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For the past fourteen days you’ve been able to access a service that has had me excited for a few months now. Television and movies on demand, but on the internet, thanks to Hulu. When our TV editor got hooked on the Hulu magic a few months ago I thought it was a nice distraction. But as we’ve used it intermittently it’s come to my attention that this is the first step to true digital distribution that I’ve been waiting for.
Today Hulu is on almost every night in my home. My wife is currently in the bedroom watching some SNL clips, and she might view a movie before heading to bed. Featuring the best web video player currently available, Hulu has opened up the internet to what is possible for video distribution. NBC partnered with News Corp to start up the project, and cable guys like Bravo and Sundance are right behind. So the content you get from Hulu comes directly from the source. No grainy and out of focus videos need apply.
Right now there are a few hundred episodes of television and a comparable amount of movie content on the site. This includes current favorites like 30 Rock and The Office, which is featured with Hulu’s help in the Office Rewatch column at Blend Television. You’ll also find classic TV shows and movies for your enjoyment. You feel like watching that animated classic Titan A.E., go right ahead. For some reason that is right behind The Girl Next Door on the Most Popular list. I’m not sure what this says about the average Hulu user, so let’s move on.
The general form of Hulu operates exactly like a television. This sound simple enough, but the fact that right now you can get streaming content on the internet that makes you forget you’re using a computer is quite remarkable. Not because it’s happening, but because so many people oppose my view that digital distribution is fast approaching. I’m told how limited bandwidth is, and how technology isn’t ready yet. Yes, that is a great argument if it weren’t for the fact that I couldn’t load images onto my junior high computer. And then let’s just talk about high school, when I spent a good deal of time on a BBS playing text based role playing games. Then came the picture and video revolution of the late 90s. Giving us such great content like slideshow quality online shows. Mmm…stuttering video. Classy.
But as you can see things change, and Hulu is a big step in the right direction. The concern over whether we can get this content in a more user friendly fashion remains present. We still rely on the studios to provide for the masses, whereas the internet has thrived for many years on the sharing of information and data amongst users. But now that major corporations have all but taken over the online world, perhaps its time to accept that we’ll continue getting our content from major outlets. It’s sad that it took such a short time for the fire of the internet to burn out, and now we’re looking at just another distribution model.
So, here it is. Hulu is fantastic. It doesn’t matter who owns it. I mean, no one cares that MySpace or IGN is owned by News Corp. That’s just a fact of internet life. At this point the kids who push companies to bid $100 million for social networking sites are just trying to get their fix. As long as someone is able to provide fantastic content for a nominal fee, or like Hulu with limited advertising, we shall be happy.
And if you’re worried about Hulu just not being HD enough for your uber tech savvy eyeballs, they do offer some movie trailers in the HD Gallery. It’s a project to showcase what’ll be coming soon. You should have a fairly upgraded computer, and fast internet connection, before using the service. I’m on our slightly older PC at this moment and it took a few minutes longer than normal to load up the Hulk trailer. Kick-ass in HD, and in full screen mode, in case you were wondering.
But hey. You might not believe that Hulu is great. But you can’t deny that The Big Lebowski is. So, why dontcha scroll down and watch it right now?
The Dude abides.
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