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A Quick Comparison of Hulu vs. Netflix

How do you fill a rained-out weekend, spend an evening when there’s nothing on TV, or entertain the kids when they claim they’re bored? Streaming services to the rescue! But it’s hard to know which one has the content you’re looking for before you subscribe, and you don’t want to waste money on a service that doesn’t have what you want.

If you only want to pay for one streaming service, you’ve got a big question ahead of you: Do you go with Hulu or Netflix?

Don’t panic—I’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to. I’ve looked at price, features, content, extras, and more to help you decide between Hulu or Netflix as your perfect match.

Read on to find out all you need to know about the two streaming giants. I’ll also show you how you can unlock all the available libraries from Netflix and Hulu so you can get the best value from your subscription.

Short on Time? A Quick Comparison of Hulu vs. Netflix

Looking to make a quick decision so you can get streaming as soon as possible? Check out the table below, which takes a look at the major comparison points of the two streaming services.

HULU NETFLIX
Free Trial 30 days 30 days
Monthly Price (as of April 2020) Ad-supported – $5.99 Standard definition – $8.99
  No-ads – $11.99 High definition – $12.99 to $15.99
No. of Screens Two (or unlimited with the $9.99 screen add-on) One to four depending on the plan
Availability US only 190+ countries (content varies)
Original Content Yes, primarily TV shows Yes, movies and TV shows
Add-Ons Four add-on channels available No
Downloads Yes, only with ad-free plan. Limited to 25 episodes/movies Yes, downloads available on a huge selection of content
Device Compatibility Widespread Widespread

In-Depth Analysis: Hulu vs. Netflix

Need more information? No problem. Let’s take an in-depth look at some key categories so you can decide whether Hulu or Netflix is the streaming platform for you.

Plans, Price, and Free Trial

Both Hulu and Netflix offer 30-day free trials on all plans, after which the monthly fee will kick in.

Hulu’s basic plan costs $5.99/month. In exchange for the low cost, you’ll have to put up with some advertisements throughout TV shows and movies.

If you prefer no commercial interruptions while streaming, Hulu’s ad-free plan costs $11.99/month. With both plans, you can stream in SD, HD, and 4K ultra HD on up to two screens at the same time.

With Netflix, a single stream in standard definition will set you back $8.99/month. It costs $12.99/month to upgrade to high definition streaming and two screens.

But if HD is not enough for you, Netflix also has an ultra HD plan with four simultaneous streams at $15.99/month. Unlike Hulu, all Netflix plans have the bonus of being ad-free.

Availability of Each Service

Hulu is only available to viewers in the US and Japan, which means that to access the site, you must be using an IP address from one of those countries. There’s a way to get around these restrictions with a premium VPN—we’ll discuss that more below. But it’s important to know that you need a separate account for both versions – a Hulu US account can’t access Hulu Japan.

When it comes to availability, Netflix has all other streaming services beat. Netflix is available in over 190 countries around the world. However, the content varies between countries.

For example, Netflix US has over 1,300+ TV shows and 4,000+ movies, compared to Netflix UK, which has around 550 TV shows and 2,500 movies. Again, a VPN can help you access Netflix content not available in your region. A bonus? You only need one Netflix account to access all of its libraries.

Which Service Has More Titles?

Number of Titles Number of Originals
HULU 5,000 26
NETFLIX 8,000+ 103

Hulu doesn’t have the extensive selection of content that Netflix does. But, it does have some great binge-worthy titles, such as Atlanta, Key & Peele, Broad City, Full Metal Alchemist, Vikings, and much more.

It also doesn’t have close to the volume of originals as Netflix, but it does have some gems, including Castle Rock, Into the Dark, Light as a Feather, and the brilliant The Handmaid’s Tale.

Netflix is difficult to beat when it comes to the size of its library. With entire seasons dropping at once, it’s a binge-watcher’s dream, with dozens of titles in all genres. Netflix also has a wide selection of original movies, TV shows, and limited series, including the trending Tiger King, BoJack Horseman, Sex Education, and 13 Reasons Why.

While neither service has ever stated exactly how many titles they have in their libraries, and the numbers change as shows are added and removed. Below is an estimation of how many titles each service has, including how many originals.

