4 things to know about Hulus live TV streaming service

The streaming service Hulu grew to more than 17 million subscribers in 2017 by expanding its on-demand library of television shows and releasing original programming like the award-winning "The Handmaid's Tale."

But the company is also focused on its new live TV option, Hulu with Live TV, which is an alternative to cable or satellite.

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Hulu with Live TV: What you need to know 

For $39.99 per month, Hulu offers dozens of your favorite broadcast and cable channels, plus you get access to the provider’s entire streaming library with its Limited Commercials plan that normally costs $7.99 per month.

What makes pay TV alternatives like Hulu unique is that there’s no cable box required and no contracts — you can cancel anytime.

Hulu with Live TV is competing with Sling TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV and others. I signed up for a free trial of Hulu to experience it for myself. Here's what I learned:

What channels do you get with Hulu with Live TV?

The channel lineup is probably the most important factor when choosing a pay TV service. A Hulu subscription comes with more than 50 channels, though local stations will vary depending on where you live.

For example, I entered my ZIP code on Hulu’s website to view the available channels in Atlanta:

ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, A&E, Big Ten Network, Boomerang, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CBS Sports Network, CNBC, CNN, CNN International, Disney, Disney Junior, Disney XD, E!, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, ESPN Goal Line, Food Network, Fox Business, Fox News, FS1, FS2, Freeform, FX, FXM, FXX, FYI, NBC Golf, HGTV, History Channel, HLN, Lifetime, Lifetime Movies, MSNBC, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, NBCSN, Olympic Channel, Oxygen, Pop, SEC Network, Smithsonian Channel, SyFy, TBS, TCM, Telemundo, TNT, Travel Channel, TruTV, Universal Kids, USA, Viceland

Does Hulu with Live TV include DVR?

Like many of its competitors, Hulu lets you record your favorite live TV shows to watch later. You get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage with the $39.99 per month subscription.

For an extra $14.99 per month, you can upgrade to 200 hours and fast-forward through recorded commercials.

What equipment do I need to get started? 

Hulu with Live TV requires a high-speed internet connection. After you sign up, you’ll need to use a supported device like Roku, Fire Stick or Chromecast to stream content on your TV.

Here's a list of the devices that Hulu supports, according to its website:

  • Mac & PC
  • Apple iPhone & iPad (running iOS 10 or newer)
  • Android phones & tablets (running 5.0 or newer)
  • Roku
  • Fire TV & Fire Stick
  • Apple TV (4th generation)
  • Chromecast
  • Xbox One & Xbox 360
  • Samsung (select TV models)

Can I watch Hulu with Live TV on multiple devices at the same time?

You’re only allowed to watch on up to two screens at a time with your Hulu subscription, but you can upgrade to unlimited screens for an extra $14.99 a month.

That way, everyone in your house can stream at the same time — and you can also watch on three screens when you’re on the go.

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A few thoughts about Hulu with Live TV… 

When I talk to people about pay TV alternatives, many of them say they would like to pick and choose the channels they want instead of paying for a bundle.

But these new streaming options are still offering bundles, so finding the right mix of channels for your family is key.

I found Hulu with Live TV very easy to use. The clean layout makes it simple to search for live programming, record shows and movies, and access on-demand content that’s included with a subscription.

I did experience more buffering problems with Hulu compared to when I tested YouTube TV and Sling TV — but nothing major.

Hulu with Live TV is a few bucks more expensive than some of its competitors, but it still may be cheaper than your current cable or satellite bill if you can avoid the pricey add-ons.

However, if you really want those extras, you may be better off negotiating a lower rate with your current pay TV provider.

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