How Does Hulu’s Offline Access Compare to Other Streaming Services Like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, & HBO NOW?
Yesterday, Hulu rolled-out the much anticipated ability to download shows and movies offline. This is great for travelers who want to watch their favorite shows on-the-go even if they don’t have internet access, like on a plane.
The feature allows streamers to download up to 25 titles across 5 devices. Once downloaded, you will have 30 days to watch, or 48 hours after you first start streaming a piece of content.
Since Hulu isn’t the first service to offer offline access — we wanted to compare how offline access works compared to other streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now, Showtime, CBS All Access, and Apple TV+.
Netflix launched offline access in 2016 with a small selection of their catalog. The amount of content that is available offline now includes nearly all their original titles, as well as a large selection of their library content.
The streaming service allows you to download 100 titles on single device. The number of devices you can stream depends on your streaming plan. Their Basic plan ($8.99) allows download a single device, while the Standard plan ($12.99) offers downloads on up to 2 devices, and the Premium plan ($15.99) on up to 4 devices.
Similar to Hulu, once downloaded, most titles are available for 30 days to watch, with 48 hours access after you first press play. If a download expires, you will need to access it online to renew. Some titles have annual limits on the number of downloads.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon, which was one of the earliest to offer downloadable access to shows, limits 15-25 titles to be downloaded across all devices on your Prime Video account. There isn’t a limit to the number of devices, so long as they are tied to a Prime Video Account.
At this point, their Prime Video Originals catalog is available for download, as well as many in their library of movies and shows. Just like the others, you generally have 30 days to watch, with 48 hours after you first start streaming a show.
HBO has been one of the holdouts for offline viewing. Unlike the others, neither HBO Now and HBO Go support offline downloads of any of their content.
There is one exception though — if you subscribe to the service through Apple TV Channels. All services offered through Apple TV Channels offer offline access to any device in a Family Sharing group.
Disney+ is one of the most generous streaming services when it comes to offline access. When the service launches on November 12th, you will be able to access Unlimited Downloads on up to 10 streaming devices.
The entire Disney library is available to download including movies from The Disney Vault like Snow White, The Lion King, films from Pixar like Toy Story, from Disney Animation like Frozen, the entire Star Wars saga, movies and shows from Disney Channel, National Geographic, and many films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Apple TV+ will launch on November 1st for $4.99 a month, or for free for the first year if you purchase a new Apple device like an iPhone or Apple TV. Similar to Apple TV Channels purchase through Apple, Apple TV+ will offer offline access.
Each Apple TV+ subscription includes access to up to 6 family members, but offline access is available across all your Apple devices. The full library of Apple TV+ content will be available for download.
Showtime launched the ability to download shows to their app back in 2017. The service offers nearly their entire library available to download.
You can authorize up to 5 devices for download at any given time, but you can switch the devices that are authorized if necessary. On each device, Showtime has a limit of 15 titles that can be downloaded at a time.
CBS All Access
CBS All Access launched their Download and Play feature back in September 2018. Offline access requires a subscription to their commercial-free tier ($9.99). At any given time you can download up to 25 videos across five authorized devices.
You can download all CBS All Access Originals like Star Trek: Discovery, Reality Shows like Big Brother and Survivor, Prime Time Dramas like Blue Bloods and Bull, News Magazines like 60 Minutes and 48 Hours, as well as Classic Shows like Star Trek and Cheers.