Newer Media

Newer Media

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Posted by Mark Hine at 1:48PM   |  Add a comment
Hulu Logo

Perhaps you've seen the absolutely hilarious commercial for Hulu starring "TV Star" Alec Baldwin but have not dared to enter their web site. Hulu, for the record, is not run by aliens (which the commercial mockingly insinuates). Instead it is a joint venture between NBC Universal, News Corp. and Providence Equity Partners. This is not a social networking, low-budget affair. Quality is job one, as Ford Motor Co. used to tout.

Programming is fully licensed and supported by advertising, which is relatively limited. A free account is required to comment on or review videos. Hulu shares some features with YouTube such as sharing, embedding (see below) and full screen viewing. The interface is well done and access to high quality video separates Hulu from YouTube and other video sharing web sites. This site is not about sharing Mom's birthday party- it is, however, how the big guns in Hollywood are taking on high quality digital content delivery. The depth of programming is impressive. You will also find a long list of 'bonus content', i.e. interviews, out-takes and other shorts taken from TV shows and most notably, Saturday Night Live.

A unique aspect of Hulu is subscriptions. If you are familiar with Tivo or other DVR services, you can queue shows into your account for future viewing. For example, as a fan of the Fox series House, I've cued all future postings into my account. When I log in, I can review what is available based on my subscription settings.

To view Hulu on a mobile device you can post a clip to MySpace by sharing it. Because of the bandwidth requirements (which are demanding) of Hulu, direct streaming through a mobile web browser (cell phone) is not recommended.

Hulu is a great way to catch up on a television series or watch movies on your computer. Some content does expire as a result of contractual obligations between Hulu and the content owner. To fully enjoy the service a solid, high-bandwidth connection to the Internet is a must. Hulu also offers some HD content but you'll need a monster connection to the Internet (2.5 Mb/s) and the latest version of Flash player to view it.

While YouTube is in no danger of being run out of town, as it serves a much different purpose, Hulu is most likely the first of a new generation of content aggregators from broadcasters. Services like Hulu will greatly expand the role of digital media on the web and your computer as a viewing arena.






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