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5 Hulu hacks that make streaming even better in quarantine

Keep it kid-friendly, watch in dark mode or use your phone as a remote.

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Hulu April 2020

There's plenty of Hulu Originals to binge on the streaming service. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Out of all the options for streaming TV shows and movies, Hulu is one of the heavy-hitters, and for good reason. I don't have cable, but with a Hulu subscription, new episodes of current shows are uploaded to the platform quickly, so I can still keep up despite having cut the cord. In addition to keeping up with newer shows, the service is packed with movies -- from new award-winners like Parasite to classics and documentaries, and a growing slate of original shows too.

You can subscribe to either the basic Hulu plan ($6 a month) or upgraded Hulu (No Ads) plan ($12 a month) Hulu plan. There's also the option of Hulu Plus Live TV for $55 a month, which acts as more of a cable replacement and lets you watch your shows in real time.  

Read more: Hulu review: The best value in streaming if you don't mind a few ads

Using Hulu is fairly intuitive, if you're used to navigating streaming services. But here are a few tips and tricks for Hulu subscribers that might've gone unnoticed.

Get the Disney Plus bundle

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Disney Plus

If you've been curious about Disney's streaming service Disney Plus but haven't yet subscribed, good news: You can bundle Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN Plus for $13 a month -- saving 25%.

If you don't already use Hulu, you can sign up for the bundle on its homepage. If you already subscribe to Hulu or ESPN Plus, you can still combine those streaming services with Disney Plus on your desktop to get the discounted price. Just make sure all the email addresses you used to sign up are the same.   

1. Use your phone as a remote

Hulu April 2020
Sarah Tew/CNET

If you're watching Hulu on your TV, you can turn your phone into a remote with the Hulu mobile app. This works with AirPlay or Chromecast, or by connecting your iPhone or iPad to the TV with a Lightning-to-HDMI cable or adapter. 

If you use AirPlay, connect your device to the same Wi-Fi network that your Apple TV uses. Pick a show to watch in the app, tap the AirPlay icon and then choose your Apple TV from the list. Chromecast works similarly -- choose a show in the Hulu mobile app, tap the cast icon and choose the device you want to control from the list. 

Read more: Best live TV streaming service for cord-cutters in 2020

2. Navigation tips

Hulu April 2020
Sarah Tew/CNET

When you're cruising around Hulu, you might find a couple of movies or shows you want to watch, but not right now. In that case, just tap the + and the title will be added to My Stuff. You can also personalize what Hulu recommends by rating what you've watched -- just tap the thumbs-up or the thumbs-down icon. 

Search for content by genre, title, Hulu Originals, kid-appropriateness and even by actor. If you're really in the mood for a Steve Carrell flick, search his name and Hulu will show you any film or show he's in on the platform. It's important to note that some of the titles will require an add-on like Showtime or Starz, but the results will let you know so you don't accidentally charge anything. 

Also, if you finish your Steve Carrell movie -- maybe Crazy, Stupid Love, for instance -- Hulu will offer a few similar titles under You May Also Like. You can also choose to clear all your recent searches so your family doesn't know about my, er, your Steve Carrell obsession. 

3. Turn on dark mode

Who doesn't love dark mode? You can give your eyes a break while you browse Hulu by turning on the feature. Just tap the profile icon, and toggle on Night Mode. 

hulu

Have you caught up on Little Fires Everywhere yet?

Hulu

4. Pause your subscription

If you know you won't be using your account for a bit, there's an option to pause your Hulu subscription instead of canceling it. This also can be handy if funds are tight one month. Just go to the Account tab on your computer, and click Your Subscription. From there, click Pause, set how long you want the pause to last and click submit. The day your subscription reactivates will be your new billing date, but you can manually reactivate at any time. 

The pause will take effect on the next billing cycle. The option is only available if you're billed through Hulu, Roku or Amazon

5. Keep it kid-friendly

If you've got kids, the right TV show can make or break an otherwise cranky afternoon. But not everything on Hulu is appropriate for children. There's a kids section that filters all the kid-friendly titles on Hulu, but it may not completely prevent adult content from popping up in the You May Also Like tab. 

To solve this, you can create a new profile under Manage Your Account, and toggle on the parental control option. If you set an age on the profile, Hulu will restrict R-rated movies and TV-MA content if they're 17 or under.