If you are wondering which is best, Roku vs Hulu then you are in for a great article where we compare Hulu and Roku to see which is the best streaming platform
With time, technology is changing the way we get and digest information and entertainment. As more Americans ditch Cable TV subscriptions for their high costs and unreliable services, more people are switching to Streaming of convenience and affordability. A recent report by Cisco shows that in 2016 only, more than 6.1 exabytes of data were consumed on mobile platforms.
The same report predicts that this is going to increase with time and more people will be consuming data on mobile platforms. So what are some of the reasons why more people are switching to streaming services? What are the two best streaming devices to go for? Who is the industrial winner between Hulu and Roku devices? Is Hulu and Roku the same? Is Roku better than Hulu? What is the best device for streaming TV? All these questions will be answered in this post.
If you are looking for more info about Hulu then check out our review.
Reasons video streaming is skyrocketing in popularity
Before we even get into the topic of comparing Roku and Hulu, I have to give a few reasons why video streaming is skyrocketing in popularity. The first reason for this is the price. While other benefits are still there, the amount of money that individual users save on video streaming is very significant. Most budget-conscious users are choosing to cut the cord and save further with Netflix, Showmax and other streaming services.
The next reason is convenience. At this time of technological advancement, no one wants to get stuck on their TV the whole time trying to follow up with their favorite videos and TV shows. Users want to catch up with every episode regardless of where they are in real-time. Switching to video streaming creates the ability to watch every program while sitting on the bus, on a break from work or class and while taking a ride on a train.
Moving on, many streaming services today allows the users a chance to choose their specific features and functions. This means that the users will only pay for what they are interested in. It’s clear that with Netflix or showmax, everybody can pay for the content they want to watch and forgo the costs of paying for other unnecessary services.
Personalization is another important benefit of streaming services. The streaming apps and video stream platforms make recommendations of what to watch depending on your watching history. This is what creates a customized buffet of recommended content. You can as well set the service in a way that it can easily give recommendations on what you want to watch.
Lastly, streaming service is a demographic shift. Generation Xers and Millennials are leading the way for a shift from cable TVs to Streaming services. According to available statistics, more than 63% of millennial watch Videos online and at the same time have streaming services for affordability, convenience and all the other benefits above.
Hulu vs Roku overview
Hulu is a popular TV and movie streaming service that has been with us for quite some time. It’s one of the fastest-growing services all for good reasons. It has proven to be a perfect counterpoint and a complement to Netflix. Among its selling points is a huge variety of TV shows including Fox, NBC and ABC that users can watch at any time of the day. It’s very affordable for every user regardless of what they like and the time they spend on the screen. If you have $6 extra every month, you can greatly enjoy this service.
Hulu service hit the market in 2007 as a joint venture for NBC Universal and News Corporation. A year after being launched, it shifted to Hulu.com with the main aim of helping people watch ad-supported shows for free. But with time, Hulu considered raising other services including Hulu Plus which is a subscription-based service for watching Live TV and premium content. Other services launched are Live TV package and Commercial-Free plans.
The service started supporting and streaming original shows and movies in 2014. Hulu.com has grown over time to become an industry leader in the market. In 2017 for example, Hulu became the first streaming service to win the Outstanding Drama series Emmy Award. This was awarded for the original series, The Handmaid’s Tale. Lately, the service has a catalogue of more than 70,000 episodes that include the Little Fires Everywhere, Marvel’s Runaways, PEN15 and Normal People.
Hulu is now owned by the Walt Disney Company and they are still striving to become the industry leader with more than 39.4 million paid subscribers. But remember, Netflix leads with more than 200 million paid subscribers worldwide. One of the closest competitors for Hulu is Roku which makes it easy for every user to stream their favorite TV shows and movies.
- It has a good mix of sports, news and entertainment
- It includes the Hulu on-demand streaming library
- 50 hours of cloud DVR storage
- Bundles and ad-ons
- Quality original programming
- Quick updates on new episodes
- Great prices on Basic plans
- It has expensive ad-ons
- Only two screens unless you consider an upgrade
- Must upgrade DVR to fast forward through commercials
- Limited downloading capacity
- Inconsistent selections from older TV seasons
What is Roku?
Roku is a streaming service that allows users to watch paid and Free TV shows, channels and Movies. It’s a streaming service just like Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV and YouTube TV. But it’s important to note that most content on Roku is pre-recorded but you have a chance to watch some content a day before their official airing. The easiest way to watch your movies and TV shows is to use the Roku box and other streaming players offered by Roku Inc.
