Hulu Free Trial: Here’s How to Get a Free Hulu Subscription Even After Your Free Trial Ends

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The Handmaid's Tale
Photo: Hulu / Courtesy Everett Collection.

If you’re a fan of shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, PEN15 and Only Murders in the Building, you may be curious about Hulu’s free trial and how else to subscribe to the service at no cost.

Hulu, which launched in October 2007, is a streaming service with more than 1,650 TV shows and 2,500 movies. As of 2021, the service has more than 42.8 million subscribers, which makes it one of the top six streaming platforms in the United States, alongside Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max and Peacock.

The name Hulu comes from two Mandarian words, húlu (calabash) and hùlù (interactive recording). When the service launched, Hulu’s CEO at the time, Jason Kilar, explained that the name came from a Chinese proverb: “Hulu is Mandarin for gourd. And so when we were launching Hulu, we thought, ‘what a great name that is.’ And it had this great sort of symbolism of the holder of precious things, which is the holder of premium content. So that’s why we named it Hulu,” he said at the time.

Along with its streaming service, Hulu also offers a live TV plan, Hulu+ With Live TV, that includes more than 75 live TV channels, such as ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX. So those are the basics on Hulu. But what about Hulu’s free trial? Read on for what we know about Hulu and Hulu+ With Live TV’s free trial and how else users can subscribe to the service at no cost.

Only Murders in the Building

Image: Craig Blankenhorn / ©Hulu / Courtesy Everett Collection.

Does Hulu have a free trial?

Hulu offers a 30-day free trial. Read on for instructions on how to sign up for Hulu’s free trial.

  1. Visit Hulu.com.
  2. Click “Start Your Free Trial.”
  3. Select your plan: Hulu’s ad-supported plan or Hulu’s no-ads plan.
  4. Enter your information and payment method.
  5. Start watching with Hulu’s free trial!

Does Hulu Live TV have a free trial?

Hulu+ With Live TV offers a seven-day free trial. Read on for instructions on how to sign up for Hulu+ With Live TV’s free trial.

  1. Visit Hulu.com.
  2. Click “Start Your Free Trial.”
  3. Select your plan: Hulu+ With Live TV
  4. Enter your information and payment method.
  5. Start watching with Hulu+ With Live TV’s free trial!

How to watch Hulu for free

After Hulu’s tree trial ends, there’s still a way to subscribe to the service for free. Read on for our tips and tricks to watch Hulu at no cost.

Verizon’s Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ Bundle

If you’re a Verizon customer (or know someone who is), there is another free option. For a limited time, customers with unlimited plans, such as Get More Unlimited and Play More Unlimited, have access to Verizon’s complimentary The Disney Bundle, which includes Disney+, Hulu and ESPN. Disney+ and ESPN are nice, but Hulu for free is the real reward here.

So how do you claim your free Hulu subscription? Well, Verizon has a FAQ here that explains the steps a Verizon customer needs to take to access Disney+ for free, but here’s the gist: Go to My Verizon site or the My Verizon App. In the app, go to the Plans & Devices page and click Explore Adds. On the site, choose Account on the top menu and click Add Ons & Apps.

There, customers will be able to choose The Disney Bundle, which includes Disney+, Hulu and ESPN. After choosing the bundle, click Get It Now. Enter the email address you want to use for your subscriptions, check your email for confirmation and voila. You can now watch Hulu for free.

How much does Hulu cost?

Hulu’s cost starts at $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year (which saves users about $14) for its ad-supported plan. Hulu’s no-ads plan costs $12.99 per month. Hulu also offers a student discount for $1.99 per month fo its ad-supported plan (which saves users $5 per month or $60 per year.) Users can also subscribe to The Disney Bundle, which includes Hulu’s ad-supported plan, Disney+ and ESPN+ for $13.99 per month. The bundle saves users about $8 per month from subscribing to each service individually.

Along with their Hulu subscription, users can also add on premium subscriptions to HBO Max ($14.99 per month), Cinemax ($9.99 per month), Showtime ($10.99 per month) and Starz ($8.99 per month.)

How much does Hulu+ Live TV cost?

Hulu+ With Live TV costs $64.99 per month for its ad-supported plan and $70.99 per month for its no-ads plan.

What’s on Hulu?

Hulu offers more than 1,650 TV shows and 2,500 movies, including original programs like The Handmaid’s Tale; Nine Perfect Strangers; Only Murders in the Building; Little Fires Everywhere; Love, Victor; Normal People; PEN15; Ramy; The Great; and Dollface. Hulu subscribers can also subscribe to new episodes from FOX, NBC and ABC TV shows the day after they air. TV shows that are available to stream next day include The Bachelor, Grey’s Anatomy, The Masked Singer, The Voice and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. 

What’s on Hulu+ With Live TV?

Hulu+ With Live TV offers everything Hulu has, along with more 75 channels that users can watch live. Those channels include ABC, CBS, FOX, Lifetime, Disney Channel, Bravo, HGTV, E!, Nickelodeon and dozens of others. Along with live channels, Hulu+ With Live TV also offers 50 hours of DVR footage that users can use to record TV shows, movies and other live TV events, as well as TV shows that aren’t available on Hulu’s regular plan.

