Hulu Plus | All the American TV Australians can’t watch

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While we sit and hope for Hulu to come to Aussie shores, here's the lowdown on the popular streaming service.

Despite services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video finally making their way Down Under, we Aussies still get the short end of the streaming stick compared to our American cousins. Case in point: the US-only subscription service Hulu, a collaboration between 21st Century Fox, Disney-ABC Television group and NBC. Serving up TV shows and movies from both its own networks and those of its content partners, Hulu distinguishes itself from the competition by obtaining exclusive streaming rights to shows like The Golden Girls, the entire back catalogue of South Park and the latest season of Fear the Walking Dead.

Since Hulu is only available in America, we miss out on a lot of this content. Foxtel Now and Stan do carry some of the same shows, but they often arrive on our shores months late and lacking their full back catalogue. To get around this, it is technically possible to use VPN software to trick Hulu into thinking you're accessing it from within America, but this tactic is fraught with legal and ethical concerns. Here's Hulu's statement regarding the use of such services:

Please note that Hulu does not work with anonymizers or proxy services. If you do not believe that you use such a service, but are seeing an error regarding one, please visit this support article for more details. If you do use such a service, you will need to discontinue its use in order to watch Hulu videos.

Since Hulu does not have the licensing rights to stream its content in Australia, you could get hit with steep fines by illegitimately accessing it, especially if you provided a fraudulent address during sign up. Even though the law is still hazy on many of the details surrounding VPNs and geo-restricted content, spoofing your country of origin to access services like Hulu is a big risk. We advise sticking to local services like Netflix and Stan for the time being.

For more information about VPNs and accessing geo-blocked content, check out our comprehensive VPN guide.

What's the difference between Hulu and Hulu Plus?

Until recently, Hulu offered three different streaming packages: Hulu, Hulu Plus and Hulu Plus with no commercials.

Hulu

Essentially a taste test for Hulu proper, this now-discontinued free version of Hulu provided access to a small selection of recent TV episodes from ABC, Fox and NBC. You could only access it via PC and it featured traditional advertising breaks in the middle of its shows. In 2016, Hulu was rebranded as Yahoo! View, a new video-on-demand initiative between Hulu and Yahoo!.

Hulu Plus

Following the removal of its free tier, Hulu Plus became the default method for subscribing to Hulu. For US$7.99 a month, you get next-day streaming of the latest TV shows along with unlimited access to Hulu's entire movie and TV library. Hulu Plus also supports a wide array of entertainment devices including phones and tablets. Like the discontinued free version, Hulu Plus features commercial breaks during and in between its TV shows and movies.

Hulu Plus with no commercials

As the name suggests, Hulu Plus with no commercials offers everything Hulu Plus does sans (almost) any advertising. Due to streaming rights, a few shows still feature a short commercial before and after each episode. These shows include Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Once Upon A Time, How To Get Away With Murder, New Girl, Grimm, Scandal, and Grey's Anatomy.

What devices are compatible with Hulu Plus?

Hulu Plus supports an impressive number of devices ranging from smartphones to Blu-ray players to video game consoles.

On the mobile front, the Hulu iOS app brings the full Hulu experience to compatible Apple devices running iOS 8.0 or later. These devices include iPhone 4 or higher and an iPad 2 or higher as well as a 4th- or 5th-gen iPod Touch. Android users can enjoy the same on-the-go access through the Hulu Android app as long as they're running Android 4.0 or higher. Even Windows Phone 8 users can get Hulu Plus support via the Hulu Windows app.

When it comes to watching Hulu Plus on a TV, there's a huge range of options, including the following:

To stream Hulu Plus on a computer requires either a PC running Windows 7 or above, a Mac running OS X 10.6 or above, or any computer running a recent version of Linux. A compatible web browser is also necessary to access the Hulu website. These include Internet Explorer 10 and above, Mozilla Firefox 15 and above, Safari 5 and above, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. Adobe Flash Player 11.1 or above must also be installed and HTML5 must be enabled.

Alternatively, Windows 8 and 10 users can install the Hulu app from the Windows Store.

How much does Hulu Plus cost?

Hulu Plus costs US$7.99 (approximately AUD$10.67) a month, while Hulu Plus with no commercials sits at US$11.99 (approximately AUD$16.01) a month. Both packages can be augmented with the Showtime add-on, which bundles in exclusive Showtime content for an extra US$8.99 (approximately AUD$11.98) a month.

How much data does Hulu Plus use?

Like all streaming services, Hulu Plus can chew through a hefty amount of data depending on how heavily it is used. As a guide, Hulu recommends a minimum Internet speed of 1.5Mbps for Standard Definition (SD) streaming. For 720p, that goes up to 3Mbps, while 1080p requires 6Mbps. At 4K Ultra HD, a 13Mbps connection is necessary for smooth playback.

In practical terms, this means that SD streaming uses up approximately 675MB an hour, 1080p uses 2.7GB every hour, and 4K chews through a whopping 5.9GB an hour. Assuming an average of 10 hours of streaming a week, this comes out as approximately 27GB a month for SD, 108GB a month for HD and 236GB a month for 4K.

What content is available on Hulu Plus?

From new episodes of the latest shows like 24: Legacy, Legion and Taken as well as more niche offerings like the Attack on Titan anime and the Forward Unto Dawn miniseries based on the Halo video game, Hulu Plus has plenty to satisfy TV buffs of all stripes. On the movie front, its library is decidedly less impressive, featuring mostly older titles like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Saturday Night Fever. You can deal with this by subscribing to the Showtime package, which expands the catalogue with newer releases like It Follows, Chappie and The Hateful Eight.

Hulu Plus also features a range of original programming, including the Golden Globe-nominated comedy series Casual, Stephen King's sci-fi thriller 11.22.63 and the romantic-comedy The Mindy Project.

Alternative streaming services to Hulu

Two week free trial with Foxtel Now from Foxtel Now

Watch the latest sports, drama and movies with two weeks of Foxtel Now free.

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Browse Bigpond movies from Telstra Entertainment deals

Rent the latest TV and movies from Telstra's huge library.

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30-day free trial of hayu from hayu

Take advantage of hayu's limited 30-day month trial and access thousands of hours of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Made in Chelsea and so much more. Ends 1 July 2017.

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