Almost a week ago, Hulu launched their live TV streaming service. The service has a plethora of channels to choose from and costs $39.99 per month, which includes commercials when watching on-demand content. A commercial free plan does exist for on-demand content, which costs $43.99.
The interface of Hulu with Live TV got positive reviews from other tech journalism sources, but to be honest (since this is a review, I kind of have to be) I’m not impressed with it. In fact, it is one of the worst user interfaces I have ever seen. To me, it’s organized but not organized enough.
I was not fond of choosing channels. I like the fact that they are in alphabetical order, but I would like to see the channel/network logo and then be able to see in writing what is on instead of the opposite, which is what Hulu with Live TV has right now.
I’m ok with the way that it is on devices like the Apple TV because they are typically used on big screens. But the iOS version of the app needs to have channel logos, similar to what PlayStation Vue has.
Hulu with Live TV’s channel selection is pretty amazing. Like YouTube TV, the new streaming service was able to secure an agreement to stream CBS Sports Network. For sports fans, it’s also nice that they provide both FOX Sports stations (FS1, FS2, and regional FSN stations) along with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, and ESPN U. Hulu with Live TV was partly clearly made for sports fans.
As for people who are not sports fans, the network does provide a lot of channels such as Freeform, FX, FXX, FXM, A&E, and Food Network. There is something for everyone on Hulu’s live TV streaming service.
Video quality was good for the most part. In the early days of the service being launched, I did have some trouble getting channels (something about my location?) but the issue was quickly resolved.
The on-demand content was both good and bad. I was happy to see that I could still stream shows like Drake and Josh and the newest season of Last Man Standing thanks to the regular Hulu service.
The part where it gets bad is when I wanted to stream Modern Family. When searching through its Hulu page in the app, you’ll see that you can stream earlier seasons of the series. However, as of right now, you cannot stream them until USA Network, the network that airs the show in syndication, has broadcasted them all again.
Another issue that I had with the on-demand content is that even though you are paying $39.99 per month, you still have to sit through commercials. I believe if you are paying that much for a beginning live TV streaming service that you should at least get a month or extended period time of commercial-free on-demand content because the feature is still a work in progress.
And lastly, the service does not have support for viewing on a laptop. This could be a problem for people who are on an airplane or other vehicle or place and either don’t want to watch on their smartphone and/or don’t have a tablet with them.
Overall, Hulu with Live TV is getting 2.5/4 stars from me. The service is decent for the most part, but having commercials for on-demand content is certainly going to hurt it based on the baseline $39.99 per month cost. Also, the user interface could use some work too. This is a work in progress so I will give Hulu the benefit of the doubt in hopes that they improve the service over time.
Hulu with Live TV is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Apple TV.
Rating: 2.5/4 stars