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Hulu vs Hulu Live TV: What‘s the Difference and Which is Better for You?

Hulu and Hulu Live TV come from the same streaming platform but offer vastly different services at very different price points. Hulu is an on-demand streaming library while Hulu Live TV adds live TV channels and more on-demand content. Let‘s break down these two options in detail so you can decide which is a better fit for your needs and budget.

Pricing Breakdown

The most obvious difference between Hulu and Hulu Live TV is in their pricing:

  • Hulu starts at just $7.99 per month for the ad-supported plan. You can pay $14.99 per month to get rid of ads.

  • Hulu Live TV starts at $69.99 per month with ads. An ad-free version costs $82.99 per month.

So Hulu on its own is quite affordable, while Hulu Live TV costs nearly as much as a traditional cable package. But you get a lot more for that higher price.

Content Libraries Compared

When it comes to on-demand streaming content included, Hulu Live TV dwarfs the Hulu library:

  • Hulu has around 2,500 movies and 1,650 TV shows in its catalog from networks like FX, Fox, ABC, and NBC along with some original programming.

  • Hulu Live TV offers around 50,000 movies and episodes from over 85 live channels. The Hulu on-demand library is included along with full access to Disney+ and ESPN+.

So while Hulu covers the basics, Hulu Live TV is a content powerhouse bringing live news, sports, docs, movies and more each month.

Standout Features

Beyond just pricing and content libraries, Hulu and Hulu Live TV offer their own standout features:

  • Hulu allows paying extra to remove ads from its on-demand catalog. You can also bundle Hulu with Disney+ and ESPN+ starting at $9.99 per month.

  • Hulu Live TV comes with an unlimited cloud DVR, over 75+ live channels, the option to add premium networks like HBO and Showtime, and it bundles in full access to Disney+ and ESPN+ at no added cost.

So Hulu focuses on flexible pricing while Hulu Live TV stuffs in premium features and content add-ons to enhance the live TV experience.

Supported Devices

Both Hulu and Hulu Live TV are available to stream across a wide variety of smart devices and platforms:

  • Available on iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, select smart TVs and more
  • Can stream on up to 2 devices simultaneously, with option to pay extra to stream Unlimited devices on Hulu Live TV
  • Download for offline viewing on iOS and Android devices

The apps and viewing experience are very similar across both services. Just note that Hulu Live TV‘s live channels can only be viewed within your home WiFi network.

Content Bundles

As mentioned above, Hulu vs Hulu Live TV take different approaches when it comes to content bundles:

  • Hulu can be bundled with Disney+ and ESPN+ starting at $9.99 per month
  • Hulu Live TV comes with full subscriptions to Disney+ and ESPN+ included at no extra cost
  • So Disney fans get a better bundle value through Hulu Live TV

Hulu on its own focuses on Hulu‘s own on-demand catalogue while using addons and partnerships to enhance the offering.

Target Audiences

Given the major differences in content and features outlined above, Hulu and Hulu Live TV appeal to slightly different audiences:

  • Hulu is ideal for those who primarily want access to on-demand shows, movies and Hulu Originals. Great for cord-cutters looking for past seasons of shows from many top TV networks.

  • Hulu Live TV appeals to cord-cutters who still want that live TV experience including sports, news, documentaries and more. The huge on-demand catalogue is just a bonus on top.

There‘s certainly overlap in potential target audiences here. But the live TV component is really what sets the more expensive Hulu Live TV apart from the crowd.

Pros and Cons of Hulu vs Hulu Live TV

Hulu Hulu Live TV
Pros Pros
Affordable streaming on-demand library 75+ live TV channels
Original shows and exclusives Unlimited cloud DVR
Add-on options like HBO Max Disney+/ESPN+ bundled
Cons Cons
Limited content library Over 6x cost of basic Hulu
Still has ads on cheaper plan Live TV functions limited to home
Overlap with Disney+ and Prime Video Can add up with extra channel packs

A Brief Background

Hulu has an interesting history, originally formed in 2007 as a joint venture between several major broadcast TV networks to better compete with emerging streaming video platforms. The service has evolved over time:

  • 2007: Hulu launches as free, ad-supported platform to watch recent episodes of popular shows
  • 2010: Hulu Plus launch charges a monthly fee for more content, drops the free tier
  • 2017: Hulu rebranded with Hulu Live TV, its popular premium live TV streaming option

From more humble beginnings, Hulu and Hulu Live TV now sit among titans like Netflix and Prime Video in the booming streaming landscape.

So in summary, while Hulu keeps it simple and affordable, Hulu Live TV brings a more premium live TV experience, justified by its higher monthly rates. Evaluate your personal preferences around live vs on-demand content, pricing, and features included to decide which version of Hulu is a better fit.