We cut the cord on cable four
years ago. We were paying $105 per month to keep DirecTV around and knew it was
far too expensive. When we canceled DirecTV, we looked at Netflix vs Hulu to determine which service
to use to replace our content needs. Four years later, we’re saving over $80
per month and get all the shows we want – thanks in large part to these
streaming services. You may think it’s impossible to cut the cord. I used to
believe the same thing. I would lose football, my wife would miss HGTV, and
we’d be without the shows we like to watch, or so I thought.
Thanks to streaming providers, we miss very little of our favorite content and save loads of cash in the process. If we can do it, you can too. If you want to cut the cord on
cable or satellite and think you’ll miss all your shows, this guide on Hulu vs
Netflix shows which is better to replace your content needs.
NETFLIX VS HULU: WHICH IS
Many people know about both streaming providers, but may not be able to answer the question “What is the difference between Netflix and Hulu?” Both platforms have been around for years, and both have millions of customers. Each service also has its own original content along with a full library of movies to watch. While Netflix and Hulu share a
lot of similarities, they are also quite different. This side-by-side
comparison of Netflix vs Hulu details their differences so you can determine
which service is best for your needs.
For an overview of where we’re
going in the post, here’s a Hulu vs Neflix chart that breaks down the areas we
will cover in the post:
Hulu vs Netflix
Plans and Pricing
$5.99/month – few commercials
$8.99/month – Basic
$11.99/month – no commercials
$12.99/month – Standard
$44.99/month – Hulu with Live TV
$15.99/month – Premium
More current TV shows
More original content
Better guide; easier to navigate
Busy home screen; harder to navigate
Far fewer movies to choose from
Massive movie selection, but losing Disney in
Compatible with many platforms, browsers and
Compatible with many platforms, browsers and devices
As you can see, each service has
multiple plans and pricing options and shines in different areas.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HULU
This guide will help you
determine the differences between Netflix and Hulu by covering five different areas:
- Plans and
These areas cover a wide range of
what to consider when comparing Hulu vs Netflix for your cable replacement
Hulu Basic offers two plans, one with
limited commercials and one with no commercials. To be fair, the no commercials
plan is a bit of a misnomer as a small handful of shows contain limited
commercials. This is limited to six to ten shows, all of which are relatively
The pricing for the legacy Hulu
plans is below:
- $5.99 per
month for the limited commercials plan
per month for the no commercial plan
The $5.99 plan is a new offering
by Hulu. It was previously $7.99 per month, and the new price is a great value.
The only difference between the
two legacy Hulu plans are the commercials. Both provide access to Hulu’s
original content like The Handmaid’s Tale and Casual,
movies, and most TV shows – 24 hours after they run on air.
Hulu with Live TV
The second major plan offered by
Hulu is Hulu with Live TV, formerly known as Hulu Plus. Hulu Live gives you
all the content listed as a part of Hulu Basic, but it also works as a cable
Below are just a few of the
benefits of signing up for Hulu with Live TV:
- 60+ cable
channels for $44.99 per month
- DVR, with
50 hours of storage – you can upgrade to 200 hours for an additional $14.99 per
- Access to
local channels in most markets – here’s how to watch local TV
without cable if
you choose another provider
on two devices at once
If you want to cut the cord on
cable, Hulu with Live TV is one of the best cable TV
are just a handful of the channels Hulu Live offers:
family of networks
- Fox News
Regardless of the plan you
choose, you can stream on two devices simultaneously. You can check out our Hulu
with Live TV review to see the full channel lineup.
Much of their content is
available in either HD or Ultra HD, though some of their on demand offerings
are available only in SD.
Hulu also allows you to add the
below paid channels:
- Cinemax –
$9.99 per month, same as the standalone service
- HBO –
$14.99 per month, same as the standalone service but offers the first six
months for only $4.99
– $8.99 per month, $2 cheaper per month than the standalone service
Although Hulu has fewer
subscribers compared to Netflix (20 million vs. 50 million) it has a lot to
offer for the price.
