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Netflix vs Hulu Plus (comparison)

The conundrum continues over which subscription service is best for streaming movies and TV shows. Today’s comparison puts veteran contender Netflix up against the relatively new Hulu Plus. Both offer affordable prices for streaming content, but which is superior? Movie buffs and die-hard TV fans might have different opinions to this question, but here’s what we narrowed it down to.

Read: Hulu Plus vs Netflix vs Amazon


Background

Netflix has been top dog in video subscription for a minute, taking out the likes of Hollywood video and in some cases, many of Blockbuster’s stand-alone stores. It first started out as a DVD-by-mail program, but then evolved to include streaming movies, which is what many take advantage of now. Hulu jumped on the scene in 2007 and started as a free online video service that offered a selection of hit shows, movies and more (which is still does with a regular Hulu membership), but recently added Hulu Plus as an ad-supported subscription lifestyle service that offers more content over the free version.

User Friendly

Like most video subscription services, both Hulu Plus and Netflix are accessed via the Internet (initially at least). You sign into both your Netflix and Hulu account to access all the movies and shows you desire. Both offer free trials to test out if you like their services.

Hulu Plus is a streaming only service, while Netflix also offers a DVD mail program, where you pick your titles online and form a “wish list,” then get them sent to you via mail with no due date. Once you finish watching the movie, send it back and another from your list gets sent out.

Winner: Tie given both are fairly easy to operate. Just sign up online, create a password and you’re ready to start watching your favorite movies and TV shows, as well as discover new titles.

Compatible Devices

So far, Netflix has a number of compatible devices. Maybe it’s because it’s been around longer or because it’s been a leader in the industry, but whatever the case is, you can access your account and watch movies and shows via: PC and Mac computers, gaming consoles like Xbox 360, PS3, Wii; plenty of iOS devices; Android-based devices; the Windows phone; some Internet-connected Blu-ray players HTDTVs; TiVo or Roku; D-Link; and home theater systems from a number of manufactures. Users can easily connect various devices to one account and then jump from one device to the next seamlessly.

Hudu Plus doesn’t have as many options, but still has most of the most used ones on their list. Compatible devices include: Xbox 360, PS3, Roku, iOS devices, Android phones/tablets, Amazon Kindle Fire, Nintendo 3DS, Samsung TVs/Blu-ray players, Sony TVs/Blu-ray players, VIZIO TVs/Blu-ray players, TiVo Premiere, LG TVs/Blu-ray players, Panasonic TVs/Blu-ray players, computers and WD TV Media Players. It’s coming soon to Wii gaming consoles, too. Hulu Plus also allows viewers to migrate their viewing experience across several devices like Netflix.

Winner: Netflix has more devices so it wins here.

Titles

Netflix has tons of titles in their library, with more than 100,000 titles on DVD and Blu-ray (even some that are unrated and NC-17). The company also states that they have “tens of thousands” of titles available for streaming (including HD options). Hulu Plus doesn’t say their exact number of titles, but does state that they have “thousands of critically-acclaimed and award-winning movies, many featuring no commercial interruption.” But it’s estimated (from other sources) that it features more than 43,000 TV episodes from more than 1,650 current and classic television shows, as well as more 2,500 films including exclusives from the Criterion Collection.

Winner: Since Hulu Plus doesn’t want to give up their exact number of titles (it’s probably not as much as much as Netflix anyways), Netflix is our winner.

Membership Perks

Netflix boasts membership perks like a month of free service (when first testing it out), the ability to rate videos for future recommendations, offers suggestions that are based on your past viewing patterns, allows you to keep track of the videos you have already seen and those you’d like to see in the future. And it allows you to halt your subscription for a few months if you won’t be using the service for let’s say a vacation, etc. Hulu Plus offers die-hard TV fans the ability to watch the most recent seasons, with new episodes uploaded the day after the show airs on TV.

Winner: Tie because the latest in TV episodes are great, but then again so is having the ability to freeze your Netflix account.

Content

Netflix loads of great content thanks to its various big licensing deals with the likes of CBS, ABC, FOX, NBC, BBC libraries, Sony, and DreamWorks Animation (which is totally exclusive but doesn’t start until 2013. But Hulu Plus isn’t doing so bad either given it streams current episodes of TV shows from the channels and networks like Fox, NBC Universal, The Walt Disney Company, The Biography Channel, MTV Networks, National Geographic Channel and Public Broadcasting Service. It also scored an exclusive deal with the Criterion Collection.

