu also partnered with EMI and Warner Music Group, so it includes music videos and concerts in its offerings.

In September 2018, Hulu signed a deal with Discovery. That means that the Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Motor Trend and Animal Planet will be available on Hulu in December 2018. Some of Discovery’s most popular shows are already available on Hulu On Demand.

Original Content

Since 2011 Hulu distributes its own original content. Some of the most popular Hulu shows include:

  • Handmaid’s Tale
  • Difficult People
  • Casual
  • Harlots
  • Runaways
  • Castle Rock
  • Into the Dark

Shows are divided into several categories including drama, comedy, horror, documentaries and mini-series.

Awards

Handmaid’s Tale has brought Hulu almost every award there is.

It won eight Emmys, two Television Critics Association Awards and two Golden Globes.

Hulu’s first documentary, The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years, won Critic’s Choice Documentary Award back in 2016.

The documentary also won a Grammy for the best music film and two Emmys.

Another award-winning Hulu original series is Casual, which won a Golden Globe.

Compatibility

Hulu is available for the following platforms, operating systems and devices:

  • Android (both tablets and mobile phones)
  • iOS
  • Apple TV
  • Echo Show
  • Fire tablets
  • Fire TV and Fire TV Sticks
  • Mac
  • PC
  • LG TV
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Roku and Roku Stick
  • Samsung TV
  • Xbox 360
  • Xbox One

Users can access Hulu On Demand via Android TV, Apple TV, LG and Blue-ray players, PlayStation 3 and 4, Roku and Roku Stick, Samsung TV and Blue Ray players, Sony TV and Blue Ray Players, VIZIO TV and Blue-ray players, Wii U and TiVo.

Get Started With Hulu

If you are still unsure if you want to subscribe to Hulu, you can start with a free trial.

If you go to the company’s website, at the central part of the screen, you will be able to see the Start a Free Trial button.

If you click on the button, you will have to select the subscription plan.

No matter which plan you choose, you will get the first month for free.

The next step is to create an account and sign in. You can also connect with Facebook.

Once you fill in all the required data, you will have to choose a billing option. Even though the first month is free, you will have to choose a payment option and enter your card number.

However, you can cancel your subscription before a trial period expires and you will not be charged for the service.

User Interface

Hulu’s user interface is elegant, simple, well-organized and easy to use.

Content is divided into categories you can browse, or you can enter the title into a search bar.

You can save your favorite TV shows or movies by using the My Stuff feature. That way, you will no longer have to browse the website every time you want to watch a certain series.

You can also enable or disable recommendations.

On the home screen, users can find recommended videos, channels that were recently watched and favorite programs.

Live TV, saved programs, DVR, browsing and search have their section. These can be a little bit confusing because they overlap.

According to some users, the watchlist can be poorly placed because the latest additions might end up at the bottom of the page.

However, expiring-soon titles are located at the top of the list where they’re easily visible, which is a plus.

Pricing

Currently, there are two subscription plans available for Hulu users:

  • One-year plan for $5.99 a
  • One-month plan for $39.99.

The first one includes unlimited access to the Hulu streaming library with limited or no commercials. You can stream the content on your devices and cancel or switch to other plans. Also, add-ons are available for additional payment.

The one-month plan includes unlimited access to the Hulu streaming library (Limited Commercials plan), full seasons of series and movies, and more than 50 TV channels. You can also cancel the subscription whenever you want or switch plans.

Some of the most popular Hulu add-ons include:

  • No Commercials
  • HBO
  • Showtime
  • Cinemax
  • Starz
  • Enhanced Cloud DVR
  • Unlimited Screens

If you opt toinclude HBO, Showtime and Cinemax, the costs can go up to $70.

User’s Reviews

Hulu user reviews are mostly positive. Clients are satisfied with an extensive library that contains many popular TV series, movies and documentaries.

However, there were certain complaints. According to one user, he cancelled the subscription, but the company continued to charge the service months after that.

Another listed issue is DVR playback buffering.

Woman's hand is pressing on the rating icon.
What Hulu subscribers get for their money is the opportunity to watch the past episodes of their favorite TV shows and movies, new episodes a day after they air, and syndicated television.

The company itself stated that they are aware of the problem, but it persists.

The Keep Watching feature also can cause problems.

One subscriber stated that it does not update and he cannot find recently watched episodes there.

The company recently launched a new website design that is showing some issues such as crashing.

Also, users find it difficult to browse content and navigate through the website. However, this might not even be an issue; it is more a matter of habit.

On the other hand, other users were thrilled with the website changes. They also claimed that the video buffering and quality is flawless.

Pros

Cons

A library that contains the most popular TV shows, movies and documentaries Customer support is not always up to the task
On-demand option There are occasional hiccups with DVR playback
Live TV Available only in the United States and Japan
Well-designed website  
A free trial is available  
Add-ons can be included for additional payment  
Available for many platforms and devices  

The Final Verdict

Hulu is a streaming service founded back in 2007 in Los Angeles, California. The website was first poorly populated, and therefore it could be used for free.

Now, Hulu is one of the most popular streaming companies.

It offers thousands of hours of TV shows, movies, mini-series and documentaries. Live TV is also available.

Moreover, Hulu does contain ads, but they can be limited for extra payment.

Even though Netflix still is the most popular streaming service, Hulu has definitely become serious competition.

One of the biggest advantages of Hulu is that it airs an episode a day after it is released.

If you want to watch a series on Netflix, you will have to wait for the entire season to be released and then to binge watch it.

If questionable website functionality is not a deal-breaker for you, then there is no reason why not to give Hulu a chance.

Woman watching online tv.
Hulu also partnered with EMI and Warner Music Group, so it includes music videos and concerts in its offerings.

Thousands of hours of content on demand and dozens of live TV channels is worth giving it a shot, especially given the fact that Netflix airs the episodes only when the entire season has been released, and who has time for that?

According to the fans, Handmaid’s Tale is enough reason to opt for Hulu instead of any other streaming service.

 

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