Brace yourself for another hit to your monthly subscription budget.
Hulu with Live TV, the very good live TV alternative that bundles live and linear programming with Hulu’s on-demand library, is getting yet another price hike. Per a notice that appeared on Hulu’s price guide support page, the company next month will raise the base costs for both its ad-supported and ad-free Live TV packages. Starting Dec. 18, the ad-free version of the service will jump to $71 per month from $61 per month, and its ad-supported tier will hike from $55 to $65 per month—or the same cost of the recently increased YouTube TV subscription. Great.
A Hulu spokesperson confirmed the company notified customers of the change by email today.
Now, like YouTube TV, Hulu’s own live and linear tiers allow for customization and premium add-ons for things like HBO Max and Showtimes, both of which cost an additional $15 and $11 per month, respectively. Want additional networks or unlimited screens? That’ll be another $5-$10 per month per feature. In other words, if Hulu is your primary cable alternative and primary hub for an entire household’s entertainment, that Live TV package—now with a $10-per-month price hike—can get expensive fast.
The real bummer here is that all of the very best options for live and linear streaming are about the same price now. If one hikes, you can pretty much expect the rest to follow suit. YouTube TV jacked up its monthly subscription cost to $65 back in June, while Fubo TV’s family plan has also jumped to $65 per month after promo pricing.
Keep in mind that there are definitely some more affordable options for live TV cordcutting out there if you’re okay with compromising on some features like FX content (Hulu), unlimited DVR (YouTube), or an exceptionally large number of sports networks to choose from (Fubo TV). Sling TV is a good option if you don’t mind paying for some live TV while adding more premium viewing from another service like Netflix or HBO Max. This is currently the system that I have in place in my own home and it’s great. But the number of live channels I need is fairly small, and Sling is not a one-for-one replacement if you’re a Hulu evangelist.
Ultimately, we’ve fully passed the point where cordcutting is an “always cheaper” alternative to good old fashioned cable. Cordcutting does still allow you to get around some of the predatory fee gouging and hidden contract agreements that make old guard cable giants insufferable. But any significant savings are becoming harder to swing—particularly for those of us who subscribe to a bunch of services for our various entertainment needs.
At some point, it’s worth asking yourself: How much is too much to cut the cord?