Everyone so often a product comes along that hits a home run in a new or evolving technology, and that’s what Hulu has done. I’m so enamored with this service that I’m seriously rethinking how I watch TV. I’ve had access to Hulu for about 3 months now, as part of their Beta program. It was recently opened to the public, with very good reviews. Go Now and create an account. You’ll love it.
What Hulu has done better than Veoh, Joost, Apple’s iTunes and BitTorrent is made it easy to watch high-quality renderings of television shows and movies for free. Yes, that’s right: everything on Hulu is free! Currently, you will find mostly shows and clips from NBC and Fox, along with their affiliate channels from cable. Additionally, there’s a smattering of movies available – I’ve never seen The Big Lebowski; now I have no excuse.
The presentation is done very clean, with several options to choose from depending upon how you want to watch. There’s a widescreen view that is centered in your monitor; a ‘theatre’-type view that darkens the screen area around your show, and a full screen option. All three show about 4 :15 second commercials for every one hour show (which are actually 42 minutes or so). You can’t fast forward past them, but it’s a small price to pay in my mind.
You can’t download the videos, but it does a good job of remembering where you were if you happen to log out and come back later. Additionally, you can create clips of shows to send to others via email or post to your favorite web sites (personal blog, Facebook, MySpace, etc.)
And that brings up a the one negative: I’m not sure how they determine what shows are available, but there are many popular ones that are only available in clips. I’m assuming it has to do with properties for which they haven’t negotiated online rights; this should change over time is my guess. Regardless, I was able to watch the entire Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicles, which I’d missed on broadcast TV after the first episode. Same for Celebrity Apprentice and Friday Night Lights.
I’ve decided to finally build a Media Center PC to hook into my HD system, and drop the Com[edy]cast premium channels from my service. Why? Because I have so many choices of new and vintage shows to watch for free, I can wait until Entourage and The Tudors is available on DVD for rental from Netflix.
Like I said, sign up. You won’t be disappointed.