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What is Hulu and Hulu Plus?

What is Hulu Plus
Learn all about Hulu vs Hulu Plus, the cost and feature differences.

Keep in mind that the Hulu roster is always shifting based not only on new episodes that have aired, but also on the current contracts that Hulu has with content providers. Therefore, it is very difficult to make sweeping statements about what is available through Hulu versus through the full Hulu Plus service. The easiest method is to visit the list of Hulu shows and movies, and look up a specific title. Click on the title, and it will show you both how many episodes are available through Hulu, and how many you get through Hulu Plus.

You will quickly notice that Hulu offers only a few episodes of each show, while Hulu Plus offers the full season and all past episodes, where as Hulu will not. If you do not care about a full season and only want to find the latest episodes that have aired – or the first few episodes of a show – you should start with Hulu and then decide if you want to upgrade to Hulu Plus.


Do not assume that you can watch Hulu on every device that supports Hulu Plus. Sometimes only Hulu Plus is supported on a a wide variety of devices, including Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, Windows and more – Hulu is often limited to web-based streaming only.

Which is Better, Hulu Plus or Netflix?

There are many excellent articles that dive into this common question. However, here are a few essentials that will show you the key differences.

Read: Hulu Plus vs Netflix

First, there are the ads. Hulu uses ads of one kind of another, no matter which version of the service that you choose (unless you pay $11.99 for no commercial Hulu Plus). They may only last a few seconds, or be a simple survey you can click away from, but they exist. Netflix has no ads of any kind.

Then there is show (and movie) selection. This depends on which shows the two services have contracts for, and how recently those contracts have been updated. You can look this up, but know that the lists you find will probably not be current, thanks to the ever-changing rosters of the two. But we can make generalizations.

Generally, Netflix has a larger and deeper roster – there are more shows available across different genres (especially stuff for kids), and far more shows and movies available from different decades and past seasons. Netflix movies tend to be more current.

Hulu Plus, on the other hand, does better at offering the current episodes of a broader number of shows currently airing, more ideal for people without cable or those who need to catch up.  After all, they’ve got support and deal with the major Networks, including Fox and those alike.

Keep in mind that some contracts are exclusive, too. Netflix, for example, has AMC (Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, etc.) and Hulu Plus doesn’t. Check your favorite shows for both options.

There’s also the matter of original shows. Netflix original shows tend to get a lot of the headlines, such as House of Cards, Making a Murder, Love and Orange is the New Black. But Hulu has its own original series, like Misfits and The Awesomes. These are, of course, only available on the services that created them.

Hulu Plus Shows

Ok, so you’re just about ready to get Hulu Plus, but you’re probably wondering what shows are available.  Here is a small sampling:

  • Family Guy (12 seasons)
  • Top Gear (20 seasons)
  • Revenge (1 season)
  • South Park (18 seasons)
  • Law and Order SUV (16 seasons)
  • SNL (16 seasons)
  • Workaholics (4 seasons)
  • Modern Family (1 season)
  • Key and Peele (4 seasons)
  • Tosh O (3 seasons)
  • Top Chef (12 seasons)
  • Shark Tank (1 season)
  • Scrubs (9 seasons)
  • Hells Kitchen (13 seasons)
  • American Horror Story (3 seasons)

And many, many more.  In fact there are over 9000 shows available on Hulu Plus.  So there is more than enough content to go around.

 Try Hulu Plus


59 Comments to What is Hulu and Hulu Plus?

  1. Pam Bierbach

    how come the chart on the top says $7.99 a month for hulu plus and some comment said a guy was paying $39.99?

  2. Pat Fox

    Is it able to stream live sports? Is there a directory of available programs?
    Thank you.

  3. New Customer

    What will it cost me to get the full version of HULU with regular TV? Also will I be able to watch the Mets, Jets Knicks games?

  4. Steven Phillip

    I’m paying for Hulu plus at $39.99 a month and I thought it was supposed to be commercial but I’m having to endure more commercials than I can shake a stick at. Why is this ?

