5 ways to troubleshoot Hulu when it isn’t working

You may need to try a few different fixes if your Hulu stream isn’t working.

  • If Hulu is not working, there are several simple ways to troubleshoot any problems.
  • If you confirm that the Hulu service is working by checking Downdetector, you can close and restart the app to see if that fixes the problem.
  • You should also check to see if Hulu works on another device; if not, you might have an issue with your internet connection or Wi-Fi speed.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Like any internet service, Hulu is susceptible to an array of possible problems, any of which can keep you from catching up with the latest episode of “What We Do In the Shadows.” If Hulu is not working for you, here are the most common troubleshooting steps to get back up and running as quickly as possible.

What to do when Hulu is not working

It’s often hard to know what is causing a glitch with Hulu (or any other streaming service) so you should try each of these potential fixes, starting with the simplest and easiest and then working your way through more complex or less likely solutions.

Check to see if Hulu is down

Hulu is generally reliable with a very high “uptime,” but if you get an error or can’t connect, the first thing you may want to do is see if the service is offline. If it is offline, you just need to wait a while and try again later. The easiest way to check is to go to Hulu’s network status page at Downdetector. You can also just search for “Is Hulu down” in a Google search.

hulu-not-working1.png:  Downdetector’s Hulu page in a web browser.
Downdetector should be your first stop if Hulu is unexpectedly not working.

Close the Hulu app and restart it

If you’re trying to watch Hulu on a mobile device, the Hulu app might be misbehaving. To solve that potential issue, force the Hulu app to completely close, then launch the app again. If you need a refresher, here is how to close an app on Android and close an app on iOS. If you’re trying to use Hulu on a smart TV or streaming player like Roku, you can close and restart the app there as well, though the steps will vary depending upon what device you own.

Closing an app on iPhone.
Swipe upward to close the Hulu app on most mobile devices.

If that doesn’t fix the problem, then you might want to try restarting the device (here’s how to restart your iPhone), especially if you have any suspicion that the phone or tablet itself is misbehaving.

Not working anywhere? Check your WiFi

If Hulu isn’t working, the easiest way to see if the problem lies on the device you’re using or elsewhere is to try watching it on another device. Hulu not working on your TV? Start the Hulu app on your phone. Or try watching it in a browser on your laptop. If Hulu isn’t working on two different devices – but Downdetector doesn’t report any issues – then your WiFi might be the culprit. Reboot your WiFi router and cable modem (turn them both off for about two minutes, then turn them back on) and make sure you have a strong WiFi signal on whatever device you are trying to watch Hulu

Clear your device’s app cache

If you check Hulu on a second device and it’s working elsewhere – just not on the device you really want to use even after starting the app – then you might have a problem with your cache.

If you are using an Android phone or tablet, you can easily clear the cache. The steps might vary slightly depending upon which version of Android you are running, but here’s the general procedure:

1. Start the Settings app.

2. Tap Apps & Notifications.

3. Go to the list of apps (you might need to tap See all apps) and tap Hulu.

4. Tap Storage & cache.

5. Tap Clear cache.

The app settings screen on Android.
Clearing the cache may resolve a problem with Hulu not working.

If you’re using an iPhone, there’s no way to clear the cache without uninstalling the app, so go ahead and do that – uninstall Hulu from your iPhone, and then reinstall it from the App Store and sign back into your Hulu account.

Dealing with intermittent audio or video problems

There are a few reasons Hulu’s audio or video might be inconsistent, stuttering, lagging, or cutting in and out. Start by making sure that audio and video works properly in another app, outside of Hulu. For example, if it always plays fine on YouTube, the problem might be limited to Hulu.

For a more widespread problem, make sure that your internet connection is fast enough to accommodate streaming video. Use a service like Google’s Internet Speed Test to see how fast your connection is. Your connection needs to be at least 3Mbps for standard definition video, but ideally you want 16Mbps or more. There are a handful of ways you can speed up your internet connection.

Google Internet Speed Test in Chrome.
Assess your device’s internet speed to see if that’s the cause of your Hulu playback issues.

If your internet connection and WiFi speed don’t appear to be to blame and you are having trouble with Hulu on your television, it might be your HDMI connection, especially if you’re using a streaming media player. Replace the HDMI cable and try again.

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How to watch the NHL without cable – the 2021-22 hockey season begins on October 12

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NHL streaming
  • The 2021-22 NHL season begins on October 12 with a full schedule of 82 games for each team.
  • ESPN, ABC, and TNT will carry national NHL broadcasts, while ESPN+ and Hulu will stream exclusive games.
  • We suggest pairing ESPN+ with a live TV streaming service like Sling to watch the NHL without cable.

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The 2021-22 NHL season starts on October 12, just three months after the conclusion of the most recent Stanley Cup Finals. ESPN, ABC, and TNT will handle national NHL broadcasts instead of NBC Sports this season, and select games will stream on ESPN+ and Hulu.

After a shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NHL teams will return to a full 82-game schedule for 2021-22. ESPN and ABC will broadcast a combined total of 28 exclusive games during the regular season. ESPN+ and Hulu will stream 75 exclusive games, and ESPN+ will also offer more than 1,000 out of market matches. TNT will broadcast NHL games on Wednesday nights, and it will offer Sunday afternoon games in March and April.

The opening games of the season feature the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Seattle Kraken versus the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Both games will broadcast on October 12 via ESPN and ESPN+, with the first game starting in Tampa Bay at 7:30 p.m. ET, and the second starting in Las Vegas at 10 p.m. ET.

How to watch the 2021-22 NHL season

There are several services hockey fans can subscribe to in order to watch NHL games throughout the season. The league switched national broadcasts partners this year, moving from NBC and NBC sports to ESPN, ABC, and TNT. Local affiliates vary by team; some teams air on local TV without cable, while others, like the New York Rangers and Islanders, have cable exclusive partners.

To catch every nationally televised games without cable, you’ll need a subscription to a streaming service with live TV access to ESPN and TNT. At $35 a month, we think Sling TV Blue offers the best value for the channels and content you can access. And for an additional $11 a month, you can add the Sports Extra package which includes the NHL Network where you can watch additional out-of-market games.

