The future of cord-cutting is here.
Hulu on Wednesday announced the launch of its long-awaited live-TV streaming service. The service, which costs $39.99 a month, is available in beta today.
Hulu with Live TV lets subscribers watch live and on-demand programming from about 50 channels. The subscription also comes with 50 hours of recording storage, the option for up to six user profiles, and the ability to stream on two accounts simultaneously.
Nearly a decade ago, Hulu forever redefined the way people watch TV. Today, as we add live sports, news and entertainment and introduce a more intuitive Hulu, we want to redefine the way people experience TV, Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said in a statement. By bringing together thousands of live, on-demand and library shows and movies and serving them up in a uniquely personalized way Hulu can now be a viewers primary source of television. Its a natural extension of our business, and an exciting new chapter for Hulu.
Hulu's interface isn't just a cable TV menu that's streaming. The service will blend together live TV, recorded TV, and on-demand programming in its interface so that a viewer would just pick what they want to watch without thinking about whether it's live or on-demand. For sports programing, for example, subscribers pick what they want to watch by league and by team, not by channel. That interface is now available on Xbox One, fourth generation Apple TV, and Android mobile devices for subscribers on any version of Hulu.
You can see how the service will look in this video:
A subscription to Hulu with Live TV gives users access to Hulu's full backlog of current, off-air and original TV shows (with commercials). Turning that access into a no-commercial plan costs an extra $4 a month, on top of the $39.99 fee. Live TV, like old-fashioned live TV, comes with ads.
Users can also pay $14.99 for 200 hours of Cloud DVR storage and another $14.99 a month for the ability to watch on unlimited screens. Both upgrades together cost $19.99 in a package deal.
Hulu says it's now the only pay-TV service to offer a full library of programing, original series, and live TV streaming. Hulu's new offering is the first major live TV option from a subscription TV service, since Netflix or Amazon Prime don't offer live TV.
Hulu's service will also compete with cord-cutting options like Sling TV, which offers live TV streaming by channel at $40 and $25 a month. Other competitors include a $29 service from Dish and a $35 introductory version from DirecTV.Of course, for any of these services, you also have to pay for internet access.
The clear advantage for Hulu here is that a lot of people already have Hulu. If Hulu subscribers have been considering cutting the cord, but haven't made the leap yet, this could be the final push.
Hulu said it plans to announce the launch of its service at its Upfront Presentation in New York on Wednesday, an event where the service makes presentations and pitches to advertisers. Hulu also announced Wednesday that its service now reached 47 million unique viewers.