Roku came out in 2008, merely a year after Hulu was launched. It faced stiff competition from Hulu and Netflix. Luckily, the service was launched at a time when the market was enjoying widespread adoption of streaming services. Most people were ditching cable TV because there was limited content available.
Roku, unlike, few other streaming services plugs in your TV using HDMI. Immediately after this, it will be connected to the internet using a wired or a wireless connection. After this, it will simply work by downloading the apps, channels and videos from the internet making it easy for you to watch on your TV. The users are expected to get different apps to the device to facilitate the process of downloading and streaming different content.
Note that majority of the channels on Roku stream on-demand but there are few live streaming services. The shows are recorded and stored by the channel provider to eventually make Streaming easier for you. This is very different from the live TV experience that you receive from Cable TV. With the right subscription, you can watch all your favorite channels with ease.
With Roku streaming device, you have the power to decide what you want to watch and when you want to watch it. Roku expands your on-demand options and for that reason, you might need the service to supplement the cable subscription instead of replacing it entirely.
Roku pros and cons
- Better interface
- Everything is in a single unit
- It provides access to plenty of content
- It’s small hardware that connects directly to your TV
- Roku loads videos and content at a high speed
- Software updates is required
- There are some good alternatives
- Everything is available in a single unit
What’s the difference between Hulu and Roku?
There’s a huge difference between Hulu and Roku. Roku is hardware while Hulu is a service. Roku is a device that allows different users to watch their favorite content including movies and TV shows. Regardless, Roku has a couple of free device-specific streaming service.
The only visible difference between Roku and Hulu is the fact that Hulu is a streaming service that goes for $5.99 per month. With that amount, you can access different content that you can watch using different devices including Roku sticks and devices.
Hulu vs Roku: Features
Hulu and Roku have different features and benefits when it comes to storage and Live. Although these two are of similar services, they all differ when it comes to recording and storage capacity. To help you make sound decisions, we will compare these two services in terms of their storage capacity, DVR, ease of use, parental control features, content available, setup and flexibility.
Hulu just like other services gives users a chance to record their favorite movies and TV shows in real time. It gives all the users 50 hours of cloud DVR storage only when you have the base subscription. But you should note that this doesn’t come with the ability to fast forward through commercials. If you want to pass the ads, you will be required to pay an extra $9.99 every month. Fortunately, you will get an additional 150 hours of cloud DVR storage.
Unlike other services, this one helps people manage their storage space by simply displaying the amount of space left. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to record only new episodes or aired broadcasts. To get started with Hulu, you need certain equipment. As I stated earlier, Roku and Hulu are not mutually exclusive. They are different services and platforms. For that reason, you might need Roku Express, Google Chromecast or Amazon Firestick to start using this service.
On the other hand, Roku has lately introduced many streaming boxes out there each of them with different features and storage capacity. The first one to review here is the Roku Ultra that was introduced in the Market in 2020. The Company didn’t change a lot of things in this device but there are certain noticeable differences when it comes to storage. I have come across many potential users asking how much storage does the Roku ultra 2020 come with. The device that was introduced in the market in 2016 had storage of 1 GB channel Memory and 512 for the subsequent Ultra Models. The 2020 version has seen an increase in storage.
Fortunately, you can increase storage using an SD card or any other card. This means that users can add more than 32 GB of storage depending on preferences and needs. Moving on, Roku devices have DVR functionality which means you can download and record your movies and TV shows. There are currently more than seven services that offer cloud DVR on Roku players.
Hulu with Live TV is one of these services that gives users cloud-based storage capabilities with Roku devices. Hulu offers a great selection of channels and at the same time offers every user 50hours of storage and it won’t delete any of the episodes until when commanded to do so. For people that want more than 50 hours of recording, you can choose to upgrade for an extra $9.99 every month.
The setup process for Hulu and for Roku devices vary. As explained earlier, Hulu is a streaming service while Roku is a line of players and firestick media players and devices that helps you stream on different services. But before you get started with Hulu, there are several things you need to check off your list. Ensure you have valid methods of payment and a streaming device. The internet connection should be solid and stable.
To sign up with Hulu, you need to pay for the subscription. If you are wondering how to sign up for Hulu and how can you pay for it, read on. The company accepts all US issues credit and debit cards and other payment methods such as Venmo and Paypal. If you have a Hulu gift card, then you are better off. Users can as well be bailed up through third parties such as Amazon, Spotify, Sprint or iTunes.
