Hulu. Funny Name, Awesome Service

posted in Miscellaneous on Jan 9, 2008

Some of you are pissed that the Writer’s Strike has taken away all of the normal, crappy programming. It’s ok, a lot of people are angry. No one is getting their Heroes or Lost or…other shows that I don’t know are on the air. Fortunately, a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a website that can alleviate some of the frustration of seeing the same reruns over and over and over again.

If you’re like me, you can only see the same Daily Show and Colbert Report reruns until you want to harm cute things. In the middle of all the striky-ness, if you watch a lot television you probably want to see something new. Enter Hulu. Hulu is simply an online service that allows you to watch TV programming. As of right now I believe the service is in beta, the code word coined by Google to allow them to put a service out to the public and dodge any anger from bugs. “What? Your computer exploded? Well, it’s still in beta.” Don’t let the beta scare you, though, it runs fine. I’ve had it once not give me a program that I wanted, but no big deal on that one. But what about the programming?

If you’ve ever went to or and watched one of their shows online, then this will not be a great departure from that experience. This, however, is better because it pulls from multiple stations. For example, you can watch Heroes, 30 Rock, Firefly, The Office, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Late Night with Conan O’Brian, to name a few. There are tons more, but I don’t feel like listing them. I watched the entire second season of 30 Rock the other day, which was cool. I had never seen that show before and decided to give it a shot because everyone says it’s pretty good (plus Tina Fey is a cutie). Turns out it’s not bad at all, and now that Hulu has episodes of it up to watch, I’ll probably see every new show they put up. Speaking of quickness of uploading, I just watched yesterday’s Late Night on Hulu, so they seem to be just as fast as other sites in uploading, at least from my experience.

The quality of the video is of a much better standard than what you’ll find on popular video cesspools like Youtube. 30 Rock, for example, looked freaking great. The transfer that they have was obviously from their HD programming, as the picture was in widescreen. Same for Conan. Of course, what you’re getting online is not HD, but it’s definitely clear enough. There are commercials, and this may dishearten some people, but there is only one commercial per break. So for an hour long show like Conan’s, you get about 2.5 minutes of commercials total, instead of 15 minutes on regular television. I think it’s great.

So give Hulu a try. I’m hoping that it continues to stay free, but if they start getting a ton of people and shows on the site, there might possibly be a payment plan in the future. Who knows? There is a hitch in getting to use Hulu, however, and I’m actually not sure if this is still in effect, but since it’s a beta, you have to hang out on a list for a little bit before they allow you to use the service. I had to wait a about a week, so sign up fast! Let me know what you all think of it; I’d like to hear everyone’s opinions.