  5. I have a Sony blue ray player that is a smart DVD player. I signed up on Hulu for free month then $7.99. I went to get on it tonight and it said only till July 18. I like clicked on Hulu and it just disappeared I don’t even have it on my lineup now. I have turned off DVD player and got back on but there is no Hulu box to click on anymore! I wonder what happened???? I wanted to finish watching the series even if I had to pay a month or so!!!

    • Christen Costa

      Karen, can you tell me what the model is and I’ll look into the menus and how to access Hulu on this device?

  6. Alan

    How can I get PBS with Hulu?

  7. Jeff

    Why is my gulu still exiting and says and I need to try ove and will you please make sure I have hulu plus

  8. gail davids

    it says showtime add on $7.99 or w/o commercial even thu someone said there are still commercials or $11,99 but it doesn’t say how much more it is or is that the amount with showtime ? I’m confused I used to have hulu plus and I really liked it but I got cable so I didn’t need Hulu anymore but cable is going sky high so I want to make a change if its cheaper

  9. Lisa

    I am signed up for the free trial right now. I didn’t ever find out how many devices can stream at one time! After my free trial I think it may be the Hulu plus as it was a special of$ 5.99 for a year how many devices can stream then?

  10. Anna M Nelson

    I cancelled your service right after I signed up during my free trial weed\k and you charged me anyway.
    Cancel your stupid service and refund my money.

  11. Al Hale

    can I be wacthing one program live and record a different program to dvr on a different channel and How many can I record at once

  12. Gman

    How about the major networks and live sports?

  13. Jose Rivera

    Christen Costa I want to get hulu plus, but I need to haw many tv’s you can have connected to the hulu plus, and haw many channels did you going to have with the hulu plus subscription.

    • Christen Costa

      Hi Jose, I’m checking with Hulu via Twitter. But in the mean time this is what I believe to be the case: you can have an unlimited number of “verified devices”. However, you’ll likely only be able to actively stream from one device at a time, though that may vary when you’re at home versus out of home. I know this isn’t the answer you’re looking for, but I’ll update this post when I hear back from Hulu. Thanks for the question.

    • Christen Costa

      Jose, I just heard back from Hulu. You can view their response here: https://twitter.com/hulu_support/status/889668265164890116

      But to summarize: you can have an unlimited amount of TVs/devices authorized with your account. Which means you can login to your TV, your kid’s TV, your friends TV, etc.

      However, you can only stream on 1 device at a time with their base plan. But you can get their unlimited screens plan for $14.99 additional a month and that let’s you watch Hulu with Live TV simultaneously on any number of supported devices while those devices are connected to your home network, and on three mobile screens when you’re on the go.

      Honestly, they need to clear this up, because I’m reading the page that I got this info from, and I’m still confused. https://help.hulu.com/s/article/ka041000000q2NPAAY/overview-unlimited-screens-add-on?language=en_US

  14. Lynda

    How do I add the following to my LG Smart TV? It offers access to Hulu Plus.
    * Pandora
    *CBSN

    • Christen Costa

      What is the model of the TV?

    • George

      We recently lost YouTube on our 2012 Vizio Smart TV. So we bought a Google Chromecast device, download the app into our Android tablets and phones, and now directly access YouTube again. We plan to add additional services, i.e. Pandora on it, for which we would just need to add the apps and subscribe to each one.

  15. tkk

    If we’re going on a cross-country trip this summer with a kiddo addicted to CN and Disney Channel, mom addicted to Bravo and PBS and dad who’s a CNN junkie, using laptops and iphones and android phones, will hulu plus fill our cup? Should we add Netflix or Amazon Prime? Help.

  16. Shannon Fernandez

    Can I get Hulu plus on my Xbox 360??

  17. Mary Edmondson

    I am new to this area and want to get this what do I need right now I only have antenatal the, ve, plus century 21 interest in have Playstation 3 and only a Xbox 360 what do I need

    • Christen Costa

      You need to download the Hulu Plus app.

