These Hulu tips and tricks will make you a streaming pro
Get the most from your Hulu subscription with our handy guide.
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As host to thousands of popular TV shows and movies, Hulu is a fantastic addition to your streaming catalog. The service, now wholly owned by Disney, hosts new episodes of shows just days after they air alongside a large back catalog, critically acclaimed originals, and the option to add premium channels or subscribe to live TV.
Our guide looks at some basics of this unique service, as well as offering a deep dive into the settings to help you get the most from Hulu. If you’ve yet to subscribe, the entry-level plan costs $5.99 per month, but there are also great bundle deals like Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for a single monthly payment of $12.99. Whatever subscription you choose, here's how to stream Hulu in style.
How to set up a Hulu profile
If you want Hulu to serve up personal recommendations and keep track of where your place in your favorite shows, or if you want to set up a child-safe space, Hulu subscribers with multiple users will want to set up personal profiles for each (with a limit of six).
The process changes depending on the device you’re using. In your web browser, simply hover over the name at the top right and click Manage Profiles. Next click Add Profile, fill out the fields, and click Create Profile. In the mobile app, tap on Account and pick your name. Then tap New Profile, fill it out, and tap Create Profile. On a TV or streaming device, go to Account, then Profiles, then New Profile, fill it out, and select Create Profile.
If you’re creating a profile for a child you can toggle on Kids Mode during profile creation and it will restrict content to the Hulu Kids section. You can also set an age on each profile to have Hulu filter out R-rated movies or TV-MA shows for anyone under 17.
How to find your favorite videos
Hulu is organized into sections of content that you can browse through, but there’s also a search option at the top of the screen that is quite versatile. The latest Hulu app will begin to populate search results as you type, and you can search by title, actor, or network. If you’re a Hulu Plus Live TV subscriber, you can also search by sports team, sports event, or city.
You should also see Trending Searches, which lists what other people have been looking for, and Recent Searches, which displays what you’ve searched for before.
How to check and set the quality
While Hulu offers content in different resolutions, from standard definition (SD) all the way up to 4K Ultra HD, the quality you get depends on the content, the device that you’re watching on, and your available bandwidth. This is mostly handled automatically, with Hulu serving up the best possible quality you can get.
If you’re watching in a web browser or using the mobile app, there’s a settings cog icon at the bottom of the screen when you’re playing content. You can select it to find the Quality options, which include Data Saver or Best Quality.
How to download content to watch offline
If you want to download movies or TV shows to watch on the go, you need to subscribe to Hulu's ad-free premium plan—called simply "Hulu (no ads)—for $11.99. Next, install the mobile app for Android or iOS. You can only download content onto a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet, and only select movies and shows are available to download.
Any movie or TV episode that has a download icon, marked by a downward arrow, can be downloaded. You can also go to Search and choose Downloadable from the menu to see which videos are available.
By default, downloads will only happen when you’re connected to WiFi, but you can override this and use your cellular data if you want to. In the iOS app, tap Downloads, then the settings cog, and switch Cellular Downloading on. For Android, go to Account and tap Settings then Downloads to toggle Cellular Downloading on. You can also select Video Quality on this settings page, but your choice is limited to Standard or High.
To access the downloaded content, simply tap on Downloads in the app. If you want to get rid of movies or episodes you’ve downloaded, go to Downloads and tap Edit, then select what you want to remove and tap the trash can icon.
How to build a watchlist
The older Hulu app has a Watchlist that’s built automatically as you watch things. The newer Hulu app has a section called My Stuff that allows you to add shows or movies manually, and then track them. In either case, you tap Add to Watchlist or Add to My Stuff to add things, and Remove from Watchlist or Remove from My Stuff to remove things.
You can access your favorites via the My Stuff option in the app. The beauty of this system is that it will automatically track the shows and movies you’re interested in, which means it will alert you when new episodes arrive and warn you when movies are about to expire. If you subscribe to Live TV, you can also track sports and teams you’re interested in.
How to edit your watch history
If you're embarrassed about your trash-TV addiction, or just want to remove something you really disliked, you may want to delete it from your watch history. You can do this by looking in the Keep Watching section. In your web browser, hover over the content you want to remove and click the X icon, then Done to remove it.
In the mobile app, find the movie or TV show you want to remove and tap the three dots to open more options, then tap Remove from Watch History. If you’re watching on a smart TV or streaming device, find the movie or TV show you want gone and select Manage Movie or Manage Series, then Remove from Watch History.
How to use Picture-in-Picture
If you’re watching Hulu on your computer or laptop, there’s a handy Picture-in-Picture feature. When you’re watching a show or movie, tap the Minimize icon next to Full Screen Mode at the bottom right of the screen and you’ll get a small window that you can move around while you browse for something else to watch.
How to turn off Autoplay
Maybe you’re trying not to binge, or you want to limit your child’s screen time—either way you may not want the next episode of the show you’re watching to play automatically when the current one ends. You can turn off autoplay via the user icon, or gear icon if you’re watching in your web browser, by selecting Settings and then disabling Autoplay.
How to customize subtitles
You can turn subtitles on or off when you’re watching content by pressing up on the remote control or going to Settings in your web browser or mobile app. You can also customize the look of subtitles, but how you do it differs from device to device.
On a TV, select the Account icon, then click Settings and Subtitles & Captions. Here you can adjust everything from the font and opacity to the edge style and background color. The Android app is the same path, but options are more limited. In your web browser, click the settings icon, then Subtitles & Audio, and select Settings.
On iOS devices, subtitles are controlled on a system level via the iOS Settings app where you’ll find Accessibility, Subtitles & Captioning and Style. You can then choose Create New Style to customize.
How to turn on dark mode
If you want a darker theme to prevent your eyes from being dazzled at night, click on your profile icon and turn on Night Mode. It switches Hulu’s default light theme to a darker one.
How to add a premium channel or change your plan
You can add various premium channels to your Hulu account including Cinemax, HBO, Showtime, and Starz. To do so, select Account and look in the Your Subscription section. There you'll find options to Manage Plan and Manage Add-ons.
How to pause your Hulu subscription
Hulu offers the option to pause your subscription rather than canceling altogether. This is great if you’re going to be away for a vacation or a business trip or you simply want to save some cash for a month or two.
To pause Hulu, go to Account and look under Your Subscription to find the Pause Your Subscription option. You can choose to pause it for up to 12 weeks.
Now you know how to get the most from your Hulu subscription.
You can sign up for Hulu with ads for $5.99 per month, or opt for Hulu (No Ads) for $11.99 per month, or get the bundle with Disney+ and ESPN+ for $12.99. If you want Hulu + Live TV, it will cost you $54.99 per month.