Who are Hulu's Top Competitors

Hulu in the test: does the US streaming service outperform the competition?

HULU

The streaming service Hulu offers a wide range of new and old films and TV series. Officially, the offer can only be used in the USA, but you can also access Hulu from Germany via detours. Is it worth the effort or are you better off with a Netflix subscription? Our detailed Hulu review provides the answer.

Hulu in the test

Editor's rating 7.0 Reader ratings
Price-performance ratio

Solid offer, complicated setup

Hulu combines very current series from almost all American TV channels with an average selection of films. The cumbersome access from Germany, however, diminishes the pleasure, as does the lack of German tone. The price is fair, provided you choose the cheapest subscription, but without advertising and with add-ons, Hulu quickly pays for itself. For series fans who live with advertising and can do without HBO, Hulu is a worthwhile paradise.

We liked that

  • Current series offer
  • Lots of American shows
  • In-house productions
  • Documentation

We didn't like that

  • Access from Germany cumbersome
  • English voice output only
  • Weak tone
  • Downloads not in a cheap subscription
  • Useless protection of minors

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Hulu is already an old hand in the US. The streaming service once began as a free media library for several stations, later a paid subscription was added with Hulu Plus. Now all Hulu users have to pay, but not only get access to a gigantic series archive, but also to shows, films and in-house productions. Since the takeover of Fox, Disney has owned Hulu, which is why the streaming service is offered as a bundle with Disney + in the USA and has become the home of all productions that are too "grown-up" for Disney +. In the coming years, Hulu is planning an international expansion and we took a closer look at the US service, because you can already see it in Germany with a trick.

Subscriptions and Pricing

In general, the streaming service offers three different subscription models. With the subscription model, simply known as "Hulu", you can get all of the content on the service for $ 5.99 a month. However, the series and films are interrupted by short commercials. You pay $ 11.99 for the "Hulu (No Ads)" package, but with a few exceptions, there are no commercial breaks. You can also use the "Hulu + Live TV" model, which can receive US television. For 54.99 US dollars a month, however, a huge sum is required here. It is not even clear whether each of the stations could also be received from Germany. We therefore advise against this subscription at this point.

The service cannot currently be booked with a German credit card or PayPal, but with a little trick you can still subscribe to Hulu from Germany. Keep in mind that the price of your subscription will increase accordingly if you choose an offer add-on from the broadcasters HBO, Cinemax or Showtime. There is no annual subscription with Hulu, the streaming service only offers monthly models.

Hulu in Germany: Only with VPN

Hulu will probably also be launched in Germany in the coming years, but currently you only have the option of accessing the US service. A functioning VPN service is necessary for this. Since Hulu, like Netflix, is now actively taking action against these encryption providers, most of the free applications no longer work. For our test, we encrypted our IP using the NordVPN service. Here the subscription models start at 4 US dollars a month.

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In our test, the registration from Germany turned out to be complicated at times. So we had to log in to Hulu without a VPN service, but then activate the VPN in order to be able to see something. So it works, but it's cumbersome.

So if you should decide to use Hulu without advertising and with all three add-ons, you would have to shell out almost $ 43 a month, plus the costs for the VPN service. But if you can do without the add-ons and live with a little advertising, the Hulu offer is quite affordable at $ 5.99.

Hulu Free: The Free Trial

Hulu gives new users the first month. This applies to both "Hulu" and "Hulu (No Ads)", which is why it makes sense here to choose the ad-free offer. If you want to continue using Hulu afterwards, you can easily change the subscription model in the settings. If you want to try out the subscription including live TV, you only have one week.

The termination

You can cancel your subscription with just a few clicks in the profile settings. There is no long period of notice, you just have to cancel in good time before the monthly payment, otherwise the subscription will continue for another month. You can also pause your subscription if, for example, you know that you won't be using Hulu for several months.

Films and series on offer

If you want to watch series immediately after they have been broadcast in the US, there is actually no way around a Hulu subscription. The programs of stations like ABC or FOX can be found in the Hulu offer anyway through Disney, but various series from stations like NBC or CBS are also available on Hulu. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, This is Us, Grey's Anatomy or Modern Family: the selection is impressive. Of course you have to keep in mind that all series are only available in English voice output and with English subtitles.

However, not all series are available. For example, AMC provides "Preacher" and "Fear the Walking Dead", but "The Walking Dead" or "Breaking Bad" is not found on Hulu. For the offerings of the channels HBO, Showtime or Cinemax you even have to take out your own subscription, these add-ons cost between $ 8.99 and $ 14.99 per month. In addition, channels like CBS now have their own streaming services and therefore tend to offer older catalog titles on Hulu.

In terms of film technology, Hulu is more of a complement to other streaming services. The range is indeed interesting and offers a mix of novelties and classics, but the scope is manageable. In terms of in-house productions, the selection of films does not offer any noteworthy highlights. The focus at Hulu is clearly on the series. That could change, however, as soon as Hulu launches internationally and Disney releases numerous Fox titles on Hulu.

