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.

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.

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 will run you $7.99 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.

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.

109 Customer Reviews for Hulu Plus

Average Customer Rating: 2.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 6 4 stars: 4 3 stars: 8 2 stars: 23 1 stars: 68
Bottom Line: 8% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 109
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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Commercials ruin the experience.

    • Atlanta, GA,
    • Jun 9, 2015

    Why are there so many freaking commercials when customers are paying for the service and you can't even skip ads? Why must it be a constant interruption to the show with often a single ad only a few minutes apart from another single ad, sometimes causing moments of the show to be missed or horribly poor timing that cuts in mid sentence? There's always a weird pause or break, never a smooth transition, often times it doesn't load properly and more than any service used on my TiVo, it will not stream unless you restart Hulu half the time. They do have the most current episodes, it just really annoying trying to watch them with constant ads, often the exact same one, or the choice of 3 of the same ridiculous travel ads you're forced to watch at the start of every episode.

    Hulu Plus is kind of a rip off and as soon as something better comes along, I'll gladly switch, but for now it's the only spot to see some shows without cable.

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

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Commercials

    • Baltimore, MD,
    • May 27, 2015

    I really love Hulu. Watching my favorite shows whenever I want. However, I hate the commercials and the slow loading.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Sad experience

    I started watching Hulu a month ago. I'm not happy with the service. I also am a Netflix user and though some of the shows are older, I have never had a bad experience with Netflix.

    Hulu is simply terrible. They show ads; and I could even sit through those, the ads pause regularly. A 30 second ad never completes in 30 seconds, usually takes 45 seconds. It's frustrating to sit through the pauses.

    The day another service is available with the shows that I'm watching on Hulu, I'll call and cancel my service. I'm looking forward to when that happens.

    It's sad when a customer feels devalued the way I do! Terrible service and would not recommend it.

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

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  • 5 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Manipulating scammer company

    • Denver CO,
    • Apr 26, 2015

    So I have been using the free version of Hulu for years, I've been happy with that until the last couple of day when I suspect that Hulu started having their free version consistently stop playing (like every 5 seconds). I finally tried my free week out as a result, and there is no longer an issue. If this was their ploy to get me to buy the full version then I just think that is really low. I plan on ending my free trial and not paying for PLUS, especially since they don't even stop playing you commercials with your paid subscription.

    Also, YouTube and Netflix were still playing videos consistently and I had tried restarting my computer, browser, and router none of which ever cleared up the playback issue with the free version. Hulu Plus is definitely a scam. I will be looking for a new free option for my TV needs and that new site can end up raking in the money from the commercials I sit through.

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

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  • 3 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Freezes

    • South Florida ,
    • Apr 18, 2015

    Hulu has good shows and back log of material but poor choices for movies and documentaries. However, Hulu Plus freezes constantly. Which in turn freezes Internet access. They could use a wider selection of shows as well.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Hulu Minus

    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Apr 11, 2015

    Hulu on its own merit is okay. You stream your shows, you watch commercials (in some cases, more than normal TV), they make their money from said commercials, everyone wins.

    Hulu Plus "allows" you to watch Hulu on additional (non-PC) devices, still with the same crappy commercials, and yet you are paying THEM to watch their commercials. Sound like a scam? It should be. Both Netflix and Amazon Prime allow you to stream with NO commercials, from all the devices you want. Granted, Hulu is more up to date on shows, but you can just sit at your computer and watch without having to pay a dime... which is what I recommend. Long story short, Hulu Plus is not worth the money.

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

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  • 5 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Hulu Plus was a Disappointment

    • Kansas City, KS,
    • Mar 1, 2015

    We signed up for Hulu Plus and found that the episodes we were interested in from earlier in the season were not available. When we tried to watch a mid season episode, the streaming stopped every 1-2 minutes for loading. Very Frustrating! This has not happened with Netflix. I would not recommend Hulu Plus to anyone.

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

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  • 6 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Hulu - paying for ads & missing episodes

    • Florida,
    • Feb 22, 2015

    I was disappointed with Hulu. So many ads! Also many of the shows I wanted to see had missing episodes. Who wants to begin watching a show in the middle of a season? There are much better options than Hulu with no ads and full seasons.

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

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  • 6 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Why do people give it bad ratings?

    • Poplar Bluff,
    • Feb 19, 2015

    I have "cut the cable" and use only Hulu Plus for my main TV. As long as you stop looking at the TV guide for cable, you will find all kinds of shows. And you can watch every episode, and every season. I love it. My cable bill was $90 a month. I pay $8 for Hulu. I think Hulu is better than cable. I'll never go back to cable.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Why are there more ads than the free version?!

    • Feb 15, 2015

    Okay. Hulu has some superb shows on it, and for about three months I was subscribed -- it has certain series that I adore, and a bunch of new anime series that I was unaware were available on Crunchyroll.

    That said, around $10 a month for the ability to watch on my netbox, with MORE ADS THAN THE FREE VERSION, is simply not worth my time to even consider. Sorry. Your service has some great shows on it, but until you offer an ad-free subscription, or one where I have to watch a single ad at the start, you'll not see any of my cash again.

    Overall, it isn't a terrible service--its relatively functional, but I'm not paying to watch more ads than the free version. That's the main reason I canceled my cable years ago; I'm not looking for a substitute, thanks. Fix it or go under. I don't care. I'm going to go watch anime on a service that doesn't suck.

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

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Hulu Plus is a RIP OFF

    • New Mexico,
    • Feb 10, 2015

    Do not pay for Hulu Plus. There are more advertisements than TV and they are long and frequent. Even with a PAID subscription they charge for the majority of recent episodes. Hulu Plus also requires that you have a paid TV subscription for ANY recent episodes. TOTAL RIP OFF! Do not purchase. I will be canceling asap.

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

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