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Outside of nationally televised games on ESPN and TNT, you can also stream a ton of NHL games through ESPN+ and Hulu. Both services will stream the same lineup of 75 regular season games. You can see a full schedule on ESPN’s site.

In addition, ESPN+ plans to offer more than 1,000 out of market games during the regular season on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights.

ESPN+ costs $7 a month, making it a great option for NHL fans who want more to watch than their local team; subscribers also get access to UFC and other sporting events.

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Hulu Basic now costs $1 extra, but the service is still competitively priced – here’s what you get for $7 a month

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Hulu Basic vs Hulu Premium 4x3
Hulu’s ad-supported plan costs just $7 a month.

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Streaming services continue to surge in popularity, offering viewers plenty of subscription options to choose from with tons of on-demand movies and shows. In fact, a survey of American households suggests the average home now has four streaming subscriptions.

Many people are looking for the best value to help build their repertoire of digital services, and Hulu Basic remains competitively priced. For just $7 a month ($70 a year), the ad-supported plan gets you access to a huge library of shows, movies, and Hulu Originals you won’t find anywhere else.

What is Hulu Basic?

Hulu Basic is the company’s most affordable streaming option. For $7 a month you get access to Hulu’s entire on-demand catalog, but you will have to sit through some ads while you stream.

New subscribers can receive a free 30-day trial when they sign up. If you’re a student, you can get Hulu Basic for $2 a month with a verified college enrollment.

Hulu’s catalog hosts a wide variety of content, including a mix of original shows, current network series, and classic titles. Highlights include entire seasons of sitcoms like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “American Dad,” dramas like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Law & Order: SVU,” and Hulu Originals like “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

You can also use Hulu to keep up with select network shows as they air – or the day after they air – like “Saturday Night Live,” “The Bachelor,” all FX series, and many more. This is a huge advantage over Netflix where you have to wait up to a year or more for an entire season to show up.

Hulu regularly adds new and classic movies to its catalog as well, including popular films like “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar,” “Shrek,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Several Hulu Original movies are also available to subscribers, including “Palm Springs.”

What’s the difference between Hulu Basic and Hulu Premium?

Hulu Basic costs just $7 a month, while Hulu Premium is $13 a month. Both offer access to Hulu’s entire on-demand catalog, but Basic has ads while Premium is ad-free.

In exchange for a cheaper monthly rate, Hulu Basic serves you unskippable ads before and during your stream. Hulu typically airs five minutes of ads for 30-minute programs and 10 minutes of ads for hour-long programs. It’s a small price to pay for halving the cost of your subscription, and it’s still less overall ad time than you’d find on cable.

You can also sign up for Hulu Basic as part of a bundle with Disney Plus and ESPN+. This bundle costs $14 a month, which is about $8 cheaper than the price of paying for all three services separately. You also have the option to upgrade your bundle to Hulu Premium for a total monthly cost of $20.

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How does Hulu Basic’s price compare to other streaming services?

Hulu Basic’s current $7 monthly price is the result of a $1 price increase that went into effect on October 8. The service remains competitively priced, but there are cheaper ad-supported options out there.

Though Hulu Basic is still cheaper than ad-supported HBO Max ($10/month), it’s more expensive than ad-supported Paramount Plus ($5/month) or Peacock ($5/month). It’s also cheaper than Disney Plus ($8/month) and Netflix Standard ($14/month), but those services are ad-free.

How can I stream Hulu?

Most smart TVs have Hulu already built in, so all you’ll have to do is launch the app and sign in to start watching. You can explore our guide for the best cheap smart TVs if you want a new display on a budget.

Aside from streaming on your laptop, phone, or tablet, you can also use a streaming stick or box. These devices connect to your TV, offering access to apps like Hulu. We recommend the Roku Ultra as our top streaming option, but there are tons of other devices across price ranges.

Visit the Hulu website for a full list of supported devices.

Does Hulu support 4K and HDR?

Select entertainment options on Hulu are available to stream in up to 4K Ultra HD resolution and high dynamic range (HDR).

The selection isn’t as large as competing services like Netflix, but several Hulu original titles, like “Nine Perfect Strangers” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” are now available to watch in 4K with HDR on compatible devices. A “4K” and “HDR” badge will appear on the title page for supported programs.

Hulu recommends a 16 Mbps connection for 4K streaming. Hulu HDR titles are presented in HDR10, HDR10+, or Dolby Vision formats depending on the capabilities of your playback device.

You can see a full list of devices that support Hulu streaming in 4K HDR on Hulu’s website.

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How to watch Major League Baseball – the regular season comes to a close on October 3

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Shohei Ohtani MLB Los Angeles Angels
  • Major League Baseball (MLB) will conclude its 162-game regular season on October 3.
  • Nationally televised games are spread across ESPN, Fox, Fox Sports, TBS, and MLBN.
  • You can also catch out-of-market games through ESPN+ and MLB TV.

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After last season was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball will successfully reach the end of its standard 162-game regular season on October 3. The final wild card spots and playoff seeding will be decided in these final games, with the postseason scheduled to begin with play-in games on October 5.

The top two wild card teams in each league will play single-elimination play-in games for the final seeds in the playoffs. Teams that win their division automatically earn a playoff seed, meaning the Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, and Milwaukee Brewers are already guaranteed playoff spots.

In the American League, the New York Yankees lead the wild card race by two games with the Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, and Toronto Blue Jays all still vying for a spot. In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco Giants will host the St. Louis Cardinals for the play-in game.

Select regular season MLB games are broadcast nationally, while others are only available on local stations in certain markets. Unfortunately, there’s no simple solution to catch every game, but to help narrow down your options, we compiled the best streaming services you can use to watch some of your favorite MLB stars in action.

MLB wild card race schedule

The final games of the MLB regular season will have heavy implications on playoff seeding in both the AL and NL. Below, we listed the games that will have the greatest impact on the wild card race and playoffs.

