Is Hulu.com cool-u or just a lotta hoopla?
The selling of advertising is the main game here, whether during the video broadcast with video ads, or with on screen messaging or ads around the video window, which it will share with the content owners. Hulu say that their shows will only carry a quarter of the advertising regular television viewers see in an hour.
Hulu will reportedly offer the video in 480kbps and 700kbps streams, meaning Hulu users will need a decent broadband connection to get good video quality, although how many megabytes are needed to stream each hour of programming is still not known.
Given the large amount of data normally needed to transmit quality video over the Internet, anyone on any kind of Internet connection with a capped, limited amount of bandwidth would be well advised to avoid this kind of site, although users with essentially ‘unlimited’ Internet download limits have nothing to worry about.
How successful Hulu will ultimately be is yet to be seen, with the first beta version just launching. But at least it’s a step in the right direction, with content owners taking direct control of their content and offering it to view, free of charge, for viewers in the US, through a range of popular video websites, not simply the content owners own websites.
It’s still early days, but it’s up to Hulu to ensure the hoopla over premium TV shows delivers the viewers needed to make the service profitable and expand its library even further.
Still, one of Hulu’s biggest competitors will simply be the TiVo, already giving users the ability to pre-record a wide selection of content, both prime time and classic, already airing on TV, which is then able to be viewed on a regular big-screen TV, instead of simply your computer’s existing screen.
P2P downloads through BitTorrent are also another competitor, offering the ability to (illegally) download content and through video conversion software download it for use on a range of today’s portable media players.
In the world of online video, we’re still in the stone ages compared to where we’ll be in just a couple of years and more.
But Hulu’s a great step along the evolutionary path to quality high-def video from the web thanks to ubiquitous high speed broadband (wireless or not), so kudos to them for that, but the road to online video domination is still very rocky, with Hulu joining Joost, Babelgum, Veoh, YouTube and all the rest. Happy viewing!
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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.