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 Hulu.com. 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.