Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Why the Hulu "no ads" streaming plans may still have ads

One of the most popular streaming services is Hulu. I've subscribed to Hulu ever since there were two Hulu plans: free and paid. Way back then, the free Hulu plan was for watching content in your Web browser. The paid plan was for watching Hulu Plus via a streaming device such as Roku. The catalog of shows was different for each plan, at least at first. Shows were either part of the free Hulu service, or they were part of the paid Hulu Plus service, but not both.

That eventually changed, and Hulu became just Hulu. Did that simplify things? Not really. Hulu no longer has a free plan and a paid plan. Hulu has four different paid plans. Two of the plans are "no ads" plans. And even the "no ads" plans can have ads.

It's complicated. Probably more complicated than it needs to be. But, here's what's going on, and why.

There are four plans. The first is...

Hulu. Plain old Hulu. It's the classic service of on-demand content of current TV shows and some older stuff too. There are ads with this plan. It's like watching TV shows on cable or over the air that you recorded. Only, you can't fast forward through the commercials. You gotta do the commercials. But there are fewer commercials than you get on cable or over the air.

The next plan is Hulu (No Ads). As the "no ads" part says, there are no ads. Except when there are. You see, there are some content that's excluded from not having ads. That is, there will be ads regardless on certain shows. Actually, certain show. There were around six that were excluded from no ads, but the list is now down to one: Grey's Anatomy. If you don't watch the show, this won't matter. Other than that, yeah, it's no ads.

Hulu also has a service called Hulu + Live TV. As the name implies, it's the regular Hulu plan, plus a live TV service. Hulu will have ads. Hulu's Live TV service will have ads. It's live TV, and live TV has ads. There is also a catalog of other on-demand content from the networks that you don't get with regular Hulu. Those will probably have ads. You can pretty much bank on it.

There's one other service that causes the most confusion. Or, more properly, a lot of people get confused about the plan. It's Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV. Pay close attention to the name. It's the Hulu (No Ads) service, plus the live TV service. The Hulu portion won't have ads (well, Grey's Anatomy sill has ads). However, the Live TV portion will. It's live TV, remember? There is no TARDIS circuit to skip you into the future past the commercials. It's the same live TV service that comes with Hulu + Live TV. It's the Hulu (No Ads) service, which we talked about earlier, plus the live TV service. 

And, the extra network on-demand content? Still has ads. The "no ads" only applies to the Hulu on-demand service. That's all.

So, is this confusing? Well, yeah, some get really confused about it. And sometimes they fuss and complain, probably because they don't understand that the "no ads" doesn't apply to everything in the overall service.

Now that you know, you will go into your planning for Hulu based on better information. Assuming of course that  you are considering Hulu as a content provider.

As I've said, I use the standard Hulu service and have for years. It works well, especially if you are used to watching shows you recorded. The on-demand service experience is much like a DVR service. Except for skipping commercials. If the no ads option is something you want, just keep in mind where the "no ads" applies and where it doesn't. That'll ensure no nasty surprises in your Streaming Life.

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