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Hulu + Live TV vs. Optimum vs. Verizon Fios Television plan comparison


Rebecca Palmer smiles for the camera
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Researched by
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Reviewed by
Updated 4/10/23

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Hulu
Staff rating
3.6
Customer rating
4.5
(52)

  • Plans starting at $68.99
  • 85+ channels
Optimum brand
Staff rating
4.5
Customer rating
3.7
(22)

  • Plans starting at $15.00
  • 420+ channels
Verizon Fios brand
Staff rating
4.5
Customer rating
4.4
(32)

  • Plans starting at $49.99
  • 425+ channels
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See what providers service your area.
Hulu
Staff rating
3.6

Hulu + Live TV offers a great on-demand library, but it’s no good on the go

Hulu + Live TV has something for everyone to watch, including one of the best on-demand libraries we reviewed. It’s hard to use on the go, though, and its interface was a bit confusing in our tests. You get great original content, but you can find lower prices and a more conventional viewing experience elsewhere.

What we like

  • Huge streaming library
  • Access to Disney+ and ESPN+
  • Exceptional original content
What we dislike

  • Confusing interface
  • Frustrating on-the-go viewing
  • Annoying, repetitve ads
Savings tip: Hulu + Live TV often has
sign-up promotions
for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Optimum brand
Staff rating
4.5

Huge value for internet-based TV

Optimum offers exceptional value. You get tons of channels, a solid DVR, and a good selection of sports and premium channels for a very reasonable price. Despite some additional fees, Optimum is an excellent choice.


What we like

  • No contracts
  • High channel count
  • Excellent value
What we dislike

  • Some areas can't get fiber internet
  • High fees
  • Second-year price hikes
Savings tip: Optimum often has
sign-up promotions
for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Verizon Fios brand
Staff rating
4.5

Excellent value and customizable options

Verizon Fios TV offers an excellent value TV service. The customizable Your Fios plan is particularly attractive, but all tiers offer a lot of TV for the money. Add in outstanding internet, and it’s hard to go wrong with Verizon.

What we like

  • No contracts
  • Personalized channel lineup
  • Excellent fiber internet bundles
What we dislike

  • Pricey DVR storage
  • For TV-only customers, a Verizon router is still required
Savings tip: Verizon Fios often has
sign-up promotions
for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Hulu
Content
4.0
A classic on-demand experience, plus most local networks and dozens of channels

Hulu + Live TV shines when it comes to content. (1) You get access to most of your local channels and dozens of live options from popular cable networks. You also get access to the full on-demand libraries of Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+. It’s a truly massive offering.

Local: 2.5/5
Hulu + Live TV gives you access to about half of the local channels you would get from a digital antenna or traditional TV provider, but those channels are the most popular of the standard local options. You get ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and The CW in most markets, for instance, but not PBS, Antenna TV, Estrella TV, or Univision. There are probably better live TV options for most Spanish speakers, but Hulu + Live TV isn’t bad if you just want your local news, sports, and primetime favorites in English. Hulu + Live TV is a nationwide service, but there are some geographic differences in the lineup. Find channels available in your area.

Sports: 3/5
Hulu + Live TV is so-so when it comes to sports. There’s no NBA TV or MLB coverage, but you do get ESPN, TNT, Fox Sports 1, and the Golf Channel, plus local channels (which often show big national games). There’s no way to get NFL SUNDAY TICKET (now available only from YouTube TV), and you’ll miss out on all the regional sports networks you could get with DIRECTV STREAM or many traditional cable TV providers.

Family and education: 3/5
If you have kiddos in the house, Hulu + Live TV should have plenty of shows and channels to keep them entertained. You get three Disney channels, two Nickelodeon channels, and Universal Kids channel. However, there’s no PBS. There are also some notable educational channels missing from the lineup, including Family Entertainment TV (FETV) and Heroes & Icons.

News and politics: 3/5
You get all your news heavy hitters with Hulu + Live TV, including local news, national news from both the left and right, and financial news. You won’t find Newsmax or any C-SPAN options, though, and you’ll have to pony up for the Español Add-on for news, weather, and sports in Spanish at a cost of about $5 per month.

Entertainment and lifestyle: 4/5
You get about half of America’s Top 100 channels to watch live with Hulu + Live TV, but the provider earns extra points for having a stellar on-demand library on top of its live TV offering. That said, you’ll miss out on goodies like Ion and INSP, and you’ll have to get the Entertainment add-on ($8 per month) for Discovery Channels, MTV Classic, Crime+Investigation, and BET Her. You can also get HBO MAX, CINEMAX, SHOWTIME, and STARZ, but additional pricing of between $9 to $15 each applies every month.



