Do we really need another youtube clone? That’s what kept coming to mind while I initially started browsing through Hulu, an online video sharing website. Currently still in beta, I fortunately received an invite to test out the site and I thought I’d share some thoughts about Hulu here on the blog.
Dissatisfied with the way things were done on youtube, NBC Universal along with News Corp. (FOX) set out to build their own website where they’d have more control over content. the result is HULU which offers full length episodes from NBC and Fox as well as their various sister stations which includesBravo, Sci-Fi, FX, Style, Sundance and Oxygen channels. Visitors will have no problem navigating the website since it’s basically modeled after youtube. so what’s the big deal, you ask? well, obviously it’s the convenience of being able to view full episodes of your favorite shows on one website. Currently major hit shows like The Office, Heroes, Family Guy, The Simpsons and 30 Rock are all available here along with a bunch of others from the participating networks. You can simply browse through the “most popular” or “most recently added” titles or search by keyword. Hulu also conveniently lists all available videos categorized by network on a separate page.
So, what can you do as a member? - pretty much the usual stuff: rate videos, post comments, save videos to “your playlist” and subscribe to your favorite shows (new episodes get automatically added to your playlist).
current limitations- The major limitation at this point is the amount of videos available. But they’re adding new titles regularly and hopefully expand to other networks/companies other than NBC and Fox. Also, the videos are only viewable in the U.S. at this point. It has been reported that Hulu will have to cut through a bunch of red tape to get worldwide clearance for these videos. I’m sure it’ll be a huge undertaking but hopefully they’ll be able to work something out.
Video Quality? - For the most part, the video quality is very good. it varies between different networks and shows but the NBC stuff (i.e. The Office, 30 Rock, Heroes, etc.) look great and loads pretty quickly.
the negatives - Obviously the commercials. Ads are inserted at various times during the course of a full episode just like broadcast TV. (although the commercial breaks aren’t as long as broadcast TV thankfully!) Also, there are a couple of movies available right now but they’re “edited for broadcast viewing”. (please see the movie “Sideways” as an example further down the page). and lastly, there isn’t a “quick” way to browse through the available video titles at this point. hopefully they’ll fix this. there’s just a limited scroll bar on the page of a particular show. and if there’s a long list of available episodes, it gets a bit cumbersome to scroll through it all in a timely manner.
But overall, I have to say that I like what I’m seeing on Hulu. Hopefully they’ll take the time to work through these kinks before opening the site to the general public. There’s a lot of potential here.
oh and one more thing about Hulu. members can share links to their favorite videos (just like youtube) as well as embed them on their blogs. So, I thought I’d share a couple Hulu videos here on retroblog so that you all can get a taste of what they have to offer.