Hulu + Live TV Explained

A popular, comprehensive cable TV alternative

Hulu + Live TV is an extension of Hulu's existing on-demand service that adds live streaming television to the mix. The biggest difference between Hulu with Live TV and other streaming services is that Hulu provides access to a massive library of on-demand content, and the biggest difference between Hulu and cable is that for Hulu to work, you need to have a high-speed internet connection and a compatible device instead of just television.

What Is Hulu With Live TV?

If you watch any on-demand television shows or movies online, there's a good chance that you're already familiar with Hulu. The service has been around for a long time, and it offers access to a huge library of on-demand content from ABC, NBC, Fox, and many other networks, in addition to exclusive content that you can't get anywhere else.

Hulu with Live TV is a subscription option that allows Hulu subscribers to gain access to live streaming television through the same platform. Using this service, you can watch live television on your desktop computer or laptop, smartphone or tablet, or even on your television if you have a compatible device.

Although Hulu with Live TV offers an alternative to an expensive cable subscription, it also has a number of competitors that also offer live streaming television online. Sling TV, YouTube TV, Vue, and DirecTV Now all offer varying levels of live television coverage. Other services, like Paramount+, also allow viewers to watch live television online in a more limited capacity.

For those who prefer the type of on-demand content that Hulu is most well known for, services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video also offer shows and movies that are available to stream at any time.

How to Sign up for Hulu With Live TV

Signing up for Hulu with Live TV is a pretty easy process, and it's even easier if you already have a Hulu account.

Sign up for Hulu Live TV: First Time Users

If you don't already have a Hulu account, here's how to sign up for Hulu with Live TV:

  1. Navigate to

  2. Click on start your free trial.

    Start Your Free Trial button on Hulu

    This option is only available if you don't already have a Hulu subscription.

  3. Locate the Hulu with Live TV option and click select.

    Select Button for Hulu with Live TV
  4. Click continue with Facebook if you want to use your Facebook login information to create an account, or enter your information, scroll down, and click continue.

    Continue with Facebook button on Hulu
  5. Enter your credit card information and click submit.

    Submit credit card info for Hulu

Sign up for Hulu Live TV: Existing Users

If you already have a Hulu subscription, adding live television is even easier:

  1. Navigate to, and log into your account if you aren't already logged in.

  2. Click get live TV.

  3. Select one of the plans that include live television and click switch to this plan, and click continue.

  4. Enter your zip code, and click continue.

Choosing a Hulu With Live TV Plan

There are two Hulu with Live TV plans, and they both come with the same basic channels and most of the same features. The main difference between the two plans is that one of them adds live television service to your Hulu subscription, and the other adds live television and also removes commercials from nearly all of the on-demand content on the site.

The Hulu with live TV plans are:

  • Hulu with Live TV: includes access to 50+ live television channels, and access to Hulu's entire on-demand library via their limited commercials plan.
  • Hulu (No Commercials) with Live TV: includes access to 50+ live television channels, and access to Hulu's entire on-demand library via their no commercials plan.

Channel availability varies based on your physical location. Check out Hulu's lookup tool to see the exact channels that you will be able to watch through Hulu with Live TV.

Which Hulu With Live TV Plan Is Right for You?

Choosing a live TV plan from Hulu is easier than it is with most other services because there is only one factor that you really need to consider.

If you watch a lot of on-demand streaming content, and you don't like having your shows broken up by commercials, then the no commercials plan is a good deal.

If you don't care about on-demand content, then the cheaper limited commercials plan is a better option.

How Many Shows Can You Watch at Once With Hulu Live TV?

Streaming services like Hulu place a limit on how many shows you can watch at one time, using the same account, on different devices. Each show is referred to as a stream because the show is watched via streaming.

A regular Hulu subscription only allows a single stream, but Hulu with Live TV bumps that up to two simultaneous streams. That means you can watch a live or on-demand show on your computer, and someone else can watch a different show on their phone at the same time using the same account.

