Hulu Plus vs Amazon Prime (comparison)

Are the best shows on Hulu better than Amazon Prime?

Both fairly new to the streaming content category, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime each offer a subscription service for streaming movies and TV shows, but which of the newest contenders is the best service to subscribe to? Well, TV buffs might choose Hulu Plus, while avid shoppers will most likely want to get Amazon Prime for its additional benefits, but here’s a run down on each service and how they compare.  Also make sure to read our Hulu vs Amazon Prime vs Netflix.

Background

Hulu has been around since 2007 and first started out as a free online video service. It offered a variety of popular TV shows, movies and more before implementing Hulu Plus, an ad-supported subscription service that offers more content versus the free version. See how Hulu Plus stacks up in our Hulu Plus vs Vudu comparison.

Amazon Prime Streaming is also a fairly new service that offers Amazon Prime members perks for constantly purchasing things on the site. Besides offering online streaming movies, the membership also offers free two-day shipping and access to thousands of books in its library. (Note: It’s not to be confused with Amazon’s Instant Video, which also offers TV show, movies and more to buy and/or rent.)

User Friendly

Both Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime are streaming only services. Both allow you to watch movies and shows instantly on your computer (Mac or PC), in addition to numerous other devices (see below). All you have to do is log into your account and you’re good to go.

Winner: Tie since they’re both easy to log in to and use.

Compatible Devices

Amazon Prime has quite an extensive list of options that include computers and about 200 different models of Blu-ray players, Internet-connected TVs and set-top-boxes. The list includes: Roku Set-Top boxes, Blu-ray players form the likes of Sony, LG, Panasonic and more Amazon Instant Video-Compatible HDTVs from the likes of LG, Vizio, Panasonic and more, as well as Android-based phones and you can download only to the Amazon Kindle Fire. All you have to do is register the device to the Amazon.com account that’s associated with the Prime membership.

Hulu Plus doesn’t have the extensive list of devices as Amazon Prime, but it does still include a lot of the more popular lines like: PS3, Roku, iOS devices, Xbox 360, Android phones/tablets, Amazon Kindle Fire, Nintendo 3DS, Sony TVs/Blu-ray players, VIZIO TVs/Blu-ray players, Samsung TVs/Blu-ray players, WD TV Media Players and Panasonic TVs/Blu-ray players. You can also migrate your viewing across various devices when watching on Hulu Plus.

Winner: Amazon Prime has way more devices.

Titles

Hulu Plus states  that they have “thousands of critically-acclaimed and award-winning movies, many featuring no commercial interruption.” But according to other sources, their titles are estimated at more than 43,000 TV episodes from more than 1,650 current and classic TV shows. There are also about 2,500 films, including exclusives from the Criterion Collection. According to Amazon, they have about 10,000 movies and TV shows, but are looking to grow that number by about 13,000 with 2,000 of those titles in HD.

Winner: Amazon Prime offer more movie titles than Hulu Plus, which has more TV show episodes.

Membership Perks

Since Hulu Plus has more TV shows than movies, die-hard TV fan can easily watch all the new and current episodes of this season’s shows, with new episodes loaded as soon as it’s done airing. With Amazon Prime, you’re not only paying for streaming movies, but also free shipping and access to their library of Kindle Books, which is great for shoppers who use Amazon for everything.

Winner: Amazon Prime has more membership perks than just streaming videos.

Content

Hulu Plus streams current episodes of shows from Fox, NBC Universal, The Walt Disney Company, The Biography Channel, MTV Networks, National Geographic Channel and Public Broadcasting Service and The Criterion Collection. Amazon Prime has deals with the likes of ABC Studios, ABC Family, the Disney Channel and Marvel, as well as NBCUniversal, Fox and Sony.

Winner: Amazon Prime scored bigger content deals than Hulu Plus.

Speed of service

Hulu Plus requires you to have a number of specific things in order to stream videos on your computer, including Macintosh OS X 10.4 or above, or Linux; JavaScript and Cookies enabled, Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or above, Adobe Flash Player 10.1.53.64 or above; Internet Explorer 7.0 or above, Firefox 2.0 or above, or Safari 3.0 or above. Amazon Prime isn’t as picky, but does depend on your Internet speed for how fast movies/shows start.

Winner: Tie

Quality

Both Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime can stream in HD when available and features a 720p resolution.

Winner: Tie

Limitations

Videos watched with Amazon Prime are only available for streaming and can’t be downloaded and only U.S. residents can access Amazon Prime. It isn’t available in Alaska or Hawaii. You can also watch a Prime instant video as many times as you would like; however, you may only simultaneously watch two videos from the same account. Like the free version of Hulu, Hulu Plus still as ads even though you’re paying a monthly fee for access.

Winner: Amazon Prime doesn’t have any ads.

Price

Hulu Plus costs $7.99/month with cancellation available at any time. For Amazon Prime, it’s $79 a year, but it does include other benefits. If you’re a college student, you get 50% off of Amazon Prime’s price.

Winner: Amazon Prime’s price offers more than just streaming content.