Netflix first began as a
DVD by mail service. They have all but killed that offering today, but they do
have three main service plans you can choose from for your entertainment needs.
Netflix Basic is as advertised.
It’s the bargain basement plan, priced at $8.99 per month. This gets you access
to all of its original content like Stranger Things and Orange
is the New Black, its full library of movies, and unlimited access to all
of the shows on Netflix.
Some things to keep in mind with
the basic Netflix plan are that it’s not available in HD and you can only
stream on one device at a time. If you want a bare bones plan, this is the plan
The Standard plan builds on the Basic
plan, with a price of $12.99 per month. This provides access to the same
network of shows, as you get the same library of content regardless of the plan
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The benefit of the Standard plan
is that it’s available in HD and you can stream on two devices at once. This is
perfect for a small family looking for flexibility in their viewing needs.
Netflix’s Premium plan is a step
up from standard and costs $15.99 per month. What does the Premium plan offer
that the Standard doesn’t? Two key benefits:
- Ultra HD
- You can
stream on up to four devices at once
The Premium plan is perfect for a
larger family that wants to stream on a variety of devices at once and wants
the best available quality.
Winner: The winner of Netflix vs Hulu
price and plan goes to Hulu. Two things make them stand out – a $5.99 per month
option and live content.
Netflix offers a great price, but
Hulu beats them on price and plan. Hulu with Live TV only
sweetens the deal.
Original content is the
name of the game for many streaming providers. Some platforms specialize in
solely live programming, while others specialize in airing content from other
Original content, on the other
hand, is where some providers separate themselves. Hulu has significantly
stepped up its original content game, in both shows and movies. Reports
indicate Hulu spent $3 billion in 2018 on original programming alone.
**Related: not certain which
option you should choose? Read our Hulu vs. Hulu Plus guide to see which choice
fits your needs.**
While Netflix spends considerably
more on its original content, Hulu is no slouch when it comes to critically
acclaimed original content. Below are some of the most popular Hulu original
The Handmaid’s Tale
- Castle Rock
- The Mindy Project
- The Path
We’ve really enjoyed the original
content we’ve watched on Hulu thus far and think it’s only going to improve
Aside from the DVD service
they started with, Netflix is widely known for its original content. They pump
out dozens of original series or movies each month, with reports indicating up
to 700 shows in 2018 alone.
Netflix is the granddaddy of the
binge watch culture. They typically drop most original shows in their entire
10- or 13-episode format, ready to watch in their entirety. That format changed
television the way Amazon changed shopping.
While each original show isn’t
gold, Netflix does have many critically acclaimed original shows. Below is just
a handful of their top original content:
- Orange is the New Black
- The Crown
- Stranger Things
- House of Cards
- Arrested Development
Regardless of your preferred
genre, you’re almost certain to find quality original content on Netflix.
Winner: The winner on original content
between Hulu and Netflix goes to Netflix. Aside from shows like The
Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu original content vs Netflix just doesn’t
That’s not to imply that the
original content on Hulu is bad, because it’s not. They’re investing more in
original content, but it’s the focus of Netflix making it the
Rather than covering both
platforms individually with regards to device support, we’ll cover them as one
section. Both Netflix and Hulu operate on a ridiculous amount of platforms.
Below are just a few of the
devices you can use to watch Hulu and Netflix:
- Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
- Roku family of devices
- Apple TV
LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio TVs
and Xbox devices
You would be hard pressed to find
a device that won’t allow you to watch either one or both platforms.
Winner: Device support is a tie between
the two providers. You can access either through a wide array of products,
making both available to almost anyone.
It can be difficult to
compare interface between two platforms, especially when there are a number of
differences. Hulu differentiates itself by having a bit of a different
interface on their desktop version vs. what’s found while watching on a TV.
