The standard Hulu subscription starts at $6.99 per month, but the exact cost of a subscription can vary depending on whether an individual or household wants to skip the commercials or bundle with any premium services. For those new to Hulu, understanding the plans and the differences between them can help to save on the monthly cost.
Hulu is a subscription service that tends to focus more on TV shows and this includes providing episodes that have only recently aired on live TV. For example, you are far more likely to find the latest episode of a newer TV show on Hulu than on Netflix, making it a good option for those looking to cut a live TV streaming service out of their streaming diet. Speaking of which, Hulu does also offer a live TV subscription as well. At $64.99 per month, the live TV subscription is far more expensive but it does actually include access to the basic Hulu plan at no additional cost.
If skipping on the live TV channels, then there are two main Hulu plans to choose from: the standard and the No Ads plans. The standard plan costs $6.99 per month while the no ads subscription increases the price to $12.99 per month. These plans do not differ in terms of the content on offer, meaning consumers don’t have to worry about missing out on any movies or shows by choosing one plan over the other.
How Hulu basic and No Ads plans compare:
The standard Hulu plan explained
The standard plan is just that. It’s the easiest and cheapest way to get involved with Hulu. This subscription currently costs $6.99 per month (or $1.99 per month for students) and provides unlimited access to all of the content that’s available through the service, including Hulu Originals. At $6.99 per month, this plan offers good value, but Hulu does also offer the option to sign up on a yearly basis as well. Although this results in a significantly longer commitment, it can also reduce the cost over the twelve months.
For example, while the basic Hulu plan costs $6.99 per month, those paying yearly are charged a flat fee of $69.99 for the entire year. If paying monthly, the total cost for twelve months would come to $83.88, resulting in a savings of $13.89. In other words, if paying for the year ahead, Hulu subscribers only actually pay for ten months of the year. As the standard subscription is ad-supported, subscribers should expect to see ads before, during and after each video. Ads are something a consumer will want to factor into their decision when choosing which Hulu plan is right for them, while keeping in mind that they will end up paying significantly more each more if they decide to skip the commercials.
In terms of the rest of the Hulu experience, it is mostly the same for those signed up to the basic plan as those signed up to the ad-free plan. For example, basic Hulu subscribers can stream on the same devices, watch on the same number of devices at the same time, and even create up to six profiles to make it easier to personalize the service for each person in a busier households.
- Pros: Cheap price, same selection of content, same devices, number of streams, add-ons available.
- Cons: Ads, some premium features reserved for No Ads
The Hulu (No Ads) plan explained
The Hulu No Ads plan is also fairly self-explanatory. This is Hulu, but without the ads. However, the removal of commercials does come at a premium. To begin with, the No Ads plan currently costs $12.99 per month, making it almost twice as expensive as the basic subscription. To add to this, Hulu does not currently offer any annual subscription option for No Ads subscribers. As a result, there are no obvious ways to save on the cost, with the No Ads plan only available on a monthly basis.
Consumers should also be aware that even though this plan is advertised as a “No Ads” service, there’s still a chance that ads will be shown. The reason for this is Hulu is obligated to show ads with certain programs. Hulu does explain that when these situations arise, the ads will only be shown before and after the episode or movie. In other words, there’s no ads during the actual playing of the video. Again, this is rare overall, with the sheer majority of shows and movies expected to be available ad-free.
While ads are the main difference between the two Hulu subscription plans, Hulu No Ads does also come with some premium features that might make the additional cost worth it to some individuals and households. For example, Hulu No Ads subscribers also benefit from the ability to download videos so that they can be watched offline. Again, there may be some restrictions with this feature, but those subscribers to the basic Hulu plan have no option for offline playback at all.
- Pros: No ads (mostly), downloads, the best plan overall.
- Cons: More expensive, ads might still be shown.
Hulu basic and No Ads: add-ons
As mentioned, the two plans are more alike than not and this means consumers can generally expect a similar experience overall. Although subscribers to No Ads are able to also download shows and movies to watch later, the rest of the experience is pretty much identical. This also includes the option to add premium networks to either subscription.
Unlike some other subscription services, Hulu does allow subscribers to bundle services together. This does not tend to reduce the monthly cost, but it can make it easier to manage multiple subscriptions – as the consumer only has to deal with Hulu. Regardless of whether subscribing to the basic or No Ads Hulu plan, subscribers can add HBO Max, Cinemax, Showtime or Starz to their subscription. Naturally, this will greatly increase the price each month, and by how much will depend on the premium service and how many are added.
In addition, both Hulu plans can also be bundled with Disney+ and ESPN+ as well. Unlike the premium services available, subscribers cannot choose just one of these services. Instead, they will need to bundle their Hulu plan with both Disney+ and ESPN+. However, and also unlike the premium add-ons, this bundling can actually reduce the cost. If combining the basic Hulu subscription with Disney+ and ESPN+ then the price each month comes in at $13.99. If combining the two additional services with the Hulu No Ads plan, then the cost comes out to $19.99 each month. Essentially, bundling either Hulu plan will result in a monthly saving of around $6 – the equivalent to one of the other subscriptions.
Is there a Hulu free trial?
Yes. Like most services, Hulu does offer a free trial. In fact, consumers can sign up to either the basic Hulu or Hulu No Ads plan and take advantage of the same thirty days before having to make the first payment. As is often the case with these free trials, automatic billing is in effect. This means the subscriber will automatically be charged the full amount for the month ahead as soon as the free trial comes to an end. Therefore, the consumer will need to make sure they cancel their Hulu subscription if they do not want to remain a subscriber after the free period.
Tip: As Hulu offers the same free trial period for both its standard and No Ads plans, consumers can sign up for the No Ads experience even if they do not want to pay the higher monthly amount. Instead of canceling the subscription at the end of the free trial, they will just need to make sure they switch their subscription to the basic Hulu plan before the time runs out.