Mar 17, 2008

Hulu Hoops

Man, how corny is that headline ;)

Seriously though, I've been playing around with the alpha (as opposed to beta) version of Hulu, NBC's new online video watching service and I am underwhelmed.

Here's what I'm not digging:
  • No ability to download. This is the killer for me. I often decompress from work by watching TV shows on my MacBook on the train during my commute home. Easy to do on iTunes. Easily worth $1.99. Would gladly watch a few commercials for the privilege. Impossible on Hulu.
  • Poor video quality at full-screen. (Even on my 13 inch MacBook)
  • Full seasons not available: Pysch the comic crime show on USA Network, is one of my guilty pleasures. No longer on iTunes, but the full season is not on Hulu. Or at leas it doesn't appear to be because...
  • User unfriendly interface: Those for-fanatics-only snippets (e.g. "Writers discuss the pilot") and whatnot aren't housed in a separate tab or anything-- they're mixed in with the shows. It makes it difficult to figure out which is which and also to find what you're looking for.
  • Doesn't download smoothly: Still encountered a number of lags, where I was waiting for the download and it was going way too slowly. Enforced time outs like this are more annoying than commercials.
I suspect I'm not the only one who likes to watch video away from an internet connection. And is willing to pay for it. I understand Jeff Zucker's "trading dollars on TV for pennies on the internet" concern, but maybe the solution is to make the shows downloadable with commercials. Someone like me isn't going to take the time and hassle to find the software to remove the commercials before I watch the show. I mean Psych is fun and all, but just not worth the trouble.

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