More Hulu Details Emerge

NBC’s video streaming portal, Hulu, has entered a slightly less private beta and more details have emerged. The NY Times writes:

Hulu, now an independent company with more than a hundred employees and its own offices in Los Angeles, will begin privately testing its new service with select users at NBC recently removed its content from YouTube [and soon iTunes] to make way for the Hulu introduction. All the shows are viewable inside a Web browser and festooned with advertisements. It will also begin sending its videos to the sites of five distribution partners, Microsoft, AOL, MySpace, Yahoo and Comcast.

In addition to NBC, Hulu is also working with Fox, USA, MGM, and Sony to provide full-length television content and even a few “free” movies. Though, Hulu may suffer the same problem as other online video services (such as Joost) – What I like to call the “random crap” syndrome. While there’s usually a percentage of quality video, it’s unpredictable in terms of both titles and availability. And then there’s the larger percentage content of questionable quality, such as Hulu’s A-Team and I Dream of Jeanie reruns. Given their DNA, perhaps they’ll do a better job of making entire, current catalogs of shows available. Regardless, Hulu is trapped in a web browser without even a television-friendly Windows Media Center plugin.

10 thoughts on “More Hulu Details Emerge”

  1. I caution all to read that evil Hulu ToS very, VERY carefully! Don’t even click “I agree” without reading it first.

    Trivia: the word Hulu in Swahili means “Cease & Desist???

  2. They just don’t get it do they?
    Internet Video is about so much more than just watching videos on your computer.

    I wonder if they will ever understand the importance of portability?

  3. I don’t have access yet, but given their partners I have to assume it’s using Windows Media + MS DRM. Until/unless there’s a Silverlight client, probably no Mac love. It’d be nice if I were wrong, though…

  4. The biggest challenge will be that it is brower only. People (rather I) want to be able to take the files with me and not be required to sit in front of a computer to view.

  5. If I were Tom Rogers, I’d be checking for BO because everyone is making deals except Tivo. That’s just stupid. Tivo could be the best living room media center. Oh well.

  6. Random crap syndrome! That’s priceless.

    I described it as ‘yet another proprietary way to watch a bunch of content.’

  7. From a quick read thru the Tech Crunch article it looks like the videos are streamed via Flash. And via Flash 9.2 (presumably h.264, i.e. MPEG-4 Part 10), before the end of the year.

    So it should be usable from a Mac or Linux machine. Maybe.

    How the DRM works is unknown. Presumably something based on Flash. Will it stop me from downloading the thing to my hard disk? Seems unlikely given the popularity of flash… so maybe this will be useful after all.

    Personally if I can watch an occasional program on the road that I missed via my laptop this way, and have to endure a few ads (I’ll just go to the bathroom or read another web page for a minute), that’s okay. Better than nothing. And hey, its free.

    I even think the embedded clips on other web pages monetized via ads is a great idea.

    The obvious glitches at this point are:
    – Why can’t I watch it at the same time as the TV show? Huh?
    – Why are they planning to remove the shows after 5 weeks? Who says the SNL skit will blow up and then vanish in those exact 5 weeks? This is stupid.

    And then of course when we get to try it there will be the little details like whether you have to wait a long time, whether the resolution is worth anything, whether the video rebuffers all the time, etc etc. Just execution.

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