Tag Archives | Hulu

Playstation Plus: Required for Hulu Plus?

Hulu Plus may cost a bit extra — the price of a Playstation Plus subscription, actually — when the service comes to Playstation 3 in July, according to some language hidden in one of Hulu’s Web pages.

I stumbled upon the evidence when double checking that neither Sony nor Hulu had acknowledged the other’s subscription service. Hulu did announce upcoming support for Playstation 3, but a lack of details made me wonder why Playstation Plus, which launched today, wasn’t mentioned at all; some sort of deal for PS Plus subscribers seems like a no brainer. (If you’re not caught up on either of these services, by the way, see Harry’s post on Hulu Plus or Sony’s rundown of Playstation Plus).

Just to be sure I didn’t miss anything, I did a quick Google search, and found this (see the second result):

The text of the second result comes from the page source of Hulu Plus’ device page, and appears in Google’s search results even though it doesn’t show up on the website itself. “The instructions below will help you install Hulu Plus on your PS3,” the hidden language says. “Note: you must be a subscriber of the Playstation Plus Network.”

The next few lines describe a “Playstation 3 Activation Procedure,” in which you go to the Playstation Store and redeem a download code that lets you install a Hulu Plus application. View my screen grab of the page source if you like.

So it looks like Hulu Plus won’t be available to PS3 owners without a Playstation Plus subscription, which costs $50 per year or $18 per month for three months. That seems like a raw deal, considering that Netflix doesn’t cost anything extra on the Playstation 3 (it does require an Xbox Live Gold subscription on Xbox 360, and Microsoft has already confirmed that the same rule will apply to Hulu Plus when it arrives on Xbox 360 early next year). Still, it’s not clear whether PS Plus subscribers will get a deal on Hulu content, or if it costs the same $10 per month as everyone else.

I’ve pinged Sony and Hulu for clarification and will post an update if I hear anything.

Update: Apparently, the text is not hidden to people who already have a Hulu Plus preview invite, as one Kotaku reader reported after reading about our coverage. If that’s the case, I’m not sure why Hulu or Sony PR haven’t said anything.

Update 2: “We don’t comment on rumors and speculation which is all that is at this point,” Sony told G4 (but not us).


Hulu's For-Pay Service is Official. You Excited?

Speaking of browser-based entertainment services that are branching out: Hulu has finally announced its plans for a for-pay version of its extremely popular TV service. Hulu Plus will cost $9.99 a month and provide full access to entire seasons (current and past) of shows from ABC, NBC, FOX, and other TV networks. And it’ll be the first version of the service that’s available on devices that aren’t PCs, including the iPhone 4, iPhone 3G, iPod Touch, iPad, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and TVs and Blu-Ray players from Samsung, Sony, and Vizio. (That helps explain why Hulu has done everything in its power to prevent other companies such as Boxee from letting their users watch Hulu shows.)

Hulu says that the freebie, ad-supported version of the service isn’t going away–it’ll just offer fewer episodes, and won’t be available on a cornucopia of gadgets.

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Yes, Virginia, Hulu Hates You

OK, so maybe we can’t ascribe hatred to Hulu, an emotionless corporate entity and online pawn of the studio system. Let’s just say Hulu exhibits something akin to disrespect or disdain and clearly calls the shots as they reach into our homes and devices to decide what web browsing technologies are permissible. They talk about content licensing challenges, and I bet that is the primary factor driving their behavior. However, as content consumers, most of us don’t care on a conceptual level. All we know is that Hulu blocks select, legit Web browsing software and hardware from accessing their website. Which makes this a net neutrality issue.

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Hulu Wants You to Pay for Internet TV. Would You?

Over at All Things D, Peter Kafka is reporting that Internet TV megasite Hulu wants to try a $10/month “Hulu Plus” premium subscription option. He’s not so sure about the idea–it’ ll be hard to come up with an offering that sounds like it’s worth ten bucks in a world of plentiful free online video, doesn’t muck up the good thing which is Hulu’s free version, and makes enough money to make it all worthwhile.

I actively like the idea of Hulu–or someone–coming up with a for-pay Internet TV option that’s so compelling that I’d dump cable for it. Here’s what would get me excited:

  • One fee for a service that’s available on PC, smartphone, TV (through something like a Roku box), and iPad
  • Not just prime-time entertainment but news, too (sports would also be a plus)
  • A treasure trove of episodes of old shows–including stuff they don’t play on cable and don’t put out on DVD

I’d pay $10 a month for that–heck, I’d pay a lot more than that if it were the TV service of my dreams.

How about you?


Hulu Figures Out Its Future

Most people who want Flash on the iPhone and iPad don’t really care about Flash–they care about the profusion of video, games, and other content that currently uses Flash. Near the top of that list is TV megasite Hulu. Will it come to Apple’s mobile devices, as well as other newfangled gizmos like TV boxes? It wants to, says All Things Digital’s Peter Kafka–but it thinks that consumers should pay for the privilege, and is trying to figure out the logistics.


