In an effort to attract more subscribers to its service, Hulu announced today that it will offer an Unlimited DVR feature as part of its Hulu + Live TV service’s base plan at no additional cost. The DVR allows customers to record programs from over 80 channels, including broadcast networks ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX, which they can then rewind and fast-forward through — like a traditional DVR offers.
Previously, users would receive up to 50 hours as part of their base plan, with the option to upgrade to 200 hours with the Enhanced Cloud DVR add-on for an additional $9.99 per month. This also offered them the ability to rewind and fast-forward through recordings, which was not available to those on the base plan.
With this change, Hulu is dropping the storage limits on the DVR for all Hulu + Live TV subscribers and making rewind and fast-forward available as part of the offering, too. Each recording will now be available to users for up to nine months, when previously, the oldest recordings were automatically deleted when users ran out of space.
As of April 13, those who had purchased the add-on will see a reduction in their monthly subscription fees, while everyone else will see the Unlimited DVR added to their service automatically. This might not immediately be noticeable as the upgrade will only introduce minor changes to the Hulu user interface. For example, there will not be an indication about how much space is left on the DVR, as that’s no longer needed.
The company’s decision to make the Unlimited DVR free with the base plan is one it hopes will drive more subscribers to its service and make the upgrade to the Live TV tier more appealing to standard Hulu subscribers. Today, Hulu + Live TV is already one of the largest live TV streamers, with 4.3 million paying customers, but the traditional pay-TV subscriber base is still much larger.
A number of live TV streamers, including Hulu + Live TV and rivals like YouTube TV, have continued to raise prices for their base plans over the years. This left some consumers wondering if these sorts of services still have value when compared with traditional pay-TV providers, like cable and satellite, where hundreds of channels are available.
Plus, when you tack on upgrades — like premium channels, a better DVR, support for unlimited screens and other channel bundles — a service like Hulu + Live TV could end up costing over $100 per month. By making an Unlimited DVR part of the base plan, Hulu + Live TV will seem competitive when compared with both pay TV and its direct competitor, YouTube TV, which comes with an unlimited amount of cloud DVR storage for all users.
Hulu + Live TV is available on its own for $68.99 per month or in a bundle with Disney+ and ESPN+ for $69.99 per month (or $75.99 per month without ads.)