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Netflix vs Hulu Plus

Updated on January 15, 2012


As most people know, Netflix offers several plans with different prices.  Until recently, the lowest priced plan was “one DVD out at a time plus unlimited watch instantly” at the rate of $8.99 a month.  There is a new Netflix plan for $7.99 a month which only allows the “watch instantly” portion of the service.  Netflix can not only be streamed though a computer but also though an authorized Netflix-ready device such as the Sony Playstation 3, the Microsoft X-Box 360, the Nintendo Wii, select Sony branded HDTVs and Blu-Ray players.  We have our Netflix “watch instantly” service set up to stream through our Blu-Ray player in addition to our computers.  Netflix changes their listings of television programs and movies that are available to stream.  Some of the television programs available require a few episodes to be ordered on DVD instead of being streamed.  This is not unusual for Netflix.  Only the popular episodes of these television programs are not available for streaming.  Netflix “watch instantly” does not have any ads whatsoever.


Hulu Plus

For those who do not know about Hulu, it is a free website which allows streaming television episodes and movies. Hulu does not have every episode of any one television series. Hulu’s free streaming includes ads within the episodes or movies. It’s not too bad considering broadcast and some cable channels include commercials with their programming. Hulu offers a pay service called Hulu Plus for $9.99 a month. The pay service does not eliminate the ads completely. So why would anyone pay for a service that they can get for free on their computer if they still have to watch ads when they watch these television programs and movies? Simply put, some HDTVs and Blu-Ray players also are authorized Hulu Plus devices. To watch Hulu using your HDTV or Blu-Ray player that are Hulu-ready, you must have the Hulu Plus service. I know this for a fact because I had signed up for Hulu Plus so I could link my account to my same Netflix-ready Blu-Ray player. I realized that I was still getting ads even though I was paying two dollars more for the service than I was for my Netflix “watch instantly” only service which was ad-free. Fortunately, Hulu Plus has a seven-day trial period to allow the subscriber to decide if he or she wants to keep the service active before the monthly fee is charged. I did not keep the Hulu Plus service because the program or ad paused more often to load.

The Differences

Netflix’s “watch instantly” plan is lower in price than Hulu Plus.  Netflix offers more individual episodes of the television program being streamed than Hulu Plus.  Netflix does not have ads.  Netflix does not pause as often to load the program.  Hulu Plus offers more episodes from their television programs than the free Hulu service.  Hulu’s free service also has an option to allow the user to view two and half minutes of ads before the start of certain programs to allow the program itself to play ad-free.  I’m not sure if Hulu Plus offers this same option when viewing with a computer.  I have not seen this option with my particular Hulu Plus-ready device. 

Hulu and the Hulu Plus service offers more television programs to stream than Netflix.  The ads of Hulu and the Hulu Plus service are not really annoying but they do insert them in annoying places at times.  All television programs are already broken for ads insertion and spliced together for DVD release.  Most of Hulu’s ads are inserted in these original broken spots of the television program.

Hulu, Hulu Plus and Netflix rotate their programs for streaming.  These services do this to accommodate as many viewers’ tastes as possible.  They will all remove or add programs from time to time, removing one program with another program.  

The Bottom Line

Whether you choose Netflix or Hulu Plus or both is entirely up to you. We chose to keep Netflix since we are already paying for the service and the Netflix videos load better using our specific internet connection.

© 2010 Tammy L


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    • Tammy L profile image

      Tammy L 5 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas


      Hmm. I've never had a problem with the Amazon instant videos buffering on my Fire. They do buffer from time to time when I'm using the PS3 for Amazon instant videos if I'm doing something else that also requires a lot of bandwidth which is not Amazon's fault. Amazon instant videos don't load well and buffer constantly if I'm using the blu-ray player to watch them which I learned quickly not to do.

    • tlmcgaa70 profile image

      tlmcgaa70 5 years ago from south dakota, usa

      nice hub, very helpful. i watch netflix instant streaming on both my computer and my kindle fire, and i also watch movies from my KF has an issue with amazon movies, i actually have to download the movie to watch it...instant streaming isnt instant, takes forever to load and must stop and load every few seconds. i do not experience this with netflix. so i far prefer netflix. great hub. voted up and more.

    • Tammy L profile image

      Tammy L 7 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas

      Thank you, crazybeanrider. I wouldn't mind paying for Hulu Plus if they didn't have the ads. You can always watch for free with your computer.

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 7 years ago from Washington MI

      Great information,it helps one decide which service to use. To me it sounds like Netflix is the better option. I have never used Hulu, I don't think I would like ads, especially if you are paying for the service. Thanks for a great hub!

    • Tammy L profile image

      Tammy L 7 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas

      Thanks sue. You're right about Netflix having lots of stuff to watch.

    • sueroy333 profile image

      Susan Mills 7 years ago from Indiana

      We have Netflix. I had considered looking into Hulu, but if there are ads and loading issues, we'll just stick with what we have. We love Netflix, there's more on there than a person could watch in a lifetime!

      Thanks for the great info!

    • Tammy L profile image

      Tammy L 7 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas

      Thanks suziecat. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      We like Netflix too - so far. We have checked out Hulu. This is a very useful Hub for folks trying to decide.