Netflix VS Hulu: which is the better choice in 2019?
Netflix’s subscription prices are going up, and Hulu’s main plan (with ads) is getting more affordable. So with new costs to consider, it’s worth revisiting the strengths of each service and contrasting the two. I know there are plenty of people out there with both Hulu and Netflix factored into their recurring monthly subscriptions, but maybe you’re trying to cut down and consider if either is really worth it if you’re already paying for Amazon Prime or HBO or something else.
Now, it’s important to remember that Hulu is only available in the United States. So if you don’t reside in the US, I suppose Netflix just takes this whole thing by forfeit. But for everyone else, let’s go over the plusses and minuses:
Best experience and features: Netflix
Netflix streams in 4K. Netflix supports HDR video. You can download Netflix content to watch offline on a mobile device when you’re traveling or for your daily commute on the bus / train.
Hulu offers none of those things. I’ve asked the company about all of them regularly over the last few years and still have no clear idea of when 4K and offline downloads might arrive. At this point, it’s getting inexcusable that even Hulu’s original programs like The Handmaid’s Tale don’t stream in 4K when that’s now become status quo on Netflix.
The main thing Hulu has that Netflix can’t give you is live television: Hulu with Live TV (now $44.99 monthly) pairs the video-on-demand service with a bundle of live cable and broadcast networks that you can stream from anywhere whenever you want. But if live TV is what you’re after, you’ll have to move up to a completely different pricing tier.
I realize that 4K requires Netflix’s most expensive plan, but offline playback — available across all of its plans — is important enough for the easy win here. Oh, and there are no ads.
Now $5.99 per month, Hulu’s traditional ad-supported plan is significantly less expensive than a Netflix subscription. The question you’ll have to answer is whether you can tolerate Hulu’s commercials. Many of us find them easy enough to ignore, but some of you really seem to loathe when your shows are interrupted. If you can’t deal, Hulu’s $11.99 “No Commercials” plan (a few shows still stream with ads) will eliminate the vast majority of breaks.
Netflix just announced another price hike, raising its subscription costs to $12.99 for the standard plan, $15.99 for premium (required if you want 4K), and $8.99 for basic. The latter is limited to standard definition streaming, so I doubt many people reading this are going to bother.
Most flexible: Netflix
Netflix’s premium plan allows for four simultaneous streams, which is a number that Hulu doesn’t currently match. The “standard” plan, which is Netflix’s most popular option, offers two, with “basic” only allowing for one stream at a time.
Hulu’s base plan — the affordable, appealing one — is limited to one stream at a time, so it’s not very practical for sharing with friends or a partner unless you maintain very different schedules. Same goes for the more expensive no-ads plan. If you step up to Hulu with Live TV, you get two concurrent streams. To get more than that, you can pay $10 (on top of your live TV package) for one additional use-anywhere stream and “unlimited” access for devices in your home.
Best device support: Draw
These are two of the most prominent streaming apps in existence today. No matter what device you’re using, odds are you won’t have much trouble watching either of them. Hulu is currently available on the Nintendo Switch, which is certainly an advantage. But again, a lack of offline downloads is at odds with the Switch’s portability.