Hulu just cut prices—here's how it compares to other popular streaming services

Streaming services make watching TV in bed possible.
Crystal Sing

Beginning Tuesday, Hulu becomes one of the cheapest streaming services around.

The company announced last month that, starting Feb. 26, 2019, it will lower the cost of its basic monthly plan, which includes commercials, to $5.99. The commercial-free version will remain priced at $11.99, while its live TV offering is now $44.99 a month. That's a $5 increase.

Currently, Netflix, the media-services provider behind hits such as "The Crown" and "Orange is the New Black," dominates the streaming game. Research firm Lab42 found that 89 percent of streaming subscribers pay for Netflix, while about 46 percent use Amazon and 28 percent use Hulu. It's possible Hulu's price adjustment could change that.

To help you find the best streaming service to meet your needs, here are a dozen of the most popular services available, from the cheapest to the most expensive, and an overview of what each offers.

CBS All Access

  • "Limited commercial" monthly plan cost: $5.99
  • Commercial-free monthly plan cost: $9.99
  • Free trial period: 7 days

If most of your favorite shows are on CBS, this subscription service could be for you. Users get access to original content, such as the "Twilight Zone" reboot, as well as 10,000 episodes on demand and the ability to watch broadcast shows at your convenience.


  • Monthly plan cost: $5.99
  • Commercial-free monthly plan cost: $11.99
  • Free trial period: 30 days

A subscription to Hulu grants you access to 85,000 episodes of on-demand television, thousands of movies and Hulu Original content such as "The Handmaid's Tale." Hulu, a joint venture of Fox, NBCUniversal, and Disney, tends to have a larger collection of current-season TV shows compared to Netflix, but a smaller pool of movies.

The cheapest version of Hulu's streaming service includes ads. You can opt to go commercial-free, though, and you can also pay extra to add premium channels like HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and Starz.

Amazon Prime Video

  • Monthly plan cost: $8.99
  • Free trial period: 30 days

There are two ways to get Amazon Prime Video: You can pay a monthly rate of $8.99 to access Amazon Prime Video as a standalone membership, according to a company spokesperson, or you can sign up for Prime, which costs $12.99 a month or $119 a year. That gets you all the benefits of a Prime membership, including access to Prime Video.

Amazon Prime Video lets subscribers stream popular movies and TV shows, including originals like "The Man In the High Castle," "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "Homecoming." Additionally, the platform has thousands of movies and TV shows available to watch anytime, and you can pay to add premium channels to your subscription.

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  • Basic plan cost: $8.99
  • Standard plan cost: $12.99
  • Premium plan cost: $15.99
  • Free trial period: 30 days

Netflix announced last month that it would be raising prices across all of its plans by 13 to 18 percent. The basic plan, which now starts at $8.99, gives you unlimited access to movies and TV shows in SD quality. The standard plan allows you to stream content in HD, while the premium plan gives you access to Ultra HD, as well as the ability to stream on up to four screens at once.

For your money, Netflix offers roughly 1,500 hours of original programming, including buzzed about shows like "Stranger Things" and "Russian Doll" and movies ranging from "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" to the highly anticipated Martin Scorsese feature "The Irishman."


  • Monthly plan cost: $8.99
  • Free trial period: 7 days

This service allows you direct access to Starz without a cable or satellite package. Through the Starz app, you can watch original programs such as "Outlander" and "American Gods" on the same day that the episodes air live, and sometimes even have early access to them. Starz is also available as an add-on channel to Amazon Prime Video for the same cost.


  • Monthly plan cost: $10.99
  • Free trial period: 7 days

Similar to Starz, Showtime's streaming service gives users access to the channel's original programming, including shows like "Homeland," "Billions" and "Shameless," as well as access to curated movies and programs that change monthly.

App users have the ability to download shows to watch when you're offline, as Netflix users do with certain content.

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  • Monthly plan cost: $14.99
  • Free trial period: 7 days

HBO Now is an option for those who don't have cable but want to watch new episodes of shows such as "Game of Thrones," "Big Little Lies," "Westworld" and "True Detective" in real time.

In addition to letting you stream original HBO shows when they air, the subscription grants users access to HBO's back catalog of TV shows and a rotating line-up of popular movies.

Sling TV

  • Monthly plan cost: $25
  • Free trial period: 7 days

A subscription to Sling gets you access to over 20 live TV channels, including ESPN, CNN, Disney Channel, Food Network and HGTV without signing up for cable. There's no additional back catalog of movies or TV shows, however.

DirecTV Now

  • Monthly plan cost: $40
  • Free trial period: 7 days

Get DirecTV without the satellite. This subscription gives you access to 65 live channels, including sports. The options are pretty much along the lines of your basic cable package, though, so no Starz or HBO.

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YouTube TV

  • Monthly plan cost: $40
  • Free trial period: 5 days

YouTube rolled out its cord-cutting option in 2017 and offers 60 live TV networks. A monthly subscription allows for six accounts per household, which you can customize so that you get notifications when your favorite show is on. Plus, you get unlimited cloud storage for DVR, which is included.


  • Monthly plan cost: $44.99
  • Free trial period: 7 days

This streaming service offers access to over 100 live TV channels, including various premium sports channels such as NFL Network, NBA TV, Big Ten Network and Fox Sports. The service offers other cable channels as well, including A&E, E!, FX, Cartoon Network and the Hallmark Channel.

Hulu + Live TV

  • Monthly plan cost: $44.99
  • Free trial period: 7 days

Hulu + Live TV is the company's answer to cable. With this subscription, you get access to Hulu's library of streaming content, as well as 60 live TV channels and on-demand channels, including news and sports. Plus, if you create an individualized profile, you'll get the option to save up to 50 hours of content on Hulu's Cloud DVR service.

PlayStation Vue

  • Monthly plan cost: $44.99
  • Free trial period: 5 days

A subscription for PlayStation Vue's cheapest plan, Access, starts at $44.99 a month. Users get access to local broadcast channels, as well as cable favorites like Disney Channel, ESPN, AMC and HGTV. You can access this service on a number of devices: a PlayStation 3 or 4 console, an Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV or a tablet, computer or smartphone.

Whether you're looking to take advantage of Hulu's cheaper price, or you're able to spend a bit more to get access to live TV, you have more streaming options than ever. Disney and NBC recently announced plans to launch their own streaming services in the coming months, too.

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of CNBC parent company NBCUniversal.

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