Local news, sports, and entertainment channels vary based on your location. Check out
Hulu + Live TV channel offerings
in your area.
View plans
Optimum brand
Content
5.0
Popular channels to suit every taste

Optimum offers a great selection of channels, and pricing at each of its tiers is reasonable. If you’re part of a big family with diverse TV tastes, Optimum is easy to recommend.

Local: 5/5
Optimum offers a fantastic selection of local channels in each of its four package tiers. You get access to the four basic broadcast channels (NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX) plus Univision and Telemundo. That means local news and sports, big national games like the Super Bowl, and primetime favorites.

Sports: 5/5
Not only does Optimum offer a ton of great channels for sports, you can get most of it at either the Basic TV or Core TV packages. In addition to wrestling on USA Network and all that ESPN has to offer, you get TNT, Fox Sports 1, MLB Network, and NBA TV. NFL Network is available on the highest tier, and you can get NFL RedZone as an add-on. Sports aficionados should opt for at least the Select TV plan to get the best selection.

If Optimum's offerings aren't quite right, you're in luck! A lot of games and matches are now available via streaming or over the air. Find out how to watch the MLB, how to watch pro football, and how to watch the NHL.

Family and education: 5/5
Optimum TV truly offers something for everyone, and that includes all kinds of shows for kids and channels focused on education. You can get PBS, Disney, and Nickelodeon at the Core TV price. If you bump up to the next tier, you can get History, Discovery, NationL Geographic, Travel, Animal Planet, and more. There’s no Family Entertainment TV (FETV) or Me TV, but we aren’t too mad about it.

News and politics: 5/5
Optimum TV keeps hitting homers when it comes to news. You get a selection of US political news from both sides of the aisle plus international news, Spanish-language news, business news, and even sports news.

Entertainment and lifestyle: 4.5/5
When it comes to watching great movies, reality TV, and home improvement shows, Optimum TV has you covered. At the highest tier, you get a selection of premium channels including Reelz, HBO, and SHOWTIME, plus both Hallmark and Lifetime. A number of the top 100 channels in the US are missing, including Game Show Network, Grit, INSP and Ion Mystery, but all the most popular content is easy to find. (1)

Local news, sports, and entertainment channels vary based on your location. Check out
Optimum channel offerings
in your area.
View plans
Verizon Fios brand
Content
5.0
Hundreds of channels and easy customization

Great prices meet high channel counts and easy ways to pay for just what you want to watch with Verizon Fios TV. If you live in a coverage area, you’ll benefit from some of the best pay TV on the market.

Local: 5/5
Verizon has you covered when it comes to channels, with all the standard options in both English and Spanish. The exact selection and channel number varies based on where you live, but there’s a good chance you can get broadcast favorites in HD quality. You also get a variety of local public access stations and less-common but still-popular options like Comet, Bounce TV, Antenna TV, and StartTV. (1)

Sports: 5/5
Verizon TV’s premium package has a lot to offer for anyone who loves sports. In addition to your local channels, you can watch pro golf, baseball, football, and basketball, plus a variety of college games. The only downside is no Showtime (unless you buy an add-on).

Family and education: 4/5
When it comes to content for kids and families with Verizon Fios TV, there’s a lot to love. With The Most Fios TV package, you get Nick Toons, Disney XD, Disney Junior, and Boomerang plus Discovery, Nat Geo Wild, Science, Game Show Network, and much more. However, you’ll miss out on Family Entertainment TV (FETV), Me TV, UP, and Cartoon Network.

News and politics: 5/5
Whether you want political talk, international news and analysis, business news, or even sports and local news, Verizon Fios is a great option. It offers every single one of the top 100 channels in the US that offers news, including CNN, Fox News, Newsmax, CNBC, C-SPAN, and even the Weather Channel and Accuweather.

Entertainment and lifestyle: 4.5/5
You can watch all kinds of movies, reality TV favorites, and true crime documentaries with Verizon Fios TV’s premier package. To get HBO and Showtime, though, you’ll have to pay add-on prices. Unfortunately, you can’t get Grit, Ion Mystery, USA Network, Cartoon Network, or Laff with Verizon.