Teams Date and time National broadcast/stream
Boston Red Sox at Washington Nationals October 1, 7:05 p.m. ET Local affiliates
Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees October 1, 7:05 p.m. ET YES Network, MLB Network (only out of market)
Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays October 1, 7:07 p.m. ET Local affiliates
San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants October 1, 9:45 p.m. ET Local affiliates
Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners October 1, 10:10 p.m. ET MLB Network (only out of market)
Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles Dodgers October 1, 10:10 p.m. ET Local affiliates
Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees October 2, 1:05 p.m. ET YES Network, MLB Network (only out of market)
Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays October 2, 3:07 p.m. ET Local affiliates
San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants October 2, 4:05 p.m. ET MLB Network (only out of market)
Boston Red Sox at Washington Nationals October 2, 4:05 p.m. ET ESPN+
Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles Dodgers October 2, 9:10 p.m. ET Local affiliates
Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners October 2, 9:10 p.m. ET Local affiliates
Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees October 3, 3:05 p.m. ET Local affiliates
San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants October 3, 3:05 p.m. ET Local affiliates
Boston Red Sox at Washington Nationals October 3, 3:05 p.m. ET Local affiliates
Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays October 3, 3:07 p.m. ET Local affiliates
Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles Dodgers October 3, 3:10 p.m. ET TBS (out of market only)
Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners October 3, 3:10 p.m. ET Local affiliates

How to watch MLB games

The 2021 MLB regular season schedule featured 188 nationally televised games. National games are spread across MLB Network, ESPN, FS1, and Fox. Some games also streamed on YouTube.

If you don’t have cable and you want to stream games playing on these networks, you have a few different options.

DirecTV Stream

DirecTV Stream features Fox, MLB Network, FS1, and ESPN in most of its plans. The cheapest plan with all four channels is the DirecTV Stream Choice plan for $85 a month. The Choice plan also gives you access to several regional sports networks for local games that aren’t broadcast nationally.

DirecTV Stream provides local coverage for 20 of MLB’s 30 teams, according to a spokesperson from the service. You can check to see if DirecTV Stream covers your regional sports network with this lookup tool.

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YouTube TV

One of the most comprehensive options for streaming MLB games is YouTube TV. The service costs $65 a month and includes Fox, FS1, ESPN, and MLB Network, as well as some regional sports networks depending on your area.

YouTube TV also includes an option to watch out-of-market games via the MLB TV add-on for an extra fee. This means you can watch a mix of local games, nationally televised games, and out-of-market games all in one place.

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Sling TV

Another option for MLB games is Sling TV. Sling Blue ($35/month) includes access to Fox (in select markets) and FS1. Sling Orange ($35/month), on the other hand, offers live access to ESPN. You can combine both Sling Blue and Sling Orange for $50 a month. You can also add MLB Network via Sling’s Sports Extra package for an additional $15 a month.

This combo will get you Fox, FS1, ESPN, and MLB Network for $65 a month. Please note that Fox only airs in select markets, primarily in major US cities, via Sling TV.

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Fubo TV

Fubo TV also offers a package that will get you all the channels you need for national MLB games. The streaming service’s Starter plan has over 100 channels, including Fox, FS1, and ESPN. Fubo TV also offers access to MLB Network with its Sports Plus with NFL RedZone add-on for $11 a month. There’s also a few regional sports networks in select areas.

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Hulu’s live TV streaming service is discounted $10 a month for your first 3 months – here’s how to sign up

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hulu live tv dvr 2
Hulu + Live TV lets you stream over 75 live channels.

  • Now through October 28, Hulu is offering a rare chance to save on its Live TV plan.
  • New and returning subscribers can save $10 a month for their first three months.
  • That brings the monthly cost down to $55.

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Hulu + Live TV is a comprehensive streaming service offering over 75 live channels and all of Hulu’s on-demand movies and shows. Typically, it costs at least $65 a month – and deals for it don’t come by often.

Through October 28, however, new and eligible returning subscribers can knock $10 off each month for their first three months, for a total of $30 in savings. You can even get a free one-week trial before committing to pay.

Basic + Live TV Free Trial (7 days) (medium)

This offer is for the ad-supported Hulu + Live TV Basic plan only. After your discounted three months are over, you’ll be charged full price until you cancel. You can find more details about Hulu’s various live TV plans in our guide.

How to get the Hulu + Live TV deal

  1. Create a Hulu account if you’re a new subscriber, or log in to your existing one if you’re returning.
  2. Sign up for the Hulu Basic + Live TV plan before 11:59 p.m. PT on October 28.
  3. You’ll pay $55 a month for your first three months.

Who is eligible to get the Hulu + Live TV deal?

The offer is available to new and returning subscribers who have not had Hulu in the past three months. The free one-week trial is only available to those who have not taken advantage of the service’s free trial in the last 12 months.

What other Hulu deals are available right now?

Right now, the only other ongoing offer is the Hulu, Disney Plus, and ESPN Plus bundle deal. By combining all three services, you can secure a massive library of content for as little as $14 a month.

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New subscribers interested in Hulu’s on-demand service can also take advantage of one of the longest free trial periods on the market. Unlike the seven-day trial you get for live TV, Hulu’s Basic and Premium on-demand services come with a 30-day free trial.

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How to watch live TV on Hulu – plans start at $65 a month and include more than 75 channels

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Hulu + Live TV combines Hulu’s on-demand service with live streaming channels.

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Hulu is well known for it’s on-demand library of shows and movies, but the streaming service also gives members the option to add live TV networks, like ESPN and Food Network, to their subscription. Hulu + Live TV plans start at $65 a month and include over 75 channels. As part of a limited-time deal, you can get your first three months for a discounted rate of $55 a month.

Instead of waiting until the next day to watch new episodes of “The Voice” or “Saturday Night Live,” Hulu + Live TV gives you the chance to watch shows as they air. There’s also a way to bundle Disney Plus and ESPN+ for $8 more a month.

Hulu + Live TV is a convenient alternative to cable and satellite packages that can cost more and often lock you into annual contracts.

How much does Hulu + Live TV cost?

