Hulu's new live TV service is absolutely gorgeous

Posted May 04, 2017

No other big cable or livestreaming service offers that sort of flexibility.

Hulu, which broke the news at its upfront presentation Wednesday in New York City, also announced a new agreement with Scripps Networks Interactive to add networks including HGTV, Travel Channel and Food Network to both Hulu's new live service and existing premium streaming offering. Hulu's price is similar to what YouTube is asking for - $39.99 per month to start - but it's hoping that a few key features will make it stand out from the competition.

CEO Mike Hopkins announced the launch of a "brand new live TV streaming beta service" that users can opt into starting today. That's likely because Viacom currently has a deal with DirecTV Now and Sling TV that provides subscribers with access to their channels, and they're not keen on expanding into too many live TV subscription services.

Let's start off with the available channels: Hulu with Live TV has all the major broadcast networks-ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC-along with a variety of news, entertainment, and sports channels.

The $39.99 beta service comes with 50 hours of cloud DVR recording storage and up to six individual Hulu profiles with two simultaneous streams. To keep up on the news, you get CNN, Fox News, and most others that you'd want. Or if you're a fan of recording your shows to watch later because certain programs aren't easily available on-demand, there will be an Enhanced Cloud DVR bundle for another $15 a month that will give subscribers access to 200 hours of DVR space that automatically skips through all the ads in the recording. Beyond that, you can upgrade to unlimited screens for another $14.99 per month, or get both Enhanced Cloud DVR and unlimited screens for $19.99 per month - a much better deal if you know you'll need both.

Outside of all the channels included in the initial $40 subscription fee, you can also add Showtime to your line-up for $9 a month. The service also includes access to the platform's streaming library. Besides PlayStation VUE, they are the only provider to have the four major networks on-board around the country. This aspect of the service tracks what games are played on live TV available through Hulu and is separate from sports-specific subscription services like MLB.tv. The company's promotional video shows it off as a way to watch any kind of content you want, whether it be on-demand or live, in the same place. This was a conspicuous hole in YouTube's live TV product, released last month for $35. Hulu says it will soon add support for other devices including Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, and Samsung Smart TVs.

Sling TV can be lower-priced than Hulu ($20-$40 monthly), but does not have CBS, or ABC in all markets.

Overall, Hulu's new live TV package is one of the most compelling out there. How does it compare with the other cord-cutting services that are already available?