Netflix and Hulu are the two largest streaming services in the country. Netflix has 154 million subscribers, and Hulu has 28 million subscribers. That means a lot of people are binge-watching television.
Netflix dominates the subscriber pool, but do not let that intimidate your decision. The most important factor is which one is better for you and your family.
We dove into some key features and differences between the two. We want you to feel confident and informed about your binge-watching television services.
Hulu vs. Netflix: Price Comparison
Both services offer tiered level subscriptions, yet they are very different.
Netflix offers three streaming levels; keep in mind the content is the same in every package. Basic, the lowest level, costs $8.99 per month streaming in SD on one device. For $12.99 per month, you can upgrade and stream on two devices simultaneously.
That way, you can watch Gossip Girl and your husband can watch Mad Men at the same time. You'll have to fight for the living room TV, we can't help you there.
Finally, Netflix offers the Premium plan for $15.99. You can enjoy in Ultra HD and stream shows in 4K on four devices. Perfect for the whole fam!
Hulu also offers a three-tiered plan. All plans offered are HD and simultaneously streamable on two devices.
The lowest plan comes in at $5.99 per month and includes some commercials. If commercials get under your skin, spring for the $11.99 per month plan. Hulu’s final plan jumps significantly in price, but the offerings are substantial.
For $44.99 per month, you can enjoy exclusive content not offered on the other plans and Live TV. Live TV streams NCAA, NBA, NHL, NFL, and the English Premier League. Perfect for sports fanatics.
Hulu is our winner here because it has the super-cheap option. If you don't mind watching commercials, the more affordable Hulu option is great.
Hulu vs. Netflix: Content Breakdown
Content should be king when it comes to your decision making.
Netflix originated as a DVD movie rental service. Defined by those red snail mail envelopes that would arrive in 1-3 business days. Can you imagine picking a movie out now that you would still want to watch 3 days later?
Hulu originated as a streaming solution to network television. Like TiVo, but better.
Netflix’s library consists of movies, complete seasons of TV shows, and lots of original programming. Coined, Netflix Originals. You may have heard of some of their originals:
- House of Cards
- Stranger Things
- Orange is the New Black
- Arrested Development.
Netflix spends nearly $13 billion per year on content. While Netflix does have a huge breadth of content, be aware just because it is viewable today doesn't mean it will be tomorrow. This is a big complaint from current subscribers.
While Hulu does provide some movies and original programming, their primary focus is current TV shows. Most of the shows are available within 24 hours from when first aired on network television. Some Hulu originals include:
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- Castle Rock
- The Mindy Project
Because of this and the live streaming option, Hulu can be used in place of a cable provider. Hulu offers 60+ cable channels. Netflix cannot.
Yet, with Hulu’s fixation on the current content, it doesn't provide back seasons. While Netflix offers entire collections. Which allows for hours of binge-watching opportunities.
It is important to mention Netflix no longer owns the right to first-run Disney movies. Once Disney rolls out its streaming service all Disney properties will disappear. Sorry Disney lovers!
Of course, no content offerings would be complete without add-ons. For additional fees, Hulu offers you the ability to add on some movie channels like Showtime and HBO. Truly making it the go-to alternative to cable television.
Netflix’s only add on is its DVD subscription service, which hasn’t disappeared. If you are stuck in the early 2000s and still watch DVD's, by all means, rent away! It contains popular movies from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.
We chose Netflix here because of the amount of time and money they are throwing at original content. But Hulu definitely isn't far behind.
Hulu vs. Netflix: Accessibility
Both Netflix and Hulu are available to stream on a wide variety of devices. Making it a tie game from that standpoint.
Some of the systems that can play content from both services are:
Not much to say here. Both services are accessible almost everywhere.
Hulu vs. Netflix: Ease of Use
Both services are easy to use. Because Netflix’s catalog is so much larger than Hulu’s, the home screen and interface tends to be more cluttered. It can be more difficult to search to find specific content and decide what you want to watch.
Hulu advertises new episodes of shows you like right on the home page, making it easy to pick back up on your favorite sitcoms.
Netflix does offer you the ability to download your content so that you can watch it later offline. This is great for frequent travelers who like to bring their movies with them on the plane.
Hulu does not currently offer any downloadable material.
Another tie. But we do hope to see offline viewing from Hulu in the future.
Who Is Your Winner?
Which service wins comes down to what you want out of your streaming service. If you love the Handmaid’s Tale and want to cut the cord on that cable service, then Hulu wins for you.
If you’re going to binge-watch an entire season of Friends, while your son watches Stranger Things in his room, then Netflix is the way to go for you.
At the end of the day, Netflix and Hulu both provide you with an endless binge-watching experience.