Netflix and Hulu are often compared to one another, because they both offer streaming television and movie content. But their users are actually quite different. In fact, Nielsen said that after breaking down Hulu and Netflix users and behaviors, they found a massive disparity in what specific types of content people are using each of the two services to watch. So it seems, oddly, that Netflix is for gamers and Hulu is for couch potatoes.

What Devices Hulu & Netflix Users Prefer

OK sort of broad generalizations and pseudo-stereotyping on my part there. What their report really says is that 50% of Netflix users watch on game consoles: Wii – 25%, PS3 – 13%, X360 – 12% = 50%. 42% of users use a computer and the rest are split on connected devices, mobiles etc.

For Hulu, it’s a totally different tale with more than 2x as many, 89%, of its viewers using a computer. Of course, there are only 1 million (and growing) Hulu subscribers and 24 million (and falling!) Netflixians. An astoundingly low 20% watch Hulu by connecting their computer to a TV while only 14% do so for Netflix. Obviously, there’s some overlap because those two numbers together equal 109%.

The interesting thing is that more Hulu viewers watch TV episodes from Hulu, on their TV. A full 1/5th seem to think it the best format for the shows which could make for an interesting psychological study.

The big losers? Google and Apple TV who net only 1% of both each. iPad got 3% of Netflix and 1% of Hulu. And mobile phones are still lagging pretty low with 3% of Netflix users and 2% for Hulu.

Netflix Means Movies, Hulu Means TV

This isn’t all that surprising. Hulu has mainly TV shows and Netflix has the Blockbuster flotsam. So if you’re looking for a film you might have headed there in the past. That’s not to say that Hulu doesn’t have film, it’s just not the main draw of the service–or rather, wasn’t. Maybe it’s a good time for them to start striking up some deals. 73% of Hulu viewers predominantly watch TV while just 9% watch movies mostly and 18% split 50/50. Meanwhile at Netflix it’s 53% film, 11% TV and 26% split even.

Of course this is all dependent on how Nielsen did their research, which it says included “12,000 online interviews in March 2011.” Next I hope they’ll do a “Did you leave Netflix?” survey…the results on that might be surprising.