Hulu and Hulu Live TV subscribers cannot stream content without Wi-Fi but they can download videos from the Hulu library to watch without an internet connection. However, this ability to watch offline is not available to all Hulu and Hulu Live TV subscribers as it is dependent on the plan. The ability to watch offline also depends on the device being used at the time.
Hulu is a little different to other services as it offers both an on-demand subscription service and a live TV streaming service. For those that want a Netflix-like experience, Hulu offers plans starting as low as $7.99 per month. For those wanting access to live TV channels, plans start at $69.99 per month. Both of these cheaper plans are what is known as the ‘with ads’ plans, as there are also options to upgrade to No Ads tiers as well.
It is not possible to stream any content on Hulu or Hulu Live TV without an internet connection. When it comes to Hulu Live TV, this means it is impossible to watch live TV when offline. However, Hulu does offer the option to download movies and shows from the on-demand library to watch when there’s no Wi-Fi.
Of course, the option to download shows for offline viewing is only available when connected to a Wi-Fi connection. As a result, subscribers will need to proactively prepare by downloading the videos they want to watch in advance, and while still connected to the internet. Once downloaded, the videos can then be played back at any time, with or without an internet connection, but only on the device they were downloaded on.
Only No Ads subscribers can watch without Wi-Fi
One of the caveats of Hulu’s offline support is that the option to watch without an internet connection is reserved for No Ads subscribers. This restriction applies to both Hulu and Hulu Live TV subscribers. In other words, basic Hulu subscribers will need to be signed up to the $14.99 per month Hulu (No Ads) plan, while Live TV subscribers will need to be signed up to the $75.99 per month Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV plan. Even if signed up to the right plan, not all content available to stream with an internet connection will also be available to download and watch offline.
Live TV users cannot download any live TV content. Even though Hulu Live TV now comes with an unlimited cloud DVR, recordings cannot be downloaded and watched offline either. At present, only on-demand shows, movies and other videos available to watch through the Hulu library are available to download. Even then, some titles may still be prohibited. For example, shows and movies available with a Live TV subscription, as well as those unlocked through a premium add-on, are only available to watch when connected to the internet.
The device someone is using also matters. Hulu’s offline support is primarily designed as a way for subscribers to watch shows and movies when away from the home network. In other words, it is designed for use on mobile devices. Due to this, subscribers will likely find that they cannot watch anything offline when using a home device. For example, it is not possible to watch Hulu or Hulu Live TV offline on a smart TV or streaming player. Instead, the supported devices will mostly boil down to supported iPhones and iPads, Android phones and tablets, and Amazon Fire tablets.
In most cases, subscribers can easily check if (a) a show or movie is available to watch offline and (b) if the device supports downloads by heading to the Hulu page for the show or movie. If the user sees a download icon (down-facing arrow), then the video can be downloaded on that device and watched at a later time without an internet connection. If the download icon is not visible, either the video cannot be downloaded or downloads are not supported on that device. In some cases, both may apply.
Watching Hulu offline summary
It is possible to watch some of what Hulu has to offer offline, but not all of the content available on the platform. Specifically, only shows, movies, and other videos that are part of the basic Hulu on-demand library are available to download and watch without an internet connection. This rules out all other content including premium network shows and movies, live TV, recordings, and also on-demand content provided to Hulu Live TV subscribers as part of their live TV package. It is possible to check what is and isn’t available to watch offline by looking for the download (down-facing arrow) next to a video.
There are some other limitations that also affect whether a video is available to watch offline. These include the device being used and whether the subscriber is signed up to a with ads or No Ads plan. Only those paying for No Ads can currently download videos to watch without an internet connection, this includes those paying for Hulu Live TV.