If you have been following the cord cutting news over the last few weeks you may have heard of Hulu Live, which may have left you wondering what it is and how it is different from the current Hulu video on-demand streaming service.
So let’s take a look at the new Hulu Live service that is coming sometime in early 2017.
So what is Hulu Live?
Hulu Live is a new live TV streaming service similar to Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. It will let you watch on-demand content like you do now with a current Hulu subscription, but soon you will also be able to watch live feeds of many popular networks including ESPN, CNN, and Disney.
So what channels will Hulu Live have?
We don’t know the full lineup because Hulu has not posted it. We do know that Hulu already has deals with three of its owners—Disney, 21st Century Fox, and Time Warner—and is negotiating terms with Comcast. It also recently struck a deal with CBS to bring CBS-owned channels (CBS, CBS Sports and Pop) to Hulu Live.
Local channels could be included, but like the other major services, it will be only in select markets and we do now know what markets may be involved at this time.
How much will Hulu Live cost?
We do not know definitively what the cost will be, but Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said at a Q&A during CES that Hulu Live would cost “under $40, that’s going to be the price.”
As with all of the other major streaming services, Hulu Live will likely have multiple packages to pick from.
So how will Hulu Live be different from other similar services?
Hulu has traditionally been a service that puts on-demand content first, and now it seems as though Hulu Live will also put on-demand content first.
According to Variety, the new Hulu Live service is different than what you may be expecting, sharing that “There’s also no traditional grid guide, and you won’t be able to flip through channels like you might with a cable remote… That’s because, at its core, Hulu still defines itself as a video subscription service—only one that now also offers access to live TV.”
Unlike Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, or DirecTV Now, which focus on putting the live channels first and on-demand second, Hulu is putting on-demand channels first and live channels second. It’s certainly an interesting and unique approach.
Want to be a Hulu Live beta tester?
You will need an Apple TV, Android, or iOS device to participate in the beta (it looks like this is for Android phones and tablets, not an Android TV app), although it’s probable that more supported devices would be added at or after official launch. It’s relatively common for betas to be limited to one or a small handful of devices.
To apply for the beta, you can head over to HuluLive.com, which will send you to a sign-up page. Fill out the form, take a quick survey, and you may be granted beta access (though it’s not guaranteed).
Details are still thin, but over the next few weeks and months we’ll likely learn a lot more about this latest change to the streaming landscape.