Hulu With Live TV is still in beta, but it is becoming quite popular as an alternative to a traditional cable subscription. However, Hulu With Live TV is not a perfect cable substitute. Read on for a list of the best alternatives to Hulu With Live TV.
The Biggest Problems of Hulu With Live TV
Before we dive into our top picks for Hulu With Live TV alternatives, let’s discuss some problems with the service that may make you want to consider other options.
Limited simultaneous streaming options
Hulu With Live TV only lets you stream live television on two devices at once. This is pretty restrictive, especially for anyone who plans on sharing an account with friends, family, or roommates.
However, you can pay a $14.99/monthly fee to get unlimited streaming on devices on your home Wi-Fi network, and on 3 devices outside your home network. That’s a nice option – but add that to the $39.99 base subscription and you’re paying nearly $55 a month.
There are quite a few other services out there that allow you to stream on more than two devices simultaneously – without any added fees. This includes Sling, YouTube TV, and PlayStation Vue.
Users report buffering issues – especially during sporting events
For the most part, streaming on Hulu With Live TV works well. However, some have reported slowdowns during sporting events. The official Hulu With Life TV Beta feedback site is littered with users complaining about slow loading, buffering, poor picture quality, and other issues, even with 1GB/s fiber connections.
Complex user interface
Hulu With Live TV has a confusing interface. Live TV is shown alongside on-demand content, which can make it quite hard to browse the content available from the service.
Hulu has taken steps to remedy this, such as a grid-based guide that separates live TV programming from on-demand content, but this change hasn’t yet rolled out to all apps.
Still, some users still believe that the Hulu With Live TV UI is confusing. There are Reddit threads filled with users voicing their frustration about Hulu’s user interface.
Limited subscription customization options
Hulu With Live TV offers only two subscription options, but there’s little variation between the two. The primary subscription option is the one Hulu promotes, but if you scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, there’s a small-print link that lets you know you can sign up for Live TV Only. That will give you Live TV without Hulu’s on-demand service. Fur this option is more than a bit laughable, as Hulu offers it for only 1 dollar less. It’s not a serious option.
You also can’t add any additional channels, except for premium channels HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and Starz. If you’re looking to customize your cable package and add more channels, Hulu With Live TV does not give you many choices.
What Alternatives are there to Hulu With Live TV?
If these above issues have you rethinking your Hulu With Live TV subscription, don’t worry. There are plenty of alternatives to choose from.
If the high cost of Hulu With Live TV is making you second-guess subscribing, Sling TV is a good choice. Sling TV offers two bargain-priced streaming plans that are good alternatives to Hulu With Live TV.
Free Roku Deal
Free Roku Express
1 simultaneous stream.
Free Roku Deal$25.00/ month
Free Roku Express
3 simultaneous streams
|Sling Orange + Blue|
Free Roku Deal
Free Roku Express
4* simultaneous streams
For $20/month, you can subscribe to Sling TV’s “Orange Package” which includes over 40 channels like ESPN, AMC, CNN, TBS, and TNT, among others. However, Sling Orange has some pesky limitations. You can only stream Sling Orange channels on one device at a time, which is actually more restrictive than Hulu With Live TV.
If you are interested in getting a few more channels, you can subscribe to the 45+ channel, $25/month Sling Blue package. Blue includes some channels left out of the Orange package, such as NBCSN, Fox Sports, SyFy, and FX. You can stream on 3 devices simultaneously with Sling Blue.
You also have the option to combine your Blue and Orange subscription for $40/month, and you can add more channel coverage with optional “Extras” and “Minis” packages. Though customizing your subscription is a bit confusing, Sling TV is still a good choice if you’re looking for unique channels that you can’t get in any other streaming service, like foreign-language channels.
Streaming platform support is also quite robust for Sling TV. You can stream on Android/iOS, your web browser, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Samsung and LG Smart TVs, and all Xbox One devices. Sling TV also has a DVR, though it will cost you an extra $5/month.
With great customization options, strong streaming performance, and a lower monthly cost than Hulu With Live TV, Sling TV is a very viable low-cost alternative for cord-cutters. You can get a free, no-commitment 7-day trial on the Sling TV website.
DirecTV Now costs $35/month for the 60 channel “Live A Little” package. If 60 channels are not enough for you, you can get 80+ channels for $50/month with the “Just Right” package, 100+ channels for $60/month with the “Go Big” package, or 120+ channels with the $70/month “Gotta Have It” package.
If you want more channel choices than you get with Hulu With Live TV, DirecTV Now certainly has you covered. You can choose the package that’s best for you, and includes the channels you want to watch.
Even the $35/month package has a nice lineup. The basic package offers ESPN, FX/FXX, TBS, AMC, TNT, and FOX sports affiliate networks, as well as NBC Sports. Perhaps because DirecTV Now is run by an actual television company, streaming quality is usually very good – even during live sporting events.
DirecTV Now is not perfect, though. You can only stream on two devices at once, which makes it one of the more restrictive services on our list.
The real problem with DirecTV Now is that there is no DVR available. There are plans to add DVR service for free in 2018, and there is a beta program out. However, it’s failing to impress users, who say that it’s clunky and confusing to use.
Platform support is good, and comparable to Hulu With Live TV. You can stream on your web browser, Amazon Fire devices, Chromecast, Android/iOS devices, Apple TV, and select Roku models, though there is currently no support for gaming consoles.
Overall, we’d say that DirecTV Now is a solid alternative to Hulu With Live TV if you don’t mind missing out on a DVR. This is especially true if you are an AT&T Unlimited Choice subscriber, because you can get a subscription for just $20/month, rather than $35.
Get a free 7-day trial at the DirecTV Now website, and try the service out for yourself.
PlayStation Vue definitely gives Hulu With Live TV a run for its money. You can subscribe to 4 different PlayStation Vue packages, ranging from the $44.99 “Access” package, to the 90+ channel, $79.99/month “Ultra” package. You can also choose add-ons like the $10/month “Sports Pack” to further customize your package of cable channels.
The $44.99 “Access” package is the same price as Hulu With Live TV. So what might make PlayStation Vue a better choice for you? There are several reasons.
First, streaming performance is very good, and the UI is easy to navigate and understand – unlike Hulu With Live TV.
Next, PlayStation Vue has an extremely generous, 5-device simultaneous streaming policy. That’s not a typo. You can stream on up to 5 different devices at the same time on your home network. If you had Hulu With Live TV, you’d have to fork over an extra $14.99/month to stream on more than 2 devices simultaneously.
PlayStation Vue also has a better DVR than Hulu With Live TV. Hulu With Live TV gives you a 50-hour DVR with no expiration dates – expandable to 200 hours with the $14.99/month “Enhanced DVR” add-on.
In contrast, PlayStation Vue gives you totally unlimited DVR recordings, within a 28 day window. That means you can record as many shows as you want, as long as you watch them all within 4 weeks.
If you have a large family, and you need to stream on quite a few devices at once, PlayStation Vue is certainly your best choice as a Hulu With Live TV alternative.
And, speaking of devices, PlayStation Vue supports all major streaming platforms, including PlayStation 3/4 consoles, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, web browsers, and Android/iOS devices.
Overall, PlayStation Vue has a better selection of cable channels than Hulu With Live TV, and supports more streaming devices. You don’t get much on-demand content, but you get quite a few benefits that help make up for that. You can try the service free for 5-days on the PlayStation Vue website.
YouTube TV is still not available in every area of the country, but it is definitely a viable alternative to Hulu With Live TV. YouTube TV is quite similar to Hulu With Live TV, because there is only one subscription option – $40/month gets you 60+ channels. This includes channels such as ESPN, FXX, ABC/NBC/CBS/FOX, and AMC (which is actually not available on Hulu, due to a recent spat between AMC and Hulu).
YouTube TV has a number of benefits that may make it a better choice than Hulu With Live TV.
First, YouTube TV offers the single best DVR service in the industry. You get completely unlimited DVR storage for 9 months. You can record and store as many shows and hours of television as you want, with no simultaneous recording restrictions or limits. Compare that to Hulu’s 50-hour DVR (or the 200 hour DVR available for a $14.99 fee) and YouTube TV is the clear winner here.
You can also stream on 3 devices at once with YouTube TV, even outside your home WiFi network. Again, you would need the $14.99/month “Unlimited Screens” package to get this same level of service from Hulu With Live TV.
Of course, YouTube TV is not perfect. One area where it is still fairly lacking is device support. You can watch YouTube TV on Chromecast, Android and iOS device, and your web browser, as well as Android TV, Xbox One consoles, and Samsung/LG Smart TVs. There is limited support for the Apple TV via Airplay and no support for Amazon Fire devices or Roku.
With a fantastic DVR, good simultaneous streaming support and a price that’s $5 less per month than Hulu With Live TV, YouTube TV is a great pick for a Hulu With Live TV alternatives if it’s available in your area.
Our Verdict – The Best Alternative for Hulu With Live TV
Best budget option
Sling TV Blue wins big here. For $25/month, you can get a good selection of cable channels and simultaneous streaming on 3 devices, which is better than Hulu With Live TV. You’ll have to pay extra for a DVR, but even if you do, you’ll still be paying $10 less per month than Hulu With Live TV.
DirecTV Now is a bargain if you can bundle it with your AT&T Unlimited Choice plan for $20. Otherwise, you have to shell out $35/month.
Our top overall picks
YouTube TV is our top overall pick. For just $35/month, you get a great list of cable channels, the best DVR in the business, and a 3-device simultaneous streaming policy. For the money, it’s hard to beat.
However, we also have to mention PlayStation Vue because of its incredible 5-device simultaneous streaming policy. Combined with a good DVR and great, customizable cable channel selection, it’s also an excellent alternative to Hulu.
We did not go in-depth with a review of fuboTV in this piece (you can check out our full breakdown here), but it may be a viable alternative for you if you’re primarily interested in live sports.
fuboTV has rock solid live streaming performance, a pretty good selection of channels, and a good DVR.
You’re limited to streaming on 2 devices at once, and it is a bit expensive at $39.99, but it’s definitely a good alternative to Hulu With Live TV if you love sports like soccer and rugby. You can check out a free trial of the service on their website.
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