Long Term Hulu Plus Thoughts

hulu_plusI have been using Hulu Plus for several months, and I have a few additional comments about the service.

I tend to watch lots of science documentaries. Over time, I’ve seemed to nearly exhaust the documentaries available on Netflix and Amazon videos. One of the things I really like about the Hulu Plus is that it includes shows from the BBC, Canada and Australia. This opens up a new world of high quality documentary material that isn’t available to me otherwise.

From a technical streaming point of view, the service always seems to stream well. I have encountered no server issues streaming either via DSL or mobile data connections.

The various Hulu Plus apps themselves do have a few issues. I regularly use the iOS, Android and Roku versions of the Hulu Plus apps. The interfaces seem mostly straightforward, though there are a few quirks and differences from one app to the next.

The biggest problem I’ve encountered is the service being able to remember where I’m stopped at in an individual video as well as a series of videos. For example, let’s say I’m in the 5th episode of a season. The service may or may not remember that I’ve already watched the previous 4 episodes.

Additionally, if I pause in the middle of a video, there’s at least a 50% chance that if I come back to the series later, instead of starting me out exactly where I was in the paused video, the service will kick me to the next episode even though I haven’t finished watching the prior episode.

These synching problems seem to be consistent across all of Hulu Plus’ apps. I can use only one app, say on my iPad Air, and will likely encounter the synching issue the next time I open the app to try to get back to where I left off. Moving to a different device entirely I will still encounter the same synching problem.

These synching issues are areas where Netflix and Amazon really seem to have this nailed down and leave Hulu Plus lagging behind.

Even with the synching issues, I really like Hulu Plus and make extensive use of it. In my view it is well worth the $8 monthly charge.

Hulu Flip-Flopped. Video Service No Longer for Sale Again.

Hulu LogoI am starting to wonder if I should even read stories of Hulu being for sale…

The conglomeration of owners that is known as Hulu has once again backed out of the for sale market. The group – consisting of 21st-Century Fox, NBCUniversal and Walt Disney Company – have confirmed via press release they will once again take the streaming content service back off the market and re-invest to bring more customers.

This is not the first time Hulu has done this. Back in 2011, Hulu had a potential suitor where the deal was called off because the group wanted to re-invest.

“We believe the best path forward for Hulu is a meaningful recapitalization that will further accelerate its growth under the current ownership structure,” said Chase Carey, President and Chief Operating Officer of 21st Century Fox. “We had meaningful conversations with a number of potential partners and buyers, each with impressive plans and offers to match, but with 21st Century Fox and Disney fully aligned in our collective vision and goals for the business, we decided to continue to empower the Hulu team, in this fashion, to continue the incredible momentum they’ve built over the last few years.”

The co-owners of Hulu continued by saying they will be adding another $750 million into the service. This will go toward building a larger subscriber base.

Hulu started in 2008. They currently have content from over 400 partners, 4 million subscribers and 30 million monthly views.

Hulu Plus doubles subscriptions

Hulu continues to surprise me — the service never seems quite mainstream, but continues to thrive. This time the TV service is announcing record gains in subscriptions to its Plus service, the paid subscription plan that it introduced back in 2010.

“Overall, Hulu continues to grow very quickly. In Q1 of this year, we set new records for revenue, and for the first time ever, Hulu viewers streamed more than 1 billion content videos in a single quarter” states Hulu’s acting CEO Andy Forssell. In fact, the company has seen continued growth every year that it has existed — in Q1 2013, Hulu Plus surpassed 4 million subscribers—setting new records for subscriber additions.

hulu usage graph

Mobile viewing is also growing, now accounting for 15 percent of Hulu’s consumed videos in 2013-2014. Living room viewing now makes up 29 percent of the viewing audience.

Forssell also points out advertising revenue — “Hulu is also #1 in market share of all premium online video providers, delivering 1 in 3 of all premium video ads in the U.S. Our reasonable ad load drives the highest recall and awareness for brands, which results in higher effectiveness for the video ads”.

Hulu has recently jumped in the game of original content with Quick Draw and East Los High. This brings the service into direct competition with Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Watch Star Trek on Hulu for Free!

Hulu LogoHulu is celebrating William Shatner’s birthday by offering viewers free access to five Star Trek television series from now through March 31, 2013. This includes every episode of “Star Trek” the original series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Deep Space 9”, “Voyager”, and “Enterprise”.

The LA Times points out that when you add it up, it comes to 693 episodes. You’ve got just nine days to do it in. Make some popcorn and have a Star Trek marathon this weekend! The NextWeb has calculated that you would have to watch 69 episodes a day, every day, between now and the end of the month if you wanted to watch them all for free through Hulu.

An easy way to find everything is to visit the page that Hulu put together about it. Click the image of the series you want to watch and you should be good to go. You do not have to be a Hulu subscriber in order to access free Star Trek right now. Apparently, Hulu periodically unlocks some of its content for free (which I was unaware of).

Dexter, Game of Thrones Part of Top 10 Most Pirated TV Shows in 2011

Dexter

Dexter

The group over at TorrentFreak.com have come up with the top ten pirated shows this last year. They collected information from many Torrent Trackers to come up with this list. This list is US only.

Dexter, the show about a serial murderer who kills bad guys topped this years most downloaded list at 3.6 million downloads. Game of Thrones was second, and CBS’s “Big Bang Theory” hit third.

Terra Nova is the surprise – 8th place at 1.9 million. This is a show that is on the verge of cancellation by Fox. So does a number like this mean there is still hope for this show?

Some good news is these numbers are declining. Web streaming sites like Hulu give people a chance to see their shows on their schedule. In return, they don’t have to search for the latest episode.

