Cutting the cord has increased in popularity in the past few years and is projected to become the main way Americans watch TV. From 2018 to 2020 alone, the number of Americans with cable or satellite TV dropped from over 90 million to 80 million.
As these numbers go down, the number of those subscribing to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon prime, and Disney+ is growing at a rapid rate.
Once you make the decision to cut the cord, there are a few more decisions to make. In addition to making sure you have sufficient internet to fuel your streaming, you have to decide which streaming platform you want to subscribe to. Netflix and Hulu are two of the most popular streaming platforms, but which is best for you?
The best decision will be different for everyone, so let’s compare the two and help you decide!
Netflix vs. Hulu
Netflix and Hulu are two of the best on-demand streaming platforms available, but they’re not equal in what they offer. Let’s talk about how they differ in price, content, discounts, experience and availability.
One of the first factors you look at when making a new purchase is the cost. The average cable bill is over $217 a month, so compared to the low costs of most streaming platforms, this is well worth it. But you still have to squeeze your streaming into your budget, so which offers the best bang for your buck?
Netflix offers three plans: a basic plan, a standard plan, and a premium plan. Their basic plan costs $8.99 a month and allows one simultaneous stream at a time. Their standard plan is $13.99 a month and allows two simultaneous streams, and the premium plan is $17.99 a month and allows four simultaneous streams.
Netflix doesn’t have any ads-based plans, so you’ll never have to stop for a commercial break. The premium plan is worth the extra few bucks too, as it allows the whole family to watch at a time without anyone getting kicked off!
At only $6 a month, Hulu’s basic plan is cheaper than Netflix’s basic plan. If you’re on a tighter budget and want to squeeze every last cent for the best deal, this is a great option.
However, it’s important to note that this plan comes with ad breaks. While ads may not bother you, they may also be worth the extra $2 a month to avoid them. A basic plan with Hulu can also be shared with one other person without being kicked off.
To pay for no ads with Hulu, you have to purchase a premium plan. A premium plan with Hulu is $11.99 a month and allows the same number of simultaneous streams.
An important factor when choosing streaming platforms is what content they offer. If you’re a die-hard How I Met Your Mother fan, you’ll want to choose Hulu. But if you can’t go a day without watching New Girl, you'll probably want to go with Netflix.
Netflix offers wider range of content
- New Girl
- Stranger Things
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
- American Murder: The Family Next Door
- The Trial of the Chicago 7
- Schitt’s Creek
- Mind Hunter
- Easy A
- The Other Guys
- The Notebook
- Family Guy
- Bob’s Burgers
- The Bachelorette
- The Good Doctor
- The Simpsons
- Modern Family
- Knocked Up
- Trolls World Tour
- The Waterboy
Both Netflix and Hulu offer original content. But it’s almost a unanimous decision that Netflix is on top when it comes to original content. They have better and more original content because they have access to renowned producers, actors, and directors.
- Grace and Frankie
- The Ranch
- Little Fires Everywhere
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- Love, Victor
- Normal People
- High Fidelity
As far as discounts go, Hulu may actually have the upper hand.
Netflix has offered discounts or promotional codes in the past but doesn’t have any currently running.
Hulu is known for their student discount with Spotify. This discount is through Spotify, so you have to go through your Spotify account to sign up. For only $4.99 a month you get a free Hulu plan with ads and Spotify together! Spotify is ad-free, but this Hulu plan is still the basic ad-supported one.
Hulu also offers an independent student discount, which offers the service for just $1.99 a month. This is 65% off their original price. This discount is for the ad-supported streaming service, but for $2 commercials aren’t as annoying.
One bundling discount Hulu offers is known as the ultimate entertainment bundle. With this package, you get Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+ for $12.99-$18.99. This is only $2 more than the premium package of Netflix.
User experience is a vital consideration when choosing between streaming services. If one website and experience is better than another, you’re more likely to go with the platform that is easier to navigate and use.
Netflix has a relatively easy to use platform. They offer tabs to navigate different categories such as TV shows, movies, and things you’ve added to your My List section as well. There are also genres to help you choose what kind of movie or show you want to watch.
Hulu operates on a very similar user interface design as Netflix, with one distinguishing feature. They offer a Hubs tab. This lets you see what TV shows and movies are available from popular TV channels like HBO, FX, Cartoon Network, and ABC. If you’re cutting the cord but missing your favorite channel, this feature may just be a plus.
Devices to stream on
When it comes to devices to stream on, Netflix and Hulu offer relatively similar options. No matter what device you have, it likely works with both options.
When you cut the cable, you have to factor in internet needs and costs into your decision. Here’s an estimate of how much data Netflix and Hulu recommend having to maximize streaming.
Netflix recommends having anywhere from 3 Mbps to 5 Mbps. 3 Mbps will get you standard definition, and 5 Mbps will get you HD. If you’re sharing with another person in the same household, you should double this amount.
Hulu recommends having a minimum of 1.5 Mbps to stream in standard definition, 3 Mbps for HD at 720p, and 6 Mbps for HD streaming in 1080p which is the ideal resolution quality.
If you don’t use a lot of internet and don’t want to increase your data each month, consider Hulu. While you may compromise on quality and number of simultaneous streams, it can also help you save on data.
Tips for choosing between Hulu and Netflix
The best choice isn’t the same for everyone. Here’s a recap and some tips to help you choose!
Netflix has the upper hand when it comes to streams, no ads, and both available and original content.
With Netflix, you can stream shows on up to four simultaneous devices without interruptions, avoid ads altogether even with a basic plan, and have access to better TV shows and movies overall.
Hulu has the upper hand when it comes to pricing, discounts, internet needs, and accessing cable-popular TV shows. If you’re trying to stick to a rigid budget, Hulu offers basic plans starting at $6. While they do include ads, you may not mind if it means you can make a weekly coffee stop.
In addition, Hulu offers bundling discounts and student discounts, and even a discount for signing up for Spotify. If you don’t want to purchase much more internet, you can get by with using under 2 Mbps to stream Hulu shows. That means you can still access your favorite cable channels without paying hundreds of dollars for a cable subscription.
Many claim Netflix as the better streaming service, and in a lot of ways they win the comparison. I mean, with shows like Stranger Things, how could you not want to sign up? However, Hulu has a lot of benefits, too. Use this comparison to factor in your situation, needs, and content preferences, and you’ll be able to make the best decision for you!
There are many benefits of cutting the cord. From saving hundreds of dollars on cable each month to being able to have your favorite shows and movies on-demand for the price of a few cups of coffee!
Netflix and Hulu are two of the most famous streaming services available, but which is right for you? Compare price, content, internet needs, discounts, accessibility, and more to make the best decision.