Hulu Readies Spring Launch of Its Live Streaming TV Service

Hulu’s live TV service, say sources, scheduled to launch this spring, will likely be priced at $39.99 per month, although a company spokesperson said that prices have not yet been finalized. The new live TV service, which will include access to Hulu Originals and on-demand content as well as live network broadcasts and broadcast networks’ on-demand content, will enter a crowded market, competing with Sling TV, DirectTV Now, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue and other streaming services.

TechCrunch reports that the company is also “still in the process of building its live content package.” Although Hulu’s TV service will offer recording and storage, it won’t support fast-forwarding. Hulu may offer an add-on option for a cloud-based DVR with unlimited streams priced at under $20 per month, say sources; that service would allow users to fast-forward through ads.

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PlayStation Vue is another streaming service that offers a cloud DVR; Sling TV’s version offers 50 hours of storage for $5 per month with no expiration for the recorded content. YouTube also offers a cloud DVR with unlimited storage, but viewers will have to watch ads for on-demand programming.

With regard to fast-forwarding through ads, TechCrunch notes that, although Vue and Sling “technically support fast-forwarding, the option is not always available due to rights deals.” Current commercial-free Hulu users, who now pay $11.99 per month, “would pay just a few dollars more for their live TV upgrade,” but prices may still change before the service launches.

With the cloud DVR bundle and higher priced service, “Hulu could cost as much as you’re paying for cable TV today — assuming you have something larger than a basic package,” but potential subscribers would actually get “both a sizable video on-demand library and live streamed TV under one roof,” which, says TechCrunch, makes it “the first service to do so.” Hulu will continue to offer its ad-supported and commercial-free subscriptions.