Is Hulu + Live TV good for live sports?

David Anders
DA
David Anders
May 8, 2019
  • Hulu Live TV sports channels include 15+ major sports networks
  • Video quality is up to 720p for live TV streaming
  • Monthly subscription starts at $44.99 per month

The lack of live sports has been one of the biggest drawbacks to cutting the cord, but Hulu attempts to bridge the gap with their Hulu + Live TV service.

The service comes with many sports networks you’d get from a cable or satellite TV provider, plus local channels, TNT and TBS.

As far as cutting the cord without sacrificing live sports, Hulu + Live TV is one of your better options, but it doesn’t quite live up to what you get with traditional TV service.

We’ve listed the good and potentially bad sides of Hulu + Live TV below to help you decide if the service is right for you.

Live sports streaming with Hulu + Live TV: The good

Hulu + Live TV has the major sports networks you’d get from a cable or satellite TV service, even some that are typically reserved for higher-tiered packages. Sports networks that come with Hulu + Live TV include:

  • Big Ten Network
  • CBS Sports Network
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPNEWS
  • ESPNU
  • ESPN Bases Loaded
  • ESPN College Extra
  • ESPN Goal Line
  • Fox Sports 1
  • Fox Sports 2
  • Golf Channel
  • NBC Sports Network
  • Olympic Channel
  • SEC Network

Local channels and regional sports networks included

The national networks are great for keeping up with the sports world, but many sports fans just want to watch the local teams. Hulu + Live TV includes local channels and regional sports networks so you can watch your local NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL teams.

Your location determines which regional sports networks you get. Regional sports networks may not be available in all areas and are subject to blackouts. Go to hulu.com/live-sports and enter your ZIP code to see which regional sports networks are available in your area.

Personalized experiences to follow your favorite teams

Hulu makes it easier to keep up with your favorite teams and sports.

Go to the “Interests” tabs and select “Sports Teams” to add the pro teams you want to follow. Once you’ve selected your favorite teams, Hulu will recommend games and notify you of upcoming games based on your selections.

Watching sports on the go

Hulu lets you stream on up to two devices simultaneously, including mobile devices. You can stream live sports from virtually anywhere with the Hulu app on your phone.

Watch your data usage, though, because streaming can use a lot of data. If your wireless plan includes a data limit, try connecting to a Wi-Fi network before streaming sports on your phone.

Watch live sports

Live sports streaming with Hulu + Live TV: The bad

Many cord cutters opt for streaming services to save money on TV, but Hulu + Live TV likely won’t save you that much. Monthly subscription starts at $44.99 per month, which is comparable to cable and satellite TV pricing.

Depending on the TV providers available in your area, you could get a package with many more channels than Hulu + Live TV offers, including more sports channels, for around the same price.

720p is the highest resolution for live TV

Sports, like anything on TV, are best enjoyed in full HD (1080p) or ultra-HD (2160p or “4K”). As of now, the best you’ll get with Hulu + Live TV is 720p. Technically, 720p is considered “HD,” but the quality isn’t the same as 1080p and is nowhere close to 4K.

When watching on a small screen, such as a phone or laptop, you may not notice the resolution quality, but you’ll likely notice it on a larger TV screen. Plus, fast action scenes, which is basically what all sports broadcasts are, appear blurrier in 720p resolution.

Buffering can ruin the live viewing experience

Buffering is annoying no matter what you’re watching, but it can be downright maddening when you’re trying to watch live sports. A slow internet connection, increased bandwidth traffic and service issues can interrupt your feed, completely removing the “live” action feel of the game.

A faster internet connection and higher-quality router can help, but buffering is something all streamers have to deal with from time to time.

Add-on sports packages aren’t available

Cable and satellite TV providers offer lots of sports channels with their packages but many also offer add-on sports packages. Subscriptions to sports packages like MLB Extra Innings, NBA League Pass or NFL Sunday Ticket aren’t available with Hulu + Live TV. If you just want to watch local sports this isn’t a big deal, but if you want to follow out-of-market teams, add-on sports packages are the best way to do it.

The verdict: Hulu + Live TV is good, but not great, for live sports

Hulu + Live TV gives you more sports action than most other streaming services, but it still doesn’t quite live up to the live sports experience you get with cable or satellite TV service.

While Hulu + Live TV does have 15+ sports networks available to stream on up to two devices at once, it lacks the resolution quality and add-on options of cable or satellite TV.

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