When it comes to the different devices that you can use to stream on Hulu, you have countless options. You can consider picking Roku streaming devices, smart TVs and gaming consoles. Moving on, you need a stable connection to stream on Hulu.com. For the people that are thinking of subscribing to one of the Live TV plans, you will definitely have to set up a Home Network. This is to ensure you are getting the right local and regional channels on your screen. Note that the network can be changed at any time especially if you move or if there are any other concerns.
To sign up to Hulu.com, you can easily visit the official website and follow the prompts to register. The service gives free trials to all the people that want to check the functionality and reliability of the service before proceeding. Even after confirming the different plans, you can as well switch the plans if you change your mind. You just have to make changes to your account and everything will be set.
Getting started with Roku device
If you have a new Roku device and wants to set and start using it, you should follow some simple steps. To eliminate all the problems that might come your way, here is a step by step guide on how to set it.
Plug the Roku device on HDMI and Power
Regardless of whether you have a Box or a streaming Box, there are few things you’ll need to connect. If you are currently using the Streaming stick Plus, then you’ll need to plug in the power cable and connect the device to the TV using the HDMI slot. The streaming stick can use USB input on the TV. However, you should make sure it has at least 5 volts of power for maximum performance. Alternatively, you can use the wall adapter to ensure that the Roku is powered up properly every time. Another point worth noting is that you can get a free HDMI extender from Roku if your TV is mounted and the HDMI is hard to reach.
Pair the remote
The next step to make is to pair the remote. Immediately after connecting the Roku and navigating the TV for proper connections, you should check the Roku interface and try to pair the remote. Insert the batteries on the remote and it will connect automatically to the device.
The process of setting the device is long but easy if you have the right information. Choose your language and the device will immediately prompt you to choose a connection. Other devices including Roku Ultra Box don’t require you to follow this process. You can easily click on your network and input the password.
Roku may ask to update the software immediately after you are connected to the internet. Give it enough time to complete the process. The process may take longer depending on the specific internet requirements and the speeds.
The next step is to set the display in your TV. The device will ask to autodetect the TV type. So, you should click Ok and give it time to run. The device will pick the best settings from the TV and start playing the content. In case of any issues, you can retry the test.
TV control setup
In most instances, Roku remotes can control your TV volume and power. If this is the case with you, then you might have to set it now. But if you don’t mind, you can leave it unset.
Hulu and Roku are different services and platforms, which mean that you can watch Hulu on Roku devices. Using Roku devices, you can enjoy your favorite channels and TV shows any time of the day. Recently, Hulu scored an additional 14 channels for the Live TV offering. The company recently reached a deal with Comedy Central, MTV, ViacomCBS for Nickelodeon and many others.
The collaboration ensures that Hulu premium subscribers enjoy a full breadth of the leading content. Hulu’s on-demand service has all been about TV shows. There are hundreds of seasons and thousands of episodes that you can catch up with any time of the day. This has been closely inspired by the rise of network-specific streaming services.
There are countless Cable TV shows that you can watch on Hulu. Talk about the Adventure Time, Futurama, Bob’s Burgers and Archer. There are other drama shows such as Killing Eve, The Orville and Bones that you can watch using this service.
Just like Amazon and Netflix, Hulu has its own original content that you can watch today. I’ve come across various comments and reviews about Hulu content. Some people claim that the content is trending upwards and soon Hulu will be a leader in the Industry.
Recently, Hulu has aired a couple of content. To better understand what to expect, here is a list of the best content that has been aired on Hulu lately.
- The Bachelor
- The Voice
- A Million Little Things
- Schitt’s Creek
- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
- Saturday Night Live
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine
- The Resident
- The Masked Singer
Unfortunately, Hulu doesn’t have sports. Just like other on-demand services, Hulu doesn’t have any sports. Consequently, sports fanatics will be forced to get Live TV streaming service. You can pick Hulu Live which is the best Live TV streaming service for sports. It has more than 14 sports channels such as CBD Sports Network, The SEC Network, ESPN, FS1 and many others.
Do you have kids and wondering whether Hulu has Kids Content? If yes, then there are a couple of Kids content that you can stream today from Hulu.com. Your little ones can watch content such as Hornon Hears a Who, Madagascar 2 and a couple of educational content such as Doc McSAtuffins and Sesame Street. There are several cartoon contents that you can watch from Hulu.com. Currently, your little ones can enjoy Rugrats and the Power Puff Girls.
Parents and Guardians can equally create kids profile meaning that your kids will only watch content rated for kids up to the age of 12. This is one of the biggest selling points for Hulu.
