Is Hulu.com cool-u or just a lotta hoopla?
No user-generated content is available through Hulu, as premium TV shows of the past and present are offered only, along with a selection of 10 movies that is set to grow into a much larger library.
Hulu’s own ‘About us’ page explains that they offer “current primetime shows like The Office, Prison Break, Bionic Woman, House and Bones, and episodes from TV classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Miami Vice, Arrested Development and more”, including shows like the A-Team, the Mary Tyler Moore Show and many others.
Hulu say they’ve “also partnered with premier content owners like E! Entertainment, FUEL TV, SciFi Network and USA Networks to add to our growing collection of premium programming”, while also doing last minute deals with Sony and other content owners to add even more TV and movie content to the Hulu site.
Unfortunately, Hulu.com is only available as a private beta, although anyone is able to sign up to enter the beta testing period at the Hulu site. Even worse in today’s globalised world, Hulu.com will only show videos to people living in the US or its territories, making the service utterly useless to anyone living anywhere else in the world. There is also no ability to download the TV shows to portable devices for viewing away from the user’s main computer, such as to iPods or PSPs.
Hulu’s videos will also be available through AOL, MSN and MySpace, with AOL Video already hosting Hulu video content, although with the same geographic restrictions preventing anyone not living in the US from viewing the video programming.
Interestingly, Hulu will allow users to embed entire episodes into their web pages, blog postings or social networking sites, and will also allow users to embed specific clips from its library of shows, such as an action scene, or a scene depicting a secret message or one that is particularly memorable.
Sadly Hulu only plan to keep the most 5 recent episodes of primetime TV shows on their site, making the site useless for anyone wanting to watch a TV show from its very first episode right up until its current TV schedule. How many episodes of older hit shows will be made available on Hulu is unclear, and how this restriction will affect embedded episodes is also unknown at this stage, although these reported issues are definitely not plusses for the Hulu service.
So, how are Hulu going to make money, and what about questions over file streaming sizes and Hulu's biggest competitors? Please read onto page 2 for the conclusion...
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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.