Hulu Basic + Live TV starts at $65 a month. This plan includes ad-supported access to Hulu’s entire streaming catalog and over 75 live channels. If you sign up before October 29, you can get your first three months of service for a reduced price of $55 a month.

Meanwhile, if you want ad-free access to Hulu’s on-demand catalog in addition to live TV streaming, you need to upgrade to Hulu Premium + Live TV for $71 a month. It’s important to note, however, that even with the Hulu Premium + Live TV option, you’ll still have to sit through ads during live TV streams. After all, it’s live TV, and there are commercials.

Hulu + Live TV plan Price
Hulu Basic + Live TV $65/month
Hulu Premium + Live TV $71/month
Hulu Basic + Live TV, Disney Plus, and ESPN+ bundle: $73/month
Hulu Premium + Live TV, Disney Plus, and ESPN+ bundle: $79/month

Hulu + Live TV includes up to 50 hours of DVR storage and the ability to rewind shows. There’s also an upgrade available for an additional $10 a month that offers 200 hours of DVR storage.

You can add a number of premium channels to your Hulu + Live TV subscription for an extra monthly fee, as well. Premium options include HBO Max ($15 a month), Showtime ($11 a month), Cinemax ($10 a month), and Starz ($9 a month). You can check Hulu’s website for a full list of premium channels.

What channels come with Hulu + Live TV?

Hulu + Live TV offers more than 75 channels. The lineup features local networks in many markets, including ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. You can check Hulu’s website to see a full list of what’s available in your area.

Hulu also has live sports, news, and entertainment via major networks like ESPN, NBCSN, FX, CNN, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Bravo, History, Discovery, Food Network, and more. The streaming service added access to more channels in 2021, too, including ViacomCBS networks like Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central.

How do I sign up for Hulu + Live TV?

If you’re not already subscribed to one of Hulu’s on-demand plans, signing up for Hulu + Live TV is a simple process. Here’s a rundown of how to sign up:

  1. Visit the Hulu + Live TV website.
  2. Click on the sign-up link and enter your info to make an account.
  3. Provide a credit card number or use a PayPal account for payment.
  4. New members will receive a free seven-day trial and $10 off their first three months.
  5. After your first three months, you’ll be billed the regular $65 monthly fee.

If you’re already an existing subscriber to one of Hulu’s on-demand plans, upgrading to the Hulu + Live TV service is also very simple.

  1. Visit the Hulu website and log in to your account.
  2. Hover over the account icon at the top right of the page.
  3. Click on “Account” and select the “Manage Plan” option.
  4. Choose the Hulu + Live TV plan of your choice.

Can I get Hulu + Live TV with the Disney Plus and ESPN+ bundle?

Hulu Basic, Premium, and Live + TV plans are available as part of a discounted bundle with Disney Plus and ESPN+.

Though the version of Hulu included with the bundle directly from Disney is the ad-supported, on-demand plan, you can sign up for the bundle with the other Hulu plans through Hulu’s website. You can also sign up for Hulu + Live TV and then upgrade to the bundle to save. Here’s how:

  1. Sign up for Hulu + Live TV ($65/month).
  2. Navigate to the “Manage Your Account” section on the Hulu website.
  3. Select “Manage Plan” and scroll down to the “Packages” section.
  4. Choose the Disney Bundle with Hulu + Live TV ($73/month) or the Disney Bundle with Hulu Premium + Live TV ($79/month).
  5. Make sure to use the same email address you use for your Hulu account when you activate the Disney Plus bundle.
  6. You will have new Disney Plus and ESPN+ accounts but will continue to be billed separately for your Hulu + Live TV subscription.
  7. You will end up saving about $6 a month with the bundle versus paying for each service separately.

What devices can I stream Hulu + Live TV on?

Most smart TVs and media players come with the Hulu app already installed, so once you sign up online you’ll be able to stream instantly.

You can find full list of devices that support Hulu + Live TV on Hulu’s website.

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The best streaming services you can sign up for in 2021

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Best streaming service 4x3
The best streaming services include on-demand, live TV, and channel-specific apps.

  • Streaming services provide an alternative to cable TV, offering movies and shows online for a fee.
  • There are three main streaming service categories: on-demand, live TV, and channel-specific.
  • Which streaming service is best for your needs will largely depend on your budget and taste in shows.

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Viewers now have more places to watch their favorite movie and shows than ever. Choosing the right streaming service for your home entertainment setup will depend on a number of factors, including your budget, which exclusive programs you like the most, how many screens you want to watch on, and more.

Netflix and Hulu have grown from startups to industry juggernauts, while major studios have entered the market with services like Disney Plus, HBO Max, Peacock, and Paramount Plus.

To help you decide what to sign up for, we rounded up the best streaming services of 2021. Our picks primarily focus on on-demand platforms like Netflix and Hulu, but we also included separate sections for live TV and specialty streaming channels.

Here are the best streaming services:


watching netflix

With its exclusive shows and incredible 4K quality, Netflix continues to set the streaming standard for the competition.

Pros: Fantastic library of originals, industry-leading video quality, impressive app support, special interface for kids, no commercials

Cons: Slightly more expensive than the competition, movie selection pales in comparison to newer services

Netflix has spent the last few years producing a growing collection of original programming, including exclusive movies, ongoing TV series, documentaries, and comedy specials. Netflix Originals keep subscribers invested when their favorite classic show or movie leaves the platform for another service. 

The success of Netflix exclusives, like “Bridgerton,” “Stranger Things,” “The Witcher,” and “Tiger King,” has helped the service justify its slightly higher price, and encouraged streaming competitors to prioritize creating their own original titles to generate more value. 

Netflix also has a large library of children’s series and a separate interface designed to let kids choose their own shows without running into adult programming, making it a good choice for families in need of all-ages entertainment.

When it comes to app support, Netflix is available on virtually any streaming device you can think of, including computers, smartphones, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, smart TVs, and more. It also offers support for all of the latest video and audio formats, including 4K, HDR, and Dolby Atmos — though it does charge extra for those features.

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Thanks to a mix of content and various plans, Hulu remains one of the most affordable streaming options with unmatched choice.