  18. Richard

    I almost got my question answered. I have HULU for ROKU upstairs and a smart TV downstairs. I’m already paying $11.99 for the ROKU but I’d like to have access to my larger rec-room TV with HULU PLUS. I would sign up if I’m not going to be double billed for essentially the same programming.

    • Christen Costa

      Your login info for Hulu Plus should be universal. However, they likely limit the amount of verified devices you can have associated with one account. But don’t worry about that – they’ll just remove one device if you go over the max amount allowed. That all being said, they won’t charge you extra in any circumstance.

  19. Bobbi kelly

    Is there a phone number or customer service you can call if you have a problem?

    • Christen Costa

      Hey Bobbi, this is what I found: 1 (888) 265-6650

  20. Cynthia Abshire

    Why does my Hulu keep freezing then starting

  21. Leslie Elliott

    100% commercial free for $11.99? Not true, there are few shows that you still have to endure commercials for, so not 100%.

  22. debra sweeney

    Please help me! I accidentally blocked myself from watching ANYTHING on Hulu except “Hulu Kids”. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to undue this.

  23. Elaine

    My smart TV has Hulu not Hulu Plus could I get Hulu Plus 799 all movies and such on my on my Smart TV that only has Hulu and how many screens Aurora TVs can I get for a 799

  24. JOE VIGLIOTTA

    IM THINKING ABOUT IT BUT DO NOT KNOW IF MY TV SUPPORTS IT. HOW CAN I TELL?

    • Unca Alby

      They have a free trial if it doesn’t work cancel

  25. I have been having a really hard time logging onto Hulu plus. In fact, I can’t. I put in my email, password-but then there is the dreaded capture. I have copied those letters to no avail. I am thinking that if I could get to my account, I might just cancel. Please help. Thank you.

  26. Bruce

    do I need to purchase HBO or Showtime or any other premium channels separately from Hulu Plus?

    • Christen Costa

      Indeed you do. Showtime and HBO will both cost you extra. However, I believe Hulu Plus has a deal with Showtime that’s at a slight discount.

  27. JP Geis

    Operating instructions please.

  28. One of my Smart TV’s offers Hulu only and I joined it but my other Smart TV only offer Hulu Plus.. Does my monthly payment for Hulu cover both or are they different purchases with two different fees each month? Thx in advance for any info in regards to this.

    • Christen Costa

      Since you can only access Hulu from a SmartTV by subscribing, login and check. If you can access Hulu from both TVs you’re good to go. That all said, you won’t automatically be charged double, if that’s what you’re thinking.

      • Stephanie

        I’m in the same situation with having Hulu Plus on a LG smart TV and can access it with my regular Hulu subscription, however I’m unable to find my HBO premium add on when accessing from the smart TV…any advice?

    • Gloria

      That is happening to me as well. I don’t think your question was answered. If you have two TVs and one has Hulu and the other had Hulu plus, you pay 7.99. Do we have to pay another 7.99 to have Hulu plus on both TVs?

      • Christen Costa

        No. You don’t have to pay extra.

  29. Jules

    I subscribed to showtime on Hulu and can watch The Affair on my mobile devices but can’t get iit on my tv, but I see other Showtime shows. How do I get it to play on my tv?

  30. Sandra edwards

    Do July offer daytime tv? Such as soap operas.

  31. Thomas Poole

    Curious, I have a Hulu Plus account can I connect to two TVs in different rooms with the same account. Not at the same time.

    • Raven

      Yes, as long as it’s not at the same time.

      • Sherry

        Not true, my kid is watching hulu plus right now in her room and I am watching in my room at the same time…

        • Gloria

          Are you both watching Hulu plus?

  32. Daniel Castillo

    Does adding showtime give me access to on demand or just what is in the database?
    I see that there is a small database for movies on hulu. Why is that?

  33. Proofread

    Typos corrected in asterisks below:

    Hulu Plus is a video streaming service. Using an Internet connection, it can stream TV shows and movies directly to your device, with*out* the need to purchase them permanently. It is *one* of the major streaming services that compete with similar services like Netflix and Amazon *Prime*.

    • Ray Unseitig

      that’s good to know.

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