Why is Hulu so terrible?
In the last months of 2020, Hulu & Hulu Live TV lost 100,000 paying subscribers, after multiple years and quarters of practically non-stop subscriber growth.
There are multiple reasons for this, but probably the biggest is that Hulu struggles to justify its cost, in terms of content and user experience.
The $5.99 per month plan is pretty reasonable in terms of content offered, but it’s overloaded with ads that interrupt the viewing experience.
The $11.99 monthly Hulu (No Ads) plan still has ads, despite it’s name. It’s also the same price point as Netflix, and that’s a hard fight for any streaming service to win.
Finally, after several price hikes (including an 18% one in December 2020), Hulu Live TV now costs around $70 a month, but offers comparatively few channels and hit or miss access to live sports.
Hulu also loves to nickel-and-dime at every step: want to stream Live TV on more than 2 devices simultaneously? The feature costs an extra $9.99 per month. Want to get an extra 150 hours of DVR? That will be another $9.99 per month.
Besides pricing issues, many people find Hulu bad and terrible to use because of its numerous technical issues and bugs that have existed for years, on all its pricing tiers.
Just a few examples:
- Ads that are much louder than the show or movie you’re watching.
- Buffering issues, where a lot of the times it just restarts whatever you’re watching from the beginning.
- The “We’re having trouble playing this” bug that forces you to completely restart the app or even TV.
Alternatives to Hulu with more (and better) content
Ultimately, even if you’re one of the happy users that doesn’t have that many technical issues with Hulu, the fact still remains that Hulu’s content library isn’t the biggest. You will have situations where there’s simply nothing good to watch on either the streaming platform, or the Live TV service.
If this is you, then consider some of these other platforms, and see if they can meet your needs.
Amazon Prime Video | Free with Prime subscription
Amazon Prime Video is a promising alternative to Hulu simply because it comes bundled in for free with a standard Amazon Prime subscription.
- If you already have an Amazon Prime subscription, then all you have to do is to download the Prime Video app on your viewing device (TV, smartphone, laptop, etc), and activate it. Here is a short, 2 minute YouTube video that shows how to do this.
- If you don’t have an Amazon Prime Subscription, then you can try out the streaming service for free during its 30 day free trial. You can also try Amazon Prime Video even if you’re not from the United States!
How good are the TV series on Amazon Prime?
If you’ve only watched Hulu series, then you’ll be spoiled by how many quality series there are on Prime Video you (likely) haven’t seen before:
|TV Series||IMDb Rating||Plot Synopsis|
|The Expanse||8.5||In the 24th century, a disparate band of antiheroes unravel a vast conspiracy that threatens the Solar System’s fragile state of cold war.|
|The Office||8.9||A mockumentary on a group of typical office workers, where the workday consists of ego clashes, inappropriate behavior, and tedium.|
|The Boys||8.7||A group of vigilantes set out to take down corrupt superheroes who abuse their superpowers.|
|Mr. Robot||8.6||Elliot, a brilliant but highly unstable young cyber-security engineer and vigilante hacker, becomes a key figure in a complex game of global dominance when he and his shadowy allies try to take down the corrupt corporation he works for.|
|The Grand Tour||8.7||Follow Jeremy, Richard, and James, as they embark on an adventure across the globe, driving new and exciting automobiles from manufacturers all over the world.|
|The Man in the High Castle||8.0||What would it be like if the Allied Powers had lost WWII, and Japan and Germany ruled the United States?|
|Vikings||8.5||Vikings transports us to the brutal and mysterious world of Ragnar Lothbrok, a Viking warrior and farmer who yearns to explore – and raid – the distant shores across the ocean.|
|Suits||8.5||On the run from a drug deal gone bad, brilliant college dropout Mike Ross, finds himself working with Harvey Specter, one of New York City’s best lawyers.|
|House||8.7||An antisocial maverick doctor who specializes in diagnostic medicine does whatever it takes to solve puzzling cases that come his way using his crack team of doctors and his wits.|
|Avatar: The Last Airbender||9.2||In a war-torn world of elemental magic, a young boy reawakens to undertake a dangerous mystic quest to fulfill his destiny as the Avatar, and bring peace to the world.|
|Downton Abbey||8.7||A chronicle of the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early twentieth century.|
|How I Met Your Mother||8.3||A father recounts to his children – through a series of flashbacks – the journey he and his four best friends took leading up to him meeting their mother.|
|Fleabag||8.7||A dry-witted woman, known only as Fleabag, has no filter as she navigates life and love in London while trying to cope with tragedy. The angry, grief-riddled woman tries to heal while rejecting anyone who tries to help her, but Fleabag continues to keep up her bravado through it all.|
In terms of movies, it’s fair to say that Amazon Prime Video’s collection is solid and arguably comparable to Hulu’s collection of movies.
