When Hulu first came out, it was a joint venture between several networks. Three years later, Hulu Plus debuted and offered a monthly subscription service. As more people look to cost-effective cable alternatives, Hulu continues to be a top contender among competitors including Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video. The service provides with the most recent episodes of of hit television shows within 24 hours of the air date.
Yet, if you are easily irked by advertisements and want a robust movie library, Hulu Plus isn’t for you.
Hulu Plus Content Offerings
Hulu Plus is best known for its comprehensive library of the latest episodes of current shows. The service has deals with most major networks, giving users access to shows including “The Mindy Project,” “Modern Family,” and “Saturday Night Live.” Subscribers can miss “Nashville” on Wednesday night and still see what mess Juliette’s gotten herself into this time before the next one airs.
Beyond housing the most up-to-date episodes, Hulu’s streaming television library also includes numerous seasons of past and current shows, allowing users to binge watch at their own risk. This includes throwbacks like “Green Acres” and “The Brady Bunch”
While Hulu is great for the latest television shows, the service seriously lacks a decent contemporary movie selection. Viewers can watch classics such as “Snatch,” but they won’t be able to find fresh from the theater movies like they would on iTunes or Google Play. That said, Hulu does have the Criterion Collection, which houses award-winning productions from around the world, so it could be the right option for cinephiles.
Hulu may not have the most comprehensive movie selection, but it was one of the first services to create its own content. The web series “Battleground” was Hulu’s first foray into original scripted programming in 2012. The political drama found a following among users, which prompted Hulu to continue creating original content. While newer original web series like “The Awesomes” and “Deadbeat,” haven’t found massive followings like Netflix’s fan favorite “House of Cards,” the shows have still proved successful for Hulu.
As with most streaming services, Hulu is available on a computer via a web browser or on a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and televisions. The service is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone, making it accessible to almost every smartphone owner.
The service is also available on streaming media players like Roku, Apple TV, and Chromecast. Users who own gaming consoles, such as Xbox, PlayStation and Wii, can also subscribe to Hulu Plus.
Ease of Use
Similar to Netflix, Hulu is best in a web browser. Users are immediately greeted by an arsenal of content when they log in. The interface is neatly organized and easy to search, as users can filter by movies, shows or both, as well as search manually. Additionally, the “recently added” section features content added by date, which can ensure no one misses the latest episode of their favorite show.
The Hulu viewing experience is good on every device, yet there is one major aspect of the service that affects the overall user experience: advertisements. Despite paying $7.99 a month for a Hulu Plus membership, users still have to endure commercials. If this wasn’t annoying enough, the advertisements are usually the same every time, meaning it’s a constant loop of the same commercial loop during a typical 42-minute television episode.
While most Hulu users pay the monthly subscription rate, the service also offers some free, typically older, content on its web service, but not its mobile apps. (Read our full Hulu Plus vs. Hulu comparison for more information.) The service is also becoming more kid friendly and has a library of childhood favorites such as “Hey Arnold” easily accessible via the “Kids” section.
If you want to keep up with your favorite shows and go through the Criterion Collection, Hulu Plus is for you. If you want anything else, look anywhere else.