Hulu is a brand new online video website, created by NBC and News Corp. Hulu makes TV shows available all in one place. No need to visit each individual network website just to watch your favorite show. There is also no need to download any additional software or player, it’s all flash-based. It’s also got some major TV network backing: NBC, FOX, Bravo, FX, Sci Fi, G4, and USA, to name a few. I’m pretty sure we’ll see more networks jumping on the bandwagon soon.
As far as the site goes, after registering, you’re greeted with Hulu’s rather simple and clean interface. You can browse the available TV shows, which are conveniently sorted alphabetically and by network. To my delight, I was shocked to see movies up on the site for viewing. Granted, the movies are “kinda old” (movies that show on TV for free), but it is still nice to be able to watch some old favorites of mine, like Requiem of a Dream. In all, you can watch shows, short clips, trailers, and movies. There is an HD section, but at the moment it’s just a bunch of movie trailers. Quality wise, the video compression is pretty good. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest, I’d rate the quality at a solid 7. It is certainly watchable, way better than the “illegal” YouTube video clips we see everyday. Hulu also provides basic video controls, you can pause, skip, rewind, and fast forward. You can also full-screen and even embed the video on your own website or blog — which was surprising.
Update (3/12/08) : It has come to my attention that you can also ‘clip’ shows and send the snippets to your friends and family via email or post it on your website, blog, myspace, facebook, etc.
Hulu is ad-supported, however, while watching a movie, I was asked if I wanted to watch the commercial before or during the video. Watching the ads before hand allows uninterrupted viewing. Pretty cool. I liked having the option of choosing how the ads are displayed to me.
I’d love to see more networks join Hulu. Honestly, this could put a major dent in the BitTorrenting of TV shows, assuming they get the shows up online in a reasonable manner. Catching up on your missed TV shows has never been easier.