There are some heavy hitters, but it’s obvious Amazon has focused more on building a TV series library rather than its film catalog.
|Casino Royale||8.0||After earning 00 status and a licence to kill, Secret Agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007. Bond must defeat a private banker funding terrorists in a high-stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, Montenegro.|
|The Man from Nowhere||7.8||A quiet pawnshop keeper with a violent past takes on a drug-and-organ trafficking ring in hope of saving the child who is his only friend.|
|The Lighthouse||7.5||Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.|
|House of Sand and Fog||7.5||An abandoned wife is evicted from her house and starts a tragic conflict with her house’s new owners.|
|Knives Out||7.9||A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative and rich family.|
|Zodiac||7.7||In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.|
|Lost in Translation||7.7||A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.|
|Warrior||8.2||The youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he’s trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament – a path that puts the fighter on a collision course with his estranged, older brother.|
|The Wailing||7.5||Soon after a stranger arrives in a little village, a mysterious sickness starts spreading. A policeman, drawn into the incident, is forced to solve the mystery in order to save his daughter.|
If you want to give it a shot, simply click on the button below and see how it works for you.
Philo | Free For 7 Days
Philo is a competitor to Hulu Live TV, and streams live TV over your Internet connection. For $20 per month you get access to 60+ TV channels such as AMC, Food Network, HGTV, Investigation Discovery, OWN, Nickelodeon and Hallmark Channel. You can see the full list of channels here.
The reason Philo is included in the list is because it offers numerous features that almost turn it into a streaming service.
- No long term contracts, cancel any time.
- You don’t need any new hardware, just an internet connection.
- 25,000 shows and film on-demand, meaning you can stream them just as with Netflix.
- Can record a TV show or film for later viewing (DVR).
- Automatic and unlimited DVR recordings (but will only last for 30 days).
- Can fast forward to skip commercials on a recording.
- You can replay any show or film that was aired in the previous 72 hours.
- Can stream on 3 devices simultaneously.
- Can connect multiple streaming add-ons, such as Epix and Starz.
Starz | 7 Day Free Trial
Starz is one of the more niche producers of TV series, and they excel particularly well when it comes to historical series.
They offer a 7 day free trial, after which it will cost either $8.99 per month.
Below are some of the best TV series available on Starz:
|TV Series||IMDb Rating||Plot Synopsis|
|Outlander||8.4||An English combat nurse from 1945 is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743.|
|Black Sails||8.2||Black Sails is set in the early 18th century, during the Golden Age of Piracy. Feared Captain Flint brings on a younger crew member as they fight for the survival of New Providence island.|
|Counterpart||8.1||A hapless UN employee discovers that the agency he works for is hiding a gateway to a parallel dimension that’s in a cold war with our own, and where his other self is a top spy. The war slowly heats up thanks to spies from both sides.|
|Spartacus||8.5||The life of Spartacus, the gladiator who lead a rebellion against the Romans. From his time as an ally of the Romans, to his betrayal and becoming a gladiator, to the rebellion he leads and its ultimate outcome.|
|Ash vs Evil Dead||8.4||Ash has spent the last thirty years avoiding responsibility, maturity, and the terrors of the Evil Dead until a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind and Ash becomes mankind’s only hope.|
|Power||8.1||James “Ghost” St. Patrick, a wealthy New York night club owner who has it all, catering to the city’s elite and dreaming big, lives a double life as a drug kingpin.|
|The Missing||8.2||When Tony and Emily Hughes travel to France with their 5-year-old son Oliver, their family holiday turns into a nightmare when Oliver disappears from a large celebrating crowd in Northern France.|
|American Gods||7.8||A recently released ex-convict named Shadow meets a mysterious man who calls himself “Wednesday” and who knows more than he first seems to about Shadow’s life and past.|
|The White Queen||7.8||Three different, yet equally relentless women vie for the throne in 15th-century England.|
|The Pillars of the Earth||7.8||Set in a medieval times, tells the story of the construction of the Kingsbridge Cathedral, against a backdrop of war, religious strife and power struggles which tears lives and families apart.|
In terms of movies, Starz’ library is fairly small, but it does have a good collection of quality, award winning films:
