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Hulu vs. Netflix
Hulu and Netflix are the original streaming service heavyweights. Both offer vast content libraries packed with movies, TV shows, and documentaries. But that doesn’t mean they’re the same.
Netflix is the service of choice for more than 140 million monthly subscribers. We recommend it for viewers who value having a large library to choose from.
Although it has fewer subscribers and a smaller content library, Hulu has made significant leaps recently. It has a lower base price, is part of a Spotify bundle, and has Disney playing a big role in its future. It also stands out with its episodically released on-demand TV shows.
Hulu vs. Netflix Overview
Netflix is the reigning king of streaming. It offers subscribers over 5,000 titles, multiple pricing tiers, and stand-out original programming.
Hulu has a smaller content library and only a handful of originals, but it’s less expensive and features a better catalog of network television shows.
Here are a few more details you might want to consider when deciding whether you’re more interested in Hulu or Netflix.
|Monthly price range||$5.99/mo.-$12.99/mo.||$8.99/mo.-$15.99/mo.|
|Number of account users||Up to 2||Up to 4|
|Number of titles||1,700+||5,000+|
|Number of originals||60+||700+|
|Streaming speed||6-8 Mbps||3-25 Mbps|
Quantity of streaming content
You’ll never run out of shows and movies to watch with Netflix’s outstanding movie and show catalog. For U.S. viewers, the number of available titles tops out around 5,000, and Netflix regularly adds tons of new content, including 371 new titles added in 2019 alone, according to Variety.
Hulu doesn’t offer the same volume of content, but it does have a large TV streaming library. Hulu has partnerships with ABC, Fox, and NBC, so it can offer these shows from these networks immediately upon release.
Disney has a 60% stake in Hulu and big plans to use the streaming service as the sole platform for content that doesn’t fit with Disney+, so Hulu’s content library should grow substantially in the future.
Strong original programming
Movies and series frequently move from one service to another. As a result, we recommend choosing a provider whose original content library aligns with your viewing habits and the types of content you and your family prefer watching.
Netflix contains the largest number of original titles. You can watch blockbuster hits like “Stranger Things,” “Black Mirror,” “House of Cards,” Orange is the New Black,” “Roma,” and more.
Hulu has found more of a niche audience with its original content. It only has one breakout hit so far in “The Handmaid’s Tale” — however, that one hit has earned 44 Emmy nominations and 12 Emmy awards. The rest of its selection of originals features lower-profile shows like “Castle Rock,” “Pen15,” and “Ramy.” Although these series have received critical acclaim, they haven’t reached the same widespread appeal as Netflix’s originals.
Netflix makes it easy to browse its extensive content library to find the programming you’re looking for. Hulu can be confusing to use, and the navigation menu doesn’t provide an easy way to view all available content.
The Netflix interface is uniform across all platforms. Inside the dashboard, you can create a watchlist and browse through content via a list of pre-defined categories, such as trending now, popular, award-winning TV shows, comedies, and more. You can also search directly for the titles you’re interested in.
Hulu’s interface is a bit different. When you set up your account, you choose the types of films and movies you’d like to watch, and this will influence the titles the service displays. Its interface is less genre-driven than Netflix’s. It’s organized by the style of content you prefer, like movies, TV shows, and originals.
Both Netflix and Hulu streaming services provide plans for several budgets.
The cheapest Netflix plan starts at $8.99 per month and lets you stream in standard (i.e. low) quality on a single screen. The second-level plan is $12.99 per month. This option upgrades your viewing quality to HD and allows you to stream on two screens. The highest-priced plan offered is $15.99 per month. With this choice, you can stream content in 4K Ultra HD resolution and have four simultaneous streams going at once.
Hulu’s basic subscription costs $5.99 per month, making it cheaper than Netflix’s basic plan. With this option, you’ll have to put up with commercial interruptions. The highest-priced plan is $11.99 per month, which will remove all ads from the service. Fans of live TV may want to opt for the Hulu + Live TV service for $55 per month.
Hulu does offer HD streaming, but none of its plans support 4K resolution. The service broadcasts all programming in stereo sound.
The Bottom Line
Hulu and Netflix provide a lot of value to subscribers. You’ll find a wide range of shows, plenty of movies, unique original content, and plans for every budget.
Netflix has a larger volume of titles, along with a more robust selection of popular originals. It’s is a solid choice for viewers who want an extensive content library or anyone who wants to follow its original series and films.
Hulu, on the other hand, is better for viewers who prefer to watch recently aired network TV. It has more niche-focused content and TV streaming availability, but its overall selection should improve once its collaboration with Disney starts to pick up steam.