Hulu- Television How it is Supposed to be

Written by: Charles Sporn

Categories: Cool Stuff, Reviews

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.

Crossblogged from my website:

There are 10 comments on Hulu- Television How it is Supposed to be:

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  1. Josiah | Dec 26 2007 - 06:37

    Wow… now if only you could download an ipod version of the show (even with the ads) I’ld be willing to pay a subscription for an iptv service (Hulu may become a cable competitor… because let’s face it joost isn’t and so far itunes doesn’t have a subscription model. (cable competitor).

    Other thoughts… does anyone else think that the ultimate cable killer would be access to all music, tv, and movies on itunes for $30 per mo. It could happen Hollywood loves subscription services with drm better than anything.

  2. Rene | Dec 27 2007 - 03:47

    Why would I care about a local tv service in some foreign country? Obviously, the producers think their shows aren’t good enough to be shared with the entire world, otherwise they would have made Hulu internationally accessible.

    You’re as big as you think you are, and this is thinking small.

  3. Lawerance Oak | Dec 27 2007 - 03:57

    This is actually funny to me, ever since I picked up a HD DVR, I wonder why would I need anything like this. You can torrent any show you want. I have my DVR set up to download all the shows I want and when i want it. I get the purpose of being able to go back and see past shows. Agree about Joost, I have it but never use it.

    My only thing with all of this it is on a computer, I want to sit in front of my nice HD TV and watch everything at full HD support. I don’t want to watch on a small computer screen and pay for it on top of already paying for cable.

  4. John | Dec 27 2007 - 05:45

    As an over the road truck driver no download’s is a dealbreaker for me because streaming on the road just doesn’t work, my teathered cell phone / modem is faster than the wi-fi hotspots at the truck stops.

    My other concern is depth of content. Most network websites only let you see the three or four most recent episodes. If every episode from season 1 episode 1 are not available it’s just another useless streaming site.

  5. Jamie Fehr | Dec 28 2007 - 12:43

    I think this site would be great if I could watch the content with a Canadian IP address. As it is this will do nothing to stop illegal downloading.

  6. Nintapple | Dec 28 2007 - 09:21

    wow… you have definitely not negated all naysayer’s complaints. you make it seem like Hulu lacks fundamental problems. even though it is in beta, Hulu is much to blame for limited access to shows… meaning you don’t have all the episodes on there. now if only the 3rd season of the office or some other show was on there, id say fine… BUT NO.. some episode availabilities are like episode 2,5,6,7,10. among various other issues that a id think a reviewer would point out is that many of the shows do NOT let you view full episodes. instead they give you like 50 three-minute clips to watch. i don’t know about you but i certainly would not want to click through 12 clips just to get through 40% of what the network deems as the “important” parts of an episode. You need to use more of something before you full out review it and certainly before you start styling your conclusion paragraphs with Mossberg iphone-quotes like “non-issue”.

  7. Charles Sporn | Dec 28 2007 - 09:00

    Okay let me address each complaint in chronological order. But first, remember that these are just the opinions of a 16 year old who doesn’t have cable and even if he did, he wold rather use his computer and multi task.
    To Rene: I don’t think that the producers are the ones restricting the content to the US. If anything, I think that they would want international viewers to watch because that means more eyeballs watching the ads.
    To Lawrence: I still torrent, but that usually takes a lot longer to download. Also I prefer watching content on my computer because I can multi-task. It isn’t possible to blog and watch tv at the same time on a tv screen hooked up to cable or satellite.
    To John: I am a bit confused by the first part. You say that you have a fast cell phone tether, but it can’t stream. The second part is a big complaint. I think that the networks are trying to get more episodes up, and they will come soon, but I guess that takes more time than expected.
    To Jamie: As I said before, it is only a matter of time before it becomes international. Also while it won’t stop illegal downloading, hulu is a step in the right direction (in my eyes). It is the first time that tv studios have made a solution that works on all platforms, has no DRM, and is free. Once/if they offer downloads, even if said downloads have ads, become international, and get more shows up, that might slow down illegal downloading.

  8. Leonard Thomson | Dec 29 2007 - 02:06

    Hulu has done a really good job, it’s a good viewing experience. Someone made a cool Facebook app to watch hulu through Facebook and chat with your friends while you’re doing it:

    An even better experience since it has the social element too.

  9. Kashin Torwalds | Jun 10 2008 - 12:01


    That was some interesting peice of information. I am working on an book about the varying trends across decades in the entertainment industry and I believe that your page could support my work. So, I would want to refer to your page. I hope that is okay with you.

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  10. Parimar Kohen | Jun 22 2008 - 08:42


    That was some interesting piece of information. I am working on an article about the varying trends across decades in the entertainment industry and I believe that your page could support my work. So, I would want to refer to your page. I hope that is okay with you. Appreciate your help.

    Parimar Kohen