Local news, sports, and entertainment channels vary based on your location. Check out
Verizon Fios channel offerings
in your area.
View plans
Hulu
Value
4.0
Decent channel lineup, but an exceptional streaming library

Hulu + Live TV has a lot to offer, including a huge library of on-demand content from the Classic Hulu service plus dozens of channels featuring news, entertainment, sports, and more. You can’t get PBS or Univision, but it feels like a true replacement for cable TV.

Hulu + Live TV is the one of the most expensive live TV streaming services we reviewed at the starting tier, but just by a few dollars. The high cost starts to make sense when you realize it’s a bundle price. In addition to live TV, you get access to Hulu’s on-demand library ($7.99 per month with ads), Disney+ ($7.99 per month), and ESPN+ ($9.99 per month). That means you get Hulu originals, tons of live sports and events, and thousands of shows and movies.

Get the best value by speaking directly with a sales rep or check your address at
Hulu + Live TV's website.
Check address
Optimum brand
Value
5.0
You get a lot for the money, but internet is required

Optimum TV offers excellent value, whether you live in an area that gets only cable internet or one wired for fiber-to-the-home. Internet-based TV packages are available for as little as $35 per month (for basic TV), while the higher-tier plans offer high channel counts for the price. There are as many as 420+ channels available—one of the highest channel counts of any provider.

The internet service is also a fantastic value, offering faster speeds for the money than many competitors. It’s worth noting that an internet plan is required, though, at a minimum price of $40 per month. There’s also a few hidden fees, but they’re lower than what we’ve seen from other cable providers.

There's a 2-year price lock on most plans, which is great! Prices go up in the third year of TV service, though, and the company doesn't say by how much. We've heard customers complain about price hikes in the range of $85–$115, though, and that's just for TV. Since you also need internet, your price could balloon by $200 per month by year three.

You may be able to save on your bill by calling in and threatening to switch to a competitor, so we recommend it!

Get the best value by speaking directly with a sales rep at 1-844-719-8066 or check your address at
Optimum's website.
Check address
Verizon Fios brand
Value
5.0
Excellent value, especially with the customizable channel lineup

Verizon isn't the cheapest option for traditional TV—you can get TV service for less elsewhere. It’s also not the best in terms of channels per dollar—although it holds its own. However, the ability to personalize the Your Fios plan means you can get more of the channels you actually want without having to pony up for a more expensive plan. It's a fantastic feature, and relatively uncommon in the cable TV space.

Of course, if you do want all the channels, you can get that, too: the top-tier Most Fios plan comes with well over 400, which is one of the highest channel counts in the business.

Get the best value by speaking directly with a sales rep at 1-833-970-0848 or check your address at
Verizon Fios's website.
Check address
Hulu
Features and usability
3.0
Great library brought down by a confusing interface and unskippable ads

Hulu + Live TV has most of the features you’d expect from a live streaming TV service, including unlimited DVR for nine months and the ability to stop and rewind live TV. We loved all the on-demand options but have one major complaint: the ads.

Ability to watch: Good

Hulu + Live TV feels like it was designed for on-demand streaming rather than live TV watching. You can watch in 1080p on traditional TVs, mobile devices, browsers, or streaming sticks. In our tests, it worked well on some browsers, but we had minor issues with either casting or resizing with the Amazon Firestick, iOS phone, and both Safari and Chrome browsers.

It is possible to get to the channel guide for a standard surfing experience, but it took us a few minutes to find it in the mobile app. Finding channels to surf took even longer on the streaming devices and smart TVs we tested. Once we got set up on a particular device and got used to the interface, though, the experience felt pretty standard.

The biggest downside is that you get a ton of annoying, repetitive ads, especially when watching on demand. To get those removed, you would have to pay for an upgrade of about $7 per month. Even then, you would still see ads during live programming and on some on-demand shows. Ick.

Ability to record: Great

We like that Hulu + Live TV’s DVR is unlimited and saves recordings for up to nine months. You can record ongoing shows or future shows through the channel guide, or record entire programs. You can watch offline, which is cool, and you can set recordings or download certain episodes for offline viewing from any device with the app. However, you can’t DVR anything from premium channels or the on-demand library, and you can’t skip certain promotions even if you pay for the highest possible package.

In our tests, the exact same ad aired several times per episode, as if it were designed to be annoying. It gets worse. We tried to get around ads on live TV by recording the show and waiting a few minutes to start watching, then fast forwarding through the commercials. It works on YouTube TV and most cable TV services we reviewed, but with Hulu we still got blasted with ads every 20 minutes. The only way to skip them was to wait for the show to be over and watch the DVR version. If you pay extra, you can skip the ads on DVR content, but you’ll still see promotions for recommended content.

