Hulu Plus landed on the Roku today with a newly discounted $7.99/month price tag for all subscribers. I don’t have a Hulu Plus account, but I was able to borrow Dave’s for a quick test drive on my home Roku. Initial impressions: Nice execution, but the content is still stinky.
In fairness, some of the content Hulu Plus pitches is pretty sweet, like current episodes of current TV shows. But the program logos on my big screen don’t indicate how much content is actually available. Clicking on Life got me 33 episodes to choose from. Clicking on Dollhouse got me one web clip of a Joss Whedon interview. And where Hulu Plus does have large back catalogs of a handful of shows, the choices seem to mirror the Netflix library. With a quick check I found the complete series of Law and Order SVU and Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Hulu Plus. Guess what. I’ve got both on Netflix too.
As for the interface, it’s got some nice touches, including recommendations and search filters. The one big irritation is that there’s very little metadata available before you click on a show to play. Playback, on the other hand, is beautiful. Dave’s probably pining for 1080p, but I have to say I thought the picture quality was comparable to what I see with linear broadcast high-def TV.
Trying to decide if Hulu Plus makes sense for you? If you don’t have VOD service from your cable or telco provider (which has a lot of current shows), it might be just the ticket, particularly with the new price and extended presence on new devices. However, if your tastes are broader, and you either have VOD or don’t care about current stuff, then Netflix is still the better route.