Hulu vs. HBO Max: Which Is Better?

Updated: August 22,2022

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Are you a fan of streaming services? If so, you're probably wondering what the best one is. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, and HBO all offer their own benefits that can make it tough to decide which streaming service is the right choice for you. 

In this article, we're going to compare Hulu vs. HBO Max to help you figure out if one of them is a good option for you. Both services have a lot to offer, but some key differences may make one a better fit than the other.

Quick Overview - HBO Max vs. Hulu

Hulu is cheaper than HBO Max, and it offers a variety of content, including the latest TV shows, movies, and original programming. However, HBO Max has a larger selection of TV shows and features many more movies. It also has exclusive access to certain Warner Bros. properties, such as The Sopranos and Friends. 

If you're trying to decide between HBO Max and Hulu, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First, let's take a quick look at the main differences between these two streaming services:

  • HBO Max offers more content than Hulu, including a larger selection of movies and TV shows. However, it also costs more per month.
  • HBO Max may have a more limited selection compared to Netflix, but it’s still a lot bigger than what Hulu has to offer. It offers unique benefits such as access to HBO's entire back catalog and exclusive original programming.
  • HBO Max has exclusive access to certain Warner Bros. properties, Disney channels, as well as anime movies and series from Crunchyroll.
  • Hulu offers a live TV option, which allows you to watch some channels as they air. HBO Max does not offer this feature at the moment.
  • Hulu offers more features and add-ons than HBO Max, which allows you to tailor the subscription to your taste. 

Hulu vs. HBO Max - Pricing

Both Hulu and HBO Max are competitively priced, but which offers the best value for your money? Here's a breakdown of the pricing and features for each service to help you decide.

Hulu Plans

  • With ads - $6.99/month or $69.99/year
  • Ad-free - $12.99/month (there are no annual plans)

Hulu Bundle (Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+)

  • With ads - $13.99/month 
  • Ad-free - $19.99/month 

Live TV Bundle

  • With ads: Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+, and Live TV - $69.99/month
  • Ad-free: Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+, and Live TV - $75.99/month

Hulu Add-ons

  • Entertainment - $7.99/month
  • Sports - $9.99/month
  • Español - $4.99/month
  • Unlimited - $9.99/month
  • ESPN+ - $9.99/month
  • Disney+ - $2.99/month
  • SHOWTIME - $10.99/month
  • HBO Max - $14.99/month
  • Cinemax - $9.99/month
  • STARZ - $8.99/month

HBO Max Plans

  • With ads - $9.99/month or $99.99/year 
  • Ad-free - $14.99/month or $149.99/year 

When comparing Hulu and HBO Max prices, it is evident that Hulu is slightly less expensive. It provides more add-ons and bundles than HBO Max, including an add-on that grants access to HBO Max itself. Therefore, you can customize your streaming service, but it costs extra, and you have to be careful because the charges can add up fast. 

Unlike Hulu, HBO Max offers just two options, both of which are available monthly and annually. Yes, it costs a bit more, but it has a lot more to offer than Hulu at that tier. Is the price worth it? We are about to find out. 

You should be aware that the prices for both Hulu plans will increase in December. A plan with ads will be $7.99 per month or $79.99 annually, and an ads-free plan will be the same price as the HBO Max plan - $14.99 per month without an annual plan. 

Hulu vs. HBO Max - Content and User Experience

Now that we have covered the pricing, let's look at what each service offers in terms of content and user experience. 

HBO Max’s Content and User Experience

As we mentioned before, HBO has a lot more content and produces higher-quality shows when compared to Hulu. While it may not have the same selection as Netflix, it comes in as a close second. It offers a selection of both old and new movies and TV shows, with a focus on quality over quantity. 

To prove the point, HBO Max’s show “Succession” is the most Emmy-nominated show of 2022, but to be fair, Hulu also managed to more than double its Emmy nominations from the previous year. When comparing Hulu vs. HBO Max in this respect, Hulu has a lot of catching up to do, though there has been a noticeable improvement in the quality of Hulu shows.

HBO Max has an excellent user interface, which makes finding content easy. The home screen offers quick access to featured content, new releases, and trending shows. You can also browse by genre or use the search function to find specific titles. 

