A while back I got into the Hulu beta program (note: I still have 5 invites, send me an e-mail if you want an invite) but did not really use the site too much at the time. Recently, however, I moved my television out of my room and into the basement. Since then I’ve barely watched any TV but on occasion fire up Hulu.com for a quick 20 minute fix. So far, the site is awesome. Shows stream quickly with a very nice quality with a bare minimum of commercials interruptions. Oh and when commercials do run, they have a timer at the top counting down until the episode comes back, letting you know exactly how much time you have.
Another nice feature is the ability to edit clips right on Hulu and embed the trimmed down clips on a site. When you click the embed clip button, a screen comes up with a scroll bar at the bottom that lets you decide where the embedded clip should start and where it should end. Already I wish youtube had this feature, as it’s very handy when you just want to show someone a part of a clip, not the whole video. Here’s how the editing screen looks:
Pretty cool eh?
The same editing feature is available under the share button, where you can e-mail your friends a link to either the full original video or an trimmed down clip. It all works smoothly and quickly. Quite impressive.
Check out this clip from the end of the Family Guy episode, Play it Again Brian:
Hulu would be better if the advertisements just scrolled at the bottom of the screen or played in a sidebar while browsing the Hulu site, but as is they’re about as un-intrusive as can be. One very irritating part of the advertisements is that many times the same ad gets played over and over again through the course of an episode. While it’s not too annoying while watching a short 20 minute episode of The Simpsons or Family Guy because there’s only two or three ads, it becomes very annoying over the course of a 40 minute episode of The Office. Hulu needs to figure out someway to rotate ads around or require advertisers to submit more than one ad. In either case, seeing the same ad five or six, or even more times over the span of 40 minutes quickly destroys any urge to buy the advertised product.
There is also a HD Gallery on the site which streams high-definition videos. Right now this collection of high-def videos is limited to ten movie trailers but the quality and speed of the streaming is very, very impressive. If they’re able to upload full-length HD movies and shows Hulu is going to receive tons and tons of traffic from people like me who have a nice big monitor with a limited amount of HD content to view online. Though, if movies were to get interrupted every twenty minutes by an ad it might not be such a big hit.
It’s still early but my experience with Hulu has been great so far. Over time I hope Hulu alternates advertisements so it’s not the same ads over and over again. Another big concern is whether they’re able to stay afloat financially without increasing advertisements. Have you had a chance to explore Hulu? What did you think?If not, want to?