About Hulu Plus

In business since 2008, Hulu Plus is an online video subscription service that allows you to instantly watch current and back season shows from ABC, Comedy Central, The CW, FOX, NBC, MTV and Univision, on almost any internet-connected device. As such, Hulu Plus calls themselves the “premium streaming destination.”

In addition to TV-centric content though, Hulu Plus also offers a variety of full-length movies, original series, documentaries, kid’s choices, individual clips, film trailers, and more.

But when it comes down to it, what benefits will Hulu Plus provide? Is upgrading worth your hard-earned money? And how does Hulu Plus stack up against the stiff competition? Let’s take a look:

What’s the Difference Between Basic Hulu & Hulu Plus?

Other than their prices (which we’ll discuss more in a moment), the primary difference between Hulu and Hulu Plus is the amount of content you’ll have access to.

For the free, standard version of Hulu, you’ll generally only have access to a few of the most recent TV show episodes, while the Plus version will provide access to full seasons. You’ll still have your queue available in both versions, although Hulu Plus will allow you to view next-day episodes of your favorite programming in advance.

With this said, GadgetReview puts it nicely:

“Keep in mind that the Hulu roster is always shifting based not only on new episodes that have aired, but also on the current contracts that Hulu has with content providers. Therefore, it is very difficult to make sweeping statements about what is available through Hulu vs. through the full Hulu Plus service. The easiest method is to visit the list of Hulu shows and movies, and look up a specific title. Click on the title, and it will show you both how many episodes are available through Hulu, and how many you get through Hulu Plus.”

Also, another important consideration is that content in a basic Hulu account is generally only available by logging onto the website using your PC, while Hulu Plus can be accessed from hundreds of different devices, which is what we’ll discuss next.

Do You Enjoy SHOWTIME®​?

Hulu subscribers can now access even more content through the company’s new SHOWTIME® Premium Add-On. This means you’ll be able to watch the same SHOWTIME® content you enjoy through your cable provider, but now on any HULU-supported device.

Considering this upgrade? It sounds pretty awesome, but there’s one huge factor to remember: HULU’s add-on fee is in addition to what you already pay your cable service. You’ll be paying for 2 different SHOWTIME® subscriptions for the exact same content, just on different devices.

Is this worth it? Only you can decide.

What Do You Need to Use Hulu Plus?

According to the Hulu Plus website, “Users only need a Flash 10.1.53.64 enabled computer and an Internet connection to enjoy.” This is because Hulu Plus is app-based, which means you don’t necessarily need any specific kind of hardware to enjoy their programming. This also means you can pause a program on your computer, log in on your phone a day later, and pick right back up where you left off.

While this is the basic set up, the reality is that you’ll be able to watch Hulu Plus programming on just about any internet-connected iOS, Android, or Amazon Kindle Fire device, in addition to Xbox, PS3, Roku, and many more. For more information, be sure to browse through Hulu Plus’s full list of supported devices.

Regardless of whether you’re watching on your computer or another device, Hulu Plus runs on a pretty minimal user interface, which makes viewing easier on the eyes.

Other Streaming Subscription Services

Despite the amount of TV-related content featured on Hulu Plus, as well as the app’s widespread integration and ease of use, this doesn’t mean that the service doesn’t have some stiff competition. This includes popular options such as Netflix, Amazon Instant, and hundreds of content-specific apps (e.g. NBA TV, HBO Go, Pluto TV, and more).

When compared to these other options, the primary benefit of Hulu Plus is the sheer number of TV shows featured on the website. However, it’s important to note that Hulu Plus is limited to a maximum of 720p for streaming content, as well as stereo sound only.

As such, if you have a state-of-the art entertainment and sound system, Hulu Plus’s content may not be your go-to option.

Does Hulu Plus Contain Advertisements? If So, Why?

If you’re thinking about taking the plunge and giving Hulu Plus a try, one of the first questions that probably came to mind was, “Why does Hulu Plus contain ads?”

Ultimately, this is a perfectly reasonable question. After all, if you upgraded from a standard Hulu account to a Plus version and found that you’re still subjected to advertisements, you might have been more than a little miffed.

In Hulu Plus’s own words, they call themselves an “ad-supported subscription service” that features a “modest amount of advertising run[ning] during normal commercial breaks.”

And while there’s no indication on the Hulu Plus website as to how much “modest” advertising you’ll experience, or how long each advertisement will be, many of us here at HighYa are Hulu Plus subscribers and have found that—on average—you’ll be forced to sit through eight to nine 15-second commercials for every half-hour TV show you watch.

Perhaps to add insult to injury, we’ve also found that the length and frequency of ads has only increased over the years, and that only a few ads are on rotation at any given time. Ultimately, this means that if you watch several episodes of your favorite TV show in a row, you could end up watching (and re-watching) the same ads over and over again.

Hulu Plus’s New “No Commercials” Plan

It seems that Hulu is listening to their customers though.

