Hulu announced last year that it wanted to merge on-demand and live television by offering a live TV streaming service and compete with the behemoth that is cable. The streamer said that its live TV service would be ready by early 2017; it ended up being Hulu’s highlight for the CES this year, when the company gave closed-door demos to the media.
Hulu is finally ready with a beta launch offering more than 50 live TV channels for $39.99 a month. These include ABC, FOX, CBS, Cartoon Network, CNN, FX, as well as local sports and news channels. However, not all channels are available in all areas.
Included with the service is access to Hulu’s on-demand library of shows and originals, which costs $7.99 a month by itself. Unfortunately, this comes with some commercials – but subscribers have the option to get rid of them for an extra $4 a month.
As the service is still in beta, there are some limitations on where subscribers can stream the content; while the on-demand library is available on Hulu.com and every other platform that Hulu already supports, the live TV streaming is only available for Apple TV, Xbox One, Chromecast, along with iOS and Android devices.
Hulu does say that it plans to add support for more devices such as Amazon’s FireTV, Roku, supported Samsung TVs, and Blu-ray players, as well as streaming on Hulu.com with a web browser.
It’s also worth noting that the service only allows for up to two simultaneous streams, despite offering the option to create six individual profiles per subscription. However, subscribers do have the option for an “unlimited screens” add-on for an extra $14.99 per month.
Similarly, the service also offers 50 hours of cloud DVR storage that can be upgraded to 200 hours for an extra $14.99 per month. If these two options are packaged together, Hulu offers them for a discounted price of $19.99 per month.
In addition to the channels included with the service, subscribers can also get access to SHOWTIME, but at an extra cost of $8.99 a month. Those looking to get HBO however, will be disappointed, as it is not an option.
It’s clear that Hulu wants to offer a lot of flexibility, but with all the add-ons included in the base $39.99 subscription, the total cost jumps to more than $70 a month. The company is, however, offering a good opportunity to try the service with a free one-month trial for new subscribers, right over here.
Hulu’s new service is not only competing with the traditional cable companies, but also services like Dish Network’s SlingTV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue. It will be interesting to see how well Hulu can compete with these services in the coming years.