hulu preview

By: TV-aholics Anonymous with Tim

The Beginning of the End?

There’s little doubt that our lives are increasingly becoming more dependant on the internet. It’s branched out from our computers, to our mobile phones, to our video games, etc. It’s even in our home appliances, just look at the refrigerator that connects to the internet to order groceries for you online automatically!

The internet has all but taken over the world of entertainment; with iTunes, YouTube, Netflix… I could go on and on. Within the past year, TV studios and Networks have started expirimenting with new ways to distribute TV. I guess they saw the popularity of TiVo and wondered, “If people want to watch TV on their own time, why not let them do it on the go?” Hence the launch of the video iPod and TV downloads, Verizon Wireless’ VCast TV and inventions like the SlingBox. Lately, however, the big push has been into streaming video online. Full length TV shows online and ready to be watched anytime the day after the episode airs on TV.

The newest of these sites is Hulu, it’s a joint deal between NBC Universal and 20th Century Fox. All your favorite NBC and Fox shows, not to mention their Cable sister networks like Sci-Fi Channel, FX, USA and Bravo. It’s an impressive lineup, especially compared with the full-episode players CBS and ABC feature on their websites, which only features shows on its main networks.

There’s no doubt about it, these sites are clearly evil.

Is the coast clear? Any WGA members still reading? No? Good.

Pssst…! Don’t tell anyone but Hulu is, in fact, very cool.

I’m just kidding the WGA, by the way. I totally support what they’re doing and hope they get every penny (or 4 pennies, whatever) that they deserve. The site may be the most awesome thing in the world, but you wouldn’t believe the guilt I feel for liking it. That’s got to mean something, right?

Anyway, back to Hulu. The site has all the features you’d expect from a streaming video site like this. Expansive library, full-screen option, chapter skips, etc. It’s all ad supported, so you’ll still need to sit through a 30-60 second ad every 10 minutes or so, but it won’t kill you so don’t worry about it. No such thing as a free lunch, eh?

Hmm? Um, no… ‘torrents’ don’t count, sorry.

Probably the coolest feature that I’ve discovered so far is the “Pop-Out” feature that pops the video out of the browser into it’s own little window, letting you watch your favorite shows while looking up other pages, chatting over IM or even pretending to “work.”

Overall, I’d say Hulu is the way streaming TV should be. You know, as long as they pay their writers and actors residuals, that is.

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  • SimplyKimberly

    You shouldn’t feel guilty for liking it. This is the future of entertainment. I can’t wait to try it out. I just think, for me, it will be after the strike is over and they actually pay the writers fairly for their work (just like authors and musicians) when they sell them on these sites directly or via ad sponsorship.

  • Sites like these are the main reason were in this writers strike.
    Its obvious to me that the studios have all this streaming tech allready in place.

    So for the studios position that they don’t know what the future is, well that total fricken bs…their waiting for the writers to sign a bs contract so they can introduce this web-tech on the world and open up all their catalogs for online purchase.
    I personally don’t like this direction in tv viewing. I like dvds and even though its “cheap” to download. This is all heading to a path I don’t want to be on.
    A world where the cd and dvd stores are all online.
    All this technology in the long run will hurt the way we live our lives in ways you can’t imagine.

  • Josh Emerson

    I dunno, I still prefer old-fashioned TV viewing. Not necessarily “old-fashioned” since I’m referring to HDTV, but I like it better than any of the Internet viewing options out there. Better quality, much bigger screen, etc.

    The main way that this and other sites will be great is if they provide large archives of past shows. Stuff that you might not have DVR’d or might not be out on DVD. I’d love to see some shows that aren’t available anywhere at all and aren’t scheduled for DVD release.

  • I agree with Josh about watching tv on a regular tv, but what’s happening is the phone companies are ready to give the consumers tv,ph and internet over basically one phone/cable line.
    By using fiber-optics they can separate these 3 services yet allow them to interact.
    HDTV’s no prob.

    This would allow you to watch shows on your tv while also being connected to the web. Tevo units are being built now to accomodate this technology.
    Also. One reason you don’t see alot of shows on dvd is because somewhere there’s a Producer, Writer or actor that would collect Royaties. You can see how greedy the studios are on this issue. They did the same thing when VHS came out. They wrote the contract in such a way that the VHS technology looked very iffy and not profitable. Therefore the writer got screwed out of Billions of revenue,until they later striked to resolve this.
    I’m not a WGA member but I don’t like big business turning us all into slaves and controling what we do.

    Can you see where this is all going?

    Control….of the masses. Thru there media outlets and options.
    Kimberly thinks this is neato now but after awhile the truth on this will be clear and there won’t be any going back.

  • Chris

    “It’s all ad supported, so you’ll still need to sit through a 30-60 second ad every 10 minutes or so”

    Steamed all over again that the producers dared to claim that streamed episodes are for “promotional use.” What a joke.

  • I’m steamed too Chris. Alot of people think the writers are rich and greedy.
    Its the Studios not the producers that claim this is promotional. What it really is, is a test marketing campaign to see how many people would watch tv shows on the web. So far the prospects are high for lots of revenue and in the future after analog tv signals end in 2009.
    Its the next medium that were going to be forced into cheap at first then its going to be another bill you pay.
    The writers union clearly knows this and the studios still to this day say , “we don’t know if the streaming content is a viable and profitable”
    Their liers and theaves.
    And they should be brought up on colluison and union busting charges.
    Once this grand plan is complete you’ll see video stores all go Streaming. They’ll have too if they want to survive.
    And all the writers are asking for a little piece of the pie.

  • shanna

    What I think is ridiculous is that you have these companies saying we don’t know where this is going or how to work this crazy interweb while in the SAME FRIGGIN’ WEEK launching things like NBC Direct Download and Hulu. C’mon don’t pretend to not know but put up the very tools to make money off the internet DURING the strike.

  • Nadi

    I jumped on the Hulu bandwagon a couple of months ago. But, they just asked for my email and said they would notify me when I could join. I haven’t received anything from them yet! Not cool. How long ago did you sign up?