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​​Everything to Know About Streaming Hulu in 4K: How to Watch, Movies and TV Shows, Compatible Devices, and More

Streaming movies and TV shows in 4K has been a growing desire for cord-cutters, and Hulu has plenty of 4K content on offer.

Hedy Phillips
Family watching television in a living room on a projector screen

Getty Images

Like most modern streaming services, Hulu supports watching content in 4K resolution, though it's a bit behind the game in terms of how much 4K stuff there actually is to watch. But Hulu's library of originals has grown exponentially in the past few years, and any series or movie that cross-pollinates with Disney+, like Marvel's Echo, is also available in 4K.

What is 4K? A 4K video display has a minimum of eight million pixels, which translates to a TV screen resolution of 3840 by 2160. By comparison, an HD picture (known as 1080p) has a resolution of 1920 by 1080. 4K is a substantial improvement, with four times the resolution of HD. That's a much sharper, clearer picture than standard HD. But in order to get the full benefit of 4K, the source material needs to be available in 4K; TVs that have to "upconvert" 1080p can do it, but the resulting picture quality will be degraded.

Hulu's lagging position on 4K is related to moves it made several years ago. It started 4K streaming in 2016, dropped it entirely, then reinstated 4K in 2019. The company has been playing catch-up ever since, and it's made a lot of headway in that regard.  

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Do Hulu and Hulu + Live TV packages support 4K Ultra HD resolution for streaming?

All Hulu plans, from the dirt cheap $8 ad-supported basic plan up to the maxed-out, $90/mo. Live TV package, support streaming Hulu's library of 4K content in 4K.

But while Hulu + LiveTV -- starting at $77/mo. -- includes all of Hulu's 4K on-demand programming, the live TV channels are only streamed in HD (1080p or less), which means none of your live Hulu channels will be in Ultra High Definition. 

On the bright side, Hulu does not charge more to get access to the 4K content that's available -- it comes with the standard subscription. Hulu's 4K streaming also supports Dolby Vision and HDR (high dynamic range) encoding on select content.

What 4K content is there on Hulu? 

Hulu's library of 4K content primarily consists of Hulu original movies and series and other content that has been licensed directly to Hulu (as opposed to, say, an HBO show that you're watching through Hulu). There's no list on the Hulu website of 4K content, nor is there a way to search for 4K content; instead, the show listings have "4K badges" on them in the content description. 

Most (but not quite all) of Hulu's original content is available in 4K resolution. Here's a list of TV shows and movies you'll find in 4K:

  • 11.22.63
  • AKA Jane Roe     
  • A Nasty Piece of Work    
  • All Night     
  • A Teacher
  • A Wilderness of Error
  • The Act   
  • All That We Destroy 
  • The Amazing Johnathan
  • American Horror Stories
  • Bad Hair
  • Ballet Now  
  • Batman & Bill     
  • The Bear
  • Black Narcissus
  • Becoming Bond
  • The Body     
  • Breeders    
  • Castle Rock  
  • Casual    
  • Catch-22    
  • Chance    
  • Crawlers  
  • Culture Shock 
  • The Current Occupant     
  • Dave
  • Delivered     
  • Devs  
  • Dollface  
  • Down
  • The First
  • Flesh & Blood    
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • Futurama
  • Future Man     
  • Fyre Fraud     
  • Good Boy
  • The Great
  • The Handmaid's Tale     
  • Happiest Season
  • Helstrom     
  • High Fidelity    
  • Hillary
  • Hip Hop Uncovered
  • I'm Just F*cking With You     
  • Light as a Feather  
  • Little Fires Everywhere    
  • Looking for Alaska 
  • The Looming Tower    
  • Love Victor    
  • March of the Penguins    
  • Margaret Atwood    
  • Marvel's Runaways     
  • Mayans  
  • McCartney 3, 2, 1
  • Midnight Kiss
  • The Most Dangerous Animal of All     
  • Mrs. America     
  • My Valentine     
  • New Year, New You
  • The New York Times Presents
  • Nine Perfect Strangers
  • Normal People
  • Only Murders in the Building
  • The Path    
  • The Patient
  • Pen15  
  • Pilgrim
  • Pooka Lives!    
  • Prey
  • Pure     
  • Ramy  
  • Reprisal  
  • Reservation Dogs
  • Robert the Bruce
  • Run
  • School Spirit   
  • Self Reliance  
  • Shogun
  • Shrill
  • Shut Eye  
  • Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi                     
  • They Come Knocking
  • Tiny Shoulders Rethinking Barbie     
  • Too Funny To Fail     
  • Treehouse    
  • Uncanny Annie
  • The United States vs. Billie Holliday
  • Vacation Friends
  • Vacation Friends 2
  • Vice Investigates
  • We Are Freestyle Love Supreme
  • The Weekly
  • WeWork
  • Woke
  • Wu-Tang: An American Saga

How do I stream content in 4K Ultra HD?

Because 4K is a more detailed image, it requires more data, so 4K also needs more bandwidth to deliver it to your TV. Hulu recommends at least 16 Mbps download speed for a 4K video stream, and 25 Mbps would be better. (By comparison, it only asks for 3 Mbps for its regular streaming content.) Of course, when more than one person in a household is streaming 4K content, each stream requires that, so it's possible to get bandwidth jammed up fairly easily. If you have a modern high-speed internet connection, chances are you'll have far more than 25mbps of bandwidth available.

But if you do have a slower connection, you'll either see picture buffering or Hulu will drop the signal to standard 1080p HD as the stream begins to clog up. And if you have a data cap on your internet connection, be careful, because 4K content will eat up data quickly. 

Your Wi-Fi router can also be a weak link. One you've relied on for a while may not be up to handling the volume of data that 4K uses.  One (inexpensive) way to ensure a crystal-clear 4K picture is to use an ethernet cable between the device and your router. That way, you're not subject to Wi-Fi limitations. 

4K Ultra HD Compatible Devices

Not every streaming device will support Hulu's 4k and HDR content. These are the devices that currently do:

The biggest caveat here is that Hulu's 4K content is not supported on legacy devices or devices running older operating systems. If, for example, you have a ten-year-old Chromecast, it's time to open that wallet and buy something more current. 

Our Final Take

For those looking specifically for a 4K Ultra HD streaming experience, Hulu probably isn't your best choice. While it does have a good deal of original material in 4K, it does not offer much in the way of 4K theatrical releases or live TV viewing. Your 4K TV will not give you the best picture it possibly can with most of the Hulu catalog currently available only in a 1080p HD resolution. 

But resolution isn't everything — there's value to be considered as well. The Hulu library is massive and full of good stuff you can't watch elsewhere, and at just $8/mo. for the base plan its value is unrivaled.

Disney+, which also brings you Pixar films, National Geographic titles, and the Star Wars and Marvel movies, offers a much richer landscape of 4K content, and it's about the same price as Hulu, $8/mo, and you can pair Hulu and Disney+ for just $10/mo. Contrast that with Netflix, the reigning king of 4K streaming,  which has hundreds of 4K titles and charges a whopping $23/mo for its 4K plan —nearly triple the price of Hulu. 

Meanwhile, Amazon's Prime Video features a lot of 4K content, some of which is free with the $9/mo. subscription and some of which you'll pay a premium price to view. You can also check out our comparisons between Hulu + Live TV and their competitors like fuboTV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV.

Hulu also adds to its value by offering tons of options to bundle. For example there are bundles that include things like Spotify and Showtime, or even a Sprint Mobile plan. 

Is 4K Ultra HD important to you? If so, then Hulu does offer a wide library of 4K titles, but much of its releases wouldn't completely work for you.