Pros: On-demand library with live TV option, can subscribe to “channels” like HBO, discounted bundle with Disney Plus and ESPN+

Cons: Harder to share due to two-device limit on Basic plan, Basic plan includes commercials

Hulu offers two main packages that provide on-demand streaming, including a Basic option with commercials and a Premium plan without commercials. The service also offers upgrade packages that add live TV channels.

Hulu arguably boasts the most impressive TV show library of any on-demand streaming service, with a wider range of new and classic shows than Netflix or Amazon. This includes next-day streaming access to select broadcast series on networks like ABC, FX, and Fox. Hulu also offers a solid selection of original shows, like “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but its slate of exclusives isn’t quite as notable as some of its competitors.

Though Hulu does offer 4K and HDR streaming on select devices, its 4K lineup is limited compared to Netflix, Amazon, and Disney Plus. 

Hulu allows only two devices to stream at the same time, but you can remove that limit with Hulu + Live TV subscription and the $10 add-on for unlimited screens. Hulu also lets subscribers add other channels like HBO, Showtime, and Starz for an extra monthly price. 

You can even bundle Hulu with Disney Plus and ESPN+ for a 30% discount on the monthly price of all three. Subscribers should be aware, however, that Hulu will be raising the price of its Basic and Premium plans by $1 starting October 8.

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Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video is a capable, competitive streaming service that’s more than just a Prime membership perk.

Pros: Included with Amazon Prime, offers extra movie rental and purchase options, lots of international titles, can add streaming channels, 4K HDR support is included in base plan

Cons: The Prime Video library is less impressive than the competition

More than 110 million Amazon Prime members help make Prime Video the second largest on-demand service in terms of subscribers, even if they’re not all streaming video on a regular basis. 

Prime Video features a mix of movies and shows that are provided for free with membership, including original titles like “The Boys” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” You can also rent or buy just about any film that’s available on home video for your personal collection and watch with the Prime Video app whenever you like. This is a feature that most subscription streaming apps don’t offer.

Prime Video has launched several award-winning original shows since 2013 and has successfully imported dozens of series from the BBC, as well as Hindi language films from India. The platform offers up to 4K streaming with support for HDR10+ playback on select titles. And, unlike Netflix, it doesn’t charge extra to get the best video and audio quality.

Though Prime Video is included with a Prime Membership, you can subscribe to the service on its own for $9 a month if you prefer. You can also sign up for add-on channels to other services, like Showtime, AMC Plus, and even Paramount Plus.

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Disney Plus

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Disney Plus is the top streaming choice for families and fans of blockbuster franchises like Marvel and ‘Star Wars.’

Pros: Disney’s vault of classic movies and shows, 4K HDR, blockbuster Marvel and “Star Wars” titles

Cons: Lack of mature content limits the platform’s potential, library of original shows is still small compared to the competition

Disney Plus is the fastest growing streaming service on the market, having amassed more than 100 million subscribers since its launch in November 2019. The platform is the sole subscription streaming home of Disney’s classic animated films, as well as franchises like “Star Wars” and “The Simpsons.”

With that in mind, the main draw of the service is its wide catalog of existing Disney, “Star Wars,” Marvel, and Pixar movies and shows. There are some original films and series as well, but the lineup remains small compared to Netflix and Amazon. 

It’s also important to note that Disney Plus is designed to be family-oriented, so even Disney’s hit exclusive shows, like “The Mandalorian” and “Loki,” are rated for teen viewers. Movies are also limited to PG-13 so you won’t find any R-rated content here.

That said, at $8 a month with no commercials, Disney Plus might offer the best combination of titles, streaming quality, and value. With an endless supply of family-friendly entertainment, Disney Plus is a popular choice for parents, but adults who didn’t grow up on Disney or “Star Wars” may want to find a second streaming service to fill their palette with more mature shows.

On that note, you can bundle Disney Plus with Hulu and ESPN+ for $14 a month. The bundle saves you about $7 a month compared to signing up for each service separately. 

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HBO Max app logo

HBO Max is a premium service for fans of prestige television, iconic films, and the latest movie releases.

Pros: Prestige shows and films, day-and-date streaming for Warner Bros. theatrical releases, collections from Adult Swim, TCM, Sesame Street, and more

Cons: More expensive than most competitors, only a few 4K titles so far

HBO Max combines critically acclaimed shows and movies from HBO’s cable network with new originals, additional WarnerMedia films, classic shows like “Friends,” and collections from channels like Adult Swim, TCM, DC Universe, and the anime streaming service Crunchyroll.

Like the cable channel, HBO Max prides itself on having some of the best movies recently released on home video. HBO exclusive shows, like “Lovecraft Country,” “Succession” and “Watchmen,” continue to define prestige television and HBO Max is the best way to catch up on past hits like “The Wire” and “Game of Thrones.”

New episodes of “Sesame Street” are the highlight of HBO Max’s family offerings; there’s not a ton of educational content for young children, but there’s enough to satisfy kids for a few hours on an indoor afternoon.

Perhaps best of all, HBO Max is home to brand-new Warner Bros. movies the same day they premiere in theaters. “Wonder Woman 1984” was the first titled released like this, and the upcoming lineup includes “The Matrix 4,” “Dune,” and more. 

For now, the biggest drawbacks of HBO Max are technology related. Outside of the new Warner releases, HBO Max doesn’t offer much support for 4K or HDR yet, limiting the quality of some movies and shows. For example, “Game of Thrones” is available in 4K on Blu-ray, but HBO Max streams are limited to 1080p.

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Paramount Plus

Paramount Plus streaming

Paramount Plus is a fantastic destination for classic cable TV shows, with potential for even more value in the future.

Pros: Huge library of classic TV shows, live CBS with Premium plan, new Paramount films 45 days after theater release

Cons: Less exclusive content than the competition

Paramount Plus is a new on-demand streaming service from ViacomCBS, replacing CBS All Access. The platform gives viewers access to the live CBS TV channel (Premium Plan only), along with a large collection of TV shows and movies. 