Is Hulu worth it?

Is Hulu worth it? In an interview with CNBC in 2017, Hulu’s CEO at the time, Mike Hopkins, explained what he thinks sets Hulu apart from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other streaming services. “We are committed to the subscription on-demand space,” he said at the time. “It is really the lifeblood of our company, but we’re also really excited to enter this new, emerging over-the-top paid TV space as well.” Hopkins also cited Hulu+ With Live TV as a way Hulu is different for viewers who still want to stream but also want access to new and live TV. “As people’s taste change, as people want these different experiences we need to capture them as they are coming out,” he said. “I think we can actually get people who opted out of the system back in through a service like Hulu live TV.”

Hulu’s new CEO, Randy Freer, also told Variety in 2018 that Hulu’s decision to offer plans with ads and no ads was also a “strategic advantage” for the service at the time. “I think where we’re really focused now is around our growth, and how we scale in this marketplace. I saw after six months coming in that we really needed to align our efforts, and we’re aligning around four basic areas: technology and products — previously they were separate organizations; subscriber journey…” he said. “Making sure we can engage and we can retain and we can delight our customers from the first time they touch us right on through their lifespan with us. The third part is content… the fourth area is around advertising revenue, and really flipping the model there — we believe that advertising, rather than being commercial interruption, can be a strategic advantage for us. We offer consumers choice. They can have ads or not have ads.”

Freer also discussed how Hulu’s content library, which includes original content, licensed content and a live TV services, also makes a difference for its subscribers. “When we talk about content, we provide it in three ways. Obviously we acquire it through library content and license it; we acquire it live for our live service in the way of networks; and we make it,” he said. “So I think what we’re doing is every day, we’ll evaluate what’s the best way to allocate our resources. It’s our largest investment by far in the business, and sometimes it’s going to make more sense to make originals, sometimes it’s going to make sense to acquire more library content, and sometimes it will make sense to add networks to our live product.”

Freer also seemed to shade services like Netflix in claiming that Hulu is much more selective about the original shows it greenlights. “Originals for us is something that we have to get much more targeted around. We’re not going to make 800 shows. I mean, next year, we’ll probably make 20 or 25 shows,” he said at the time. “So we have to be very specific with what we want those shows to do, how we want to invest in them. Obviously we’re coming off the second season of Handmaid’s Tale. We’ll roll into Castle Rock July 25 which is [from] J.J. Abrams and Stephen King, which we think is gonna be awesome. We want to make sure that we have a combination of original content that’s gonna be impactful, that’s gonna be familiar to people, and hopefully is going to give them another reason to subscribe and be part of the relevant cultural conversation by being a Hulu subscriber.”

He also responded to customer complaints at the time that Netflix was overpriced for what it provides. “Look, I think Netflix looks at their economics and decides what they can pay or what they want to pay. Content is something like talent, right? You can’t overestimate the value of talent when it works,” he said. “You’re never overpaying for those things that are a hit. We could sit here today and say, ‘Handmaid’s Tale was incredibly expensive,’ but certainly worth it for our audiences and for our business. The challenge in content is not the successes. The challenge are the things that don’t become relevant in the cultural conversation.”

He also explained why The Handmaid’s Tale, which premiered in 2017, was such a hit for Hulu and helped put the service on the map. “Look, Game of Thrones is an awesome show as well. But look, Handmaid’s Tale has been an incredible experience for Hulu,” he said. “I think the second season is even better than the first. It’s accessible, it’s big, it’s bold, and it still keeps that conversation going. They actually opened the writers’ room to the third season if you can believe it a couple weeks ago… The creative process will determine, is it a fourth season, is it five seasons?”  He continued, “And I think that’s one of the benefits for creators in the streaming world — shows can take a natural progression, they can live for as long as they should live or they can end. I think it’s unfair sometimes in the characterization of broadcast television that we talk about a show’s been canceled after four years or seven years, whatever it is… Look, I hope, as success goes, there’s 10 seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale.”

That said, Freer also explained how streaming isn’t the same as live TV when it comes to data about viewers. “Oh, there are so many differences, across the board,” he said. “But certainly, the access and the ability to have a direct consumer relationship and know what those consumers like and don’t like, and when they come in and leave your platform for a variety of reasons…. It’s still to me mind-boggling that an industry as large as television is wholly economically regulated by a third-party measurement service that does the best job they can but still has challenges.”

Freer also told CNN in 2019 that he’s proud of how Hulu offers a “variety” of content for consumers. “We need programming for a variety of customers. That customer that loves anime needs the best anime. That customer that loves adult animation needs the best adult animation,” Freer said. He also noted the technical differences between running a streaming service and a network. “We look at things about how quickly people get to video, how many people come and don’t get to video,” he said. “So there’s a tremendous amount of information and data that will help us really design the next version of Hulu as these things become more navigable, easier to use, and more intuitive.”

Sign up for Hulu or Hulu+ With Live TV‘s free trials at Hulu.com.

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