Hulu Says “We’re Having Trouble Playing This”: 15 Top Fixes

If you spend plenty of time watching shows on Hulu, you are most likely aware of the error messages that emerge from time to time. Connectivity issues are at the heart of most problems in Hulu usually. This nature is typical for most online streaming services.

What to do when Hulu says “we’re having trouble playing this”? Reboot your streaming device. Unplug your TV from the wall, wait for a few minutes, plug it back in. Uninstall and reinstall the app. Check for any app updates and clear the app’s cache.

We realize that not being able to use the streaming service can cause frustration to the user. So in this guideline, we will show you how to fix the “we’re having trouble playing this” error. Check out the list of the Best Streaming Devices on Amazon now!

Why Does My Hulu Keep Saying “We’re Having Trouble Playing This”?

Hulu is a host to many streaming errors. Even though it is a widely successful service, you can brace yourself to encounter errors from time to time. The error “we’re having trouble playing this” most commonly occurs when you run into an internet connection problem.

There can be a few other reasons, too, which we will discuss later, such as device impairment. Some alternate descriptions of the same error can be:

  • Error code: 3(-996)
  • Sorry, we encountered an error playing this video. Please try restarting the video or select something else to watch.
  • Error playing this video

Here are a few common reasons why this issue might have occurred:

  • Problems on Hulu’s end. The Hulu service might just temporarily be down and they will restore it as soon as they can.
  • Poor internet connection. Hulu is a streaming service and requires a good internet connection. Without one, you will see different errors popping up.
  • Software/Hardware issues. Your Hulu app or your streaming device might be possible culprits too, which we will further address in detail.

Hulu says We are having trouble playing this

What to Do When Hulu Says “We’re Having Trouble Playing This”?

You can try many things to solve this problem. Follow these steps to troubleshoot the issue:

1. Check Hulu’s Servers

Doing this step should be your first line of action when you face an error. Since Hulu is an online service, many issues can arise due to their servers becoming unavailable.

You may use third-party services like Downdetector to find out whether servers are operational. You can only wait it out if there is a server issue. Otherwise, follow the next few steps.

2. Restart your Device

Another way to fix the error you are facing is to restart your device. This method ensures the removal of any temporary errors on your operating system. It might fix the bug in Hulu.

For TV:

  1. Unplug your TV from the power outlet.
  2. Wait for 1 minute.
  3. Plug it back in.

For Android:

Press and hold down the power button along with the volume up button until the screen goes off. Power the device back on by pressing the power button for a few seconds.

For iPhone/iPad:

  1. Press and hold the Volume button and the Side button until the power off slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider, then wait 30 seconds for your device to turn off.
  3. To turn your device back on, press and hold the Right side button.

For PC/Laptop:

  1. Click the Start button in the lower-left corner of your screen.
  2. Choose the Power icon. 
  3. When you click the Power button, you will have the option to put your computer to sleep, restart it, or power it down.

3. Sign Out of Hulu

Try signing out of your Hulu account, and then log in again. This simple step might help fix the issue when you can’t watch your Hulu content.

4. Check your Internet Connection

One of the most likely causes of media not loading on the Hulu application is a below-par internet connection. We recommend that users have at least 3 Mbps bandwidth to enjoy the content without any lag.

You may run a speed test on any online service to check your current internet bandwidth. We suggest you contact your ISP to upgrade your package if you currently own a package that offers below the 3 Mbps bandwidth.

It is best if you disconnect any other unused devices from your network to speed things up.

5. Force Stop your Hulu App

Follow these simple steps to stop the app from running altogether, and then relaunch it:

For Android:

  1. Open the Settings app on the Android device.
  2. Scroll the list and tap Apps/Applications/Manage apps.
  3. Scroll the list to find the Hulu app.
  4. Tap Force Stop.

For iPhone:

  1. Open Hulu App.
  2. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and hold your finger near the middle of the screen until all of your open apps appear.
  3. Hold your finger in the middle of the screen a little longer to bring up a minus sign in the upper-left corner of the open apps.
  4. Press the minus sign to close an app.

For PC/Laptop/TV:

To force stop the Hulu app, go to Settings > Apps > All apps > Hulu > select Force Stop.

6. Reboot your Router

If your Internet connection seems fine, consider rebooting your router if it is not offering an optimal bandwidth.

  1. Unplug your router from the power source.
  2. Wait for a few minutes.
  3. Plug it back in.
  4. Allow it some time to establish the connection before attempting to log into Hulu.

Alternatively, you can simply press and hold the reset button on your router.

You can also move your router closer to the streaming device to see if it makes any difference. Don’t forget to check for interference. There shouldn’t be any other electronic devices like microwaves or baby monitors located next to the router.