Both are relatively simple to navigate, with options being a bit easier to use
on the desktop version.
The interface of the Hulu platform is relatively
clean and simple to navigate. They have less content than Netflix, so this does
make it easier for them to accomplish. Hulu divides shows and movies simply by
category so you can quickly find what you want to watch.
They also do a good job at
advertising their new shows, or ones you’ve recently watched.
One feature of the Hulu interface
we really like is that they advertise new episodes of shows you like right on
the home page. You don’t have to go search for it; you just click on it when
it’s ready to watch.
The one complaint we have about
the Hulu interface is the awkwardness of learning how to navigate it after
upgrading to Hulu Live. If you’ve gotten used to Hulu legacy, it can take a few
tries to figure out how to access the live TV and DVR options.
The login is the same, as is the
home screen, but there are a few extra clicks required to find the live TV
guide and DVR settings. We ended up inadvertently recording dozens of hours of
local news without realizing it.
That aside, we quickly acclimated
and have found the Hulu interface relatively simple to use.
Carrying forward from the
section on original content, Netflix has a lot of it. While it would make sense
for Netflix to put its original content front and center in its interface,
that’s not really the case.
Regardless of whether you access
Netflix from a desktop or a TV, they tend to overwhelm you with a lot of
content. This is an understandable downfall of having so much original content,
but the interface is simply too busy to easily navigate.
Netflix recently updated their
interface, which is good, but it still does not take away from the busy
features of it. Worse yet, they don’t put all their new content on the home
page of the interface. This means you need to search for it manually to find
The one bright spot of the
Netflix interface is that they play trailers when you leave your TV idle on a
Winner: It’s hard to say, but the
interface for Hulu wins vs Netflix. Overall, the Hulu interface is cleaner and
simpler to use. Netflix needs to take some of the money they’re using for
original content and invest it in a cleaner, easier to use interface.
Hulu was a bit late to the game
for movies. Being owned by many of the major networks, it’s understandable that
they would focus on television shows.
However, Hulu has stepped up
their game significantly with movie titles putting them on par with Netflix.
Not only have they produced their own original movies, such as Joshy and The
Beatles: Eight Days A Week, they also have plenty of non-original
Non-original movies on Hulu range
from older classics, like Carrie and Taxi Driver,
to newer popular movies like Fences and Arrival.
Netflix began as a DVD by
mail service for movies; a virtual Blockbuster back when that chain ruled the
home entertainment market. Today, Netflix’s DVD by mail service is more of a
fringe offering, but they still maintain a healthy selection of movies.
*Related: Want a free option for
cable? Check out our Pluto TV review to learn how to watch free
Netflix has produced its share of
original movies, at just over 100 films. Many of the films have received little
fanfare, with most of them considered no better than a straight to DVD movie.
Netflix does have a larger film
library than Hulu, but many of them are more niche in nature. A common
complaint with Netflix is that they cycle out a lot of popular movies each
You might be able to watch a
movie you want this month, but it’s possible you wouldn’t the following month.
Netflix does boast a large cache
of Disney and Pixar movies. Unfortunately, Netflix will be losing first-run
Disney and Pixar movies starting with those released in 2019.
Disney is launching their own
streaming platform so they will be keeping new films for their own library.
Winner: This is likely the closest of the
five categories of the Hulu vs Netflix battle, but Netflix wins by a close
margin. However, once Netflix loses the rights to first-run Disney films in
2019 it will be a tie at best, or a slight nod to Hulu.
HULU VS NETFLIX: WHICH IS
Comparing the differences
between Netflix and Hulu, it’s clear where they differ. Hulu is focusing on
three main areas:
content through Hulu Live
shows 24 hours after they appear on air
Netflix is focusing on two main
Comparing Hulu Plus vs Netflix,
the winner by a slight margin is Hulu. Technically, out of the five categories,
each service won twice, along with a tie.