Ability to find: Great

We’ve heard multiple users complain that the Hulu interface is confusing, but once you get used to it, it’s fairly easy to find whatever you’re trying to watch. The search tools are easy to find and work well, and you have a choice of views for finding your favorites. 

If your show is added to “My Stuff” and recorded, it’s easy to track. But if you record a show and forget to add it to “My Stuff,” it’s impossible to find. You don’t get notified when it’s ready, either.

That said, we really like the Hulu recommendation engine at any service level, and we like that you can easily get to the next episode on a show you’re watching (even if you’ve watched the whole series before).

In our tests, the on-demand experience was a lot better than the live TV experience. You can browse by format (TV, Movies, Sports) or search for a specific show or channel. We also liked the Hubs, which are curated collections based around a theme.

Ability to share: Fine

Hulu has cracked down on password sharing among multiple households, and it shows. It’s easy to create profiles for up to six users, but you get only two simultaneous streams with the standard package. You can pay more for unlimited screens, but you may not be able to watch away from home.

In our testing, we ran into a little trouble trying to watch in different locations. We never got the service to work on a Safari browser, even when location tracking was enabled. If we were signed in on an Apple TV at home, we got locked out in the office. We get that Hulu doesn’t want users sharing passwords, but the experience was pretty frustrating.

If you are just sharing with family, it’s easy to designate profiles for kids so they have access to only kids shows. That’s the only parental control option available, but we like that it’s set at the account level instead of the device level.

Optimum brand
Features
4.0
A solid DVR, but fees for storage

Optimum TV is a nice option for channel surfing, watching on-demand, and catching episodes or games you might have missed (whether on a TV set or on your phone or laptop). However, its costly DVR storage may not be worth the money.

Ability to watch: Great
Whether you go with the Optimum cable box, buy an Apple TV from the company, or use your own Apple TV, we think you’ll enjoy watching Optimum TV. Optimum gives you Wi-Fi equipment and the first set-top box for free, but you'll be charged an additional $10 per month for each additional TV box. However, it’s easy to get out of those fees using the sweet Optimum TV mobile app, so that’s what we recommend for most households.

Ability to record: Good
Optimum’s Cloud DVR system offers up to 150 hours of storage for your favorite shows and movies, and you can record up to 15 shows at the same time—perfect for large families or households with lots of roommates. The system comes with all the modern features we expect from a DVR: voice control, an Apple TV app, support for streaming services, and more.

You can also access your DVR and on-demand content from your iPhone, iPad, or Android device with the provider’s app. Our only gripe is that the DVR storage is costly—more than $20 per month for the full 150 hours, in addition to the fee for renting the box. You'll also be charged a DVR service fee for every set-top box you rent, but you can skip the DVR altogether if you want and there’s no charge.

Ability to find: Great
Optimum TV offers thousands of shows and hundreds of channels, and they’re pretty easy to find using the app, the company’s cable box, or an Apple TV. Both the cable box and Apple TV have voice search functionality, and you can enter in credentials for other streaming services like Netflix on either. With the cable box, you can even pause and restart live TV.

Verizon Fios brand
Equipment and features
4.0
A highly rated mobile app lets you save on set-top box rental

The day-to-day experience with Verizon Fios TV is better than with most cable TV competitors, but the company puts less focus on its DVR setup than its competitors in the satellite TV arena.

Ability to watch: Great
Verizon TV comes with your fist set-top box included, and it’s not bad. The signal is delivered over very fast internet, so picture quality is good and reliable. Almost all channels are available in HD. The service also offers a free mobile app for paying customers, so you only really need the one box. If you want more, however, you can lease them for $12 each per month.

Ability to record: Good
Verizon Fios TV comes with all the features you’d expect from a fiber company. On higher packages, it offers multi-room DVR with 100 hours of storage at the base price, and you can record 6 shows at once. For an additional $10 per month, you can double the storage and record up to 12 shows at once. You can record via the remote, the smartphone app, or using a streaming device you already own (like an Apple TV or Fios TV). If you opt for the lowest tier, you’ll have to pay $12 per month for DVR capability and will be limited to just 50 hours of recording space. However, you could also just skip DVR altogether and won’t incur charges.