HBO Max also offers some unique features, such as the ability to download content for offline viewing and continue watching across multiple devices. It allows for simultaneous streaming on three different devices from one profile. 

Hulu's Content and User Experience

Hulu's content selection is not as great as that of HBO Max, but it does offer a good mix of old and new movies and TV shows. Thanks to the add-ons, it also has a lot of exclusive content you can't find on other streaming services.

The home screen offers quick access to featured content, Hulu Originals, new releases, and trending shows. You can also browse by genre or use the search function to find specific titles. The downside is that the user interface isn’t as intuitive, and if you try to search for shows with particular actors, prepare to get some unrelated search suggestions.

Like HBO Max, Hulu also offers offline viewing, but that isn’t all. The Cloud DVR feature allows you to record live TV for later viewing, too. Moreover, Watch Party enables you to organize a party of up to eight people and watch a movie while chatting in a group chat. The only catch is that all participants must have a Hulu subscription.

Hulu Add-on Bundles

One of the biggest differences between Hulu and HBO Max is the add-on bundles. With Hulu, you can add on premium channels such as HBO, SHOWTIME, and STARZ for an additional fee. This gives you access to their content and the Hulu library, but what exactly do you get?

Hulu is a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company. That said, it's no surprise that Disney+ and ESPN+ (both owned by Disney) are among the main bundles available on the Hulu network.

The Basic Live bundle gives access to an additional 75+ live TV networks. With entertainment networks, Sports, and Español add-ons, the number goes over 100 networks. Meanwhile, the Unlimited Screens add-on allows you to stream to any number of devices on your home network and three separate mobile devices. This is quite an increase from the default two.

SHOWTIME, STARZ, and Cinemax add-ons allow you to watch shows and movies from their respective networks. SHOWTIME offers championship boxing and unique movies, and STARZ offers access to original series such as American Gods, Outlander, and more. Meanwhile, Cinemax is renowned for its action films.

As you already noticed, you can watch HBO Max through Hulu, but is it any different from a regular HBO Max subscription? Simply put, no. There is no difference in the content whatsoever, and even the monthly price is the same. 

Final Thoughts 

The global video streaming market is estimated to reach $124.57 billion by 2025, and since the start of the pandemic, the number of people using streaming services has increased exponentially. With so much money on the table, competition is fierce, and companies will find it more difficult to differentiate their services.

Even now, Netflix's main competitors, such as HBO Max and Hulu, are catching up. Recent price hikes have caused many users to cancel their Netflix subscriptions and switch to a more affordable streaming service. 

With an announced crackdown by Netflix on password-sharing practices between its users, we could see more people jumping ship. HBO Max and Hulu are both excellent streaming services with a lot to offer, and they’re unlikely to have much trouble attracting unsatisfied Netflix users.

They both have good content selections, user interfaces, and unique features. While HBO Max may have a slight edge in terms of content selection, Hulu offers add-on bundles that give you access to a wide range of exclusive content. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference as to which service is right for you.

As the streaming wars continue, we can expect to see more exclusive content, add-ons, and price hikes. The key for these companies will be to find a way to stand out from the crowd and offer something that Netflix doesn't. What that is, only time will tell.


Is HBO Max on Hulu the same as HBO Max?

Yes, the HBO Max content on Hulu is exactly the same as what you would get if you subscribed to HBO Max directly.

Is Hulu better than HBO Max?

Currently, Hulu is slightly better mainly because of the price, but that will change in the near future as the company increases the pricing of its plans. Ultimately, it depends on what you're looking for in a streaming service. If you’re looking for an overview of what both networks have to offer, check out our “Hulu vs. HBO Max” article for more information.

Is it worth it to get Hulu?

Hulu is a great streaming service that offers a good mix of old and new movies and TV shows. Thanks to the add-ons, it is also very versatile. If you're looking for a well-rounded streaming service, Hulu is definitely worth considering, but it can be fairly pricey based on what plan and add-ons you choose.

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While Damjan started his career in humanities, his interests quickly moved on to the tech and IT world. VPNs, antiviruses, firewalls, password managers - cybersecurity is what he knows best. When Damjan’s not losing hair over the dwindling of our collective sense of tech safety, you’ll find him looking for solace in 100-hour-long RPGs and rage-inducing MOBAs.

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