If you haven’t heard of the video website Hulu, you must be living under a rock. For the past few months, it has been the site of controversy, hate, and mild like. For those who are living under rocks, let me sum it up for you. Hulu is a joint venture between NBC Universal (NBC, USA, Sci-Fi, etc) and Newscorp (Fox, FX, Fox Sports, and iHOR (International House of Republicans)). Both of them were tired of having their shows put up on YouTube, and felt that Apple was ripping them off, so they decided to make their own site. When I first heard about this site, I assumed the usual: No downloading, heavy DRM, no Mac/Linux, and only clips. Yet I signed up anyway because, lets face it, I am a sucker for a new web service (I am the guy who signed up for the Slingbox for Mac private beta even though I do not own nor have I ever owned, a Slingbox.) A few days ago I got the email that I had been accepted, and I delved into the website with the lowest of expectations. And those expectations were blown away.
I thought the website would be terribly ugly, full of ads, and html from the 1990s, but the website is clean, and a little bit ajaxy. It is only spoiled by a few ads here and there. My next reservation would be platform restrictions. I have 9 computers, none of them windows, so that would pose a problem. You can imagine the look on my face when I clicked on a link, and it just worked! How novel! I searched and a lot of my favorite TV shows were there. So far so good, then it came time to watch an episode.
I had many preconceptions about the viewing experience including, but not limited to: the ads, the quality, and the loading time. I found the ads, while somewhat annoying were fine. And the best part about them is that you can see exactly where the ad is in the general time line of the show. There are 2 ads per 30 minute show, not including preroll ads. Each ad is 60 seconds long and is ignorable. The quality isn’t bad either, while it isn’t HD (yet),it is far better than anything that I have seen on YouTube. And yes, the loading time is nice and fast.
Now it is time to tackle the naysayers. And while I have negated almost all of their complaints, I left out one. The issue about downloading. This is a non-issue for me. Whenever I bought a TV show on iTunes, I would watch it once or twice, then I would never watch it again. I would start to notice how much space it was it was taking up on my iPhone/iPod/MacBook/PowerBook’s HD. I wanted to delete it, but then I would feel bad that I wasted money, and besides what if I wanted to watch it again? Now I can rest safely knowing that the content is on Hulu’s servers.
I was never a TV fan. When I was a baby, I would rather read than watch TV. Even now, I don’t have a TV let alone cable. And because of all the mentioned reasons, Hulu is perfect for me.