If you require the ability to watch more than two shows at once, Hulu with Live TV offers that as an optional add-on.

What Internet Speed Is Required for Hulu With Live TV?

Hulu is capable of lowering the video quality of a stream based on the quality of the viewer's internet speed, so it is possible to watch shows on Hulu without great internet. If you encounter a playback error with Hulu, it's usually easy to fix. However, Hulu does recommend some minimum download speeds if you want to experience the best possible picture quality:

  • On-demand shows and movies: 1.5+ Mbps for standard definition video, and 3+ Mbps for high definition video.
  • Live television: 8+ Mbps for a single stream, and additional bandwidth to view multiple streams.

Hulu With Live TV Add-Ons and Special Features

Both Hulu with Live TV plans come with 50+ channels and a digital video recorder (DVR) feature, but you can pay extra to get access to more channels and features.

Here are the important add-ons and extra channel packages you can add to a Hulu with Live TV subscription:

  • Enhanced Cloud DVR: Drastically increases the amount of content that you can save to your cloud DVR, and adds the ability to skip commercials when watching content you have recorded.
  • Unlimited Screens: Removes the limit on how many streams you can watch at once. The normal limit is two screens, and this option allows you to watch on an unlimited number of devices at your home location and up to three mobile devices at once.
  • Showtime: Adds up to eight live Showtimes channels depending on location, including both east and west coast broadcasts when available. Includes access to the full library of on-demand Showtime content.
  • Cinemax: Adds up to seven live Cinemax channels, including both east and west coast broadcasts when available. Includes access to on-demand Cinemax content.
  • HBO: Adds up to seven live HBO channels, including both east and west coast broadcasts when available.

Watching Live Television on Hulu

Once you have signed up, watching live television on Hulu is extremely easy:

  1. Navigate to

  2. Click LIVE TV.

  3. Click Guide or move your mouse cursor to the left side of the screen.

    live television on hulu
    The availability of live television on Hulu depends on your physical location.
  4. Click on the channel you want to watch.

Does Hulu With Live TV Offer a DVR?

Hulu with Live TV offers a cloud DVR feature that allows you to record shows and watch them later. Since it's cloud-based, you don't need to worry about filling up the hard drive on your computer. You can also record on any of your devices and then watch the recordings on any of your other devices.

The default cloud DVR included with both Hulu with Live TV plans offers a limited amount of storage, and the commercials cannot be skipped. If you want to record more hours of live television and skip through the commercials, then you can upgrade to the enhanced cloud DVR feature.

Does Hulu With Live TV Offer On-Demand Content?

Hulu is one of the pioneers in online streaming, so its massive on-demand content library is one of the strongest selling points of Hulu with Live TV.

When you sign up for either one of the Hulu with Live TV subscription plans, you also get access to on-demand content from all of the major broadcast networks, a huge slate of cable networks, and also exclusive shows like The Path and The Handmaid's Tale that you can only watch on Hulu.

hulu on demand options
Hulu With Live TV also provides access to Hulu's massive on-demand library.

Some shows are available in their entirety, with every episode of every season available to stream at any time. Other shows that are still on the air typically become available on-demand within one day to one week of airing.

The Hulu with Live TV No Commercials plan allows you to watch most of Hulu's on-demand TV shows and movies without commercial breaks, but a handful of shows are still presented with a limited number of commercials due to contractual obligations.

Can You Rent Movies From Hulu?

Unlike some other streaming platforms, Hulu does not offer movie rentals. The service does include a large library of on-demand movies, and the cloud DVR feature also allows you to record movies to watch later.

watch movies on hulu
You can't rent movies from Hulu, but your subscription does provide access to a library of on-demand movies and trailers.

If you want to rent newer movies that aren't available through Hulu yet, you're better off going through a service like Sling, Vudu, Amazon, or iTunes.

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