Winner: Netflix still offers more of a variety in both movies and TV shows than Hulu Plus.

Speed of Service

For Hulu Plus, you need specific requirements when streaming videos on your computer. You’ll need: Adobe Flash Player 10.1.53.64 or above; Internet Explorer 7.0 or above, Firefox 2.0 or above, Safari 3.0 or above, or Chrome; Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or above, Macintosh OS X 10.4 or above, or Linux; and JavaScript and Cookies enabled. For Netflix, it’s recommended that users have a minimum speed of 500kps (0.5 MB) for maximum viewing results.

Winner: Tie

Quality

Netflix offers HD movies and can stream videos and shows in 1080p video. Hulu Plus streams in HD when available, with shows having a high-def. (720p) resolution.

Winner: Netflix’s ability to stream 1080p tops Hulu Plus’ 720p.

Limitations

Netflix increased its price, which turned many away, while Hulu Plus still includes advertisements, which can be a huge turnoff for many. They do this to reduce the monthly subscription price of service since it’s costly to make and license a lot of its content (especially current TV seasons).

Winner: Ads are never great so Netflix takes triumphs here!

Price

Hulu charges customers $7.99/month and you can cancel anytime. Netflix has a couple tiers for their pricing. For $7.99, you get unlimited streaming movies OR unlimited one-disc at a time rentals ($11.99 for two unlimited). If you want both, you have to pay $15.98. If you want Blu-ray discs, you’re going to have to dish out an extra $2 a month.

Winner: Netflix provides more bang for you buck (without ads).

Overall Winner

Netflix still overs the best value when it comes down to it. Sure, TV buffs will love the fact that Hulu Plus offers videos of the most recent episodes to a variety of shows, it still doesn’t have Netflix’s extensive title offerings. Plus ads can be vary annoying no matter how low the subscription price is!


205 Comments to Netflix vs Hulu Plus (comparison)

  1. Bob

    Hi Kristie, Can you tell me how long it takes Netflix to stream TV shows? Love history channel, Dicovery, A&E

  2. Buffalo Bob

    I’m not a boob man …. but OMG, I could fake it!

  3. sam

    I disagree although hulu has ads it has just the same amount of content as netflix nd the fact that its more like tv then netflix it should win. Net flix has old movies nd old shows I keep up to date with all my tvshows with hulu its like cheep dvr. I feel like I get more of my moneys worth in hulu. Nd my netflix is always freeezing nd not working properly

  4. vartzski

    Hulu streaming is the absolute worst. I have 50Mb/s service. Granted it’s cable so you don’t always get that rate – but even on a bad day I get 20Mb/s, fast enough for any HD 1080p service. I have NO problems with Netflix, Amazon or VUDU which is only 1080p streaming… But Hulu… forget it… choppy, incoherent, and stuttering which makes the service and watching a show a total waste of time – to simply be nice. On top of that they throw commercials at you besides charging you a monthly fee. Incredible lack of detail for a streaming service… almost like they want to go out of business. If you are wondering whether to get Hulu.. DON’T BOTHER!!!

  5. christian

    Netflix doesn’t work on linux. Hulu does and so does amizon prime. So if you find it rediculus to pay $100 or more for windows and think mac is over rated hulu is your best offer. Plus i have never found a virus on any of my linux computers and i have 3 of them.

  6. This is a great comparison and it helped me out alot in my choice between the two, thankyou so much!

  7. Chuck

    I have had Netflix for years, I stream and also pay for 2 movies out at a time. I’d maybe drop the streaming and just Hulu for TV – Hulu, Apple, etc movies are way more expensive than doing the 2 out at a time with Netflix, like $7.99 for blu-ray. The trouble with Hulu is that when I’m out watching a movie on my iPad(3) the picture goes back and forth between clear and fuzzy. Like it cam stream well enough? But Netflix at the same time, same location streams perfectly cleer with no drop in resolution. So I guess I keep them both for now.

  8. I just started my 30 day trial with Netflix and the movies that are available seem odd and/or old! They are all “B” movies or very old movies! I really couldn’t find anything I wanted to watch, will NOT be keeping this service.

  9. Raman

    Kristie Bertucci….your chest….my eyes…have made a deep connection

  10. Mr. Poopey Pants

    I use both but at the same time I don’t have cable tv. I figured with Netflix and Hulu, the only thing I actually need cable for is sports and I can find sports stream online with a quick google search.

  11. Teri

    Thank you for the article. Looking to get rid of cable for cost reasons and want to know if Hulu/Netflix (leaning toward the latter) is a good alternative.

