Wondering what the future of television might look like? Take a look at Hulu.com and peer into the crystal ball. Hulu is a website that offers ad-supported streaming video of TV shows and movies from NBC, FOX, MGM, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. as well as other networks and studios. According to the Hulu website, “Hulu’s mission is to help you find and enjoy the world’s premium content, when, where and how you want it.” All totally legal, all free, all available anytime.
What sets Hulu apart from other streaming media web sites such as YouTube is its video content. This includes both the scope and the resolution of the content. Rather than a lot of grainy homemade videos Hulu offers all their content in 480p resolution. Plus Hulu has an HD gallery that is sponsored by Intel and provides a limited number of shows available in 720p high definition. A high speed broadband connection is recommended.
Primetime TV, Movies, Older TV Series and Much Much More
Along with being able to watch primetime TV hits such as The Simpsons, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, 30 Rock, Family Guy, House and The Office the morning after they air, you can also view a growing list of movies including Sideways, Ghostbusters, My Best Friend’s Wedding, and Kegamusha. Along with primetime shows, Hulu offers a number of “Channels” that include: Food and Leisure; Home and Garden; Science Fiction; Videogames; and Sports. Hulu also offers trailers for new and upcoming movies.
If your tastes run to older TV series you can also watch episodes from Bewitched, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Addam’s Family, Battlestar Galactica and Hill Street Blues. Plus, Hulu can present live television as shown when Hulu streamed the last two presidential debates live.
Hulu – Other interesting Points:
1. You don’t need to download any software to use Hulu.
2. The site is supported by ads. The good news is that the ads are less frequent and shorter than standard TV commercials. Plus the volume doesn’t go through the roof every time a commercial comes on.
3. Hulu is currently available only in the US due to legal or business agreements. Hulu’s stated goal is to make content available on a broader geographic basis in the future.
4. Hulu’s Search function will find shows and movies available on other sites, not just on Hulu.
5. Registered users can customize their viewing experience online and create a queue of shows to watch. Users can also sign up be notified when new shows and movies are available.
6. Shows can expire and disappear. While Hulu states that they strive to keep all shows and movies available on a permanent basis this seems to fluctuate, mainly due to licensing arrangements with the content providers.
7. Hulu is available at home and on the road – anywhere in the US that you can get an Internet connection.
8. Hulu’s clipping feature allows you to select a portion of a video and share it.
9. Hulu is a joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp and was originally announced in March 2007.
There is plenty more to Hulu. Check it out yourself – Hulu.com – and watch Hulu grow over time. The only downside – watching all these programs on a computer monitor. I’d much rather watch them on my high definition TV. All in good time I’m sure.