As of September 2015, the company announced their new No Commercials plan. As the name implies, this allows you to continue receiving the same Hulu Plus content, but without any commercials.

Will you have to pay more? Yes. How much? We’ll cover in the Pricing section below.

What are Customers Saying about Hulu Plus?

Since writing our original Hulu Plus review, 110 HighYa readers have provided their feedback on the service, and rated it an average of 2 stars. While the most common compliment included being able to watch popular TV shows at any time, by far the most common complaint (here on HighYa as well as elsewhere online) referenced that, even if you pay money to upgrade to Hulu Plus, you’ll still have to watch several commercials for each TV episode you watch. Because of this, many Hulu Plus customers have called into question its overall value.

Other less common complaints appear to revolve around poor playback (constant buffering, freezing, etc.), which is more relevant to a customer’s router and internet connection than it is to the streaming service, and a less-than-stellar selection of non-TV content.

At the time of our research, there were also a whopping 4,500+ Hulu Plus customer reviews on Amazon, with an average rating of 3.3 stars. There, common compliments and complaints mirrored those found here on HighYa.

From a professional standpoint, Digital Trends wrote an in-depth comparison between Hulu Plus, Netflix, and Amazon Instant Video earlier this year, and although they noted that Hulu Plus does have some solid features, they recommended that you choose one of the other services, unless you need to keep up on your favorite network TV shows.

Similarly, Geek.com wrote, “Hulu Plus has a significant library of content, and their attempts to bring a social element to their sharing and commentary may end up being a big deal to specific groups of users, but it is pretty clear which service is the better overall provider of content. If you have to choose between the two, Netflix is absolutely the way to go.”

As a company, Hulu, LLC is based out of Santa Monica, CA. They weren’t rated with the Better Business Bureau at the time of our research, although they did have 57 closed complaints (as of 6/10/15). Most of these appeared to reference difficulty cancelling subscriptions and stopping automatic charges.

Hulu Plus Pricing & Refund Policy

A basic Hulu account is free, and an upgraded Hulu Plus membership (now known as a Limited Commercial plan) will run you $7.99 per month. Don’t want commercials? You’ll need to pony up $11.99 for Hulu Plus’s new No Commercials plan.

If you do the math, this means your Hulu Plus subscription will increase by 33%, which is fairly significant. As we mentioned above, it can be painful to watch the same commercials over and over again, so this big increase might be worthwhile.

The new SHOWTIME Premium Add-On will cost an additional $8.99 per month.

Important note: If you’re new to Hulu Plus, the company offers a free 1-week trial. At the end of this trial however, your account will automatically roll over to a paid subscription if you don’t call to cancel.

Unless the company suspends or cancels your Hulu Plus account, no refunds are available. In other words, once you cancel your membership, it will continue until your pre-paid period expires, after which you’ll no longer have access.

In order to cancel your Hulu Plus account or ask questions, you can contact customer service at (888) 265-6650 or through an online form.

Is Hulu Plus Worth Your Money?

Chopping to the point: As we mentioned in our Cutting the Cord article, there are a lot of important decisions to be made when the time comes, most of which largely depend on your personal preferences. And while no service is perfect, Hulu Plus is really the only game in town if you want quick and easy access to recent, popular TV shows featured on major networks.

And the new No Commercial and SHOWTIME plans can add even more entertainment value, although they’ll also increase your monthly expenses by a decent amount.

As such, in our opinion, Hulu Plus is definitely worth trying out if you’ve recently found freedom from cable. And once you become more familiar with your other options, you can then decide whether or not Hulu Plus’s advertisements and other quirks are worth your hard-earned money.

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143 Customer Reviews for Hulu Plus

Average Customer Rating: 1.7
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 10 4 stars: 6 3 stars: 9 2 stars: 31 1 stars: 87
Bottom Line: 10% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 143
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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Not worth the money, new updates less so

    At first, Hulu was nice: Plenty of shows and seasons. This decreased by the first 6 months and the "updates" began. Soon shows wouldn't play, ads played more often and after some debate, we stuck to the service and even went ads free with the "No Commercials" option. The shows and movies started to add up again so we figured we'd stay for a bit. Recently, Hulu removed the queue for some automated "Watchlist" that was just as useful as the "Top Picks for You" listings they'd give. Unfortunately, this makes finding and managing your shows impossible. Hulu's only suggestion was to effectively "deal with it" and they have not addressed the issue of multiple user preferences with the new system (family of four using the PS4 for viewing).