  12. I used both, but of late Mostly Hulu. I do not know why but Hulu is completely capable of successfully streaming content at my girlfriends house where the bandwidth is 3mb download and like 1mb upload or less. Netflix always gives me an Error code at her house that when I call the service they try and blame on the ISP and the fact that sustained speed tests and the snapshot kind most ISP’s use are two different things. If this actually was the case then neither service would have worked and HULU does. So I think overall hulu wins for me for compatibility and capability to function regardless of bandwidth where Netflix requires over 1.5MB upload speeds to not give error N8307 or similar. I use Netflix at home since I have 12MB speed and higher upload, But since I am at my girlfriends a lot more than my own place Hulu wins out. Netflix needs to work on being compatible with machines that have limited bandwidth because some small towns have areas where only one ISP will bother to work and we pay the same as anyone else :)

  13. I think Netflix and Hulu should merge that way we’ll all have best of both worlds and maybe call it Net-Huflix….PROBLEM SOVLVED..Just my thoughts,.. we all save money especially if you already have both …

  14. Mohsen

    Netflix doesn’t support Linux so I subscribed with HULU.

    • Anonymous

      I love Netflix I have it but im going to trying hulu

  15. you left out that to use on xbox you have to pay 60 a year and i am guessing o n many others as well. also it doesnt matter how manymovies you have , you have so old rotten movies or low budget crap no one wants to see, seems like you were partial to netflick and i do nt like that

  16. Antivertising Subvertising

    …because you still have to pay $8 a month, and you still get ads on Hulu Plus.
    Nobody loves ads, even if they still have to pay $8 a month.
    And that’s why Netflix is better than Hulu Plus.
    Because ads are (and will always be, still) annoying.

  17. James

    The Author has big tits

  18. duh

    proofread much? how can you call your self an author?

  19. Josh Morales

    Im with Netflix and love it but this article is completely one sided!!!!

  20. CJ Cook

    I also have both Netflix and Hulu. Hulu has more TV content, but it really pisses me off at how long and how many commercials you have to watch. When it was new and free, the ads were like 10-20 seconds. Didn’t mind that short of ads. Then, ads went to 60 sec. For free service, who can complain about that? But now that I am paying $8/month, 5-6 60 sec. Ads is complete BS in my opinion. I’ll catch up old shows, then probably drop them. If I want tons of commercials, I can just watch regular tv….

  21. Anon

    No straightforward native support for linux. Delay in adding latest episodes. Its been quite a lot of time since I have used Netflix. I like hulu. :P

  22. Asinus

    Let me ‘splain why I signed up for and almost immediately canceled Hulu Plus. A long while ago, I started watching subtitled Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It was pretty fun and compelling! This was immediately before they switched to a pay service so my access was cut off. Oh sure, it’s on Netflix Instant, but it’s dubbed, and I really can’t stand it dubbed. My plan was to get it on disc, but just sort of forgot about it. Then I saw that hulu has a free-for-a-week and thought that I could finish what i had left in the series in a week, and if I liked it, I could keep paying for the service!

    Okay, back when it was free, there was ONE ad at every commercial break. That was fine for free– can’t complain too much about free stuff. Also, I could only watch it with my pc in a browser– also not a big deal– that’s what 30’ HDMI cables are for. I watch a lot of things straight off the computer with great sound on my HT. So, again, not a big deal. The interface was a little weird and kind of flakey– episodes had to be queued individually and that made it a little clunky.

    Now, a couple years later, I activated it on my PS3 to try it out– why not? Well, the only show I wanted to watch only offered dubbed episodes via PS3 and only 4 of the 64 episodes at that. I tried to manually queue them in my browser, but, again, had to do one at a time (this might have been a problem unique to this series since it offered 2 language options). Even then, they didn’t show up in my PS3 hulu queue. So, I thought, what the heck, I’ll watch them in the browser. I have a separate mouse and KB in the livingroom, so it’s not a big deal.

    However, now that it costs money, they show 3 commercials at every break! I closed it at the second break, cancelled my subscription, and queued the discs on netflix. I look at it this way:
    1. Pay Service
    2. Commercials
    3. Clunky (and apparently restricted) playback.
    I could probably live with any 2 of these, but you add them together and you have a pretty poor value.

