I received my “private beta invitation” from hulu.com a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been thoroughly impressed from day one. It has a great selection of shows, a near-perfect user interface, and fast, high-quality video.
For those not familiar with Hulu, it started out as a joint venture between NBC and Fox to showcase their primetime shows and has grown beyond that.
Here’s what I like about Hulu:
- Great show selection.
- Simple, easy-to-use, uncluttered user interafce
- Automatically resume playing a show right where you left off (even recovers from browser crashes)
- Full-screen viewing option
- Descent video quality: you will notice macro-blocking and the lower frame rate in full screen mode, but it is by no means distracting, especially if you scoot back from your screen an extra foot or two
- HD Video: this will eliminate all quality complaints, but it’s only available for a few movie trailers at this point
- Commercials: there is one 30 second commercial every 15 minutes. Not bad. And all of the commercials are for the same company, so you kinda know what to expect when it is commercial time, which makes them almost enjoyable. Yes, you read that correctly, I was actually enjoying that Toyota commercial by the end of the show.
You can catch episodes of Firefly, Heroes, The Office, Scrubs, Chuck, 30 Rock, House, Battlestar Galactica (new and classic), Rosewell, Arrested Development, Journeyman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mary Tyler Moore, and many, many more.
It’s great entertainment when you need a break (such as from visiting your family over the holidays.) Sign-up for an invitation now; it took me about a week to receive mine. In the meantime, you can view shows on openhulu.com.
Just Playing Around
And finally, one of the coolest features is that you can embed your favorite shows into your own website. Instead of simply posting about how great a show is, show an episode. Here are some of my favorites:
Firefly: Perhaps one of the best science fiction TV shows ever shown on network TV. You can watch the entire series online; here is the first episode:
Roswell: I’d never watched a single episode but noticed its high rating on Hulu. I watched the pilot and decided that I missed out on a great series. This is definitely something I’ll be watching via hulu. Here is the pilot:
Journeyman: NBC has apparently canceled this show (yet decided to keep the unwatchable Bionic Woman remake alive.) I think people found Journeyman too difficult to follow, especially if they missed an episode. Out of all current shows on TV, I thought it has/had the best theme song and background music. Maybe watching it online will cause a revival. Here’s a clip from Episode 8: