When choosing the right streaming service, it’s crucial to take in all the factors before making your decision. With so many different prices, plans, features, and variations in personal preferences, we compiled an all-inclusive list to help you make your decision, at least between HBO Max and Hulu.
The primary incentive of HBO Max is to have all the content you already get on HBO, plus originals and an extensive library of extras and in-theatre showings on the same day that they’re released. In collaboration with WarnerMedia, HBO Max also offers a diverse array of over 10,000 films, many of which are not accessible on other platforms. Hulu hosts a more robust service when considering the opportunity for add-ons and the service comes at a cheaper cost.
It’s important to note the available add-ons when considering these services because Hulu offers an HBO Max add-on of equal cost to the standalone service. This may be enticing for viewers who want all that Hulu has to offer with the option to add HBO Max at a later date.
HBO Max vs Hulu Overview
|Service 1||Service 2|
|Free Trial||none||30 days|
|# of Live Channels||N/A||75+|
|Local Channels||N/A||Available, varies based on location|
|Add-On Channels||N/A||HBO Max, CINEMAX, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and more|
There’s no longer a free trial offered for HBO Max, but Hulu subscribers can add the HBO Max add-on to their pre-existing account to get a 7-day free trial through Hulu. Any HBO subscribers through Hulu will get HBO Max for free. HBO Max doesn’t offer a DVR option, however it’s possible to download TV shows, movies, and other live showings to watch after they’ve aired with the HBO Max ad-free plan. Hulu is the way to go when looking at Live TV options and add-ons from other services.
HBO Max vs Hulu: Plans and Pricing
HBO Max comes in at a steeper price than Hulu, with the base plan costing $9.99/month compared to Hulu’s $5.99/month. HBO Max also maxes out their plan options with the ad-free plan at $14.99/month, while Hulu has an abundance of additional options to tag onto an existing plan.
HBO Max Plans and Pricing
- Plan 1: $9.99/month
- Plan 2: $14.99/month
Plan #1 is for HBO Max with Ads, which total at about four minutes of ads per hour of content watched. HBO’s ads are shorter compared to Hulu’s ad-supported tier which often includes ad breaks of up to 90 seconds long. With HBO’s base plan, user’s don’t get to enjoy all the big-name movies or download content for offline viewing.
Plan #2 is the ad-free option and gains the user access to all content offered on the platform, including the option to download for offline viewing.
Hulu Plans and Pricing
- Plan 1: $5.99
- Plan 2: $11.99
- Plan 3: $64.99
- Plan 4: $70.99
Hulu’s base plan is one of the lowest entry-point costs out of all available streaming services. Plan #1 includes advertisements and can be purchased at an annual rate of $59.99. This plan provides access to the entire streaming library, sans the Live TV and add-ons. Plan #2 grants the user access to all the same content, ad-free.
Plan #3 will also come with ads, but it opens up the user to view over 65 channels that are otherwise found on network and cable TV. For the best of the best subscribers, plan #4 enhances the Live TV plan with an ad-free experience.
HBO Max vs Hulu: Top Channels Compared
|HBO Max||Hulu (+Live TV)|
|The Weather Channel||No||No|
While HBO Max doesn’t include any of these main channels, it does offer a wide range of TV between DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Rooster Teeth, and Looney Tunes. This includes the shows: Friends, South Park, The Big Bang Theory, Wonder Woman, and more.
HBO Max doesn’t support local television, while Hulu does support a variety of networks that vary by location. Users can easily search their location on Hulu’s website and find the available networks in their area.
HBO Max doesn’t yet feature sports content, although WarnerMedia’s Turner Sports and MLB have signed a seven-year contract which would make HBO Max a future outlet for game broadcasts. Hulu + Live TV includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN News, ESPN U, ESPN College Extra, BTN, CBS Sports Network, SEC Network, and NFL Network.
HBO Max can be used to gain access to exclusive content that is HBO original or only offered on their platform. But overwhelmingly, Hulu will be able to support all of your viewing wants and needs.
HBO Max vs Hulu: Features
HBO Max doesn’t offer any Cloud DVR storage hours, while Hulu offers 50 hours.
HBO Max offers three simultaneous streams and Hulu offers two simultaneous streams, plus a $10 option to add unlimited streams.
Add On Options
Hulu offers Enhanced Cloud DVR, Unlimited Screens, HBO Max™, CINEMAX®, SHOWTIME®, STARZ®, and an Entertainment, Español, and Sports Add-on. Because Hulu allows for multiple add-ons, it consolidates the number of services the subscriber must manage since they’re all conveniently billed together through Hulu.
HBO Max allows up to five user profiles — a feature not available on the previous HBO Now or HBO Go apps — making it easier to share an account. Many current HBO subscribers will get access to Max for free through Comcast, Charter, or an AT&T package.
HBO Max vs Hulu: Which service is better overall?
Overall, Hulu offers by far the most comprehensive network for watching the broadest range of content, but HBO Max is a great option for users who already subscribe to a partner network that may offer free access to the network. There are certainly additional and exclusive shows and movies available through HBO Max, though for most users it likely makes the most sense to purchase this service as an add-on through Hulu.