    Hulu's feedback team even took it on themselves to block me from posting on their Facebook page because I signed and prominently advertised a petition to at least return the queue (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/502/058/744/hulu-bring-back-the-queue/). Given I'm not the only one they've done this to, I can't say I'll ever be back now and this is someone who spent a fair amount of time giving them chances.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Worst paid service of all

    Don't purchase this crappy service. If you want anime, you're better off getting Crunchyroll, they are cheaper, have no commercials, and they don't give you a green screen when you're over 20-40 seconds. Plus the shows skip, the use of subtitles is garbage (they fall behind by about 10 seconds), and the load times are horrible. The funny thing about all of this is the fact that the commercials work just fine, it's just the shows you pay more money for than any other service, that have these issues.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    If you like paying for commercials

    I was in love with Hulu Plus when I first got it. There were SO many shows that I wanted to watch, it was great! Then they all started disappearing, and less and less episodes were online long enough to actually watch them, and I found myself waiting for the end of the season, when the entire season would be available on Netflix.

    The selection of programs and movies is huge, which is great, but the commercials, or should I say the one commercial, is annoying. A 25 minute episode will have nice minutes of the same commercial looping over and over throughout the show, and not in any sort of convenient spot, but mid word, or in the middle of some really deep dialog or something. Then, by the time the show is back on, you have no idea what happened. On a personal level, I was interested in too many shows to actually keep up with them, before they would time out. Episodes are only kept online for 4-6 weeks, and if you're employed, most likely, you'll miss a few episodes.

    As far as recommending this, I'm torn. It's a really great service, if you just cannot wait for the whole season on Netflix or DVD, or if you miss an episode on live TV, however, as a stand alone service, it won't do. I understand that in order to keep the price of the subscription low, there must be sponsored commercials, but it seems like they have increased the number of commercials per episode.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Hulu sucks

    • Thompson, North Dakota,
    • Jan 26, 2016

    They only list the most current few episodes for a show. When I started my free trial in January, I wasn't able to catch up on any of the shows I watch, because I couldn't watch the latest season from the first episode. Dumb, and very frustrating! That is the reason for canceling my subscription.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Hulu Trial Services but charges after you cancel!

    • temple city, ca,
    • Jan 21, 2016

    On 12/9/15 I signed for the free trial at Hulu Plus but canceled the service. They billed my credit card on 12/18/15 and on 1/18/16 even though it was canceled. I emailed them for a refund stating that I obviously canceled and haven't used their service. I also asked them to look at the history to confirm that I am not using their service. They were only able to refund one of the two months they charged me. What's the point of trial when these Hulu guys charge even after I cancel?

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    C'mon Hulu

    • Lakeland, Fl,
    • Jan 8, 2016

    You can't even watch full series. Most of the episodes start at season 3, deep mid episode in. Without commercials Hulu is more expensive than Netflix, where they actually start series at season 1 episode 1 and you can watch the full season in a night. You should fix this Hulu.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Shady and Unscrupulous

    • Jan 7, 2016

    I used a free trial to watch and support RocketJump with the intention of lowering my subscription from the no ads to the limited ads to save on fees. Without warning, Hulu billed me two days before the billing date I was originally given. It's only a few dollars, but I can't help but feel cheated. I can't help but notice the lack of billing features for the trial. There was no way to unsubscribe or lower the subscription level for this website without losing the remainder of the month I had the free trial for. This was clearly designed to take advantage of those with other things to worry about than their Hulu subscriptions. Shady. In addition, the amount of ads they inject into their shows is ridiculous. Compared to Netflix (which has comparable fees, a better selection of content, and better billing features), Hulu is a pathetic service that I've supported only on the goodwill of supporting RocketJump. They've conned me out of a few extra dollars, but consider me now an avid hater of Hulu. I will never pay for their service again.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Ads OVER Content

    • St. Charles, MO,
    • Dec 19, 2015

    The frequent, redundant Ads are completely ruining the viewing experience. So much so that I've come here to post a review. I could tolerate a couple of Ads at the beginning or middle of a show but they insert several at the beginning and then annoyingly throughout. Netflix, which I also have, offers Ad Free viewing with the same monthly fee. I enjoy some of the original programming on Hulu but have had enough of the heavy dose of Ads and am close to cancelling the service. I'd recommend against anyone starting a subscription. If you're choosing between the two, Netflix is a no-brainer choice.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Be careful

    • Portland, OR,
    • Nov 28, 2015

    Hulu will bill you a day before your account says you are to be billed. Because of this unprofessional practice, I have to pay the bank $25. I was canceling the service not only because it's not worth it to me, but also because I did not have the extra money for it. Now I have to pay double what I didn't have in the first place due to their mistake. It's poor way of doing business.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Disappointed

    • MIchigan,
    • Nov 26, 2015

    I wound not recommend this to anyone. After signing up for their free trial, I was very disappointed to find I was locked out of every show I had watched on Hulu. They wanted a full payment after only several days of viewing. I was appalled at this, it was a sure way to make me go with Netflix. Hulu is a joke.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Commercials

    • Spokane, WA,
    • Nov 12, 2015

    I enjoy Hulu and have for years but the amount of commercials they have now during their shows, especially popular shows is getting out of hand. They now have the option for you to pay a few extra dollars a month extra for commercial free. With this newly added fee, they are now $5 cheaper then DirecTV's lowest plan. I'd rather give DirecTV a try.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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