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Hulu Plus (perhaps better called Hulu Minus)

Hands on with Hulu Plus

I completely agree with the reviewer. The ads have to go. For the brief time I was using Hulu Plus, I was annoyed at every ad that came on the screen, especially when I was just trying to find a scene. I only pay a few more dollars a month for Netflix access, and for that I get a large library of streaming content and the ability to rent pretty much anything I want, all ad free. I have no problem putting up with commercials when I’m not paying for the service. I can understand that’s what is paying for the service. However by showing me ads and charging me a monthly fee, it seems like Hulu is double dipping into the charge pool.

I understand that this concept isn’t entirely new, though. When I watch “regular TV” it’s the same story there, though at least my DVR lets me fast forward. Whenever I think about it I get a bit annoyed about paying $80 a month for TV service that still has ads. All the time, ads, ads, ads. That was one of the great things when we were just using the AppleTV and iTunes store for TV watching, i.e. we never had to watch a commercial.  The frustrating thing is that I would love to switch to just watching over-the-air free broadcasts combined with iTunes for the pay stuff, but that’s just not a option.  Ever since the switch to digital broadcasts, we can’t get many of the channels we used to: the signals aren’t strong enough.  All we could really get is the local PBS station, so if we want to watch the “local” channels we have to pay for them.

But for me it was two other things that caused me to cancel my account. One, the iPad app didn’t support TV out. Seriously? Almost every other app supports TV out, and I would think this app would be a major candidate since other devices that use Hulu Plus connect to the TV. Without TV output, I’m stuck watching Hulu on my iPad rather than being able to hook it up to the TV.  Uh, no.  That’s not cool.

And two, only certain programs are cleared for being watched through the iPad app or the PS3 app. All those regular Hulu programs that you’ve been watching all this time? Nope. Can’t watch them. Worse, I found shows where some of the episodes could be watched on the TV but not all of them, even in the same season. So wait, I can watch the first couple episodes on the TV, and the last 2/3rds of the season, but I have to watch episode 3 on the computer? What the heck? That’s not right.

The only way to get around it is of course to hook up a computer to the TV, but if you do that why are you paying for Hulu Plus? Oh, yeah, the seasons of older shows. But you’d be much better off taking your money and getting a Netflix account. You’ll be able to watch all of those older shows and much, much more without commercials. Even better, you’ll be able to rent the shows on Blu-ray for true HD, as well as current movies and all that other fun stuff.  Sure, some of the shows might not be available for streaming, but the counter to that is if you can’t stream it, you can rent it.  And it’s all part of the same price.

So to sum up, I don’t see why anybody should choose Hulu Plus over another service like Netflix.  Restrictions, ads, bugs in the software…   Ugh.  Get a Netflix account instead.  For $1 more a month, yep, $1, you can have one DVD or Blu-Ray out at a time and unlimited ad-free access to their entire streaming library, available on TVs, Xbox 360s, Wiis, PS3s, and plenty of other devices right now.  If you don’t need Blu-Ray it’ll even cost you less (only $9 a month instead of $11).