Hulu with Live TV review: The abundant streaming bundle

For $45 per month, Hulu with Live TV creates a great value by combining lots of popular channels with Hulu’s existing on-demand service (normally $8 per month). It’s also customizable, with options to add more DVR storage, additional streams, and fewer commercials, and its user interface—while occasionally overwhelming—has a way of helping you find new things to watch.

Still, some caveats apply: The DVR doesn’t allow ad skipping unless you pay for more storage, out-of-home viewing isn’t allowed on streaming TV devices such as Roku and Fire TV players, and certain devices don’t yet support 60-frames-per-second video playback. Whether Hulu with Live TV works for you will depend in large part on whether you can tolerate those restrictions.

Updated August 12, 2019 to reflect the latest changes to Hulu’s service offering. Our bottom-line score has not changed.

How Hulu’s live TV service works

Hulu’s channel lineup is one-size-fits-all, with roughly 60 channels included in the $45 base package. Those include all four major broadcast channels; the big three cable news networks; national and regional sports from ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS Sports Network, and NBCSN; and a slew of entertainment channels. You can also purchase an “Entertainment” pack of additional channels for $8 per month, or premium channels such as HBO ($15 per month), Cinemax ($10 per month), and Showtime ($9 per month). The full channel list appears at the bottom of this review.

The major omissions are channels from AMC Networks, Viacom (such as Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and MTV), and league-specific sports channels, such as NBA TV and NFL Network.

As with most other streaming bundles, Hulu carries live, local broadcast stations in some markets, but not others. (Enter your zip code on Hulu’s website to see which local channels you’ll receive.) If a live broadcast is not available, you’ll still get that network’s prime-time on-demand programming the day after it airs, but you won’t be able to watch local news, sports, or other live events.

Hulu

Hulu has a live TV guide, but it only shows the next available program for now.

The $45-per-month plan includes 40 hours of DVR storage, saved indefinitely, but with one major limitation: You’re not allowed to skip through ads on recorded programming. If you want Hulu’s cloud DVR to act like a real DVR, you’ll need to pay $15 extra for full ad skipping and 200 hours of storage.

The base plan allows for two streams at a time, but you can pay another $15 per month to watch on unlimited devices at home and three streams on the road. (This add-on can be bundled with the expanded DVR for $20 per month total.) In any case, Hulu does not allow you to stream on TV devices such as Fire TV Sticks or Roku players from outside the house. As a workaround, your Hulu account can log into 35 TV network apps, but not all of them offer live feeds, and some have unskippable ads during on-demand video.