In addition to CBS series, Paramount Plus draws programming from Viacom cable channels like MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon. Paramount Plus is also home to exclusive content like a reboot of “iCarly” and several “Star Trek” shows.

The streaming service hosts newly released Paramount movies as soon as 45 days after they hit theaters. “A Quiet Place Part II” was the first film to get an early release on the service. “The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run” was a launch title for Paramount Plus, and “Mission Impossible 7” is due out next year.

Sports fans can also tune into local NFL games broadcast on CBS, as well as UEFA matches and March Madness matchups when each season is in session. 

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peacock browse

With free and premium streaming options, Peacock is a convenient source for hit TV shows and movie nostalgia.

Pros: Free to watch many shows and movies, live news and sporting events

Cons: Premium plan doesn’t offer many exclusives, movie library lacks newer releases, no 4K or HDR support

Peacock is the free-to-watch streaming home for NBCUniversal shows like “30 Rock,” “Cheers,” and “The Office,” as well as some new original titles. The service also offers a rotating slate of hit movies. Though few of the choices are less than 10-years old, Peacock has dozens of memorable films.

Peacock’s base plan is free but it offers a limited library and it’s ad-supported. If you want access to all of the platform’s content you can pay $5 a month, but this plan still features commercials. To unlock everything with ad-free access, you need to pay $10 a month for the Peacock Premium Plus plan.

Starting in 2022, the service will stream brand-new Universal movies within four months of their theatrical releases. Select movies also debut on Peacock at the same time they premiere in theaters, like “The Boss Baby: Family Business” and “Halloween Kills.”

Peacock has some live news and sports broadcasts as well. In April, the service became the exclusive streaming home of WWE Network, and it streamed highlights from the 2021 Olympics.

Peacock doesn’t stream in 4K resolution, though given the platform’s emphasis on television and older films, the 1080p limit isn’t a huge drawback.

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Apple TV Plus

Apple TV Plus on iPhone and Macbook
It’s possible to cancel your Apple TV Plus subscription using different Apple devices.

Apple TV Plus has a limited lineup, but its cheap price makes it a solid option for fans of its exclusive shows.

Pros: Affordable price, exclusive shows, movie rental and purchase options, can add streaming channels, 4K HDR support

Cons: The lineup of movies and shows is small compared to other services

Apple TV Plus is one of the most affordable streaming services you can subscribe to. The platform costs just $5 a month for ad-free access to its entire lineup of on-demand movies and shows.

While that’s an attractive price, the Apple TV Plus library is relatively small compared to competing platforms like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Hulu. Most notably, the service lacks a large back catalog of movies and shows from other networks and studios. That said, there are some standout exclusive series like “Ted Lasso,” “The Morning Show,” and the docuseries “The Me You Can’t See.” 

Like Prime Video, Apple TV Plus also lets you access a huge library of additional movies and shows that you can pay to rent or purchase. Though it would be great to have more programs included as part of your subscription, being able to order more titles within the Apple TV Plus app is convenient. You can also add extra channels to your subscription, like Showtime, for an extra fee.

If you’re someone who plans to use other Apple services, you should also consider the Apple One bundle. The base package includes Apple TV Plus, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage for $15 a month.  

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The best live TV streaming services


Live TV streaming services are marketed as a cheaper alternative to cable or satellite, offering tighter channel packages for potential “cord cutters.” However, prices have gone up in this space, reducing the cost benefit that streaming has over traditional TV.

That said, in many cases you can still save with certain services, but choosing the right package is essential for getting the most out of these platforms, so you’ll want to figure out which TV stations are your must-haves before you choose a provider.

If you plan to use a live TV streaming service to replace cable on multiple TVs in your home, be prepared to pay a bit extra so you can stream simultaneously on separate devices. Also, keep in mind that these TV services have the same commercials and general experience as cable even though they’re broadcast online.

Streaming quality can vary from channel to channel, but they all typically maintain 720p or 1080p resolution. Again, you’ll want to check the specific channel packages and other perks offered by each service to figure out which is best for you.

Here’s a rundown of the leading live TV services available now:

Sling TVSling TV offers two different packages, Sling Blue and Sling Orange, for $35 a month each, or for $50 a month bundled together.

Sling Blue offers streaming on up to three devices and more channels, including MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, and the NFL Network. Sling Orange offers Disney channel and the ESPN family of channels, but only allows one streaming device at a time. You can find a full breakdown of Sling channels here.

Getting the bundle makes the most sense, since you’ll get the full set of channels and features for $15 extra. It’s worth noting that Sling viewers can’t access their local ABC or CBS affiliates, so if you want those channels, you should look to another service or an antenna.

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Hulu + Live TVHulu’s Live TV plan costs $65 a month for access to around 75 channels. You need to pay for an upgrade to stream on more than two devices at the same time, however, and it also costs extra if you want more than 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage. On the plus side, Hulu + Live TV includes Hulu’s on-demand service, so you get a bit more value there.

The base bundle includes all the major local networks in most markets, the ESPN family of channels, Fox and NBC Sports channels, and SEC Network. However, the service lacks access to the NFL Network, NBA TV, and the MLB Network, all of which are standard for YouTube TV. 

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Fubo TVFuboTV starts at $65 a month for over 100 channels, 250 hours of cloud DVR space, and streaming on up to three devices. Unlike most of its competitors, Fubo charges extra for sports channels like the SEC Network, NBA TV, and the MLB Network. Local channels are included at no additional cost.

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YouTube TVYouTube TV costs $65 a month for more than 85 channels with unlimited cloud DVR storage and streaming on up to three devices at once. YouTubeTV includes more sports channels in its base package than its competitors, including ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, the NFL Network, NBA TV, and the MLB Network.

YouTubeTV is also the only live TV streaming service currently offering PBS alongside local affiliate networks from CBS, Fox, ABC, and NBC.

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DirecTV Stream (formerly AT&T TV)Starting at $70 a month for a no-contract plan, DirecTV TV provides more pricing and package options than most live TV streaming competitors — the service offers nearly every channel, but like standard cable, it can be hard to get all the channels you want in a cheap bundle.

