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Hulu with Live TV Review: Terrible menus, limited DVR spoil the deal



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Sarah Tew / CNET

With its latest price drop for $ 6 basic Hulu is one of the best streaming offers . It offers gobs of current and former television shows and movies for the price of a salted caramel cake. Unfortunately, your subscription to Hulu is upgrading with Live TV it's a bad deal. At $ 45 a Month or $ 60 if you want a DVR that actually allows you to speed through advertising, Hulu's live TV solution falls in comparison with other premium live TV streaming services especially YouTube TV.

For the benefit of Hulu with Live TV, a healthy mix of channels and a (limited) DVR on the cheapest level and the deep on-demand catalog of Hulu is a good addition. But the problems with Hulu's user interface, which can be forgiven in a service costing $ 6 per. Month is hard to overlook on a premium product.

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What do you get?

Hulu has been offering the Live TV service for over two years now, and the price has remained relatively stable – only and increased $ 5 per. Month . Other services have had larger increases, including YouTube TV and DirecTV Now, both now up to $ 50.

Hulu with Live TV expands on existing on-demand service with over 60 live channels and throws both DVR and "guide" . "Live TV is available on all major platforms including browsers, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku.

Premium live TV streaming services compared

Premium services YouTube TV DirecTV Now Hulu with Live TV FuboTV PlayStation Vue
Basic Price $ 50 / month for 70+ channels $ 50 / month for 45+ channels $ 45 / month for 60+ channels $ 55 / month for 100+ channels $ 45 / month for 55+ channels
Total number of top 100 channels 64 45 58 62 47
ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC channels Yes Yes, in many markets Yes, in many markets Yes (no ABC) Yes, in many markets
Recordings for later (cloud DVR) Yes (hold for 9 months) Yes (20GB, hold for 30 days) Yes (need $ 15 / mo. Enhanced DVR to skip advertising) Yes (30GB, 500GB for $ 10 a month) Yes (hold for 28 days)
Multi-channel step-up packages No $ 70 / month No $ 50 / month, $ 60 / month or $ 80 / month
Simultaneous streams per. Account 3 2 ($ 5 option 3) 2 ($ 15 Unlimited) 2 ($ 6 option 3) 5

Aside from the unusual interface that I will cover shortly, the service's largest gotcha is $ 15 per. Enhanced DVR Month. The standard, non-improved DVR on Hulu Live lacks the ability to fast-forward and rewind on recorded or on-demand content. To get that functionality, spring to the enhanced DVR.

Many users see commercial jumping as a must-have for any DVR. By adding it, the monthly price of Hulu with Live TV brings up to $ 60, which is more expensive than the basic level of any other live TV service. And all the other premium services include cloud-DVRs that allow you to skip advertising as part of their standard features.

Read more: Hulu vs DirecTV Now vs. Sling TV vs. YouTube TV and more: Live TV channels compared

Hulu channel number is solid, better than PlayStation Vue, but worse than YouTube TV and Fubo TV (meanwhile DirecTV Now has HBO). Check out the channel bar at the end of the article, or the great comparison above, to see if Hulu with Live TV's mix is ​​right for you. Important missing channels include AMC, BBC America, MTV and Comedy Central.

A short while ago, Hulu and Spotify collaborated on a super cute $ 10 bundle and while the deal has expired, it still has a number of grandfather subscribers. You do not upgrade this package to Hulu with Live TV (I know I tried). To upgrade you need to create a new account and / or lose the bundle.

What is it to use?

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Go straight to the Kardashians. Don't go by. Do not pay $ 45.


Sarah Tew / CNET

Of all the live TV services I've used, Hulu's interface has the most radical design, but I liked the least. As soon as you open Hulu with Live TV, the website will show you only four and a half shows at a time – a small number relative to all the choices on Hulu – and other tabs are also limited with too much wasted space. If you've used Hulu before, you'll notice that Live TV adds two new tabs to the existing Home, Browse, Search and Profile – these are My Stuff (DVR) and Live TV.

I also like the two rows of different tabs at the top, making it more confusing to navigate. The first sub-tab on the website is called Hulu Picks. Unlike Netflix's suggestion, it simply seems to push what the hell Hulu feels like to show. In my account, it was the same five shows regardless of the selected profile – Kardashians and Good Fight – and these only disappeared if the particular profile had been created as a child's.

Hulu's guide is the least useful for any other streaming service out there. It shows again only four and a half rows on each page, and there are no 14-day instructions for reviewing upcoming shows. The Roku / Fire TV interface shows only the next show on the selected channel. You need to scroll down the infinitum to see what will play next time. Meanwhile, Apple TV lets you merge and look more for the rest of the day – but the current show still captures most of the free space.

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Sarah Tew / CNET

Similarly, recording to the DVR is a pain – you can only do it from the wizard and not while watching a show. You must enter the wizard and either press the center button (Apple / Roku) for a long time or press the hamburger button and click on the recording. Every second VDR available service allows you to record directly from the timeline or at least while the show is still playing.

Are you gonna get it?

If you're a Hulu fan, like the mix of channels and don I don't need a commercial jumping DVR, and Live TV may be what you're looking for. That is, if the interface does not drive you bonkers.

If you're looking for a premium live TV service, YouTube TV is worth the extra $ 5 a month over Hulu. Its channel offerings are better, its DVR is more robust, and its interface is much easier to use.

Premium channels compared

Channel Hulu with Live TV ($ 45) PS Vue ($ 45) YouTube TV ($ 50) DirecTV Now ($ 50)
Total channels: 58 47 63 45
ABC Yes Yes Yes Yes
CBS Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fox Yes Yes Yes Yes
NBC Yes Yes Yes Yes
PBS No No No No
CW Yes No Yes Yes
MyNetworkTV Yes Yes Yes Yes


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