  23. knockout

    kristie bertucci is smoking hot!! good gosh

  24. Faded

    Netflix is disappointing because they lack volume in the NEW streaming content category. I don’t count something as a new release because netflix just added some obscure tv show from 1995. You HAVE to have that short break because if you watch a lot, every few months you run out of content and have to cancel for a few months to allow for new content to be put online.
    At the same time, I’m not into paying for services that give you ads on top of it if I can help it. The available titles is lower, but at least Hulu gets the new episodes faster. The volume of content still not there though.
    This market is wide open for someone that has it all to swoop in like Google or Apple and elminate the top 2 in the market (hulu and netflix), IMO, with less fight than the brick and mortar stores put up when they died.

  25. Buggo

    Cannot justify paying same 8 bucks for hulu as I pay for netflix. NO ADS IS WONDERFUL…Hulu’s ads are even more invasive than regular TV programming. Netflix a very clear winner…

  26. bassing

    Kristie can get the pipe homies! But Netflix does seem a better buy.

  27. Jim

    She made a logic error: she compared netflix’s 100,000 titles (dvd and streaming) to hulu’s 43,000 TV titles. she didn’t count hulu’s movies, BUT the biggest problem is that she should have compared the streamable titles since hulu is a streaming service. I think hulu beats netflix in this regard. put some light on your face when you take a picture, you’re not a muslim woman trying to hide her face. put the light in front of your face but not in camera view.

  28. JustSayin

    How long has it been since some of you have seen the sun from your parents basement…?

  29. Sorwen

    Thank you for the article. I’ve been a netfilx user and have really enjoyed it, but was totally unsure of Hulu Plus. Now at least it sound worth trying the one week at least.

  30. I stick to netflix, tried hulu, and just figured its pointless to pay for commercials. especially since most of thier new tv shows, they upload straight from the networks site, which shows it for free. example, eureka, IF its on hulu, its got commercials and I pay for it, or go to syfy’s site and watch the same video free!!! so if you want to pay for advertising go with hulu, otherwise, I’ll stick to netflix, and the network sites.

  31. Jaquin

    Nice tits Kristie

  32. GeorgeDWarren

    guys, there is a simple hack that allows you to run hulu plus on appletv, the hack also bypasses ads so it makes it a clear winner, especially if you are into TV more than movies, ofcourse you still have to pay the $8 / month, but its well worth it, and the hack is legal, it doesnt violate any copyright infringement.
    i watch hulu plus on my apple tv, ad free, its awesome.

  33. Cindi

    Oh and I Iove the queue feature on Netflix!

  34. Cindi

    I vote for Netflix for TV-they don’t have Modern Family, but seem to have multiple seasons of several other shows I like that Hulu doesn’t have (30 Rock, Breaking Bad, Workaholics). Maybe it depends on what you like to watch. And the Hulu Plus commercials were driving me crazy-the first few days weren’t bad-they were short enough, but they repeat the same ones over and over and it started to feel like some kind of torture. To me, it’s not even a competition for the same price.

  35. MikeD

    HULU PLUS gets my vote – I’ve had both services for 5 months now and have chosen to stick with Hulu plus for the sole reason of content. The titles that Netflix gives you is NOT the same collection from mailings. Try typing in the best movies, Batman, Back to the Future, Spaceballs, etc. None of them are there. … for that matter, nothing worth watching is there. Nothing new, anything that is close to new is horrible, like straight to DVD horrible. Use your local Redbox to get new movies and hulu plus or free online hulu for TV shows.

  36. Dan

    Get Both !!??! For $16 no brainer get the best of both worlds

  37. Tom

    Will Hulu plus allow me to watch older seasons to catch up on shows or is it just the newest seasons? Also can you go back and rewatch episodes?

  38. Harry Arthur

    Once i saw the author bio with her “mac book pro” her opnion went out the window….

  39. Hulu Plus is terrible, except they have some films I can’t find on Netflix.

  40. Denialisusless

    Everyone has so far has said something that I can relate to…being unemployed over a year AND denied u.e comp from the get go I had to cancel cable, get $10/mo phone (no extras). Tried Hulu, then plus. Like SciFi most of all Dr Who so moved to Netflix. After a year of each I have to say I dropped both because I got tired of spending of 45 min a day trying to decide which selection would suck less according to my mood. I’m sure I’m not alone when I wish for an inexpensive internet connection that doesn’t involve a cable or satellite  fee for crap programming or the not even maybe fast 2 wire connection I have to pay for twice as much bandwith than I’ll ever see at a peek moment of “service”. Frankly, I’m tired of everything corporate…its all crap! Worst of all everyone has been debating who’s the better one. If I had the money, I would get the satellite service I can go mobile with, and get both Hulu Plus and Netflix streaming only (never liked waiting for the DVD, and never got a scratched disc though!). The only real problem is that the content from either is so….Dark….murder, violence, sex, profanity, greed, lust, envy, its all there not only for your enjoyment, but to program YOU to LIKE it. How about REAL programs that TEACH SKILLS, or HOW TO START AND RUN YOUR OWN SMALL BUSINESS…put an end to expensive conventional education!!!