However, one of the Netflix wins
will soon be switching to Hulu when Netflix loses first-run Disney movies. In
fact, the new Disney+ platform will be an upgrade option at Hulu in November
2019. This further strengthens the slight victory over Netflix.
Netflix offers a great price,
with their lowest plan being $8.99 per month. Hulu beats that with their $5.99
per month plan. That gets you access to all their original content plus many
current TV shows 24 hours after they run on air.
If you want a live option, check
out our Hulu Live TV
channels list guide
to see what live channels you receive on the platform.
Regardless of which streaming
service you choose, you will have great value, plus great savings vs.
For our money, Hulu is the
OTHER TOP ALTERNATIVES TO
A side-by-side comparison
of Hulu vs Netflix would be incomplete without briefly discussing the
other best TV streaming
are a few additional alternatives to cable to consider.
Sling TV is one of the
older streaming service providers. The Sling platform is run by Dish Network
and comes in at a reasonable $25 per month.
Sling TV offers two base plans –
Sling Orange and Sling Blue, both coming in at $25 per month. Each plan offers
a bit of a different of a package of channels but you can expect to find some
of the below channels in at least one of the plans:
- Fox Sports
- Fox News
Sling TV also offers add-on
packages that let you customize your experience even more. Most of these
packages cost an additional $5 per month.
Check out our Sling TV review for a more in-depth review
of the service.
Philo is a newer player in
the streaming space and specializes in lower cost packages. The Philo TV
service first started out on college campuses but is now available across the
Philo is one of the cheaper cable
TV alternatives, with their two packages costing $16 and $20 per month. The two
packages offer 40 and 49 channels, respectively.
The 49-channel plan offers the
same channels as does the lower tier package, with nine extra thrown in.
Channels on Philo include:
- Comedy Central
As you’ll notice, there are no
sports channels on Philo. That is how they keep their costs down. If you want
primarily lifestyle channels, Philo is a good option.
Check out our Philo review for a more in-depth review
of the platform.
FuboTV first got its start as a
streaming service exclusively for soccer fans. The FuboTV platform has
significantly expanded its offering since launching in 2015. You can expect to
find the following channels on FuboTV:
- Fox News
Sports 1 & 2
FuboTV costs $54.99 per month for
100+ channels. While a bit on the pricy side, it’s still less than half the
cost of traditional cable.
Check out our FuboTV review for a more in-depth review
of the service.
AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
Finally, we want to take a
look at Hulu vs Netflix vs Amazon Prime. Hulu and Netflix are the major players
in the original content space, with Amazon becoming more competitive.
Amazon Prime Video offers two subscription
- $8.99 per
The first plan is their basic
plan that gets you access to most of their content, movies, and television
The more expensive plan gets you
full access to Amazon Prime, plus free two-day shipping on
purchases along with unlimited reading and music streaming.
If you’re considering the more
expensive plan, keep in mind that you save money by going with the annual rate
of $119 per year – or $59 if you’re a student. You can try a free 30-day trial
of Amazon Prime if the price tag is too steep to try without testing the
Amazon Prime Video does offer
original content, albeit not quite yet at the level of Netflix or Hulu. Among
the critically acclaimed original shows you can view are:
- Sneaky Pete
- The Man in the High Castle
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Amazon is more hit and miss with
its movie selections, but if you’re thinking about becoming an Amazon Prime
member anyways, this is a streaming service worthy of consideration.
You can use the Fire TV Stick to
access all Amazon content. Check out the list of Amazon Fire TV
Stick channels to
see the other content you can get through the platform.
HULU OR NETFLIX: BOTTOM
Many people look at Netflix
vs Hulu when they want to cut the cord. Both provide solid options for the cord
cutter looking to save money and get good content.
Hulu wins a head to head
competition, but you can’t go wrong with either service – it all depends on
What streaming service
do you use for your content needs? What do you look for in a streaming
provider? How much do you spend per month on cable or streaming providers?