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I’m not sure if this is a defect or a licensing issue. I have noticed that most of these live TV streaming services are subjected to harsh blackout rules that go beyond local sporting events. I personally don’t watch partisan news networks, but I am well aware that CNN, FOX News and MSNBC are important to some. If you watch CNN, just be aware, that it comes and goes on Hulu. You may have better luck catching a rogue live feed of CNN on YouTube.
It’s hard to justify paying for a service that’s missing so many channels, especially when you have to supply the Internet connection. Cable bundles are still the best option, at least for a family that consumes content heavily. It would appear that Viacom is stunting the growth of this industry while they develop their own solution.
Hulu with Live TV: Sports
I’m not an avid sports fan, but I know this is an essential aspect of any television bundle. The good news is that Hulu’s channel lineup and design are sports-heavy. Sports channels include BTN, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPNews, ESPNU, FS1, FS2, Golf Channel, NBC Sports, Olympic Channel and SEC Network. If that’s not enough, you will also get local sports channels. In the San Francisco Bay Area, I also get NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California. Local network affiliates will also often broadcast sporting events, which comes in handy if the game is blacked out on a national network.
Hulu’s tvOS app is very sports centric. The Home screen immediately presents any major, live sporting event. I didn’t configure sports as a preference, yet Hulu still shows the big game as the first option on my Home screen. The content menu bar on the Home screen is dominated by sporting options. If you love sports, Hulu has you covered. This is important, as most cable-over-the-Internet services are deficient when it comes to sports. If you’re not a sports fan, be advised that Hulu will still fill up screens and menus with recommendations for sporting events.
Hulu with Live TV: On Demand
Hulu with live TV comes with its excellent on demand library, which is still the cornerstone of the service. Unfortunately, they bundle the “limited commercial” version with the live TV service. This means that you will need to sit through commercials when watching on demand content. You can’t fast forward through ads.
In the past, Hulu used to be pretty fair about advertising breaks. There were far fewer commercial breaks and they were much shorter than on broadcast TV. These days, it all depends on what you’re watching. I’ve watched some programs with a ridiculous amount of advertising. Some commercial breaks are almost 7 minutes long and there can be as many as 6 or 7 per hour. This is excessive, especially considering the fact that you are paying for the service. Crackle is totally free, and even they don’t force so much advertising on the viewer. Excessive advertising is not good for advertisers either. Their message can’t get through, because they are competing with so many other advertisers for your attention. I found myself getting up off the sofa during commercial breaks. I could probably even cook some bacon during a commercial break. next page →