Overall Winner

It seems Amazon Prime offers more bang for your buck! Not only does it provide streaming content like movies and some of your favorite TV shows, but its price also allows Amazon shoppers to get free two-day shipping on all items purchased on the site and more. It also offer a better variety of movies and TV shows, where Hulu Plus is more about TV shows than movies. 

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Kristie Bertucci

Kristie Bertucci is an L.A.-based writer, who can't live without her MacBook Pro. When she's not writing, she's either reading or shopping (online, of course) and loves lazy days so she can catch up on her DVR-recorded shows and movies. She's definitely a Mac girl, she loves music and is currently on a mission to to have an insane and enviable iTunes library.

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19 Comments

  1. Don’t worry, if you”re viewing hulu plus on a ps3, you don’t have to worry about content. Because, your system will spend most of it’s time frozen. Absolute waste!

  2. The best deal is sling box solo 99$ (lifetime) plus DVR service about 12$ a month
    You can stream entire cable programing plus DVR contents , why pay hulu for something you can record your self plus no waitjng .

  3. It is clear to me in viewing the offerings of Amazon Prime (for Kindle Fire) you need to purchase quite a lot to see the same variety of offerings from Hulu+. And you can only do that if you are the Prime subscriber – family users of Amazon Prime can’t use any of those features for Kindle.

  4. I don’t think the author has used Amazon Prime. Amazon may have a lot of movies and book, but “Amazon Prime” does not have very many movies and books. Be very careful what you oder. If it is not Amazon Prime, they will charge you for it. I download a kindle book explaining how Amazon Prime work. It said it was a Amazon Prime book but Amazon still charged me. Buyer beware when using Amazon Prime.

  5. This “comparison” looks like it was written by a 16 year old Amazon fangirl. Amazon wins on titles even though (by your own numbers) Hulu has 45,500 titles while Amazon has 10,000 but Amazon wins because they have more movies? What the hell kind of comparison is that? Hulu sells it’s self on TV shows, the movies are just extra. This is the equivalent of saying that Footlocker is a better place to shop than Target because Footlocker sells more shoes. Amazon wins on content because they got contracts with bigger companies? This does not equate to the quality or desires of the audience. Amazon wins 9 to 3 even though three of them are ties? This sounds incredibly misleading. I am just as much a fan of Amazon as the next person, but this comparison is bullshit.

    1. @Greg, you said everything that I wanted to. One other misleading point was having access to Amazon’s library of Kindle books with the Prime account, which the way it was worded sounds like you can read them for free. This is true, if you have a Kindle, with or without the Prime account. If you’re using the Kindle app for iPad, they are not free, although they are often times at a reduced rate.

      Overall this article was very poorly written.

    2. Note :
      “43,000 TV episodes FROM 1,650 current and classic TV shows.”

      According to her numbers, Amazon won because they had 10,000 movies and TV shows. Comparatively, Hulu has 4,150 movies and TV shows (1,650 shows and 2,500 films).

  6. I personally disagree with the conclusion to this article.  In my own evaluation of HuLu+, Netflix and AmazonPrime, Prime came in last for amount of content to watch and I also don’t find it easy to location content included with the Prime subscription.

    HuLu plus while putting ads in their videos (even Youtube does this now, it drives me crazy), is a viable replacement to cable TV.  HuLu is trying to become a 24hour delayed cable TV re-broadcaster.  You get stuff that was on yesterday on your cable service streamed in high def over HuLu and HuLu Plus.  They don’t have everything but they have a huge amount of new content updated every single day.  Even Netflix can’t make this claim. 

    1. Hulu plus sucks.  There are so many commercials it’s like watching free TV, only they charge for it.  Netflix is way better if you hate tons of commercials.  Amazon Prime is in between.  

  7. Amazon and Hulu are both great services, but I think they are kind of limited on content. I found a service that offers every thing my family needs. We have the Blockbuster @Home service from DISH, my employer. For $10 per month I get streaming to my TV, iPad and PC as well as DVDs, video games and blu-rays by mail or in store. Working for DISH I love how they even include extra movie channels! One service takes care of my entire family and keeps us in all the games and movies we could ever want.

      1.  the blockbuster pass is available to any DISH customer for 10 bux. The streaming content is extremely limited and the in-store-exchange is handy if you have a store near by, but you can only exchange 1 time per mail reciept (you can’t take an item you exchanged in the store and exchange it for another in-store title; you need to get every other one in the mail at least). i’m working on phasing out my DISH and going to the internet. no one seems to touch whether the amazon account has “current” tv shows like hulu. Anybody know?

          1. I havent seen any “current shows” in hulu or netflix. All the shows seem to be a season behind. And, the amount of videos hulus claims to have is misleading, most of the videos i see are like 2 minute shorts of episodes. For example, if i look at a season and it says it has 100+videos for that season, only 13 are actual full episodes, the rest is crap. I dont see why so many people like hulu better then netflix, netflix seems to be more updated when it comes to episodes (i have found netflix sucks for movies, not sure about hulu). Who cares if hulu has more videos when the videos are basically comercials of the tv episode.

        1. Dish cost too much. People who are looking at Hulu/Amazon are people who are looking for options besides Dish/Direct TV/Cable.

          So because the blockbuster pass is available to any Dish customer; it will not work for most people who are trying to avoid the now $100/month fee.

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