Available Add-ons

The most significant Hulu add-on is Hulu + Live TV plan. It’s quite pricey at $54.99/month (with a 7-day free trial). But, for the money, you get to watch live and on-demand TV from over 65 TV channels, as well as Hulu’s regular content. You also get 50 hours of DVR cloud storage.

Hulu also offers TV channel add-ons for its streaming plans:

  • STARZ for an extra $8.99/month
  • SHOWTIME for an extra $10.99/month
  • HBO for an extra $14.99/month
  • CINEMAX for an extra $9.99/month

Hulu has one more add-on that’s very useful if you have a house full of streamers: the Unlimited Screens Add-on. For $9.99/month, you can stream Hulu on unlimited devices connected to your home network.

Netflix doesn’t currently offer any add-ons, but many would argue that it doesn’t need them. It has over 160 million paid subscribers worldwide, so the lack of add-ons isn’t keeping customers away.

Download Options

Both streaming services allow you to download content to watch offline. With Hulu, you can only download with the no-ad plans and are limited to 25 episodes or movies. Your downloads can be spread across five supported devices, and you have 30 days to watch them, or 48 hours once you start playback.

You can download a lot more content with Netflix, with each plan allowed to download 100 titles. With the basic plan, you can download on one device at a time. The HD plan allows you to download on two devices at once, and the Ultra HD plan allows for four.

Device Compatibility

Both Hulu and Netflix are compatible with a huge number of devices across a number of operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, browsers, and most smart TVs.

Additionally, the latest Hulu app is available for Chromecast, Echo Show, Fire  Tablets, Fire TV and Fire TV sticks. Apps are also available for select LG and Samsung TVs, VIZIO SmartCast TVs,  and numerous game consoles such as the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3 and 4, and Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Hulu’s classic app is also available for many older smart TVs, streaming sticks, Blu-ray players, and  Tivo boxes.

Netflix is available on Chromecast, FireTV,  Nvidia Shield, Roku, LG, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Vizio, Hisense, Panasonic, Sanyo, and Sony smart TVs as well as Roku TVs. It has apps for Nintendo 3DS, PSVista,  PlayStation 3 and 4,  WiiU, and Xbox One and Xbox 360. It’s also available for a wide range of Blu-ray players and set-top boxes.

And the Winner is…

Both streaming services will provide thousands of hours of entertainment. But there can only be one winner, and it’s Netflix. The streaming juggernaut has been ahead of its competitors for years, and it continues to be the front runner.

When it comes to availability, features, and content, Netflix provides more value for your monthly subscription fee. You stream the service’s excellent original content on more screens at once, and you can also access a different Netflix library from almost anywhere in the world.

Better yet, you can unblock as many regional Netflix libraries as you like by using a premium VPN. Read on to find out how.

How to Access Hulu and Netflix from Anywhere Using a VPN

Whichever streaming service you choose, you may need to get around some geographical restrictions to access the content you want to see.

A VPN will help you access Hulu from outside the US, or unblock Netflix’s many exclusive titles from outside your region.

Best of all? It’s quick and easy to set up.

How to Unblock Hulu

Due to licensing restrictions, Hulu can only be accessed by viewers in the US. This means you need a US IP address to stream from the site. You can unblock Hulu from anywhere when you use a VPN.

How to Unblock Netflix

Netflix has hundreds of different libraries around the globe, and each region has exclusive titles that aren’t available anywhere else.

Normally, you can only access the Netflix library that corresponds to your IP address. For example, with a UK IP address, you can only access the UK Netflix catalog. But, by using a VPN, you can access any Netflix catalog you want.

Which VPN Should I Use?

ExpressVPN and NordVPN are my top recommendations for Hulu and Netflix, but they aren’t the only VPNs that can successfully bypass their geo-restrictions. Other high-quality VPNs I recommend are:

For more options, check out our articles on the 10 best VPNs for Netflix, and the 9 best VPNs for Hulu.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to subscribe to just a single streaming service, it can be hard to choose between Hulu and Netflix. My top choice would be Netflix, simply because it has the upper hand when it comes to content, downloads, and availability.

With a premium VPN—like ExpressVPN—you can bypass geoblocks to access Hulu from outside the US and to connect to your favorite regional Netflix library.

If you’re looking for more information on using a VPN to access these streaming sites, take a look at our articles on the best VPNs for Hulu and the best VPNs for Netflix.

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