|If you want the best original content and movies |
|If you want next-day releases and affordable monthly pricing |
Netflix and Hulu are without a doubt two of the most popular streaming services. With a variety of exclusive content and reasonable monthly fees, there are few platforms that can match their value. That begs the question -- which is the better service?
Netflix fans will point to its high-quality originals, including The Witcher, Stranger Things, Emily in Paris, Ozark, and more, as well as a wide variety of documentaries like Cheer, The Last Dance, My Octopus Teacher, and many others. It also boasts a much larger subscription base, with more than 222 million subscribers compared to Hulu's 44 million.
Hulu, on the other hand, offers a variety of extras such as HBO and Showtime -- content that's unavailable on Netflix. Its price tag is also cheaper than the competition, with its $7/mo. starting price, which is a bit more palatable than Netflix's $10/mo. starting price.
No matter how you cut it, both services bring a lot to the table. Let's take a closer look at Netflix and Hulu to determine which one is the best subscription service and most deserving of your money.
|Monthly price||Starting at $10||Starting at $7|
|Free trial length||N/A||30 days|
|Number of titles/channels||15,000+||N/A|
|Number of simultaneous streams||Four||Two|
|Ad-free option||Yes||Yes w/ Hulu (No Ads)|
Hulu is the clear winner when it comes to price. With its cheapest plan clocking in a full $3/mo. less than Netflix, there's no denying its affordability. Better yet, Hulu still offers a free trial that runs for a full month. Netflix has long since removed its free trial, leaving you with no way to test the service before signing up.
However, Netflix takes the crown in the number of titles and categories by default, as Hulu has never actually confirmed the amount of content offered on the service. Although many have speculated that the number is somewhere in the 4,000-5,000 range and includes 43,000+ TV episodes.
Netflix used to hold the title for most profiles on a single account, but Hulu has since stolen the crown. You can now create up to six profiles on a single Hulu account, while Netflix maxes out at five. If you have a big family (or are looking to share your account with a few roommates), Hulu's expanded profile system might give it the edge.
Netflix is best for movie lovers and families, alike. The streamer is home to some of the most acclaimed movies ever made, including Oscar winners Moonlight, Mank, Pan's Labyrinth, Roma, and more. Plus, the service's four simultaneous streams make it easy for the entire family to tune into their favorite titles at once. Keep in mind, however, that Hulu does offer HBO and other premium channels that you won't find on Netflix.
Hulu is best for television fanatics. The service features episodes of originals like The Handmaid's Tale, The Great, Only Murders in the Building, Letterkenny, and more, as well as full seasons of syndicated TV shows like American Horror Story, Modern Family, Bob's Burgers, This Is Us, and many others. You can get these titles and more for just $7/mo. -- or $13/mo. if you purchase the no ads plan -- making Hulu the most affordable option listed. You'll also gain access to most new episodes the day after they air, which is perfect for keeping up with today's hottest TV shows.
Hulu's interface is simple and straightforward. Upon launching the service, you'll be greeted by an automated message that reads something along the lines of "just a moment, while we gather what's new." Once the app has loaded, you'll be brought to a screen featuring a carousel of the shows and movies you're currently watching, recommended titles, and content sorted by genre.
Netflix's interface has undergone a few major changes over the years -- all of which have significantly improved the usability and interface of the platform.
For one, the service offers mini content hubs for those looking to check out a specific kind of movie or show. Let's say you wanted to watch an International film. All you'd have to do is click on "Categories," scroll down till you see the "International" option, and then click it.
We'd also be remiss if we didn't also mention how the streamer's emphasis on simplicity translates to their playback screens as well. While watching Netflix, you won't be bothered by blocky buttons, random static ads, or anything else. You'll have the entire screen free of any distractions and be able to watch your favorite content uninterrupted.
You can make up to six user profiles with Hulu. Each of these profiles will populate with specific content recommendations based on the TV shows and movies subscribers watch. These recommendations are featured prominently on the homepage of Hulu each time you head to the app.
Hulu subscribers can also save certain programs to their "My Stuff" list to watch for later. This is perfect for anyone looking to set up a queue of content to stream. Or, for users who simply want to weigh their options before deciding what they will watch next.
For Netflix subscribers, personalization is made easy by the service's emphasis on user experience and design. Netflix's efforts have led to the creation of a "Top Picks" section that comes with a few recommended titles for you to check out. And a "Watch It Again" category that you can use to rewatch all your favorite content from the service.
In addition, Netflix also added a new "Play Something" feature to its interface. To access this feature, all you need to do is click on the "Play Something" button located on Netflix's launch screen. Once you've done so, Netflix will automatically begin playing a random title for you to enjoy. This feature is great for trying out new movies and TV shows, or for when you just don't know what to watch.
Currently, Netflix does not offer any add-ons or extras beyond what is included in the streamer's service plans. Moreover, if you want to stream on more devices or want to access 4K movies and TV shows, then you'd have to subscribe to a Standard or Premium plan instead of the Basic one.
Unlike Netflix, Hulu offers a number of add-ons and extras for subscribers to upgrade their subscription. Here are a few you should know about.
Though Hulu is a good fit for most people, it does have its downsides. As mentioned, you can only stream the service on two screens simultaneously. This means that Hulu might not be the best option for families or large households.
Hulu also falters when it comes to extras. The service offers a few add-ons that will give you access to premium content from Starz, HBO, and more. But the price tag for these add-ons is often high. In the case of the Starz add-on, for example, you'll pay an additional $9/mo. to access this premium network on your Hulu account. That's nearly twice as much as the cost of a basic Hulu subscription.
The biggest drawback with a Netflix account is its $10/mo. price tag. This is a steep price to pay for anyone, and that's just for the Basic plan. When you consider the fact that the Premium plan will cost you $20/mo., it becomes clear that despite its popularity, Netflix is a costly service.
The other problem with Netflix lies in its content library. Because the service has to wait months and sometimes years before they add current network TV shows and studio movies to their library, the service's selection of titles is almost always outdated. This may not be a problem for some users, but for those wanting to watch the latest episode of their favorite TV show, this can be a major issue.
Both Netflix and Hulu offer a wealth of content to subscribers, and the diversity of programming between the two makes it difficult to choose a definitive winner. Netflix might be more expensive, but it includes some of the best originals you'll find this side of cable. Meanwhile, Hulu is an affordable service that makes it easy to catch up on today's hottest series.
If we had to pick a winner, however, we'd opt for Hulu. Not only is it more affordable than Netflix, but next-day access to current programming is a huge boon. And while Netflix might be the champion of original content, TV shows like The Handmaid's Tale, A Teacher, Castle Rock, Dope Sick, and more are nothing to scoff at.
The ability to bundle in premium channels such as HBO Max, Showtime, Starz, and more is another win for Hulu, as it makes it easy to watch all your favorite TV shows and movies from a single app.
That being said, Netflix still has a lot to offer -- and it might be a perfect fit for your household. Its selection of movies and documentaries is unparalleled. Its premium plan lets you stream to four screens simultaneously. And its catalog is constantly seeing new additions, so you can rest assured there'll always be something ready for you to binge-watch.