|Film||IMDb Rating||Plot Synopsis|
|Whipash||8.5||Under the direction of a ruthless instructor, a talented young drummer begins to pursue perfection at any cost, even his humanity.|
|Léon: The Professional||8.5||Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. An unusual relationship forms as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin’s trade.|
|Spider-Man: Far From Home||7.5||Peter Parker and his friends go on a summer trip to Europe. However, they will hardly be able to rest – Peter will have to agree to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of creatures that cause natural disasters and destruction throughout the continent.|
|True Romance||7.9||In Detroit, a lonely pop culture geek marries a call girl, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the owners of the cocaine, the Mob, track them down in an attempt to reclaim it.|
|Gattaca||7.8||In a future society in the era of indefinite eugenics, humans are set on a life course depending on their DNA. Young Vincent Freeman is born with a condition that would prevent him from space travel, yet is determined to infiltrate the GATTACA space program.|
|Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood||7.6||Los Angeles, 1969. TV star Rick Dalton, a struggling actor specializing in westerns, and stuntman Cliff Booth, his best friend, try to survive in a constantly changing movie industry. Dalton is the neighbor of the young and promising actress and model Sharon Tate, who has just married the prestigious Polish director Roman Polanski.|
YouTube TV is an internet streaming service for live TV and is a direct competitor for Hulu + Live TV. It’s biggest selling points is that it offers 85+ channels, unlimited DVR and NFL, NBA and MLB for the same $64.99 price as Hulu + Live TV.
That being said, a YouTube TV subscription doesn’t give you access to a sizeable on-demand library of movies and shows like Hulu’s. Like all things, it’s a trade off depending on what your needs are.
AMC Premiere or AMC Plus | Free for 7 days
AMC has an extensive list of high quality TV series, many of which are not on Hulu. Shows such as Mad Men, The Terror or TURN: Washington’s Spies are kept exclusive to AMC subscribers.
Mad Men in particular has received numerous prizes, and is considered one of the best TV series of this century.
AMC offers two different subscriptions to watch their content:
AMC Premiere costs $4.99 per month, but only has shows and films available on the AMC Channel.
AMC Plus costs $8.99 per month, but it bundles a few other, smaller streaming platforms such as Shudder (horror), Sundance Now (niche, indie films & TV series), IFC Films (award winning indie films).
|TV Series||IMDb Rating||Plot Synopsis|
|Mad Men||8.6||A drama about one of New York’s most prestigious ad agencies at the beginning of the 1960s, focusing on one of the firm’s most mysterious but extremely talented ad executives, Donald Draper.|
|TURN: Washington’s Spies||8.1||A Long Island farmer bands together a group of childhood friends to form an unlikely group of spies who turn the tide in America’s fight for independence.|
|The Terror||8.2||The story centers on the Royal Navy’s perilous voyage into uncharted territory as the crew attempts to discover the Northwest Passage. Faced with treacherous conditions, a supernatural threat, limited resources, dwindling hope and fear of the unknown, the crew is pushed to the brink of extinction.|
|Humans||8.0||In a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a ‘Synth’ – a highly-developed robotic servant that’s so similar to a real human is transforming the way we live.|
|Breaking Bad||9.5||A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family’s future.|
|The Killing||8.2||A police investigation, the saga of a grieving family, and a Seattle mayoral campaign all interlock after the body of 17-year-old Rosie Larsen is found in the trunk of a submerged car.|
|Halt and Catch Fire||8.4||Follows some players in the 80s technological revolution that lead to information society.|
|The Night Manager||8.1||The night manager of a Cairo hotel is recruited to infiltrate an arms dealer’s inner circle.|
|Better Call Saul||8.7||The trials and tribulations of criminal lawyer Jimmy McGill in the time before he established his strip-mall law office in Albuquerque, New Mexico.|
|Hell on Wheels||8.3||The Civil War is past, but former Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon can’t put it behind him. Fresh are the memories of the death of his wife, killed at the hands of the Union soldiers, an act that sets him on a course of revenge.|
|The Walking Dead||8.2||Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to learn the world is in ruins and must lead a group of survivors to stay alive.|
|Preacher||8.1||After a supernatural event at his church, a preacher enlists the help of a vampire and his ex to find God.|
The downsides to AMC Premiere and Plus is that actually signing up for them can be a bit convoluted.
