Peacock vs Hulu: Which streaming service is best?

Peacock vs Hulu
(Image credit: Hulu; Peacock)

Peacock has joined the streaming service flock, and the Peacock vs Hulu comparisons are only natural. There are so many players in the streaming service game these days, and subscribing to all of them isn't financially possible or even desirable for everybody -- and these two are big on TV.

Peacock TV is new platform from Comcast's NBCUniversal that aggregates content from that company's iconic brands, including NBC, Syfy, USA, Bravo, Oxygen as well as Universal Pictures, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation. It also features licensed titles and library rotations such as all of the Harry Potter movies. And unique among premium streaming services, it offers a free tier. 

Meanwhile, Hulu is one of the best streaming services out there and has only gotten better in the last year, after adding FX on Hulu and continuing to pump out new originals like Little Fires Everywhere, Palm Springs and The Great.

But Peacock could be a real contender thanks to its large and high-quality library. It may be time to make some hard decisions, so our Peacock vs Hulu face-off will explain why you should use one or the other (or both).

Peacock vs Hulu: At a glance

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Header Cell - Column 0 Peacock FreePeacock PremiumHulu BasicHulu + Live TV
Monthly PriceFree$4.99 ($9.99 without ads)$5.99 ($11.99 without ads)$54.99 ($60.99 without ads)
Ads5 minutes per hour5 minutes per hour10 minutes per hourVaries
Hours of ContentMore than 13,000 hoursMore than 20,000 hoursOver 43,000 episodes and 2,500 moviesHulu's content plus more than 65 live channels
ShowsSelect active NBCU seasons, some Peacock original episodesFull seasons of Peacock originals and current season showsHulu originals; current shows from ABC, NBC and Fox; FX on Hulu library; licensed showsShows on local networks and top cable channels
Other contentMovies, classic shows, newsMovies, classic shows, news + earlier windowed content, "premium movies" and early access to late night TVMovies, classic showsNews, sports, movies, classic shows
DevicesAndroid, Android TV, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD, Chromecast, Comcast Xfinity X1, Comcast Xfinity Flex, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, LG Smart TVs, PlayStation 4, Xbox One S and Xbox One X and Vizio SmartCast TVsAndroid, Android TV, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD, Chromecast, Comcast Xfinity X1, Comcast Xfinity Flex, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, LG Smart TVs, PlayStation 4, Xbox One S and Xbox One X and Vizio SmartCast TVsAndroid phones and tablets, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire Tablets, Fire TV, iPhones and iPads, LG TV, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Roku, Samsung TV, Vizio TVs, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Xfinity Flex and X1 TV, web browsersAndroid phones and tablets, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire Tablets, Fire TV, iPhones and iPads, LG TV, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Roku, Samsung TV, Vizio TVs, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Xfinity Flex and X1 TV, web browsers

Peacock vs Hulu: Price and value

Peacock has been crowing about its biggest differentiating factor: It's free. Yes, Peacock Free is an ad-supported tier that costs nothing. Zero. All users need to do is register; no credit card information is required. In that way, Peacock is similar to the best free streaming services like Pluto TV but with a bigger, better library.

Peacock vs HBO Max - Peacock

(Image credit: Comcast/NBC)

Peacock Premium costs $4.99 with ads, or $9.99 without commercials (although, some programs still have them). The other difference between Peacock Free vs Premium is that there's more content on the paid tier, plus full access to Peacock originals. Make sure you check our Peacock TV promo codes page for any discounts.

Hulu has no free tier. Its Basic plan costs $5.99 with ads, while Hulu Premium is $11.99 without ads. There's no difference in what content you get, though. Then, there's Hulu With Live TV, which adds on over 65 live channels including local networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) and top cable networks like ESPN, Bravo, Discovery Channel, Food Network, Fox News, HGTV, Syfy and TLC.

Winner: Peacock 

Peacock vs Hulu: Devices and apps

As the more established service, Hulu is available on pretty much every streaming device out there, including Android and iOS mobile, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and most major TV sets. And it's available on Roku and Amazon Fire TV. 

Hulu vs Peacock - Hulu is available everywhere

(Image credit: Hulu)

And that's where Peacock's wings are clipped. It's also available on Android, iOS, Apple TV, Chromecast, LG and Vizio smart TVs and Xfinity X1 and Flex. However,  Peacock app is not available on Roku or Fire TV, much like its fellow new streaming service HBO Max.