Because DirecTV Stream comes from AT&T, which is HBO Max’s parent company, most of the packages also include an HBO Max subscription, which would cost $15 a month separately.

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Philo TV Philo TV is the most affordable option at $25 a month for 60+ channels. Unfortunately, Philo viewers don’t have access to their local affiliate networks, and the service doesn’t offer many upgrade options for watching sports or cable news. It does offer popular channels like Comedy Central, MTV, and AMC, though, so there’s still plenty to watch.

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The best streaming channels

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Some streaming services act as an online portal for access to a specific channel. If you want to watch Showtime, for instance, but don’t want to subscribe through a cable provider, you can simply sign up for the network’s standalone streaming option. Some of these channel-specific platforms also include exclusive content you can’t find anywhere else.

In many cases, these types of streaming channels can also be added to existing platforms, like Hulu and Prime Video, while others are exclusive to certain devices and services. Be sure to check if the channel you want is available on your device before signing up.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the best streaming channel services you can subscribe to now:

Showtime – Showtime offers a lineup of critically acclaimed original shows and blockbuster movies from the premium cable channel. Some of Showtime’s most popular hits are “Billions,” “Shameless,” and “Homeland.” You can stream Showtime directly from the official website or app for $11 a month, or sign up through Prime Video or Hulu.

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Starz – Like Showtime and HBO, Starz offers on-demand streaming of its original shows and a rotating catalog of movies. Notably, Starz is the exclusive premium network home for Sony films like “Spider-Man” and “Jumanji.” The service costs $9 a month, though new subscribers can get their first three months for $3 a month.

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ESPN+ – ESPN’s service is another example of a channel-specific streaming platform, offering live broadcasts of sporting events that aren’t normally aired on cable and exclusive access to niche coverage of sports like UFC and “League of Legends.” With that said, ESPN+ does not actually provide live streaming access to the regular ESPN cable channel. The service costs $7 a month, and you can bundle it with Disney Plus and Hulu for $14 a month.

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What we look for in on-demand streaming services

Watching TV streaming app smartphone Roku HBO Go

On-demand subscription services, like Netflix, popularized streaming by providing a larger library of on-demand movies and shows than cable providers could offer, and at a cheaper price. Subscribers gain instant access to thousands of titles rather than paying more for dozens of channels or rental fees for new releases. Many streaming services have also launched their own exclusive programming that you can’t see anywhere else. 

Since the goal is entertainment, choosing the best on-demand streaming service for your needs will largely come down to your personal tastes. However, we can judge the different on-demand platforms based on a few common factors, like their library size, selection of critically acclaimed exclusives, video quality, app functionality, and price.

The best on-demand streaming services have set a standard for 4K video quality, with support for HDR color and contrast on compatible TVs. TV channels rarely broadcast in 4K, so we have lower expectations for live TV streaming services, which still use HD resolutions like 1080p or 720p.

Quality can still vary based on the movie or show being streamed, and you’ll need a strong, stable internet connection to stream consistently at 4K. Even if you don’t have a 4K TV, these services will still deliver the best possible quality for your setup.

We expect app support on iOS, Android, and most home entertainment devices, though the growing number of streaming services has led to slower releases on competitive platforms, like Amazon and Roku. The best on-demand services also give subscribers an option to save select movies for offline viewing while they travel, though an online check-in is still required occasionally.

When comparing catalogs, we try to consider the range of entertainment offered by each streaming service, how much the platform has invested in exclusive programming, and which age ranges are best suited to watch. While most streaming services will have a rotating list of movies, it’s important to pay attention to which series and franchises will remain platform exclusive, like “The Office,” “Star Wars,” and “Stranger Things.”

The best deals on streaming services

man using laptop watching shows

Streaming services offer frequent promotions and discounts for new members and students. Special packages are also common, allowing you to bundle services together and save.

Check out some notable streaming deals you can take advantage of right now, below. We’ll update this list of deals with more discounts as they become available.

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Where to watch every 2021 Emmy-winning and nominated show – from ‘Ted Lasso’ to ‘The Crown’

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Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset on “Bridgerton.”

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The 73rd annual Emmy Awards were broadcast on September 19 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS and Paramount Plus. With 24 nominations each, “The Crown” and “The Mandalorian” were the most nominated series at this year’s ceremony.

Whether you’re looking for a period drama like “Bridgerton,” a heartwarming comedy like “Ted Lasso,” or a superhero series like “WandaVision,” you can watch many of this year’s Emmy-nominated and winning shows through a subscription streaming service. Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and Apple TV Plus all have Emmy-nominated series that you can stream right now.

To help you catch up on the year’s biggest shows, we rounded up all the winners and nominees in the drama, comedy, and limited or anthology series categories, along with details on where you can stream every series. Winners for each category are designated in bold.

Outstanding drama series

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“The Mandalorian”

Competition was stiff for the outstanding drama category at this year’s Emmys, with audience-favorites like Netflix’s “Bridgerton” and Disney Plus’ “The Mandalorian” vying for the top spot. 

The award ultimately went to Netflix’s “The Crown,” which ended up taking home a total of 11 Emmys throughout the night.

Of the nominees, FX’s “Pose” received the highest percentage of positive reviews from critics on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. The final season of “Pose” holds a “100% Certified Fresh” rating.

2021 Emmy nominees for drama series and where to stream them:

Show Streaming service
“Bridgerton” Monthly Subscription (button)
Lovecraft Country Max (ad-supported) (button)
“Pose” Monthly Subscription (button)
The Boys Prime Video Monthly Subscription (button)
“The Crown” Monthly Subscription (button)
The Handmaid’s Tale Streaming Service (button)
The Mandalorian Monthly Subscription Service (button)
“This Is Us” Streaming Service (button)

*The first two seasons of “Pose” are available to stream on Netflix. The third season is available to buy on Amazon Prime Video.

Outstanding comedy series

Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso.
Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso.

Netflix continued its streaming dominance with multiple shows nominated for outstanding comedy: season three of “Cobra Kai,” season three of “The Kominsky Method,” and season one of “Emily In Paris.”

