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How Much Is Hulu? The Standard & No Ads Plans Compared

Thinking of giving Hulu a try and wondering how much it will cost you? Here’s how the basic Hulu plans compare.

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If you are new to Hulu then this guide is here to help by explaining what a basic Hulu subscription is, the different plans that are available, what features each plan comes with and of course, how much those plans cost.

If you are already familiar with the service’s plans and features and just want to know the minimum monthly fee for signing up today, a basic Hulu subscription (with ads) currently costs $5.99 per month.

What is Hulu?

Hulu is a subscription service. Unlike some others, Hulu is only available in the U.S., and subscribers pay a monthly amount in return for access to a selection of movies and show episodes.

Overall, this is a service that focuses more on TV shows and this includes shows that have aired on live TV recently. For example, you are far more likely to find the latest episode of a newer TV show on Hulu than on Netflix.

Then there’s the selection of Originals. These are TV shows (and movies) that Hulu has either exclusively licensed or actually produced. In other words, these TV shows and movies are currently only available to stream through Hulu.

One of Hulu’s most popular original shows so far is “The Handmaid’s Tale.” If you’ve never seen this one, here’s the trailer for season one.

How many Hulu plans are there?

There are two main plans to choose from: the standard plan and the No Ads plan. In terms of content, the plans are not any different and therefore, consumers don’t have to worry about missing out on any movies or shows by choosing one plan over another.

Hulu Ads and Hulu No Ads
Hulu offers two plans: with and without ads

The standard Hulu plan

The standard plan is just that. It’s the easiest and cheapest way to get involved with Hulu. The plan currently costs $5.99 per month and provides unlimited access to all of the content, including Hulu Originals.

At $5.99 per month, this plans offers incredible value and if you’re wondering what the catch is, it’s ads.

The standard subscription is ad-supported. This means you should expect to see ads before and during most, if not all, of the content. Hulu does market its ad approach as “limited” but they are still there. Ads are something you’ll want to factor into your decision when choosing which Hulu plan is right for you.

If you’re in need of watching on more than one device at the same time, then don’t worry. Hulu offers two streams with its standard plan. This means someone in the home can be streaming on the TV in the living room, while someone else is watching on their phone in another room.

  • Pros: Really cheap price. Good selection of content. Few differences compared to premium plan. Premium networks available.
  • Cons: Ads.

Hulu (No Ads) plan

The Hulu No Ads plan is fairly self-explanatory. This is Hulu, but without ads. The removal of ads does come at a premium, considering the No Ads plan currently costs $11.99 per month.

You should also be aware that although this is marketed as a “No Ads” service, there’s still a chance you’ll see some ads. The reason for this is Hulu is obligated to show ads with certain programs.

Hulu does explain that when these situation arise, the ads will only be shown before and after the episode or movie. In other words, there’s no ads during the actual video. Again, this is rare overall with the sheer majority of shows and movies presented ad-free.

Other than the lack of ads, the No Ads plan does not differ that much compared to the standard plan. The No Ads plan comes with the same number of same-time streams, supports the same devices, and also lets you add premium networks. The only major exception is downloads.

  • Pros: No ads (mostly). Premium networks available. Downloads. The best plan overall.
  • Cons: Expensive. You still might see ads.

Hulu downloads for offline viewing

In October 2019, Hulu announced it was finally adding downloads to its streaming service. This was a fairly major addition and especially considering other services like Netflix already offer downloads.

With downloads on board, subscribers can now download TV show episodes (even an entire series) and then watch offline without an internet connection.

Hulu downloads
Hulu lets users download movies and shows

The major caveat to this is downloads are only available with the No Ads plan. This makes downloads one of the newer major differences between the two plans. The standard subscription is only for streaming, while the No Ads plan is for streaming and downloading.

Standard and No Ads plans compared

Although you now know the different plans that are on offer, sometimes it can help to visually see the differences between the two plans.

How the standard and No Ads plans compare:

StandardNo Ads
Price p/m$6$12
Ad-FreeX
Streams22
Premium networks
DownloadsX

Are there any add-ons?

Yes, Hulu does let subscribers add to their streaming package to further enrich the experience. Most notably, this comes in the form of premium networks.

At the moment, there’s four premium networks that can be added to either the standard or No Ads plan. These networks are Cinemax, HBO Max, Showtime and Starz.

As these are add-ons, they are not free and therefore, the cost has to be adding on top of the price of the base subscription.

How much Hulu charges for each premium network add-on:

CinemaxHBO MaxStarzShowtime
Add-on price$9.99$14.99$8.99$10.99
Price with Hulu$15.98$20.98$14.98$10.99
Price w/ad-free Hulu$21.98$26.98$20.98$22.98

Will Hulu’s prices increase?

Eventually, all streaming services increase their plan prices. While we can’t say Hulu will definitely increase its prices, or anytime soon, it likely will at some point. The costs these companies are paying out tend to constantly increasing and inevitably those increases get passed to the consumer. Although, that’s not always the case.

Back in January of 2019, Hulu announced a change to its pricing and unlike the usual announcements, Hulu actually reduced the cost of its standard plan down from $7.99 per month to the current $5.99 rate. Yes, you read that right – a streaming service lowered the price.

That’s a really good sign that Hulu is not planning to up the price of its standard plan anytime soon.

Is there a Hulu free trial?

Yes. Like most services, Hulu does offer a free trial. In fact, you can try Hulu for thirty days without paying anything. Just be aware that you will need to change or cancel the plan before the free trial expires to avoid being charged for the first paid month.

Pro tip: Hulu offers the same free trial for its standard and No Ads plans. Hulu also allows subscribers to change their plan at any time. This means even if you are only interested in the $5.99 per month plan, you can sign up for the $11.99 per month plan and enjoy an almost completely ad-free experience during the free trial.

John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Clarity to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingclarity.com or on Twitter

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