Hulu with Live TV is my favorite live TV streaming service for $40 a month, but there are some things that Roku users need to know before they sign up for a free trial.
In this post, I’ll explain how to get started with Hulu’s live TV streaming service and cut the cord.
Hulu with Live TV Review: Roku edition
I’ve tested all of the major live TV streaming services like YouTube TV, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, Philo and AT&T Watch TV, but I keep coming back to Hulu.
The reason? Hulu’s $40 plan has the best mix of live news, sports and entertainment.
The biggest complaints I hear about Hulu with Live TV are related to the navigation, which I’ll address as part of my customer review. Read on for the details…
Hulu with Live TV using a Roku: Table of contents
- Plans and pricing
- Channel lineup
- Cloud DVR
- Supported devices
- Multiple streams
- Roku navigation
1. How much does Hulu with Live TV cost?
Hulu with Live TV has a single plan that costs $39.99 a month. It includes access to Hulu’s entire on-demand streaming library with limited ads, which is a $7.99 per month value.
For an extra $4 per month ($43.99), you can get Hulu’s streaming library with no ads.
Although Hulu has just one main package for its live TV service, there are several add-ons that can reduce the savings over cable or satellite TV:
- Enhanced DVR: $14.99/month
- Unlimited screens: $14.99/month
- HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz: $8.99 to $14.99/month each
Hulu with Live TV has a 7-day free trial. There are no contracts or long-term commitments.
2. What channels do you get with Hulu + Live TV?
Hulu’s live TV streaming service offers more than 50 news, sports, entertainment and children’s networks for just $40 a month — plus the on-demand streaming library.
The live TV service is part of the regular Hulu app that you may have seen on Roku before.
With this service, you may or may not receive your local networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC), but you can enter your zip code on Hulu’s website to find out.
Here’s Hulu’s live TV channel lineup in Atlanta, where I live:
Live local channels
- Fox Sports South
- Fox Sports Southeast
Entertainment and lifestyle channels
- Animal Planet
- Discovery Channel
- Food Network
- Investigation Discovery
- National Geographic
- Nat Geo Wild
- Smithsonian Channel
- Travel Channel
- Big Ten Network
- CBS Sports Network
- ESPN Bases Loaded
- ESPN Goal Line
- FS1 (Fox Sports 1)
- FS2 (Fox Sports 2)
- Golf Channel
- Olympic Channel
- SEC Network
- CNN International
- Fox Business
- Fox News
Family and kids channels
- Cartoon Network
- Disney Channel
- Disney Junior
- Disney XD
- Universal Kids
- Turner Classic Movies
3. Does Hulu with Live TV include DVR?
There’s so much on-demand content with Hulu’s live TV service that I don’t use my DVR very much, but it does come in handy when you want to record live sports or news events.
The base plan includes 50 hours of cloud DVR storage. You can upgrade to Enhanced Cloud DVR and get 200 hours of storage for $14.99 a month.
The upgrade provides users with the ability to skip the ads of their recordings.
4. What devices does Hulu with Live TV support?
Whether you want to stream on your TV, phone or computer, Hulu with Live TV has you covered.
To watch on the big screen, I’ve used Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick and Roku Express to stream Hulu with Live TV — and I like Roku the best.
The Hulu app loads quickly and has very infrequent buffering when I use a Roku device.
Hulu with Live TV supported devices:
- Android phones and tablets
- Apple TV (4th generation or later)
- Echo Show
- Fire Tablets
- Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
- iPhones and iPads
- LG TV (select models)
- Nintendo Switch
- Mac and PC browsers
- Roku and Roku Stick (select models)
- Samsung TV (select models)
- Xbox 360
- Xbox One
Important: Hulu with Live TV is for a single household — no sharing allowed.
If you’re outside of your home network, you can’t stream using a living room device (like a Roku), but you can watch live TV on your phone anywhere in the U.S.
5. Can multiple people in my household use Hulu with Live TV at the same time?
Hulu with Live TV allows users to stream simultaneously on two devices, which is definitely important if you have people in your house with different TV tastes.
