Hulu Adds HD (and Burn Notice)


Hulu (still in beta) has introduced select HD streaming:

Today we’re excited to launch an HD Gallery featuring a selection of High Definition video clips at 1280 x 720 resolution. Those of you with a fast internet connection of 2,400 Kbps or higher, the latest build of Adobe Flash Player 9, and a fast computer can stream these High Definition clips and preview the future.

Right now, the content is pretty weak – just movie trailers. The Hulu blog indicates this is due to technical reasons as they ramp up:

We’ve limited the bitrates on these HD streams to allow as many users as possible to sample high definition streaming.

While that’s probably partially true, I’m also betting they haven’t yet determined if this H.264 content can be grabbed in whole (“buffer the stream by clicking pause”) – so they’re restricting it to advertising (aka movie previews) that can be freely swiped and shared.


Speaking of swiping content, Hulu has added additional episodes of Burn Notice. But it’s not doing me much good. I’ve seen the pilot, but I’m not ready to jump into episodes 4 and 5 without seeing 2 and 3 first. I’m fine watching the show in standard def and with Hulu’s advertising, I’m even willing to pay (iTunes, Unbox, DVD, etc) – but they’ve created a scenario in which my only option is to is visit BitTorrent. I’ll give them another week to get their act together before joining the dark side…

22 thoughts on “Hulu Adds HD (and Burn Notice)”

  1. Your “only option” is to visit BitTorrent?

    I guess you have the right to view any copyrighted media at any time you want?! For all eternity?

    Your other options include waiting for rebroadcast on TV, waiting for a DVD release, watching it when it was originally broadcast, borrowing a burned DVD or VHS from a friend… need I go on?

    Sorry, but your comment sounded a little too entitled…

  2. Chris, I’m against pirating content. At the same time, this is a good example of how the studios are hurting themselves by slowly adopting alternate distribution methods. I’m willing to pay and I’m willing to watch commercials. Just give me that option and in a timely fashion.

    For the record, I’ve used BitTorrent exactly three times. One time (Dexter) led me to subscribe to Showtime and another time (Traveler) led me to watch the show real-time with commercials. Both could be considered positive outcomes for the content producers.

    Allanon, thanks for the tip. When I watched the pilot (on Hulu) a week or so ago they didn’t have those other early episodes on USA, Hulu, Amazon Unbox, or iTunes. I assume this means that they’ve been encoded and Hulu will also post them shortly.

  3. I wrote so many snotty “Clown Co” comments over at TechCrunch, I will not be expecting my Hulu invite any time soon ( Also a known Cult of Mac and Ubuntu zealot )…

    But with that said I am shocked ( no really, I am being sincere ) that Hulu’s supporting BitTorrent. Are they ( NBC ) just taunting the striking writers? NBC knows 90% of people outside the US get the Office DVDs via BitTorrent.

  4. I got my Hulu invite yesterday as well. I checked them out real quick before my almost-1-year-old on my lap decided she wanted more attention than she was getting.

    Anyway, the total selection of HD content was on the slim side as Dave said. Worse part is my computer can’t really handle them at this point. I did, however, try anyway. The playback was rather choppy, but the quality of the video was pretty good. That just gives me, and anyone else on an older computer, all the more reason to upgrade.

    Related: How long before YouTube/other video sharing sites allow HD content to be uploaded by users? I have a feeling we aren’t too far off now that there are several models of HD video cameras on the market.

  5. Just got my own invite as well. Poked around to see what they’ve got posted. The first thing I noticed was Battlestar Galactica, which everybody seems to love and I haven’t watched, but then I noticed like you that they only have Season 3 posted. So I don’t really want to jump in there.

    I also recommend Burn Notice, very highly. My wife liked it too.

    I’ll be playing around with hulu nevertheless, whenever I’m in a hotel room. We’ll see how it holds up. So far seems nice, though the fullscreen option doesn’t work for some reason, at least on Firefox on Linux…

  6. Glenn, full screen on a Mac via Firefox works for me as a point of reference.

    I do hope Burn Notice ends up on Hulu. USA’s site seems to have worse quality that doesn’t go full screen.

    Speaking of the writers strike, our backup plan is to Netflix all seasons of The Wire.

  7. Todd – how is Hulu “supporting” BitTorrent?

    Just because Hulu is missing episodes 2 and 3 of Burn Notice, I’d hardly consider that supporting BitTorrent!

    Especially when the missing episodes were probably just overlooked. Remember, this is still in BETA! Obviously they don’t intend to offer episode 1 and 4 and 5 without 2 and 3. It’s probably just a mistake.

    Why do we all feel so entitled to have every piece of media we want, NOW!

    You had plenty of time to watch Burn Notice on TV. I am pretty sure it was on iTunes over the summer. Plus, it’s on USA’s own site RIGHT NOW! For free!

    I’m confused how the studio is dragging their feet posting digital versions of this show?

    Just because all 12 episodes are not available NOW at every person’s preferred site?

    Sorry, maybe I’m in a bad mood but it seems Hulu posting FREE HD content is GOOD NEWS and all we can do is complain that there’s not ENOUGH free HD content available?

  8. “Speaking of the writers strike, our backup plan is to Netflix all seasons of The Wire.”

    You won’t be sorry!

    That’s the best idea I’ve heard all day!

  9. “Why do we all feel so entitled to have every piece of media we want, NOW!”

    Chris, television content is a business (in the US at least). I didn’t hear of the show until November, so they missed their opportunity at hooking me whenever it originally aired. If they put it online now (selling ads or selling downloads), conceivably they make money (from me at least). Also, perhaps they hook me for Season 2 and can book more advertising revenue.

    As far as the episode gap, I’m not sure it’s a mistake. I’ve seen it for other shows too. They usually post the most recent episodes. Not sure if they’ll backfill – They’re still in beta, so anything is possible as it evolves. I assume they’re discussing all the possible presentation options and building up a stable of advertisers.

    As I mentioned above, the additions to the USA website are new since I first watched the pilot on Hulu. It’s my own fault actually. I should have just skipped the pilot since the other episodes weren’t posted. Actually, it’s Mari’s fault for recommending the show! ;)

  10. My Hulu HD experience could’ve been better with a faster connection & more chip (RR standard, formerly Adelphia & macmini 1.83)

    Overall though, it’s definitely the right direction, it wasn’t so bad even after hitting the full-screen button to display it on my 2407WFP.

    Right track, just a matter of time. Hulu definitely makes me want to reconsider TV on DVD purchases down the road and makes what the writers are doing right now even more important.

  11. For those of you looking for Hulu’s HD content, the easiest way to find it is to scroll to the bottom and click on HD Gallery. If you’re already signed in, here’s the direct link:

    PS Just went to watch Episode 2 of Burn Notice on USA… turns out they’re missing the second installment (“Identity”) and only have half the episodes. Ha!

  12. Finally had a chance to try it… so far, so good on my Mac Pro 8-core with standard Road Runner.

    I don’t know how I missed the news that so much of the back catalog is on there too — had fun last night watching Doogie Howser and Emergency! :-)

  13. Burn Notice is awesome – worth going to jail for downloading!!!! I have heard there will be a season 2 next summer provided the writers go back to work of course.

  14. Nontheless, citizens need to participate in decision-making about important issues and be provided with opportunities to deliberate with those who can inform the discussion. ,

Comments are closed.