Best answer: No. Hulu does not currently support 4K HDR content.

Hulu: Hulu ($7.99 per month)

Why would you want 4K HDR shows and movies?

If you've bought a TV in the last few years, odds are likely that it's a 4K TV. That means it supports a resolution of either 4096x2160 pixels or 3840x2160 pixels per inch. That's four times as many pixels as 1080p, meaning your movies and shows look sharper than 1080p footage does.

HDR is a separate standard that often gets pushed alongside 4K, and it's a big step up on its own. Standard panels can produce up to 16 million different colors — a lot to be sure. But HDR panels ramp this up to 1.06 billion colors, meaning much higher contrast and more life-like images. The main HDR standard to know about is HDR10, since it's sort of the baseline for HDR content and displays.

What do you need for 4K and HDR?

If you're in the market for a new TV, getting 4K and HDR is cheaper than ever. The other thing you need is some 4K content. 4K UHD Blu Rays are great if you prefer physical media, but streaming services like Netflix and Amazon are full of high-res shows and movies as well. 4K gaming is cheaper and easier than ever with the Xbox One X, and if you can't find your favorite movie on Netflix or Amazon, digital stores like iTunes, Google Play, and the Microsoft Store sell UHD movies.

Can you get 4K HDR content on Hulu?

In a word, no. Hulu doesn't offer 4K HDR content right now, and there's no telling when it will. Hulu experimented with some 4K content in 2016 and 2017 like The Handmaid's Tale and the James Bond movies. Since then, the streaming company hasn't added new 4K HDR content, and its 4K content page is no longer live. A Hulu support agent confirmed on Twitter in June 2018 that 4K content is currently unavailable.

Why doesn't Hulu offer 4K HDR content?

The company hasn't said why it doesn't offer higher-resolution content, but it makes a bit of sense when you look at its business model. Hulu has some original shows, but its current bread and butter is offering shows from over-the-air channels like ABC, NBC, and Fox. These shows are broadcast in 1080p (technically 1080i when it goes over an antenna), and even when these shows make it to disk, they get released as DVD (even lower resolution) and 1080p Blu-Rays. As mentioned above, half of the 4K HDR equation is having 4K HDR content.

That's not to discredit Hulu's original content. But offering 4K content doesn't come free: Hulu's end would require more storage space for larger files, higher-speed network connections to get the stream out, and explaining to customers why some content is in 4K and why other content isn't.

We've mostly talked about home users so far, with a big 4K TV, wired Internet connection, and all the other works. But a lot of users — including a lot of the same people that watch at home — catch up on their favorite shows on their phones. If someone is watching on the bus, or on their lunch break, they're probably using their cellular network. All of the unlimited plans in the United States limit video playback to 480p resolution to keep the network from being congested, so offering 4K video wouldn't do any good here.

If someone's watching in a public Wi-Fi hotspot — say at a gym or their place of work — the network speeds are likely limited, again to prevent congestion. A few users pulling 25Mbps or more download speeds for 4K video would cripple any network. Finally, very few phones even include a 4K screen, so the extra pixels would be wasted on most smartphones.

At the end of the day, it comes down to cost versus reward. Both the customer and Hulu would need to spend more money to get 4K content, and a vast majority of Hulu's library doesn't have a 4K version. And while 4K TVs are easier to get, actual televisions aren't the only place that people watch their favorite shows anymore. Hulu is doing fine as is without offering 4K content.

Alternative services to consider

If you absolutely want 4K HDR content, there are other ways to get it. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video both offer 4K HDR content, with both even supporting Dolby Vision on certain compatible displays. Note that with Netflix, you'll need to pay extra for the four-device plan, even if you never use more than one screen.

And if all else fails, buying movies outright isn't a bad option. Google Play, iTunes, the Microsoft Store, and Amazon Video all support buying movies in 4K, and most new releases are coming out as UHD Blu-Rays. It's still rare for TV shows to be released as UHD Blu-Rays, but some shows like Westworld are available in the higher resolution. So while you can get 4K content in places other that Hulu, you may not be able to get the same content that you're looking for.

Your favorite shows and movies


Great for beginners.

Your favorite broadcast shows, some great originals, and some movies.

While Hulu doesn't support 4K HDR content, it's still worth using. You get access to most current broadcast shows a day after airing, and back catalogs of some shows so you can catch up. There are also some great originals like The Handmaid's Tale and **11.22.63*. You can start with a one-month free trial, so it doesn't hurt to try it out!

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