For example, you could watch something on Hulu with Live TV from the living room and your kids could watch something else in the basement.
If two streams aren’t enough for you, there’s a $14.99 add-on for unlimited screens.
6. How reliable is Hulu with Live TV?
I’ve tested Hulu with Live TV a handful of times since it first launched in mid-2017. It wasn’t always my favorite live TV streaming service, mostly because of reliability issues.
The first couple of times that I paid for Hulu with Live TV, I encountered quite a bit of buffering while using Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick and a Roku Express.
When I rejoined Hulu in August 2018, I only used my Roku and have experienced few problems since then. I wrote this review in January 2019.
For some context, my internet service is for download speeds up to 60 Mbps. That’s plenty fast for Hulu. The provider recommends 8 Mbps for live TV streaming.
If you’ve had a different experience with Hulu’s live TV streaming quality, share a comment below. Include your internet download speed and the streaming device you use.
7. How do I stream Hulu with Live TV using a Roku device?
As I mentioned at the start of my review, the reason why I prefer Hulu with Live TV comes down to the content, including the channel lineup.
However, some people say finding the content they want to watch is a chore.
I put together the video below to explain how to navigate Hulu with Live TV using a Roku device. I hope this will be helpful to people who are trying to cut the cord.
(Scroll past the video if you prefer to read a text summary of the Roku navigation features.)
Hulu + Live TV on Roku: Navigation tips and tricks
- Create a profile: After you sign up for Hulu with Live TV, create a profile and don’t skip the personalization! This will help Hulu recommend programming for you. This first step will make navigating Hulu so much easier for first-timers.
- Home screen: This is where you’ll find recommendations based on your favorite interests, shows, movies, networks and even sports teams. Click over to Keep Watching to pick up on content that you’ve already started streaming.
- TV guide: When you navigate to Live TV, press down on your Roku remote to access the traditional TV guide. It will show you what’s on right now and what’s coming up next. There’s no way to see what’s coming up several hours or days in advance.
- My Stuff: When you’re watching live TV, click the asterisk (star) button on your Roku remote to add the program to My Stuff. From the My Stuff tab, you’ll find everything that you save, including DVR recordings. You can also select recording options, like whether to record new episodes or new episodes and reruns of a particular show.
- Browse: Hulu tries to make it easy to find content to watch by showing it in multiple places. The browse tab displays different types of programming (TV shows, movies, sports, news, kids, on-demand) with graphics, similar to Netflix. This is where I go when I don’t know what to watch.
- Search: If you know what you’re looking for and want to get there quickly, the search bar may be your best option. Click over with your Roku remote and a keyboard will appear. As you enter letters, Hulu will bring up top results. You can also find trending searches from this tab.
- Your account: The last tab is where you can set up new profiles for different family members, up to six profiles total. Aside from that, most other account activities must be completed online at hulu.com/account. That’s where to go to manage your plan, change your payment method or cancel your account.
- Exiting the Hulu app: When you’re finished watching Hulu with Live TV, don’t just turn off the TV and go on with your day. The app may still be running in the background. To avoid this, click the home button on your Roku remote to close the Hulu app before you power off your TV set.
What I’ve learned over the past couple of years is that people like the idea of saving money with live TV streaming services, but they really want it to look and feel like cable.
Hulu with Live TV is nothing like traditional cable or satellite TV, so it takes some adjusting.
For $40 a month, I think the content that’s available with Hulu’s live TV streaming service sets it apart from the competitors. I never feel like there’s “nothing on TV.”
Hulu with Live TV: Pros and cons
|Affordable base plan: $39.99/month||Expensive add-ons|
|Hulu's on-demand streaming library included||Must upgrade DVR to fast-forward through commercials|
|Personalization features||Only two screens at once|
|Great channel lineup: News, sports and entertainment networks||Can't watch outside home network on a living room device|
- Sign up for a free 7-day trial of Hulu with Live TV and test it out
- If you don’t want to continue, cancel the trial before you’re billed
- Repeat this process with other streaming TV services
- Cancel cable or satellite TV service only after you find a good replacement