On the other hand, it’s very easy to stream and watch your favorite TV with Roku devices. The devices act as home for all your entertainment needs. With Roku, you can stream your favorite content from Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime video and HBO among many other sources. It offers an opportunity to watch thousands of news, international channels, Kids programs and sports. With Roku devices, you can as well broadcast channels such as CBS and ABC. Additionally, users can listen and watch music services from Vevo, Spotify and Pandora.
Ease of Use
The Hulu + Live TV is now easier to use than before. It’s praised for the clean layouts that make searching for different content easy and straightforward. You can now save and record movies and TV shows better. Accessing the on-demand content is also straightforward. Hulu updated the user interface in 2020 for on-demand products and live products. The home screen was designed to make it very easy for users to search, find and stream their favorite content with fewer clicks. Additionally, the interface is divided into different categories including TV shows, movies and sports.
Hulu has continually made improvements to its user interface. In terms of ease of use, Hulu is rated high. Most people were disappointed with how Hulu + performed when it was first launched in 2017. But as Hulu has made more corrections and upgrades, the performance has greatly improved.
The old days when hooking your TV to the internet was a nightmare is long gone. Roku devices are very easy to setup, connect to the internet and start streaming your favorite content. You just have to plug Roku to the TV, connect it wirelessly or through an Ethernet and you are good to go. There are few steps you will be required to take in this regard. Immediately after everything is set, you just have to search and stream your favorite content from streaming services such as Hulu.com.
Hulu vs. Roku: Parental Control Features
Being a subscription-based service for movies, TV shows and other contents, Hulu cares so much about the content kids get access to. Users have an option to control what their children have access to. The mature content is automatically restricted depending on the age of the people getting access to it. Children under the age of 13 years are restricted and will only get access to the content that is approved by parents. You just have to log in to Hulu and click + add a profile on Who’s watching screen. You can now create a profile name and toggle the kids feature.
Roku offers a pin-based parental control feature that will apply whenever the kids are trying to access the content. The pin will always be required when someone is trying to access content with certain ratings.
Roku vs. Hulu: Cost
Hulu + Live TV costs $64.99 every month with more than 65 channel count. For the Hulu No ads + Live TV, users will be required to pay $70.99 and get more than 65 channels. On the other hand, Roku streaming players costs a price above $29.99. There are no monthly fees charged by Roku but users will be required to pay for subscriptions based on the streaming service at hand.
Roku vs. Hulu: Voice control
Hulu for android TV has one key addition which is Voice Control Support. However, this is available on the Google Play store. Voice control on Hulu apps can help users get what they are looking for fast enough. You can play, rewind and skip episodes with some simple voice commands using this feature.
Not all Roku devices have voice control. The current devices that have voice controls are Roku Streaming stick, Roku Ultra 2020, Roku Premiere+ and Roku streaming stick +.
Features and streaming experience
Hulu lets all their users download select TV shows and Movies. This allows all its users to watch their favorite movies and TV shows even when there’s no internet. But the download expires after 30 days and you will have to download more movies and TV shows. Other wonderful Hulu features include DVR functionality, offering shows in HD, it supports two simultaneous streams and many others.
Should I get Hulu or Roku and why?
Before I delve any deeper into this question, I’ll have to clarify that Roku and Hulu are not mutual exclusive services. Hulu is a service that runs on many different services while Roku is a platform or a device. This means that you can easily get a Roku device and use it to watch Hulu. You can also watch Hulu on Xbox or Amazon Fire Stick or any other compatible device.
Is Roku better than Hulu?
You can access a couple of free channels on Roku but most users recommend getting Netflix or Hulu to get access to more free and premium channels and content. Roku is actually the number one set-top box. But still, I have to clarify the fact that Roku is a hardware or a platform while Hulu is a streaming service. This means that they cannot be compared hand in hand.
Can I watch Hulu for Free on Roku?
Yes, you can stream top free and paid programming services from Netflix, Hulu, Google Play and HBO and many others with ease using Roku device.
Which streaming service is the best?
There are several streaming services each with its own pros and cons. Netflix is the best service around but Hulu is making a debut for the best service for cord-cutters. Other services include Sling TV, HBO Max and Disney Plus.
Today we have compared two main streaming platforms and services. You will notice that I haven’t concluded with precisely stating which of the two is the winner. The reason is that Hulu and Roku are not similar services. Roku develops the best streaming players and sticks while Hulu offers streaming services. This means that you can watch and stream Hulu on Roku devices.