What Is Hulu and How Does It Work?

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Hulu is a TV and Movie streaming platform

Hulu is one of a plethora of platforms that offer streaming television and movies. Hulu, widely considered second only to Netflix, is the grand-daddy of streaming and is popular as a user-friendly service with plenty of content.  

Hulu is unique as it provides both on-demand and live television streaming options. As it is an internet-based service, subscribers can view Hulu on any device with an internet connection. The platform provides virtually every channel owned by Fox, Disney, and NBCUniversal via both its live and on-demand services.

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Most current TV shows broadcast on NBC, ABC, Fox, and the CW are available one day after they air live. Those who choose to pay for the live television option have access to these channels and more live as they air.

A massive catalog of movies, TV shows, and series can keep viewers endlessly entertained without the live TV option. Hulu also offers original content and is expanding its reach into the production market.

This platform is ad-based, meaning subscribers will have to watch ads on occasion. For those who want to skip commercials altogether, a higher-priced package is available for ad-free services.

Signing up for Hulu

Hulu offers a variety of options for how to view its content. A cost structure ranging from under $10 to $50-plus allows for people to sign up with their budget in mind. Ads and licensing agreements allow the media service to present its customers with quality content for such low cost.

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To take advantage of live television, a higher cost must be paid, but consumers are rewarded with the possibility to “cut the cord” from costly cable or satellite providers. The live TV package also comes with the option to record up to 50 hours on a cloud-based DVR.

Added to the large selection of TV shows, movies, live television, and self-recorded shows, Hulu subscribers can add packages for more channels and even purchase Cinemax, HBO, or ShowTime channels.

The signup process is very straightforward and includes creating an account and providing a payment method. After choosing a package, it is as simple as firing up the platform and selecting what you would like to watch. With a free week-long trial and a cancel anytime policy, Hulu is a risk-free investment.

How does Hulu work?

Hulu is an app that can be downloaded to most devices that connect to the internet. Once the app has been installed, the login and password for the account are entered to gain access to the features of the platform.

Hulu is widely considered to be very stable, rarely causing customers any problems. Both the device and the internet connection can impact streaming quality, but overall Hulu provides the possibility to watch shows and movies without skips from buffering or drops.

How many people can use a Hulu account at once?

There are several options offered by Hulu that impact how many people can be watching Hulu while using the same account.

Hulu customers without the live television package can only watch one stream at a time per account. It is not restricted by a device, however, so you can sign in anywhere at any time and watch if no one else is using your login at the same time.

Hulu on multiple screens

Those who subscribe to the Hulu Live TV option get the benefit of two live streams at a time. This does not mean two live streams and the extra one on-demand from the basic packages. Additionally, a package is available as an add-on that will allow unlimited viewing of live streams, but it is important to note that they must all reside in the same household.

Watching on multiple screens is as easy as logging in on each device. Again, unless the unlimited package is purchased, only two users can be logged in at a time per account.

Hulu devices

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Hulu is supported on almost every device that can connect to the internet. The following devices are the common ways to watch Hulu:

  • Roku
  • Amazon Fire and Apple TV
  • Casting Devices
  • Smart Phones and Tablets
  • Gaming Devices Including Xbox One and PlayStation 4

Streaming “sticks” and Smart TV technology have made accessing Hulu on a big screen very easy. They allow you to download the Hulu app directly to the television for the access similar to watching on a computer.

Hulu can also be used on a laptop or desktop computer via web browsers. This can be helpful for those traveling without a device that supports the Hulu app. It can also be useful for those who do not have a smart TV or casting device and want to watch Hulu on a television.

It is possible to connect your laptop directly to your television by using a wired connection. Many laptops and newer televisions have HDMI ports that allow for easily connecting the devices. Otherwise, consult your local technology store for the appropriate adapters.

What to Do If Hulu Is Not Working

The thought of attempting to log in to Hulu for a long, relaxing streaming session and being denied entry is likely to send shudders up your spine. There are myriad reasons your Hulu may not be working appropriately.

For issues with logging in, subscribers may want to use the “Forgot Password” function to ensure their account has not been compromised. In most cases, it is a simple case of forgetfulness. Most Hulu difficulties arise from problems with the video stream itself.

Issues with the Hulu app

If you are struggling to log in even with the appropriate information, it is advisable to check on the Hulu service to see if there is a widespread disruption. Social media can be invaluable as many outages are immediately shared. Check the Hulu media accounts specifically for updates.

Restarting the Hulu app itself can resolve many problems. Sometimes the app loads incorrectly and causes difficulty with viewing different aspects of the site. For those not using the app, closing or refreshing the browser in use will have the same impact.

If you use the Hulu app and have significant difficulties getting it to load appropriately, it may be time to update it. Downloading an update on mobile devices is done through the app store. On most Smart TVs, removing the app and re-installing it facilitates the process.

A final idea if none of the previous options work is deleting the Hulu cache through the app and then restarting the device. One of these steps should eliminate any issues with the Hulu app itself.

Streaming quality problems

Slow, skipping, or inconsistent streaming quality is a major inconvenience for those who enjoy internet-based media. There are a few ways to troubleshoot these issues and get them cleared up for a better experience.

Internet download speed plays a significant role in the quality of your video. Download speeds of at least 3MB/s are recommended for satisfactory viewing. For higher quality video, faster speeds are recommended.

Wi-Fi connections can slow the download speeds and negatively impact the video quality. Limit the number of devices connected to your wireless network. If you are far away from your wireless router, moving closer may improve the connection.

Experts suggest that any devices encountering significant difficulty streaming media should be connected to the internet router by an ethernet cord rather than a Wi-Fi connection. If an ethernet connection does not fix the issue, then there is likely a problem with the router itself.

Hulu offers its subscribers the opportunity to watch movies, television, and live TV without being contractually obligated for long periods. Signing up is easy, and Hulu is compatible with almost every device in one way or another. Limited, easy to resolve issues and the possibility to watch anywhere at any time have provided Hulu a rapid rise in popularity amongst streaming media platforms.