Hulu Originals

Meanwhile, Hulu also has an impressive arsenal of in-house productions. First and foremost, of course, "The Handmaid's Tale", the dramatic dystopia brought Hulu several Emmys and Golden Globes and can be seen in Germany via T-Entertain and Amazon Prime Video. The other Hulu Originals include "Castle Rock", "High Fidelity", "Pen 15" and "Normal People", many of which have already found another home in Germany.

With around 2.5 billion US dollars a year, Hulu spends relatively little on in-house productions, as the table shows. Hits like "The Handmaid's Tale" prove, however, that the streaming service occasionally succeeds in a stroke of luck.

yearNetflixAmazon Prime VideoApple TV +Disney +
2015$ 4.61 billion$ 2.89 billion--
2019$ 14.61 billion$ 6 billion$ 6 billion$ 1 billion
2020$ 17.3 billionapproximately $ 6.5 billion$ 6 billion$ 1 billion
Streaming services: This is how much the in-house productions cost

Operation and navigation

In order for Hulu to work on German devices, a suitable VPN service must first be set up that converts your own IP into an American one. Once you have overcome this hurdle, one of the providers presents a selection of popular films, series and other TV content. Certain titles can be found by searching or narrowed down by genre-specific categorization. The design is reminiscent of Amazon Prime Video, but the white background stands out from most other streaming services. However, this only applies to the browser version of Hulu, there is a dark color scheme in the apps.

Switching between the various end devices is easy. Paused content that has been started on the desktop PC can also be played back seamlessly on the iPad.

Profiles and account sharing

Up to 6 accounts can be created with Hulu. Account sharing is of course also possible, but in a more limited form than is the case with Netflix or Disney +. Hulu only allows 2 simultaneous streams, so you would have to agree with each other who is allowed to stream when, should you actually want to use Hulu with six people.

Downloads

Films and series can be downloaded from the Hulu app, provided you have opted for the ad-free subscription option. While the commercials themselves are quite bearable in their scope and therefore hardly justify the upgrade from the "Ad-Supported" model to the "Ad-Free" version, the downloads could be more decisive if you want to use Hulu more often on the go. "Standard" or "High" can be selected as the download quality. The download function is useful, but like most other streaming services, it should be standard.

Protection of minors

When it comes to protection of minors, Hulu cannot convince. It is possible to create an additional profile and specify that only child-friendly content is displayed. However, their own profile with all of its content is not blocked, so switching to the adult profile should be easy for children.

When you create a new account, Hulu asks you for the new user's date of birth in order to adapt the films and series on offer to the appropriate age. For users between the ages of 0 and 12, Hulu requires the new profile to be created as a child profile; from the age of 13 a "normal" profile is possible. However, the test shows that Hulu in no way adjusts the content to the age of the user. A 13 year old has access to all films and series. "Saw"? "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"? No problem.

Only a few children in Germany will find their way through the completely English-language Hulu program, which is why the weak protection of minors is probably justifiable for German users. Basically, however, Hulu definitely has room for improvement here!

Picture and sound quality

Hulu offers you streams in SD, 720p and 1080p quality, the resolution here depends on the one hand on the selected content and on the other hand on your Internet connection. Various videos are also available in 4K, but this is currently mainly the case with the Hulu Originals. In addition, this resolution is only available if you are using a current Apple TV, Fire TV or Fire TV Stick or Chromecast Ultra.

While the picture quality is convincing, there is disillusionment in terms of sound. Basically, Hulu 2.0 offers surround audio, only certain titles have a 5.1 track. To use this audio option, you have to stream Hulu on a compatible Smart TV, Fire Stick 4K or an up-to-date game console. This is a far cry from streaming services like Disney +, which already offer Dolby Atmos.

Supported devices and apps

The only "easy" way to receive Hulu in Germany is with the desktop PC. But even here you need a functioning DNS or VPN service. Since the smartphone app is not available for download in Germany, Hulu only gets to your iPhone or Android device via detours. You can find out how to install Hulu and successfully complete the registration in our guide.

In this table you can also see on which devices Hulu is basically available. However, it is not always possible to install the necessary app or to establish a US connection through a VPN.

AppsConsolesSet-top boxesSmart TV
AndroidNintendo SwitchApple TVAndroid TVs
iOSPlaystation 3ChromecastFire TVs
Fire tabletsPlaystation 4Echo showLG TVs
Xbox OneFire TV StickSamsung TVs
Xbox 360
Hulu: Compatible devices

Hulu

Editor's rating 7.0 Reader ratings
Price-performance ratio

Hulu: The best alternatives

Don't you agree? Are you looking for suitable alternatives? Below are the best Hulu alternatives.

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