That said, the Apple TV Plus series “Ted Lasso” took home the top prize, along with wins for other categories, including lead actor in a comedy series.

2021 Emmy nominees for comedy series and where to stream them:

Show Streaming service
“black-ish” Streaming Service (button)
Cobra Kai Monthly Subscription (button)
“Emily In Paris” Monthly Subscription (button)
“Hacks” Max (ad-supported) (button)
“PEN15” Streaming Service (button)
Ted Lasso TV Plus (Monthly Plan) (button)
“The Flight Attendant” Max (ad-supported) (button)
“The Kominsky Method” Monthly Subscription (button)

Outstanding limited or anthology series


Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit” won the award for best outstanding limited or anthology series. The show took home a total of 11 Emmys during the ceremony.

Of the shows nominated, “WandaVision” from Disney Plus led the pack with a total of 23 nominations. 

Meanwhile, the HBO Max limited series “I May Destroy You” was one of the most critically acclaimed nominees. The show is created, written, and directed by Michaela Coel. The limited series received a “98% Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

2021 Emmy nominees for limited or anthology series and where to stream them:

Show Streaming service
“I May Destroy You” Max (ad-supported) (button)
“Mare Of Easttown” Max (ad-supported) (button)
“The Queen’s Gambit” Monthly Subscription (button)
“The Underground Railroad” Prime Video Monthly Subscription (button)
WandaVision Monthly Subscription Service (button)
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Hulu will raise the prices of its basic and ad-free streaming plans by a dollar starting in October

Hulu president Kelly Campbell
Hulu president Kelly Campbell during Disney’s Investor Day presentation on December 10.

  • Two of Hulu’s on-demand streaming memberships will get more expensive in October.
  • The price for Hulu and Hulu with No Ads will respectively cost $6.99 and $12.99 per month.
  • Prices for Live TV and Disney Bundle packages will not be affected.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Hulu’s basic membership plans will get one dollar more expensive starting October 8, the company said.

The price for Hulu will increase from $5.99 to $6.99 per month, while Hulu with No Ads will go from $11.99 to $12.99 per month. Plans that include Live TV or are bundled with Disney+ and ESPN+ will remain the same.

Users logging into their accounts online were met with a splash page notifying them of the increase, and a footnote was added to the service’s plan-selection page for new customers.

Hulu price increase footnote

The Disney-owned company counts 42.8 million people among its subscribers in the US, and offers more than 70,000 TV episodes and movies, along with more than 75 live television channels.

By comparison, Disney+ has 116 million paid subscribers, while Netflix has 208 million. More than 91% of Hulu’s subscribers have the on-demand service only, while less than 9% pay for the Live TV option.

Last year, Hulu raised the price for its Live TV package by $10, upsetting many cord-cutters who were unhappy with seeing a monthly cost of as much as $70.99 that compared with a traditional cable bill.

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‘What We Do in the Shadows’ is back for a third season of vampire hijinks – new episodes hit Hulu the day after they air on FX

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  • “What We Do in the Shadows” is a mockumentary featuring four vampire roommates in Staten Island.
  • The third season premieres on September 2 on FX; episodes stream on Hulu the next day.
  • Hulu costs $6/month for the ad-supported plan and $12/month for the ad-free plan.
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“What We Do in the Shadows” returns for a third season on September 2.

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Season three of “What We Do in the Shadows” premieres on September 2 on FX and will be available the next day on Hulu. The popular series is an adaptation of the 2014 film of the same name directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement.

The show features four vampires living together on Staten Island and attempting to navigate modern-day interactions like Super Bowl parties, ominous chain emails, and outings to a nightclub. Blending elements of horror and comedy, “What We Do in the Shadows” is shot in a mockumentary style.

The show’s dry, vampiric humor garnered a cult following with viewers, and FX announced that “What We Do in the Shadows” is already renewed for a fourth season. The first two seasons of the show are certified fresh on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Early critic reviews are in for the third season, and it currently holds a “100% Fresh” rating.

Where to watch ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ season 3

The third season of “What We Do in the Shadows” premieres September 2 on FX at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The two-episode premiere will be available for streaming the next day on Hulu.

New episodes will debut every Thursday at 10 p.m. on FX, and Hulu will continue to stream each episode the following day. Newcomers to the series can also watch the show’s first two seasons right now on Hulu.

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If you want to stream the season three debut as it airs, Sling TV’s Blue plan gives you access to the FX channel and more for just $35 a month. Other live TV streaming options, like YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, and FuboTV, include FX in their channel lineups, but their monthly subscriptions start at $65.

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For those willing to wait a day for each new episode, Hulu has two core plans that give you access to “What We Do in the Shadows.” The Hulu Basic plan is ad-supported and costs $6 a month, and the Hulu Premium plan is ad-free and costs $12 a month. You can stream Hulu’s entire library of shows, movies, and originals with either plan.

New subscribers can get their first month of Hulu for free. If you’re a college student, you can get a discounted rate on Hulu’s ad-supported plan that lowers your monthly cost to just $2.

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Are you looking for even more entertainment options? For just $14 a month, the Disney Bundle combines Hulu Basic, Disney Plus, and ESPN+. This deal saves you $7 a month.

Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+ Bundle Monthly Subscription (small)

Hulu is compatible with most smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, web browsers, and streaming devices such as Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast. For a complete list of compatible devices, visit the Hulu website.

What other series can I watch with FX on Hulu?

Many of FX’s most popular series are now available to stream on Hulu. This includes several current series the day after they’re broadcast, as well as complete seasons of classic FX shows.

Some of the best shows available through FX on Hulu include:

  • American Horror Story
  • Archer
  • Atlanta
  • Baskets
  • Damages
  • Dave
  • Devs
  • Fargo
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • Justified
  • Legion
  • Man Seeking Woman
  • Rescue Me
  • Reservation Dogs
  • The Shield
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • Wilfred
  • You’re the Worst

Discover even more entertainment worthy of binge-watching with Insider’s roundup of the best series available on Hulu. Get answers to all your questions about the streaming service in our complete breakdown of Hulu plans.

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