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Hulu vs. Netflix

Compare two of the streaming universe's most popular services.
by Hedy Phillips — 
Hulu vs. Netflix

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Hulu vs. Netflix Highlights

If you want reality shows and access to live TV: Hulu If you want plenty of original content: Netflix
Simultaneously stream on two screens No ads ever
Upgrade to Hulu + Live TV at any time Thousands of titles, including original content
Premium channel add-ons available Download shows and movies to watch offline

Hulu and Netflix are two of the most popular on-demand streaming services. Both offer thousands of movies and TV shows, including originals and titles that are exclusive to their streaming platforms. Though the services are similar, where you'll see the biggest differences is in the content, the price, and the ads. 

Netflix never has ads, which makes it highly appealing to viewers. Though Hulu has ads, you can upgrade your plan to go without them. Hulu also has a number of add-ons and changes you can make to your plan, whereas Netflix is pretty bare bones and all-inclusive. When you're looking at Hulu vs. Netflix, here's everything you need to know.

Compare Hulu vs. Netflix plans

Hulu vs. Netflix Comparison


HuluNetflix
Monthly price Starts at $7/mo.Starts at $10/mo.
Free trial length Seven daysNone
Number of titles/channels N/AN/A
Number of simultaneous streams TwoUp to four
Cloud DVR storage 50 hours included with Hulu + Live TVNone
Offline viewing YesYes
Ad-free option YesYes

Which streaming service is right for you?

Hulu and Netflix are actually quite similar. Both are on-demand streaming services with a large library -- including their own originals. There are a few differences in prices and features, though. Netflix is a great option for singles who love to binge-watch TV shows and watch movies. The Basic plan only allows you to stream on one screen at a time, making it perfect for someone who isn't sharing their account. 

Hulu, on the other hand, is a fantastic option for fans of reality TV, as there are quite a few options available, including those that are available the day after they air on cable. Check out everything else you need to know about these two on-demand services.

User experience

Hulu

Hulu has an app that you can download on your handheld devices or your smart TV. You can also watch shows and movies on Hulu's website on your computer. Hulu is widely streamable on a number of devices, including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android and iOS, Android TV/Google TV, Chromecast, Roku, smart TVs, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Mac and PC, and more. 

The interface is user-friendly and easy to navigate, especially on web browsers.  

Netflix

Netflix also has an app that you can download onto your devices to use. The streaming service is compatible with a wide variety of devices, including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Facebook Portal, Android and iOS, Mac and PC, Android TV/Google TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, a wide number of smart TVs, PlayStation, Xbox, and more. 

You can also watch Netflix on your desktop browser on the website. The interface is very easy to use and navigate.

Personalization

Hulu

You can create up to six profiles on Hulu that are personalized for each person, including the kids with extra parental controls. You can save shows and movies in your profile for easy access later, plus Hulu makes recommendations based on what you've watched. 

That means if you've been watching the current season of The Bachelor, Hulu will make a similar recommendation for what you should check out next. Also, kids' profiles can be more restricted so parents have a say in what they're watching. 

Netflix

Netflix allows you to create five profiles per account, so each watcher can have their own personalized experience. On your profile, you can save shows and movies to "My List" for an easy way to access titles you either want to watch later or watch often. 

Plus, Netflix will make recommendations for you based on what you've previously watched, so the titles that are surfaced are more relevant to your viewing history. If you've been watching horror TV shows, Netflix might suggest you watch The Haunting of Bly Manor, Midnight Mass, or Archive 81 next. Netflix also offers kids' profiles where parents can set limits on what they can watch.

Extras

Hulu

  • Upgrade to a bundle with Hulu + Live TV, Disney+, and ESPN+ for $70/mo. for even more viewing options.

  • HBO Max for $15/mo. for access to HBO originals and a ton of movies.

  • Showtime for 11/mo. for exclusive titles and plenty of movies.

  • Cinemax for $10/mo. for a large collection of movies.

  • Starz for $9/mo. for original titles and more.

  • ESPN+ for $7/mo. for expanded access to a variety of sporting events and programming.

  • Enhanced Cloud DVR for $10/mo. for more storage space if you have live TV.

  • Unlimited screens for $10/mo. so everyone in the house can watch TV on different devices at the same time.

  • Access to Hulu original TV shows, movies, and more, including shows currently airing on cable. You can usually watch these on Hulu the day after they air. 

Netflix

  • Upgrade to Standard plan to stream on two screens at once instead of one and HD viewing for an additional $5/mo.

  • Upgrade to Premium plan to stream on four screens at once and Ultra HD viewing for an additional $10/mo., if you have a house full of people who want to stream different things.

Disadvantages

Hulu

A big drawback for Hulu users is that you have to pay extra to be able to stream with no ads, whereas Netflix never includes ads. Hulu (no ads) costs more than Netflix's Basic plan but less than the Standard plan, which still actually makes it a slightly better deal than Netflix. However, it's a frustration for customers that the most affordable option includes ads. 

Netflix

One major drawback of Netflix is that if you have the standard plan, you can only stream content on one screen at a time, compared to Hulu's two. You need to upgrade your Netflix to the Standard plan to even get two screens. And while Netflix has a wealth of content, there are no add-ons for premium channels or a live TV option, both of which Hulu offers. 

Our final take

Though Hulu and Netflix are similar, there are some differences in content that make one a better option for some people over the other. With Hulu, you have access to not only quite a bit of reality TV but also shows that are currently airing. If you want to stay up-to-date on current television without getting cable, Hulu is a better option for you. 

With Netflix, you won't get any new shows until an entire season has aired and then comes to Netflix, However, Netflix will give you a lot of high-quality original content, so if movies and binge-able shows are what you seek, you may be better with Netflix. 

Overall, Hulu provides more options for viewing, because you also have access to premium channel add-ons and live TV if you choose to add it.