There's a good chance you already use Hulu to catch up on your favorite network TV shows, but soon, you might be watching them live on the popular streaming platform. According to The Wall Street Journal, Hulu is expected to roll out a separate subscription service in early 2017 that would allow users to stream select broadcast television channels.
Hulu's rumored live TV service is expected to offer channels from platform co-owners Disney and Fox, including ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, Fox News, FX and Fox Sports. The package may also feature DVR functionality, allowing you to record your favorite shows for later as you would on a standard cable box.
There's currently no word on pricing, though the WSJ report says to expect something in the $40 per month range.
If Hulu enters this space, it will be competing directly with services such as Sony's $40 per month PlayStation Vue and Dish's $20 per month Sling TV, both of which allow you to stream popular broadcast networks such as AMC, ESPN and CNN. PlayStation Vue offers a DVR feature, while Sling allows customers to watch select shows on-demand.
However, Hulu has the advantage of a user base of more than 10 million customers. If the company's live broadcast service comes at a significant discount for those already paying for Hulu, it could serve as an enticing alternative to other internet TV packages, while giving the platform a big advantage over the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Hulu's streaming plan currently costs $7.99 per month, with an $11.99 commercial-free option.
Amazon recently began offering Prime Video for $8.99 per month, but the company doesn't offer live TV--at least not yet.
Compelling as it may be, Hulu's service might also find itself under legal scrutiny. Considering that Fox and Disney are partial owners of the company and would be able to influence the cost of streaming their own content, there's a chance competitors could cry foul.
Potential issues aside, Hulu's rumored plans suggest that company is paying close attention to the rising popularity of internet TV. If Hulu is able to offer a strong package of live channels to the millions of folks already watching its original and network-based shows, the popular service could end up being the only place you need to go to get your television fix.