7. Switch to Ethernet Connection

If nothing so far is working, let’s try switching to an Ethernet connection using the cable and see if your Hulu will work this way. If it does, it means that the issue is with your wireless connection.

8. Re-activate your Device on Hulu

Your account may have gotten corrupted due to some reason. In that case, we recommend that you remove your device from the list of active devices and re-activate it. You can re-activate your device by the following process:

  1. Open Hulu using a web browser.
  2. Locate your Profile and click on the Account tab.
  3. Find the Devices tab at the bottom right corner, and click on Manage Devices. Find your device in the given list and press the Remove button alongside it.
  4. After you have completed the above steps, refresh the page and wait for a couple of minutes.
  5. Then re-activate your device and revisit the application to see if it is working.

9. Clear All App Data for Hulu

This step works only on Android devices. So if you use an Android, try to clear the app data on Hulu if it is malfunctioning on your device. So of its data might have gotten corrupted and could be causing the application to struggle when loading media. Follow these steps to clear the application data of Hulu:

  1. Go to Settings and navigate to the Applications.
  2. Locate Hulu on the list of applications and click on it.
  3. You will find a Storage option. Click on it.
  4. Now tap the Clear Data button and follow any prompts on the screen to complete the process.
  5. Now log back into your Hulu account to see if the error persists.

For iPhone:

You can check how much storage the Hulu app is using on your phone by going to Settings > General > iPhone Storage > Select Hulu. To clear up the cache and cookies, delete and uninstall the app.

For Smart TV:

  1. Tap the Home button on your Smart TV’s remote control.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Select Apps.
  4. Go to the System apps.
  5. Choose Hulu.
  6. Tap on “Clear cache”.
  7. Tap OK.

For Windows

  1. Open your browser and press Ctrl + H simultaneously to open your browsing history.
  2. Select the Clear Browsing Data button.
  3. In the box that opens, select a time range of All time. Make sure all the options below are ticked, and then click Clear Data.

For Safari on macOS

  1. Launch Safari and select Safari from the Menu bar.
  2. Select Preferences.
  3. Choose Advanced and tick the checkbox next to ‘Show Develop menu in bar’.
  4. Click on Develop from the Menu bar and select Empty Caches.
  5. Clear stored cookies and data by clicking on Safari from the Menu bar and choosing Clear History.

10. Log In to Hulu through the Web Browser instead of the App

Here is another thing for you to try. While the apps are renowned for being glitchy from time to time, we can hardly say the same thing about web browsers. So, on your PC or a laptop(in case these are the devices you are having issues with), simply try logging into your Hulu account directly through a browser like Chrome.

11. Hard Refresh your Hulu Web Page

This process combines both a simple refresh and clearing cache, which can greatly help in having your Hulu straming up and running.

For Windows:

Press the Ctrl and F5 keys together at the Hulu Login page to perform a hard refresh.

For macOS:

Press the Command(⌘), Option(⌥), and keys at the same time.

12. Turn the VPN off

VPN is a virtual private network that protects your online data from entities trying to steal it. They are also effective at bypassing the restrictions set by your internet service provider or region by assigning your device a new IP address from another location.

Unfortunately, many VPNs are not very efficient at the process and may cause delays or lags to your network. This lag can cause Hulu to struggle loading shows due to poor speed. So, make sure you don’t encounter this issue by turning your VPN off.

13. Update the Hulu Application

Hulu may have possibly released an updated version of their application, which can cause your older application to glitch. Your current version of the Hulu Application may have a video playback issue. So you are better off checking if there is an impending update for your application.

On your TV:

You can manually check for any software updates for Hulu on your Smart TV by pressing the Menu button on your remote and going to Support > Software Update > select Update Now.

On your Android Device:

To check for any Hulu updates, go to the home screen and select Apps > Store > Menu (three lines) > choose App Updates from the Menu list > select Hulu and tap Update next to it.

On iPhone/iPad

To check for a Hulu update, head to the App Store and select Updates. If there are any updates available for Hulu, select Update next to the app.

14. Use a Different Streaming Device

If you were originally trying to stream Hulu content on your TV, do it from your phone or any other TV to see if it makes any difference. If it does, it means that there is a problem with your original streaming device and it might need rebooting.

15. Reinstall the Hulu Application

If the update is not successful in fixing the problem, try to reinstall the application altogether. It is possible that your existing application is corrupt or that you could not initially install it correctly. Reinstalling the application is your last-ditch effort to get rid of the error.

Check out the list of the Best Streaming Devices on Amazon now!


If the issue remains, we suggest that you allow an expert to take a look. Contact the Hulu customer service by going to their Help center and filing a complaint about the problem you are experiencing.

The process may require some necessary details, including your account information, your device, and a screenshot of the error message if possible. You may also visit Hulu Community, where other users who experience similar issues and find solutions talk about their experiences.