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Netflix vs. Hulu Plus — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Urooj Arif — Published on February 15, 2024
Netflix and Hulu Plus (now known simply as Hulu) offer vast libraries of TV shows, movies, and originals. Netflix has global reach and many Originals, while Hulu focuses on U.S. network shows and its own content.
Netflix vs. Hulu Plus — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Netflix and Hulu Plus


Key Differences

Netflix and Hulu Plus, now known simply as Hulu, represent two pillars in the streaming service industry, each with its distinct approach to content delivery. Netflix, a pioneer in the streaming world, boasts a global presence, offering its subscribers an extensive collection of movies, TV shows, and a vast array of Netflix Originals, which are exclusive to the platform. Hulu Plus, on the other hand, caters primarily to a U.S. audience, focusing on providing access to current TV shows from major networks the day after they air, in addition to its own slate of original programming. This difference in content strategy highlights the divergent paths these platforms take to appeal to their audiences, with Netflix investing heavily in a diverse range of original content to captivate a global audience and Hulu Plus leveraging its ties to U.S. networks to attract viewers interested in staying current with broadcast television.
The subscription models of Netflix and Hulu Plus also showcase their unique market positions. Netflix offers a straightforward pricing structure with tiered plans that provide access to its entire library without commercials, emphasizing a seamless viewing experience. Hulu Plus, conversely, offers a more flexible approach, allowing subscribers to choose between a lower-priced plan with commercials and a higher-priced option that eliminates ads. This flexibility reflects Hulu Plus's strategy to accommodate a wider range of viewer preferences, particularly those who don't mind advertising if it means a lower subscription cost. Despite these differences, both platforms aim to provide value to their subscribers, whether through ad-free viewing on Netflix or through the cost-saving ad-supported option on Hulu Plus.
In terms of content availability, Netflix and Hulu Plus take distinctly different approaches to international markets and content licensing. Netflix is available in over 190 countries, offering a tailored selection of content based on local tastes and licensing agreements in each region. This global reach allows Netflix to cater to a wide audience, making it a dominant force in the international streaming landscape. Hulu Plus, however, is primarily available in the U.S., with its focus on American TV shows and limited international availability reflecting a more localized strategy. This focus enables Hulu Plus to excel in delivering current U.S. television content but limits its appeal to international viewers who might be more drawn to Netflix's global selection.
Netflix's and Hulu Plus's investments in original content further differentiate the two services. Netflix has made significant investments in producing a wide variety of original series, films, and documentaries, aiming to create a diverse library that appeals to viewers with different tastes around the world. Hulu Plus, while also investing in original content, often emphasizes quality over quantity, focusing on critically acclaimed series that complement its library of network television shows. This strategic emphasis on originals allows both platforms to offer unique value propositions, with Netflix aiming for breadth and global appeal, and Hulu Plus focusing on niche, high-quality productions that resonate with specific audiences.
Finally, the user experience and technology behind Netflix and Hulu Plus illustrate their priorities in serving their subscribers. Netflix is renowned for its highly sophisticated recommendation algorithm, which helps users discover new content tailored to their preferences, enhancing the binge-watching experience. Hulu Plus, meanwhile, prioritizes timely content delivery, especially for viewers who follow current TV shows, offering features like next-day streaming for many network shows. Each platform's technological focus reflects its core audience's desires: Netflix aims to immerse viewers in a world of content discovery, while Hulu Plus seeks to keep viewers updated with the latest episodes of their favorite shows. Despite their differences, both Netflix and Hulu Plus have shaped the streaming landscape, offering distinct choices to cater to the diverse preferences of today's viewers.

Comparison Chart

Content Availability

Primarily U.S.

Original Content

Extensive Netflix Originals
Hulu Originals

TV Show Availability

Comprehensive library, not always current seasons
Current seasons available sooner

Subscription Plans

Multiple plans, no ads on higher plans
Offers both ad-supported and ad-free plans

Movie Library

Large selection of movies
Smaller movie library compared to Netflix

Compare with Definitions


A global streaming service with a wide range of content.
Netflix's vast library made it easy to find something to watch.

Hulu Plus

Offers subscription options with and without ads.
I chose Hulu's ad-free plan for uninterrupted viewing.


Allows downloading of content for offline viewing.
I downloaded movies from Netflix to watch on my flight.

Hulu Plus

Includes a plan offering live TV streaming.
Hulu's live TV plan replaced my traditional cable service.


Available in over 190 countries.
Netflix is my go-to streaming service while traveling abroad.

Hulu Plus

Has a growing selection of original content.
The Handmaid's Tale is a critically acclaimed Hulu Original.


Known for its extensive collection of original series and films.
Stranger Things is one of the most popular Netflix Originals.

Hulu Plus

A streaming service offering current TV shows and originals.
I watch the latest episodes on Hulu the day after they air.


Offers various subscription tiers, including 4K options.
I upgraded to Netflix's premium plan for 4K content.

Hulu Plus

Provides next-day access to current TV season episodes.
Hulu lets me keep up with my favorite shows without cable.

Common Curiosities

Which service offers a better selection of movies?

Netflix typically has a larger and more diverse selection of movies.

Which service is better for watching current TV shows?

Hulu offers next-day access to many current TV shows, making it the better choice for that.

Do both services allow for offline viewing?

Netflix offers extensive options for offline viewing, while Hulu also allows downloading of select content.

Are there commercial interruptions on Netflix and Hulu?

Netflix does not have ads, while Hulu offers both ad-supported and ad-free plans.

How do the costs of Netflix and Hulu compare?

Both offer different plans that can vary in cost, with Hulu's basic plan generally starting at a lower price point.

Can I watch Netflix or Hulu outside the United States?

Netflix is available globally, while Hulu is primarily available in the U.S.

Can I share my Netflix or Hulu account with others?

Both services allow account sharing, with limitations on simultaneous streams depending on your plan.

Which service is better for original content?

Both offer strong original content; the choice may come down to personal preference.

Do Netflix and Hulu both offer 4K content?

Netflix offers 4K content on its premium plan, while Hulu has 4K content available on select titles for all plans.

How often do Netflix and Hulu update their content libraries?

Both update their content libraries regularly, with Hulu often adding new TV episodes the day after they air.

Which service is better for international content?

Netflix offers a wide range of international content.

Which service releases new seasons of TV shows faster?

Hulu often releases new episodes of TV shows faster than Netflix, which typically releases entire seasons at once.

Do I need a cable subscription to use Hulu?

No, Hulu does not require a cable subscription.

Can I cancel Netflix or Hulu at any time?

Yes, both services allow you to cancel your subscription at any time without penalty.

Do Netflix and Hulu both have parental controls?

Yes, both services offer parental controls to manage content for children.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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