Hulu

By Deane Barker on May 11, 2008

Now, I realize that Hulu got lot of crap for being a YouTube ripoff, and I know NBC got a lot of crap for pulling all its stuff off every video sharing site in the world, but…

Hulu is awesome. Seriously. I don’t know how I ended up there today, but I think I’m in love.

Here are all the things I watched today:

In exchange for this, my show stopped every 10 minutes or so for a commercial that lasted all of about 20 seconds. The timeline on the Flash Player even has little dots on it that let you know when it’s going to break. (You can’t skip them — the controls disappear during the ad, and an ad plays if you move the scrub bar past a dot.)

Picture quality was good, ad intrusion was acceptable, content selection was good and — I’m assuming — just going to get better.

As much as I want to join the “Let’s Bash Big Media” party on this one, I’m still looking for a downside.

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Comments

  1. humbug. Hulu doesn’t let you watch (anything? at least the first Saturday Night clip) if you’re outside of the US. it cites legal and business issues Hulu needs to resolve.

    drm, region coding, region specific extras, staggered releases, missing localisations or translations or subtitles… if you can’t manage a proper unencumbered global release, please don’t bother. I’ll only be disappointed and as a disappointed consumer I’m going to take extra care to avoid your product the next time around.

    Worse, if you’re trying to sell me something and I was already inclined to buy your stuff, but somehow your policies, insane shipping cost or your site simply not working without me accepting cookies or javascript (which I turn off by default if I don’t know or trust your site), a somewhat less legal version of your product might have more appeal, as Mark Pilgrim described so eloquently a while ago.

  2. Here’s a downside for you: “We’re sorry, currently our video library can only be streamed within the United States.” Now we can bash big media again, for their shortsightedness, and all is right in our world again. And don’t tell me they don’t have a choice… Obviously http://www.southparkstudios.com/ has found a way.

  3. I’m mostly in agreement with Deane. I was very skeptical when NBC dumped iTunes to go it on their own. I figured whatever they came up with would not even be worth going to, but I was pleasantly surprised when I got in early on the Hulu beta.

    Of course there are drawbacks – US-only for one. But Frank – chill the hell out. NBC is not obligated to do anything. Hulu isn’t the end-all-be-all of online video, but as far as major studios go, it’s pretty damned good. The initial selection is decent (i assume it will only get better, and it will fill in some holes – for example, S1 and S3 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia are available, but not S2), the video quality is not HD, but it’s light-years better than YouTube, and the commercials aren’t bad at all. If you watch several clips back to back, they won’t show you commercials each time, just before the first one then an occasional one after that. Then the inline commercials during the full shows aren’t bad either – it takes just about as much time to sit through them as it would to skip 4 minutes of commercials on your DVR.

    As far as DRM? i mean, what the hell do you want? If you want to out-right own a TV series or movie, buy the damned DVD. If you want to stream something for free on your computer, then you have to play by the content providers rules.

    Hulu is really great for exploring old episodes of SNL or shows that you missed the first time, and you wouldn’t buy on DVD anyway.

  4. Dang. Yet another reason I need to dump my pathetically slow DSL connection for something that can do justice to a site like this.

  5. I fell reluctantly for Hulu, too. Have you tried the embed feature that lets you edit clips of your choice from the episode you’re watching? I love it!

  6. Hulu is COOL, but why in the goddamn FUCK can’t I find alotta the old programs I fucking wanna fucking watch, goddammit? Shit…

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