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Hulu bypasses Apple’s in-app purchasing system, at least for their live TV bundle. When you start the Hulu app for the first time, there’s no option to try their live TV service. This makes sense, as Apple takes a 15% cut from in-app subscription purchases. The live TV service costs much more than the standard on-demand Hulu offerings. It seems a bit ridiculous for Apple to take $6 a month, per subscriber, in perpetuity. Apple is not hosting the live TV service in their data center, after all. They’re only hosting a small, one-time app download and handling monthly billing. It’s easy to see why Hulu would opt out. Unlike Spotify, Hulu is large enough to get away with it.
All of this means that you will have to go to Hulu’s website to sign up for their free 7 day trial. It’s probably easier than trying to subscribe over Apple TV with the clumsy on-screen keyboard. (You can use an iOS device as an Apple TV keyboard and controller, but just going to their site is easier. You have to do this anyway, as they don’t offer live TV as an in-app purchase.)
Using just about any device, open a browser and navigate to Hulu’s live TV website. You will see the free trial offer and information about the service. I recommend signing up for all of the extras, because they’re free. Just make sure to cancel your subscription if you don’t intend on paying for the service. You can cancel before your trial ends, and still use the service. Make sure to remember your user ID and password. You will need these to login to Hulu on Apple TV.
Once you have created your account you can login to Hulu on your Apple TV. Simply click on the login button on the Hulu app and enter your information. Once authenticated, you are walked through an initial setup process. Hulu asks about your favorite networks, genres and other customization options. When you’re done, you will be presented with the Hulu with Live TV home screen. Let’s take a look at all that Hulu with Live TV has to offer.
Hulu with Live TV: Home Screen
Hulu’s streaming television service makes a decent attempt to figure out what you like and presents it to you on the main screen. This capability gets smarter as you use the service. Simply start the app, and Hulu will attempt to predict what you want to watch. It can even suggest current live events. For example, I launched Hulu on Super Bowl Sunday, and the top suggestion was to watch the Super Bowl. Other suggestions were based on my initial configuration and viewing habits.
Hulu actually tells you why the suggestion was made with tags such as “Popular on Hulu” and “For Fans of Documentaries”. This was helpful, as I wondered why it recommended Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
Predictive suggestions are done reasonably well with Hulu’s streaming TV service. That said, when they’re not appealing, drilling down into live TV or on demand programming can be a chore. next page →