Hulu Gets Caption Search

Internet TV megaportal Hulu has added a new feature (under its Hulu Labs “this is still an experiment” label) that’s simple but powerful: You can now do text searches that’ll scour the captions that many shows incorporate–letting you find shows that incorporate certain terms, then fast-forward directly to the relevant spot in the program.

End result: It’s now possible to pinpoint interesting tidbits embedded deep within shows, where you’d never otherwise be able to find them.

Searching caption information is far from a new idea (I think I first ran across it in software bundled with ATI’s All-in-Wonder TV tuner cards eons ago). And what you really want is a search index that uses not only captions but speech-to-text conversions of the soundtracks of shows, so even programs with no captions are fully incorporated. I suspect we’ll get that for virtually all video on the Web, and it won’t take too long. (If Google isn’t cooking up something along these lines even as we speak, I’d be startled.)

For now, though, this is neat–and yet another reason to love Hulu.


Let Them Charge. Hulu Can Only Improve

The interwebs are abuzz (OMG!) with Hulu’s confirmed exploration of paid tiers and pay-per-view, in addition to the current ad-supported video content model. News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, as quoted by the Associated Press:

Are we looking at it with a view of adding subscription services in there and pay-per-view movies? Yes, we are looking at that.

However, a company spokesperson acknowledges that free video supported by advertising does “resonate most” with viewers, so I doubt we’ll see it go away. Having said that, I have very little use for the current incarnation of Hulu. It’s content library still exhibits the “random crap syndrome” – which I had hoped would be cured when Hulu exited from beta. Didn’t happen. Still hasn’t happened. Shows come and go. Good luck finding an entire season/series. (ALF doesn’t count.) And then there’s the restrictive playback policies. No PS3 for you. Screw you too, Boxee. I appreciate the Internet as my video transport mechanism, but I prefer to watch television… on television.

So bring on the pay services, I say. I’m an adult with an adult salary and limited free time. Offer me something worthwhile at a not-outrageous fee, and I’ll pay for premium content and the convenience of quality aggregation. Should Hulu manage to provide it.

(This post republished from Zatz Not Funny.)

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Eleven Sites for Watching and Downloading Free TV and Movies

Steve Bass's TechBiteLast week I told you about Sling’s MediaCatcher, the device that’s ideal for viewing streaming videos on your TV, as well as MediaGate’s MG-800HD, the other gizmo for watching downloaded movies on your TV. (See “Stream Movies from Your PC to Your TV.”)

This week I’ve got a score of spots where you can watch legal movies and TVs shows, some streamed, others downloaded, and a few sites with illegally pirated movies. I’ll also review MediaGate’s inexpensive, portable media device.

Next week I’ll spend a little time showing you how to capture streaming video.
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ABC Does Hulu, I’m Still Passing.

abc_logo_2.jpgABC is now officially a Hulu partner, as the network began adding its content to the service. Its hit show Grey’s Anatomy would be the first to be added to the YouTube rival with five episodes. The addition should be no surprise — the two sides announced a deal back in April as we reported here.

It only leaves CBS as the odd major network out here — and we know from the TV.com tiff that its likely you won’t be seeing Big Brother or CSI anytime soon.

According to a blog post on Hulu’s site, additional content is planned to be added each weekday during the summer. A calendar shows the new content (which today is Grey’s), although it doesn’t give a preview of what’s coming. I’d imagine the next few weeks will be filled with ABC content, including episodes of fellow ABC hits Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives and the like.

As I’ve said many times before, I have no intention of using Hulu because of their content usage policies. Once they change, I may consider using the site. Anyone else living life Hulu-free?


The Simpsons Are Making Money Online

The SimpsonsNormally, I wouldn’t write here about ad rates for Web content. But as a consumer of Web-based entertainment and information, I found this kind of encouraging:  Bloomberg is saying that The Simposons is making more money on ads in its online incarnation on Hulu than it is on broadcast TV. Um, that’s revenue per thousand viewers, which is how these things are usually measured–the show still makes three times as much from Fox airings than Hulu, simply because there are so many people watching prime-time TV.

I’m happy not because I care where Rupert Murdoch’s spending money is coming from, but because the financial success of the Simps on the Web is evidence that advertisers are willing to sink real money into good stuff on the Web. Advertising, in case you hadn’t noticed, pays the bills of most sites. And in a world in which everyone from Hollywood mo guls to press barons are questioning the Web’s ability to pay for content, any sign at all of money being made is heartening. (Especially since most of the Hulu shows I watch seem to be accompanied by public-service messages–as if nobody wants to spend a nickel to advertise on them.)

Of course, the business model for big-time entertainment is still going to change a heck of a lot over the next few years. Would Bart and company exist at all if there’d been a Web but no network TV back in 1987, when Matt Groening created them? Maybe–the family started out on low-budget shorts for The Tracey Ullman Show. Ones that would perfectly at home on the Web. But it’s going to be a while before, say, a Lost or 24 can be paid for through online ads.  I think the day will come when it’s doable, and maybe sooner than we expect. But for now, the Web is still freeloading on content that’s being subsized by other media.