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Hulu Live TV Is Now The Best Deal, But Not For Everyone

Hulu Live TV was always a popular live TV streaming option, but recent changes have greatly added to the overall value of a subscription.

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Hulu Live TV now looks like the best deal in live TV streaming. For some, it certainly will be thanks to its ability to add more value than many other live TV services, including YouTube TV. For others, however, it still may be worth going with a different service to gain access to other features or simply save on the overall price.

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Hulu had been somewhat quiet over the past couple of years. All the while, the price slowly creeped higher in the background. For a service that originally cost just $39.99 per month, the rise to $64.99 at the end of 2020 marked a significant change in value. At the end of 2021, the price of a Hulu Live TV subscription increased yet again. However, this increase was a little different to the previous ones, and appears to have started a fresh chapter of change in the house of Hulu.

For reference, at $69.99 per month, Hulu Live TV is now more expensive than YouTube TV’s $64.99 base subscription price. At the same time, it is not any more expensive than either DirecTV Stream or fuboTV’s entry-level plans which both also cost $69.99 per month. All of these services, however, are significantly more expensive than options like Sling TV and Philo. Then again, they do offer a more premium and/or channel-rich package than more affordable live TV streaming options like Sling and Philo.

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Why Hulu is now the best deal

One of the easiest ways to see the value now on offer with Hulu is to simply compare the base plan to this time last year. The channel lineup hasn’t changed all that much and the price has increased by $5 per month. However, with that price increase, Hulu also added Disney+ and ESPN+ subscriptions to the package. Considering these subscriptions cost $7.99 and $6.99 per month, respectively, subscribers are saving around $15 each month compared to subscribing to all three services separately. This is without even taking into consideration that Hulu Live TV also includes the basic Hulu subscription, which equates to another $6.99 monthly saving.

Further adding to the value on offer, Hulu has also now confirmed that all subscribers will be gaining access to an unlimited cloud DVR starting from next month. This is one of the areas where YouTube TV had a major advantage over Hulu Live TV, as it also offers an unlimited recording experience, but that advantage has now gone. Hulu Live TV subscribers will still be limited to keeping recordings for a maximum of nine months, but that’s exactly the same limitation imposed by YouTube TV as well. Now, the main difference between Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV at the DVR level is the latter’s ability to offer a custom recording experience to each profile of a shared subscription.

Although the $69.99 per month price makes Hulu Live TV one of the more expensive subscriptions around, the value on offer is very good overall. Signing up to Hulu Live TV not only results in subscribers getting access to a wide variety of live TV channels, but also Disney+, basic Hulu, and ESPN+ as well. Not to mention, they are able to record all of the content they want without having to worry about running out of space. At this price, and with these features, Hulu is arguably now one of the best deals in live TV.

Not be the best deal for everyone

While there is a clear argument to be made that Hulu now offers great value, if not the best value overall, there are a number caveats to this. For most people, value is directly related to the cost and Hulu Live TV is not a cheap option in general. Yes, a subscription is packed with features and additional benefits, but they only matter if the individual or household wants access to all of these extras. For example, if there is no interest in Disney or ESPN content, then the additional $15 in savings doesn’t really matter. The same is true for basic Hulu. When removing these additional perks from the equation, the value becomes a lot harder to justify.

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Take, for example, fuboTV. This is a service that places a great deal of focus on sports content in addition to the rest of its news and entertainment channel lineup. For those primarily looking for live TV as a way to watch live sports, fuboTV might offer better value overall. To put the difference into perspective, Hulu Live TV officially claims to offer more than 75 channels. In contrast, fuboTV claims to offer subscribers access to 109 channels for the exact same price. Most of which are additional sports-related channels. This essentially means that subscribers to fuboTV are getting more of what they actually want from a live TV streaming service – live TV.

Then there are services like Sling TV. Known to be an affordable live TV solution, Sling TV’s plans start at $35 per month. Yes, the two Sling TV plans offer considerably fewer channels than Hulu live TV, but the price is effectively half the cost. Even if paying separately for basic Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+, consumers will still be paying less overall than they would for Hulu Live TV. The difference may even be enough to pay for another streaming service that better suits the individual subscriber or household. Not to mention, Sling TV does offer plenty of additional add-ons that can greatly increase the selection of channels. Although these do also add to the monthly cost, Hulu doesn’t offer any way to decrease the price for those that don’t want to pay for channels they won’t watch. That’s the major difference between the two services.

Hulu Live TV best deal summary

Hulu Live TV has always been a popular option for streaming live TV, and this is partly due to the value a subscription offers by combining Hulu plus live TV. However, the value on offer with a subscription has increased greatly in recent weeks thanks to the addition of Disney+ and ESPN+ subscriptions. Not to mention, the unlimited cloud DVR now cuts into one of the main selling points of YouTube TV. For many, Hulu Live TV is now likely to be the best live TV deal around.

However, there will still be plenty of individuals and households that Hulu Live TV is not the best deal for. If there’s no need for additional subscriptions, there’s not much point paying a higher monthly cost for a service like Hulu Live TV. Instead, Sling TV (or even Philo) with its lower per-month cost is likely to remain a better option. For busier households, the per-profile unlimited cloud DVR is likely to continue making YouTube TV the right choice, and especially considering it is now $5 cheaper than Hulu Live TV.

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

One reply on “Hulu Live TV Is Now The Best Deal, But Not For Everyone”

I switched from YouTube TV to Hulu Live TV several months ago following one of YouTube TV’s network negotiation issues. While I agree that Hulu Live TV offering unlimited cloud DVR somewhat levels the playing field, I ultimately switched back to YouTube TV because of the interface on Hulu. I, and members of my family, found navigating around Hulu Live TV to be a lot more cumbersome compared to YouTube TV.

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