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Hulu: TV on demand

HuluIf you’ve ever seen my Facebook profile, you already know that I basically don’t watch television (much to the chagrin of anyone who attempts to engage me in conversation about the latest programs). My husband and I used to say that the only reason we had cable TV at all was to watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. However, since the discovery of Hulu, we now can say, without sarcasm, that the reason we still have cable is so the babysitter will still show up. That’s because we can now get our two favorite shows online. For free.

From Hulu’s site:

Hulu offers U.S. consumers a vast selection of premium video content, on demand, free and ad-supported: full episodes of TV shows, both current and classic, full-length movies, thousands of clips, and much more.

Yep. Missed the latest episode of The Simpsons, House or The Office? Want to watch Ghostbusters on the spur of the moment for Halloween? It’s shows on demand.

What does this mean to me, Laura?

  • You need a broadband connection. As you probably guessed, you can’t really watch streaming media like TV or movies on dial-up. This also means that you may see patrons watching TV via Hulu on your library’s public computers.
  • Closed captioning is available for some programs, but not all.
  • There are usually ads, just like TV. Yes, they can often be blocked with add-ons to either the Mac Safari browser or Firefox. Hulu politely requests, however, that you refrain from doing so since this is how they provide all of this for free.
  • Hulu has a very good range of RSS feeds available to notify you of new offerings in various pre-determined categories.
  • Some programs are available in HD (high definition). One of those is the Joss Whedon web exclusive Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. (That’s your assigned watching this week.)

There are 3 comments

  1. Not only to you need broadband, it needs to be pretty good. I find that Hulu videos load very slowly, and it’s much more difficult to tell how much has pre-loaded. YouTube handles that interaction much better.

  2. Between Hulu and various other unnamed divx sources with servers outside of the US, I’m able to watch just about anything without downloading (almost). I’d much prefer to pay $5/month for the ability to watch anything at any time, but oh well….

    I’m on AT&T DSL (Pro) which means every once in a while I get some stuttering with my wireless N connection, but not very often (100-250kbps downloading, 50kbps uploading). I do know that we’re pretty close to a communications hub, so other folks may have slightly different results.

    I just purchased a wireless router and a laptop with HDMI, so clicking on the 480 option on Hulu and connecting to my HDTV is almost as nice as watching when it regularly comes on. Can’t wait until there’s a generic “Slingbox” that I can afford.

    The Hulu RSS feeds are nice, too. I have an RSS feed for each show that I watch set up using the Firefox add-on Wizz RSS: just click, watch a commercial, move the screen over to the HDTV, and maximize, and I’m all set. Last night I watched the first episode of the third season of 30 Days. : )

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