Why Hulu with Live TV isn't the answer to all my cord cutter needs

Hulu recently launched its live streaming TV service, Hulu with Live TV. It costs $39.99 per month, but you can sign up for a free seven-day trial. I've been exclusively watching pay channel shows and movies for the past week, and while I love having access to new and currently airing cable channel content, I've canceled my subscription to Live TV because, as a cord cutter, it's just not what I'm looking for.

Why I canceled Hulu with Live TV


To be clear, I'm not exactly a cord cutter because that implies I previously had cable, but have cut that proverbial cord. I've never had cable in my adult life. I've just lived off of whatever programming broadcast TV has to offer, plus a couple of on-demand streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. So, for me, paying a monthly premium to stream live cable channels is the same as subscribing to cable. It's just a smaller package and relatively less expensive.

The idea of subscribing to a monthly service to watch shows that air in real-time, even though it costs less, is not what I'm looking for when it comes to my entertainment needs. I prefer the ability to search for and select specific shows or movies to watch when I want to.

Here's what happened to me in the past seven days: I would select a channel, like the Food Network, and just veg out for hours, watching a lot of shows I had no interest in, but was so zombified at watching that I didn't make the effort to change.

I also found myself feeling overwhelmed at all the available content. There are too many shows across too many channels to watch. Sure, I could DVR things and watch them whenever I wanted, but that DVR list filled up pretty fast. How do people with 200 channels handle it? I've got things to do, people to see. I don't have time to watch 20 different shows from 40 different networks.

Hulu with Live TV just felt like too much. It's like ordering a super-deluxe burrito because it has all the extra stuff in it, even though you know you'll never finish it. Sure, you can save the rest for later, but eventually all that extra stuff just mixes together and doesn't taste as good anymore.

What content I'm looking for as a cord cutter


Since the day I moved out on my own and realized how expensive a cable subscription was, I've wished for the ability to handpick channels and only pay for what I'll actually watch. To the credit of software companies like Hulu and Netflix, and hardware makers of set-top boxes and "stick" style content streamers like Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV, this is more of a reality than it ever has been before. But it's still not enough.

I can subscribe to a handful of specialized content programs, like HBO Now, Showtime, CBS All Access, Starz, and the like. That means, I get to pick what I want to pay for, though it's out of a very small pool.

If more cable channels offered a subscription-based on-demand app, I'd have more to choose from and be able to broaden my entertainment options. A little bit of live tv streaming wouldn't hurt, either.

Obviously, this would quickly add up. If you're spending $15 on HBO Now, $11 on Showtime, $9 on Starz, plus $8 (minimum) for Hulu and $8 (minimum) for Netflix, that'll cost you more than $50 right out of the gate.

But, that's what makes à la carte channel subscriptions so appealing. You can choose whether you want to spend a little or a lot. Of course, I'd be a lot happier if the prices were more like $5 per month across the board so I could pick more and spend less.

Who is Hulu with Live TV for?

Hulu with live tv

Hulu with Live TV

Like Sling TV, Direct TV Now, and PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV is "cable lite." You pay a little less (or a lot less, depending on your cable bill) per month, but you also get less content. But, who watches 200 channels anyway?

If you've been thinking about leaving cable behind, Hulu with Live TV is definitely a big step in the true cord-cutting direction. As far as streaming live tv goes, it compares with the other big guys in the same category. But, Hulu's on-demand content is pretty epic. So, you're basically getting two types of streaming services for one price and within one app.

Hulu with Live TV is also for people that have been cord cutters for a long time (or their entire adult life) but are longing for the ability to veg out for hours at a time while TV just plays and plays. I have to admit, I was sucked into it pretty fast. It can be a lot of fun just letting your channels dictate what you're going to watch instead of searching for 15 minutes to find something. Since it's within the Hulu framework, the transition is pretty comfortable. All the things you'd been watching on Hulu before are still there, and now you've got new things you can add to it.

It's not for me, but it might be for you

In the end, I decided that I prefer the way I look for and watch movies and TV shows right now. I'm not yet willing to jump into the deep waters of a live TV streaming service, even if it is integrated into one of my favorite entertainment apps.

Everyone's experience is different, though. You might love live TV streaming content from Hulu. If you're disappointed in your current TV and movie watching lifestyle, whether it's through a cable subscription, or true cord cutting, maybe it's time to give something new a try. Hulu with Live TV has a free seven-day trial so you can test the waters and see if it's right for you.

See at Hulu

Your thoughts?

Have you tried Hulu with Live TV yet? Will you keep the subscription or stick with what you've got? Lets discuss!

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).