  41. The1 Observant

    Hulu?… I don’t really care for currently running shows with commercials, because I already have dish service and broadcast that does that. No matter how long a commercial break is I just get tired of seeing them. Buy this, buy that, don’t be without this / that / other, it’s great, it’s amazing, it will change your life / view, it will help you do this / that / other, it will heal you in some way, it will save you this / that / other… blah blah blah… only mindless sheep will fall for it, if repeated enough times and entertaining at the same time then it can reprogram your spending habits, let’s get rich of these suckers kind of stuff… I just get sick of it and don’t want to see it anymore. I guess I’m just getting old… IDK

    Netflix?… I love the fact that Netflix has older content that matters. They have so many titles I never knew existed and I can watch them commercial free. After actually watching these titles and ending up giving them 3, 4 or 5 stars I’m glad I chose Netflix. Also, I’m not usually the type to watch a movie over and over, but I do find myself watching something again I saw 10 years ago because I forgot how the story went and it really is worth watching again. And, the classic TV shows are great, because I was never able to see all the episodes before. And, now they have a Netflix channel for kids (big kids too if you still love cartoons).

    I only found one little problem with Netflix (if you use a Wii). Sometimes you have to login to your account on a PC, find the title you’re looking for, then add it to your instant queue before it shows up on the Wii. It’s only happened twice this year, so it’s not that big of a deal.

  42. I have to ask/say….I am new to the whole PC/ tablet movie and TV watching deal…just got a Nook Tablet and basically, I got it for books, music and movies on the go….I am doing the free Netflix trial right now and they do have some good movies and some shows but i would say for about 8-10 I tried searching for, they DIDNT have….I am not talking about obscure shows or movies either….I looked up Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore (nope).  Cartoon Networks Regular Show (nope) also Phineas and Ferb on Disney and got a FEW but not as many as I thought I would….I also am trying on PlayOn right now and I am not too thrilled with that either….alot of “clips” available but what the heck?  I dont WANT clips, I want to see the movies and shows!  I dont know if anyone can make some suggestions as to maybe HOW I can get these things Im looking for (legally please)….I am wondering, do I have to maybe pay for the Hulu Plus to get more or sign up for the monthly Playon and I will also get more?  Also, as I said, I am VERY new to all of this, if I wanted to put a movie onto my tablet to save it, does anyone know how to do that?  I have an N2a card coming it is a 32GB card and I am hoping with that I can save some music, movies, TV shows etc. on my Nook so when we are on car trips or having a slow night at work I have something to listen to or watch….thanks for any help you can throw my way!!  =)

  43. Jfjdjdjdj

    Hulu sucks

  44. Mtaver316

    I like my hulu plus but a lot of content is only
    Available on line (computer ) I’m on a IPhone so
    That is frustrating and the ads are the same ones
    Over and over again!!!!

  45. Amysmith949

    i have nextflix and hulu plus, and though i like both i would choose hulu if i had to make a choice. yes they both let you watch currently running tv shows but nextflix takes forever to update the q with the newest episode, whereas hulu has next day airing. i understand the advertisement because it allows you to have better choices. also the longest commercial is 30sec so thats not long to wait. nextflix also buffers more than hulu, or at least mine does. but i do enjoy them both, so much so that i don’t pay comcast for cable anymore.

  46. Doug Gray

    Netflix streaming movies had a closed captioned on Wii, Xbox and PS3 only but not other TV and Blu-ray player. Hulu Plus streaming movies had everything on Closed Captioned for deaf! Hulu Plus is best better than Netflix. I don’t understand why Netflix don’t have a CC on TV and Blu-ray player??  GO GO Hulu Plus streaming movies!! I closed my Netflix account.  DON’T join in Netflix no more. 

  47. theESEway

    Me and my family love netflix if i wanted to watch current tv shows I just program my DVR is that so hard? Oh and i dont have to pay an extra monthly fee to record shows that I want. I mainly use netflix to watch movies and my kids like watching older kids shows that dont come out anymore. I will stick to netflix. Oh and side note i can fast forward the commercials on the shows i record.

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