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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. gavincredible

    Thanks for the article. Just want to inform all folks who live outside US that PS3 is a great media Player. If you want to access Netflix and other streaming stations on your PS3 you can use UnoTelly as I do to get around the geo block.

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  3. Anonymous

    I just canceled hulu for the following reasons:
    1. Can only stream one device at a time.
    2. Content is lacking, shows will only have a few episodes of the current season.
    3. Ads are annoying.
    4. The streaming buffers even when im running at 50+ mb upload speeds
    4. Not all devices have hulu on them like Netflix does.
    .

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  6. Anonymous

    Hulu is garbage I regret even trying to waste my time checking it out. Really horrible app

  7. H

    I all the time used to study piece of writing in news papers but now as I am a user of internet therefore from now I am using net for articles or reviews, thanks to
    web.

  8. sophia

    your choices areno where near compatible to netflix…

  9. Forbsz

    I have hulu plus and netflix I think it doesn’t matter I like netflix when I don’t feel like putting up with ads but I watch a lot of anime and hulu plus has a lot more their so I have both.

  10. brian

    its like a boat you always want bigger

  11. cactus

    does anyone know if I can use Netflix to view tv and movies while I am in Mexico?

  12. Chase Kang

    Good article! Convinced me to cancel my Hulu Plus that I’m paying 7.99 a month just so I can stream on my phone. Thanks!

  13. Cam

    Hulu Plus sucks. No CBS content at all. No AMC content. No premium channel content. NBC is the biggest stakeholder in it and they can’t even put up 30 Rock. Netflix has the first 6 seasons, Hulu only has the last 4 episodes of the current season (and only on the web so I can’t watch on TV), which doesn’t help me because I haven’t seen the episodes that came before that… Both of them have a lot of awful, canceled-after-one-season shows like The Event though. Must be cheap to license, but nobody wants to watch it anyways, so why bother?
    On top of all that, it has commercials despite the subscription fee, and most of what’s on Hulu Plus is on regular Hulu for free with a few more commercials anyways.

  14. St8kout

    While I use Netflix I find their setup for browsing aggravating. They keep duplicating the same movies over and over as I try to scan through their list, making it really time consuming trying to find movies I have not seen yet. The ‘New Arrivals” option is a cruel joke. I never see anything new on the page after clicking it. I can only find new movies when I do a search for actors. I probably never would have found Mel Gibson’s “Get the Gringo” otherwise. Great movie btw.

  15. joseph

    about pirating…it’s ironic. if i do not like a product that i buy, i can generally get my money back. if i get a movie and hate it,i am stuck with whatever charge i paid with no hope of return. “intellectual property” is counter-intuitive to reason.

  16. oikujhygfdsa

    KNOCKERS!!!!

  17. MC

    This review is good overall however the question of content is a rather large one and I feel it warrants further research as to which service has the most relevant content and how quickly things are added/updated. I have Netflix and I know that the volume of titles they carry means nothing as TV shows are seasons behind and the movie selections are AWFUL! Good luck finding a hot new release or even a classic movie! I was really hoping for a comparison with some useful information as I could have obtained all of this info on my own. If you are writing something like this next time, I would suggest you obtain a membership to both (trial memberships are free) and do your research to actually compare what you are writing about.

  18. Mzfitzy

    Kristie–you might want to add Hulu doesn’t allow service outside of the country & Netflix does.

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