Hulu.com is a popular website for people looking to watch their favourite TV shows without shelling out big bucks for a cable or satellite TV subscription. It can be used for free (with a limited content selection), and its Hulu Plus paid plans are cheaper than the subscription costs of most alternatives to Hulu (plus it takes up less of your monthly data cap). It has a large selection of TV shows (and a somewhat smaller selection of movies) — including original content — and often makes them available faster than other websites similar to Hulu. It also has features like the ability to rate and comment on movies, shows, and episodes, as well as the ability to set up a “queue” so you can plan ahead with respect to what you want to watch next!
Hulu has its limitations, though. For one thing, it’s only available in the U.S., so you can’t use it unless you’re on American soil. For another, the basic Hulu Plus subscription still contains advertisements between movie and TV show segments; you can get a commercial-free premium subscription, but it costs about $4 more per month. And not all movies and shows will be available on Hulu at all times; due to business and legal reasons, movies and shows come and go, so you have to watch some before they’re gone from Hulu.
Have a look at these 7 services like Hulu, all of which may offer something that Hulu doesn’t.
Netflix is one of the most famous Hulu competitors, and one of the websites to which Hulu is most often compared. Whereas Hulu’s focus is television shows, though, Netflix specializes in movies (hence the name being a combination of “Internet” and “flicks”, a slang term for movies). Netflix has hundreds of movies in its library, from the latest blockbusters to award-winning classics. However, it has a small selection of television shows, too, including some exclusive shows such as Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. Netflix costs a bit more than Hulu Plus and uses more Internet data, but it never shows you commercials.
We have a course on how to use Netflix, if you’re interested in checking it out.
2. Amazon Instant Video
Amazon Instant Video works a bit different than Hulu or Netflix. Instead of signing up for a flat subscription fee and then watching as many movies and/or television shows as you want per month, you have to rent or purchase movies or television shows (episodes) at varying prices. The good news is that, unlike the other websites like Hulu on this list, you can actually download the movies and shows that you purchase, so you can watch them offline if you want. Also, the cost of using Amazon Instant video is reduced (or, in some cases, eliminated) if you are subscribed to Amazon’s paid membership club, known as Amazon Prime.
Speaking of which, we have a course on Amazon Prime that includes lessons on how to use Amazon Instant Video.
M-Go is one of the newest Hulu alternatives, and like Amazon Instant Video, it forgoes the monthly subscription model. Instead, you pick a movie or TV show (episode) that you want to watch, choose to rent it or purchase it, and then watch it whenever you want (or until your rental period is up). M-Go features some TV shows, but like Netflix, it specializes in movies. It even lets you watch some movies that are still in cinemas, or even pre-order movies that haven’t been released yet so you can watch them as soon as they become available on M-Go!
A Hulu-like site from Wal-Mart, Vudu operates similarly to Amazon Instant Video and M-Go: you only pay for what you actually watch. Like Hulu and M-Go, though, it’s only available in the U.S., and its movie and TV show repertoire is rather small. However, it has a feature that allows you to unlock a digital copy of a movie or TV show that you buy on DVD or Blu-Ray Disc at Wal-Mart (or other participating retailers). You can even share that copy with your friends if they use Vudu, too!
Crackle is a free alternative to Hulu that is probably the most similar site on this list to it. It’s run by Sony and its affiliate production studios, and allows you to watch as many of their movies and TV shows as you like (at least, from the limited selection that they choose to put on Crackle). Like Hulu, Crackle is supported by advertisements that play between segments of movies and television shows. And like Hulu, Crackle’s library of content changes occasionally, to be sure to watch any shows or movies that you want to watch on Crackle now before they rotate out at the end of the month.
YouTube is another free Hulu alternative that is supported by advertisements. Unlike Hulu and the other three sites like it on this list, YouTube doesn’t specialize in professional content. Sure, it has some TV shows, movies, news clips, and music videos (some of which have to be paid for), but it also contains a lot of amateur content. Home movie footage, video diaries, original music, video game playthroughs… there’s lots to discover on YouTube! Plus, if you’re feeling creative, you can upload your own videos to YouTube and see how popular they get!
If you’d like to learn more about YouTube and how to use it, head over to our YouTube course.
iTunes is mostly known as a program for purchasing, organizing, and listening to music. However, it can also be used as a Hulu alternative, as it has recently begun adding movies and TV show episodes to its store. Like on Amazon Instant Video, you can save movies and shows that you purchase to your computer and watch them any time that you want. However, they’re expensive to purchase, and you need to install the iTunes program to get them first.
Those are our top recommendations when it comes to other sites like Hulu. If you’ve used any of these, we’d like to know whether you had a good or bad experience with them, or if there’s something else about them that our users should know that we missed here. We’d also like to know if there are any other Hulu-like services out there that you use, and that you think our users would be interested in. Drop us a line in the comments below, or on our social media channels.
One last thing: if you want to commit solely to one of these alternatives (or another that you like) and want to leave your Hulu account behind, head over to our last tutorial: how to cancel your Hulu account.