The streaming service Hulu — and its premium version Hulu Plus — is essentially the yin to Netflix’s yang. With Netflix, users have the ability to stream various TV shows and movies online, while also having the option to rent physical DVDs or Blu-Rays. Hulu on the other hand, utilizes a streaming-only formula for its customers, with a heavy focus on providing access to currently airing TV shows.
Hulu grants users access to new episodes of shows like NBC’s The Blacklist, or FOX’s The Mindy Project, the day after they air with limited commercial interruption. While some of Hulu’s select TV shows are available without the $7.99 per month Hulu Plus subscription, most of the site’s content requires an upgraded account. Though operating Hulu — and Hulu Plus — remains simple and straightforward, there does exist several ways for you to improve your experience while streaming on the site. What follows is our simple guide of tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Hulu and Hulu Plus.
Hulu tips and tricks
Upgrade your Flash Player
Most of the popular browsers upgrade Flash Player automatically, but we still recommend checking which version your browser currently runs. If you happen to still use an old version of Flash, upgrading offers an improvement to your overall Hulu experience. Adobe offers installs of the latest Flash Player through its website and the best part is, it’s completely free.
The latest edition of Flash Player boosts your computer’s hardware acceleration which cuts down on its video processing needs. In other words it helps keep your computer from working too hard and hitching while you stream.
Use Hulu’s advanced search options
Although the search function on Hulu showed improvement over the years, the site still includes random matches in your search results. You search for an episode of Bones and Hulu starts showing you clips, episodes, or movies which have anything to do with the word “bone.”
Hulu’s advanced search helps refine your search results, which makes finding what you originally searched for an easier task. If you know the network, season, episode number, or star of the show or movie you want to watch, just input the information and Hulu will execute the appropriate search.
Load up your queue with your favorite shows
It may seem a menial task but setting up your Queue and Favorites list makes using Hulu much easier. Populating these lists allows for even easier navigation to your most watched shows, and cuts down the amount of searching needed. After you add a show to your Favorites list, just hover your mouse over your profile name in the upper right corner of the screen and click on Favorites or Queue to access the saved selections.
Adding your most watched shows to the Favorites list allows Hulu to add any and all episodes of those series’ to your Queue for easy access. Updating your Favorites list also lets Hulu recommend other shows based on your preferences which improves your website experience.
Set alerts for favorite or expiring shows
You can take the convenience of your Favorites list even further by setting alerts for favorite or expiring shows. At the top of your queue list you’ll notice two separate email alerts you can opt for which read Favorite Updates and Expiration Alerts. Select either or both of the alerts and Hulu will send you timely updates about new episodes added of your favorite show, or the impending doom of others.
Use Hulu on your other media devices
Streaming Hulu shows and movies is no longer confined to just your web browser. Rather, there are many media devices which have integrated Hulu access for your viewing pleasure. Devices like the Xbox One or Playstation 4, Google’s Chromecast, Roku devices, and a host of application-enabled TVs all stream Hulu content. You’re even able to download the Hulu app on smartphones and watch episodes on the go. This kind of cross compatibility is one of Hulu’s strongest features.
Subscribe to Hulu Plus
The simplest of tips and tricks, sure, but having Hulu Plus gives you access to everything the site offers. Gone are the days where Hulu offers most of its deep library of free TV episodes to anyone who visits hulu.com.
For just $7.99 a month — the same as Netflix’s stream-only option — you get access to Hulu’s entire library. This includes the latest episodes of your favorite shows after they air on their respective networks, and a library of streamable movies. If you can’t wait for season 5 of Community to come out on DVD, then Hulu Plus is what you want.
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