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Netflix vs. Hulu for Streaming and Entertainment

Cable cutters and those who have/want another provider in addition to cable or satellite may be wondering about the best online streaming service. Two of the most popular choices are, of course, Hulu and Netflix. Among friends, family, and coworkers, either one both are bound to be mentioned in conversation at some point in time. Most people are very familiar with both Hulu and Netflix or at least know someone else who is. How do the two compare, however? Among these two entertainment giants, which is better? There are a lot of aspects to look at when considering these questions, as you can’t just look at one specific area. When it comes to price they are both the same, but when it comes to almost everything else Hulu and Netflix are quite different from one another.

Content Library

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This is one very large distinction between Netflix and Hulu. You will find that Netflix has a massive selection of older television shows and the most movies, but fewer TV-shows that are currently on air. Hulu, on the other hand, is sort of the reverse. Hulu Plus has fewer movies but it has more present-day TV shows. So far they both match up approximately the same, it just depends on what you as an individual like to watch that determines which is best.

Hulu offers trailers, interviews, and related clips of many television shows. The other advantage Hulu has is the fact that it often releases new episodes extremely fast. In many cases an individual with Hulu can watch an episode within a day of when it first aired. Hulu features programs from many different networks (as does Netflix) such as Syfy, NBC, Fox, A&E, ABC, Brave, E!, USA Network, Oxygen, and ION television. Hulu also has many original series, like Up to Speed, Battleground, A Day in the Life, and Spoilers, but Netflix has its own original series, too, which must also be kept in mind. In fact, Netflix’s original series and exclusive content tend to be more popular than those on Hulu. Some of these shows include Orange is the New Black, Arrested Development, and House of Cards.

In one very big way Hulu is better for cord-cutters and Netflix is better for binge-watchers, and here is why: With Hulu an individual can watch the TV shows much like they would if they had cable or satellite—very soon after the show has been released. Hulu Plus has current season episodes for 5 out of the 6 US broadcast networks, which is, in this regard, better than any other service including Netflix. Netflix can do this with a few television shows, but much less compared to Hulu. Sometimes new episodes are not available on Netflix for as long as a year after they have been released. All of this depends on what deals Netflix makes with the network production companies.

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When it comes to the size of the content offered Netflix ultimately takes the cake. Netflix has more movies and TV shows than Hulu, and it also has more programming for children. Still, Hulu is a force to be reckoned with, and it does offer a nice selection. Hulu more than 43,000 TV episodes in total from 1,650 different TV shows. Hulu also has over 2,500 films. Netflix, however, has more than 100,000 different titles available—this includes individual TV episodes.

Both Netflix and Hulu provide certain foreign programming. Hulu’s selection of international shows are primarily—but not exclusively from the UK and Canada. Netflix’s more popular foreign titles include Being Human, Downton Abbey, and Lilyhammer.


You can watch both Hulu and Netflix on quite a few different devices, which is obviously a big advantage for both services, but in this tech-smart world it is something we also come to expect. They can be watched via the desktop web browser, smartphone, tablet, a recent TV or Blu-ray player, and video game console (like Xbox, Playstation, etc.). They function through Windows RT, Windows Phone, Android, and iOS. If none of these options are a go you can always watch them on Apple TV, Roku, Netgear, and Google TV. The services themselves do not limit the amount of content you can watch, but Hulu does limit some specific types of content when streaming from set-up boxes, mobile devices, and consoles. Obviously this is one-up for Netflix. When it comes to remote streaming Netflix also has the upper hand.


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Credit: Bloomberg

Many people are aware that one of the biggest ways Hulu doesn’t quite match up to Netflix is when it comes to ads. Even those who pay for Hulu’s service will have to deal with advertisements interrupting their video feed. The ads themselves may be as long as 2 minutes and there may be as many as three in a given video. Netflix does not have ads. The closest thing you will find to ads on Netflix are trailers which are played at the very end of a movie or the season of a television show. The good thing is you have already watched your show and you are free to exit the trailer and move on.

The Bottom Line

In the end it really does come down to personal choice. Both Hulu and Netflix are popular, and for obvious reasons, each with their own advantages. If you like the methodology in cable TV and you want to watch episodes as they are released then Hulu is the clear choice. It also depends on individual taste. Perhaps you are the most interested in television shows that are recent, the kind that you could get on cable. If this is true, then again it is Hulu you would probably prefer. If that doesn’t matter to you, and you are more concerned with selection and variety, then Netflix has the advantage. Netflix is also the winner when it comes to original and exclusive content, which is a big deal to some people. Advertisements may also be significant to some, and there have even been people who have said they would pay a little extra on Hulu just to get programming without the interruptions. On Netflix this is already a given. Hop over to this website for other home entertainment options for your entire family.