Winner: Hulu

Peacock vs Hulu: Shows and movies 

When it comes to Peacock vs Hulu content, the viewer's personal preferences will determine which streaming service fits their needs. 

Peacock Free comes with over 13,000 hours of content, while Premium has over 20,000 hours. There's a lot of great stuff in the free tier, including older shows like Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Cheers, Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, Suits and Royal Pains. Next year will bring the entire series of The Office. 

Peacock Free movies include The Bourne Identity and its sequels, The Blair Witch Project, Billy Elliot, Do the Right Thing, Phantom Thread, Tully and The Mummy. And you can sample Peacock originals like Brave New World and Intelligence.

Peacock vs Hulu - shows and movies

Aldrich Eidenreich in Peacock's Brave New World (Image credit: NBCU Peacock)

If you upgrade to Peacock Premium, you get even more shows and movies and full access to those originals, which will eventually include the upcoming Battlestar Galactica reboot and reboot/sequels of Saved By the Bell and Punky Brewster.

And if you want to watch NBC's current shows (like This Is Us and The Blacklist), Peacock Free will stream them a week after they air. Peacock Premium members can watch the next day. And the premium plan gives viewers early access, at 8 p.m. ET, to Late Night With Seth Meyers and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Hulu with Live TV

(Image credit: Hulu)

As for Hulu, it streams the same content for both Basic or Premium plan members. The only difference is whether they see ads. Hulu has stated that its library consists of 43,000 TV episodes from 1,650 shows, and over 2,500 films. It also airs current shows from NBC, ABC and Fox, as well as cable networks, though when the episodes are available varies. And Hulu has a ton of classic library shows and movies, including the 2020 Oscar Best Picture winner Parasite. 

Hulu originals have the leg up on Peacock originals. They include the Emmy-winning Handmaid's Tale, as well as acclaimed titles like Ramy, Little Fires Everywhere, Shrill, Devs, PEN15 and Runaways. There are also Hulu movies like the recent (and great) romantic comedy Palm Springs with Andy Samberg.

And Hulu's library got bigger and better with the addition of FX on Hulu. That brought older and current FX shows to the service, including The Shield, Justified, Atlanta, American Horror Story and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Plus, FX on Hulu has its own originals, like Mrs. America, which stream exclusively on Hulu without airing on the FX network. 

Winner: Hulu

Peacock vs Hulu: Sports and news

Peacock offers sports and news contents from its stable of brands. There are live news channels from NBC News Now and Sky News, as well as daily highlights from TODAY, NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press, Noticias Telemundo, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC Sports, E! Newsand Access Hollywood.

As far as sports, Peacock Premium members can watch more than 175 exclusive Premier League matches for the 2020-2021 season. Peacock Free has coverage of the U.S. Open Championship and Women’s Open Championships, an NFL Wild Card Playoff Game, and select events from the upcoming Tokyo and Beijing Olympics. PGA golf's Ryder Cup will also be on Peacock.

Hulu vs Peacock: sports

(Image credit: Peacock)

This is one area where Peacock has a leg up, since regular Hulu doesn't have live sports or news content. If you want to watch live games or headlines, you'll need to upgrade to Hulu + Live TV, which has over 65 channels including ESPN, CNN, Fox News and others.

Winner: Peacock

Peacock vs Hulu outlook

While the streaming landscape didn't seem to need another new service, Peacock actually does bring something new to the table with its free, ad-supported tier. No other premium-content streaming service has that — not Hulu, not Netflix, not Amazon Prime. Meanwhile, the other free streaming services in the market, like Pluto or Tubi TV, are great but don't offer the wealth of content that Peacock boasts.

At the end of the day, Peacock's free tier could be the deciding factor for those trying to decide between Peacock vs Hulu. The latter is a giant, especially when it comes to high-quality originals and a variety of library content. But even the Hulu Basic plan costs more than Peacock Premium. 

It really is a matter of what shows and movies you want to watch. Peacock is a little more constrained, pulling mostly the NBC Universal catalog though it does offer licensed content from other brands like ViacomCBS, Blumhouse, Lionsgate and others. For instance, you can find the hit Paramount show Yellowstone on Peacock. Meanwhile, Hulu has had licensed titles from many different sources for years and they range from the Oscar-winning Parasite to next-day airings of network shows. 

If you're a fan of classic NBC sitcoms and Universal, then Peacock's free plan may be enough for you. In that case, you could combine Peacock Free with Hulu and have a truly comprehensive streaming experience.

Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.