For AMC Premiere, you will need to be subscribed to a US cable TV provider. For AMC Plus, you will have to add the channel as an addon if you use DirecTV, Sling, Dish, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Roku or Xfinity/Comcast.
Another option to view AMC and Shudder, is to do so through Philo. Philo includes AMC and Shudder for free in it’s $20 monthly subscription.
Since Philo is free for 7 days, this allows you to trial both AMC and Shudder during that period.
HBO Max | $14.99 per month
HBO has been in the original TV series business for a very long time, during which it has accumulated a big and well reviewed library of original content that aren’t available on competing streaming platforms.
Below are some of the best HBO series, that are exclusive to the platform.
|TV Series||IMDb Rating||Plot Synopsis|
|Friends||8.9||Follows the personal and professional lives of six twenty to thirty-something-year-old friends living in Manhattan.|
|Rome||8.7||A down-to-earth account of the lives of both illustrious and ordinary Romans set in the last days of the Roman Republic.|
|Chernobyl||9.4||In April 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics becomes one of the world’s worst man-made catastrophes.|
|Band of Brothers||9.4||The story of Easy Company of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division, and their mission in World War II Europe, from Operation Overlord, through V-J Day.|
|Deadwood||8.6||A show set in the late 1800s, revolving around the characters of Deadwood, South Dakota; a town of deep corruption and crime.|
|Big Little Lies||8.5||The apparently perfect lives of upper-class mothers, at a prestigious elementary school, unravel to the point of murder when a single-mother moves to their quaint Californian beach town.|
|Westworld||8.6||Westworld isn’t your typical amusement park. Intended for rich vacationers, the futuristic park, which is looked after by robotic “hosts”, allows its visitors to live out their fantasies through artificial consciousness. No matter how illicit the fantasy may be, there are no consequences for the park’s guests, allowing for any wish to be indulged.|
|The Wire||9.3||The Baltimore crime scene, as seen through the eyes of criminals and law enforcement.|
|True Detective||9.0||Seasonal anthology series in which police investigations unearth the personal and professional secrets of those involved, both within and outside the law.|
|The Sopranos||9.2||New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano deals with personal and professional issues in his home and business life that affect his mental state, leading him to seek professional psychiatric counseling.|
|Hunter x Hunter||8.9||Gon Freecss aspires to become a Hunter, an exceptional being capable of greatness. With his friends and his potential, he seeks for his father who left him when he was younger.|
|Adventure Time||8.6||A 12-year-old boy and his best friend, wise 28-year-old dog with magical powers, go on a series of surreal adventures with each other in a remote future.|
CuriosityStream | $1.67 per month
If you’re looking for documentaries, then you might be interested in CuriosityStream and it’s library of 3,000 factual, high-quality documentaries.
CuriosityStream was founded by John Hendricks, the same person who created the old, good Discovery Channel before it was overrun by reality TV and pseudoscience. As such, a good way to think about CuriosityStream is to see it like the old Discovery Channel / History, except you can stream documentaries like on Netflix.
Most streaming platforms have a lot of documentaries, but most of these are reality TV (Tiger King), biographies of currently famous people and social political commentary.
CuriosityStream documentaries however, are almost exclusively about science, history, animals & the natural world, psychology, biographies of historical figures, arts, health etc.
When it comes to documentaries, most streaming platforms and CuriosityStream are not actually direct competitors. In fact, they are complimentary since they cover each other’s content gaps.
As for pricing, here are the possible plans for CuriosityStream.
|HD (1080p) Monthly||HD (1080p) Yearly||4K Monthly||4K Yearly|
|$2.99||$19.99 ($1.67 per month)||$9.99||$69.99 ($5.83 per month)|