Ability to find: Excellent
Verizon offers voice remote functionality, easy ways to get to your favorites, and simple parental controls. It also has a mobile app that enables on-the-go streaming of your favorite channels—and it is surprisingly well-rated. (2, 3)

Features and equipment may vary based on package. Visit
Verizon Fios's website
or call 1-833-970-0848 for more information.
Hulu
Customer experience
3.5
Easy purchase experience, but confusing package and add-on options

There’s no free trial for the live TV package with Hulu, but we like that the service is easy to upgrade, downgrade, or cancel. You can do it all online, and your access to content will continue through the end of the time period you’ve already paid for.

It’s not a deal breaker, but we also wish the different packages were easier to understand. You can choose from the following: just the Hulu streaming library with ads for the lowest price; just the library with no ads for another price; live TV plus the streaming stuff for a third price (that’s the plan we use for our calculations); or live TV plus streaming without ads for yet another price. It feels a little silly, and add-on prices that are relatively hidden are also a bummer.

It’s nice that you can cancel or change your plan easily, though, and we like that there are no contracts or hidden fees to worry about. It’s a refreshing change from what you’ll find with most classic TV providers.

Visit Hulu + Live TV's website
or call for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
Optimum brand
Customer experience
4.0
Premium installation with a premium price

Most Optimum TV customers are happy with the service and self-installation is free if you order online. If you need a pro to come help (and you order online), the charge is $60. If you call in to order, self-install is free, the standard installation costs about $100, and premium installation costs about $150.

Visit Optimum's website
or call 1-844-719-8066 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
Verizon Fios brand
Customer experience
4.0
Installation is a little pricey (unless you order online)

The Verizon Fios TV professional installation fee is $99, and there’s no self-install option. However, online ordering and promotions often waive this fee, so you can save some money on your first TV bill. Apart from that, the other major setup costs are the router and the DVR. You'll need the $18-per-month router if you don't already have Verizon Fios internet, and the company recommends against using your own equipment.

Once installation is handled, most customers are happy with the service. Some wish they could pay less, but complaints about the mobile app and channel lineup are relatively rare.

Visit Verizon Fios's website
or call 1-833-970-0848 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
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Hulu + Live TV
4.4
(52)
5 Star
58%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
9%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
S
Steven from Muskegon, MI
Hulu + Live TV Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 8/17/2022
A wonderful experience and fulfills all my desires to watch movies that I love
C
Christopherfrom Euless, TX
Hulu + Live TV Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 8/5/2022
Better than Dish or cable, overall. But packages are deceiving, because there is no true "no ads" tv. Also, price increases at least twice a year.
R
Robert from Lueders , TX
Hulu + Live TV Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 7/4/2022
The service goes as far as the service goes it's a pretty good service it's a little pricey but the DVR is good I get all the channels I like and the only thing I can approve improve it would be to lower the price
D
Djfrom Lincoln , NE
Hulu + Live TV Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 7/1/2022
Hulu is GREAT
Optimum
3.6
(22)
5 Star
27%
4 Star
32%
3 Star
27%
2 Star
9%
1 Star
5%
E
Edwardfrom Manalapan , NJ
Optimum Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 8/15/2022
Service is good but we lost channels in the last change of offers
J
Joann from Fairfield , CT
Optimum Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 7/14/2022
Too expensive. Difficult to contact by phone
D
David from Hackensack, NJ
Optimum Customer for Less than a year
Reviewed on: 7/2/2022
My optimum bill is included in the rent.I use it mostly for the wifi. I like to use the Amazon firestick as it offers first run movies.i don't think that there is any way to improve on that.
K
Katfrom Bronx, NY
Optimum Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 6/29/2022
It's just ok
Verizon Fios
4.4
(32)
5 Star
50%
4 Star
41%
3 Star
9%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
J
Jacobfrom Marshall , IL
Verizon Fios Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 8/16/2022
Love it great service
E
Enricofrom East Lansing, MI
Verizon Fios Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 7/17/2022
i love the deals that verizon has given me through promotion, i've had to switch from xfinity to verizon and they go hand in hand with my phone plan and i pay less than before
R
Richard from Fairfax , VA
Verizon Fios Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6/25/2022
Selection is good. Prices are too high. Should have different packages to choose from.
E
Edwardfrom Joppa, MD
Verizon Fios Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6/23/2022
I get NO extra channels just basics and my bill is still to high. $123.88
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Endnotes and sources
(1) "Network Ratings 2021 Top 100 Channels," Variety. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
Endnotes and sources
Endnotes and sources
(1) "Most-Watched Television Networks: Ranking 2022’s Winners and Losers," Variety. Accessed 4 April 2023.(2) "Fios TV Mobile," App Store. Accessed 17 October 2022.(3) "Fios TV Mobile," Google Play. Accessed 17 October 2022.