It’s no longer any hidden secret that a vast majority of consumers prefer to receive their video content through streaming, rather than through a paid cable service. Hulu is one of the major providers of streaming video content, and we’re here with a guide that will help you to upgrade to a Hulu Plus account, log in, and navigate your way through the plethora of offered premium services.
“Cord-cutters” have been taking advantage of the supreme lineup of films and television available from popular streaming providers for years. While the most popular household name remains Netflix, other providers are catching up with their own range of entertainment media available at a modest monthly subscription price. Even Amazon’s streaming video selection–previously only available to members of the coveted “Amazon Prime” annual club–can now pay a per-month fee for access to a huge number of television shows and films. One of the other reigning kings, however, is Hulu. If ever there were to be a streaming content service that’s breathing ride down Netflix’s throat, it would definitely be this one.
There are some clear disparities between Hulu and other streaming media providers. While services like Netflix and Amazon Video do give you a wide selection of content, Hulu has always been on the forefront of offering media–especially television shows–right as they’re aired fresh on regular cable television. Popular cable channels such as Comedy Central and SyFy get their shows regularly featured on Hulu alongside staples from networks like NBC, ABC, and CBS. On top of this huge variety of available television, the film lineup is constantly rotating–similar to Netflix–and is always fresh and interesting.
Another major difference between Hulu and other providers that users catch onto very quickly is the built-in advertising support. If you’re not a “Hulu Plus” subscriber, not only will your access to content be limited, but you’ll be forced to contend with frequent advertisements interrupting your video streams. This is great for Hulu’s revenue, but somewhat of a bummer for those who want to escape the rampant advertising of cable television.
How do you escape it, then? As mentioned above access to Hulu Plus will give you some definite benefits with regard to how you navigate the Hulu library of content, but you’ll never truly escape its advertising without paying more even than the regular Hulu Plus subscription. Given that it always has reliable access to the newest episodes of television shows as they’re aired, this is simply a reality of Hulu. However, Hulu Plus will give you unlimited access to these shows, in addition to allowing you to customize the way that ads show up during your streamed content.
Given that you can’t outright remove advertising from Hulu–it’s an integral part of the service–many users are left wondering what the benefit of a Hulu subscription is. Below, we’ll outline some of the unique benefits available to you through Hulu Plus, and also walk you through the signup and login process so that you can get started with one of the best alternatives for television and movie content.
Benefits of Hulu Plus
It’s easy to get lost in the sea of available subscription services for streaming content. Not only is there an entire buffet of available services–even beyond Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu–but each of these services is touting its own, individual libraries of television shows, movies, and other video media. It’s hard to know what to shop for when you don’t know what you’re getting, after all!
Thankfully, Hulu can keep you covered with both TV and movie content, though its offerings will differ significantly from competitor Netflix. For many consumers, this is beneficial! You can subscribe to Netflix and Hulu at the same time, without worrying that your subscription prices are paying for overlapping content that’s available through both providers (most of the time.) Here are some of the ways that Hulu offers unique content.
When it comes to keeping up with your favorite television shows, Hulu is the way to go. Sure, you can buy “season passes” to many shows through providers such as Amazon Video, but unless you want to pay for each individual show that you’d like to watch, a Hulu Plus subscription is a much better value.
Certain premium networks, such as Showtime, will carry their own additional fees, but regular cable networks all feature their new and best shows through Hulu. You won’t find up-to-date episodes, relevant to their cable airtimes, on Netflix.
Here’s where things can get a little bit tricky, and also where the divide between Hulu and its competitors widens slightly. If you’re looking for a truly massive number of movies to watch, Hulu’s competitors may have more to offer for your viewing pleasure. Hulu’s focus and specialty have always been in television content, and while there are certainly some great films available on the service, you’ll find more overall with others.
However, the films that are available on Hulu are fantastic and well worth your time and investment. The entire Criterion Collection of classic films–those deemed generationally important and of landmark significance–is available through Hulu. Additionally, you’ll find a smattering of highly-reviewed films as well as some of the pulpy schlock that’s nevertheless a blast to watch when you’re in the mood for it.
Signing up for Hulu Plus
It should also be said that you can get access to some pretty fantastic content without shelling out for a monthly Hulu Plus subscription. You’ll be severely limited in the amount of content that you can watch, and you won’t have any customizability to your advertising, but Hulu’s library of media won’t be entirely blocked off from you.
However, let’s continue under the pretense that you’re a cord-cutter that isn’t interested in limitations. We want the same kind of access and freedom that we’d get through a cable television subscription, so let’s move right ahead into talking about Hulu Plus.
There are two tiers of subscription pay that you can sign up for with Hulu. The first will give you access to all of Hulu’s available content (apart from premium content from networks like Showtime), and costs $7.99 per month. With this option, you’ll also be dealing with regular advertisements during your streaming, but you’ll be able to affect what types of advertisements show up.
However, if you’re averse to advertising (I am, too), then you can up your subscription cost to $11.99 per month to almost entirely remove ads from your content. There will be a few exceptions for this; Hulu warns that, due to streaming rights, certain popular network shows will be bookended by short ads before and after each episode of these particular shows. You still won’t be subjected to ads that interrupt your streams, but it does reinforce the fact that you can’t ever get a truly “ad-free” Hulu experience.
Login to Hulu Plus
If you haven’t already, I urge you to pop over to the Hulu website and set up your account and profile right now. This part of the process is entirely free, and you won’t be forced into signing up for a subscription during your initial setup. While you’re at it, make sure you keep close track of both your password and the email address. One of the benefits of Hulu–and many comparative subscription streaming services–is that you can access them from practically any device that can play video. Even most HDTVs come with enough built-in processing power to give you access to app-based access to Hulu, but you’ll need your account information if you want to set them up.
Once you’ve set up your account (it’s a very basic, simple process), you’ll have access to the lowest tier of Hulu’s content. If the site doesn’t have you logged in already, simply enter the password and email you used to register your account. From the drop-down menu at the top right of the screen, select “Account.” From this menu, you can modify and manage your Hulu Plus subscription. Whichever you decide to use, get ready for a wealth of content that will make you either glad that you shed your traditional cable access, or eager to do so.
Though there are certainly other streaming services fighting to grab your attention, Hulu is the single best provider of television shows that you’ll find online. If there’s a popular show currently airing, and it doesn’t rest in the hands of a network like HBO, there’s a good chance that Hulu can give you access to it. If you compare the cost of a Hulu Plus subscription, even an ad-free one, you still won’t be approaching the rather sizeable chunk of change that regular cable access is going to cost you per month. This, coupled with Hulu’s accessible login platform that lets you stream content from practically anywhere, leaves you with a bargain, even for $11.99 per month.
Speak up in the comments below, with your own thoughts about the benefits of Hulu!