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

However, shows like Dexter and True Blood –  which are on premium channels Showtime and HBO – don’t show up on Hulu. A season of these episodes might take 2 years before they land on Netflix streaming. You can buy seasons at the conclusion through sites like Amazon, and rent shortly through Blockbuster or Netflix DVD.

Five network TV shows ended up on the list – Big Bang Theory, House, How I Met Your Mother, Glee, and Terra Nova. TorrenkFreak deduces these are mostly downloads for people who are overseas and do not have access to Hulu.

Hulu Not For Sale

Hulu.comThe owners of Hulu announced today that they are no longer for sale, after shopping themselves around since June.  Maybe with Netflix’s sudden unsettled condition, it occurred to them that maybe they could make a few more dollars on their venture.

I am not a huge user of Hulu, but my teenage daughter is.  She watches all her favorite cable and network shows there when she misses them on regular broadcast, or when someone accidentally erases something she’s saved from the DVR.  Unlike others in the geek-o-sphere, we are not ready to cut the cord on our satellite yet.  But having choices like Hulu means that we have some flexibility in how we watch some of our favorites.

I went and tooled around on Hulu tonight for a bit, to see what was there to watch.  The American Experience series from PBS is available for free viewing, as is one of my guilty pleasures, Storage Wars from A&E.  Much of what I found was cable-based, as most network shows end up on the networks’ own websites.  Hulu is good for getting links directly out to shows that they don’t carry directly.

Most shows won’t play unless your ad-blockers are turned off, and they all include ads.  Most ads are only a minute or less, and happen only a couple times during the episode you may be watching.  That’s what you get for free.  If you want to pay $8 a month, you get access to more shows, many of them current or newest releases including movies, plus the ability to watch them on any device from a smart phone to a tablet to an Internet-enabled television or set-top box.

From what I can tell, if you’re looking for things that have appeared on television, Hulu is where you want to go for content.  If you’re looking for new releases, they are pretty much a black hole of nothing.  But still, for those that don’t want to pay Netflix’s inflated prices for content, Hulu may be a reasonable alternative.

I intend to spend a little more time poking around seeing what is there.

$49 Roku Might Be the Golden Ticket for Cord Cutters

Roku LT

Roku LT

This morning, Roku announced a $49 model of their popular Over the Top TV solution. The Roku LT is a very slimmed down version of the box. It does up to 720p video (which most content providers are creating content for), and while you cannot play Angry Birds or have a USB and Ethernet port (it’s a WiFi device, too) like the $99 model, it does have all the other functionality of this popular internet appliance.

Roku has been growing, adding many new channels including EPiX, which has been convincing people to cut the cord, as GigaOM discusses. Roku also added HBO Go – which is a On Demand service offered by HBO. You still need to order a cable package to get the OTT channel.

There are other great channels on Roku that do not require a cable connection, such as the TechPodcasts channel and Blubrry. You also have the Netflix, HuluPlus, Revision3, KoldKast, Glenn Beck, NHL, Fox News and many other channels.

The LT also undercuts the Apple TV by $50. Roku was already the lowest priced box, with a $59 and $79 version of the box. But this new magic price point turns the OTT box into a “great gift”. With the holidays fast approaching, this might be the hot item.

So with this news, will you finally be purchasing a Roku? Let us know!

GNC #689 Bandwidth Challenged

Looks like someone is messing with my net connections while I am streaming the show. Twice in two weeks the net connection has went dead while live time to do some digging. Lots of tech tonight but the last two shows the intro has slipped a bit in length. I will get that re-aligned next show. So far nothing but postive feedback on the HD version of the show. See the bonus links in the show notes and check out our iTunes network provider listings.

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Hulu Plus Review

I took advantage of the Hulu Plus free trial week, because I wanted to see if it is worth the monthly subscription fee. After a week of using it, I have decided for me it is not worth the price. The reasons it is not worth the price for me is the following

 
 1. The shows I want are not available on the Iphone or Ipad
 2. Shows expire
 3. The commercials
 4. Its still not available on the TiVo
 5. It is blocking Google TV and Boxee
 

Once I decided to try Hulu Plus I started to look around at shows that I wanted to watch. The first thing I noticed was that more then half were not available on the Iphone, which is where I watch a lot of my videos, so that is strike one. Strike two was the fact that shows that I wanted to watch like Fringe expire and become unavailable. I went back to catch up with Fringe and the shows from earlier this season had expired and were not available. I don’t understand the point of expiring videos, especially those from the current season. Strike three are the commercials. I have no problem with commercials in the free version I realize companies have to make money to survive. However if I am paying a subscription I don’t want to see commercials. I would prefer to be given a choice to pay more and see no commercials or pay minimum and get commercials. It is still not available for the TiVo and if its anything like the wait for Pandora, it will be awhile before it will be. I don’t have either the Boxee Box and or Google TV, but the fact that Hulu is blocking both of them is just dumb. If I connect my mac mini to my TV I can watch Hulu Plus, but if I connect my Google TV I can’t, how this makes sense I don’t know. Finally, and this a purely a personal thing there are not enough anime shows available.

I will probably take another look at Hulu Plus at a later date, but for now a combination of Netflix, Itunes, Amazon and Crunchyroll along with my TiVo take care of my video needs at this time. If you use Hulu Plus what do you like about it and is there anything you would change about it.


GNC-2010-09-28 #614 Giveaways Galore

This weekend simply crushed me and it hit me like a ton of bricks during the show tonight. Nevertheless the show has to go on. Details in the show and some cool pictures at the bottom of the show notes. Saw the F22 Raptor perform at an airshow this weekend and what an amazing airplane. Two new contest started on tonights show listen to win.

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A couple of Pictures from the 2010 Kaneohe Bay Hawaii Air Show on Saturday!
F22 Raptor = UNBELIEVABLE!

The Best Flight Demo Team in the World! The Blue Angels!