53 thoughts on “Hulu Hands-On Review in One Word: Brilliant”

  1. I’m sure a substantial amount of YouTube’s traffic comes from movie trailers, TV episodes, and TV/movie clips. If Hulu is as great as you describe, it wouldn’t be long before the entertainment companies start moving their content to Hulu and aggressively issuing takedown notices to YouTube. That would be a huge blow to YouTube’s claims to hosting legitimate content from industry and greatly decrease the content signal-noise ratio.

  2. @Patrick: Completely agree. I wonder why folks think this is not a youtube competitor — youtube became what it is today due to premium content; pull that off and you’d see a sharp decline in the viewership. So yes Hulu is an indirect competitor that will pull crowds off from Youtube faster than you think.

    And yes, it will still remain big (and be tagged) as the user-generated videos site — which has no meaningful optimization. I think Google has very stupidly cornered itself on its senseless pride this time around.

  3. Agree with Patrick and joe schmoe. YouTube only became popular from premium content. I’ve been saying forever that once the premium content owners get a clue and take control and distribute their content on their terms, youtube will begin a slow-but-steady downward sprial. If they had done this 2 years ago, youtube would be worthless today. Google likes to say youtube is video sharing, but it’s largely video pirating and hulu is the beginning of the end for its dominance. Not that youtube will go away – it just won’t matter much any more.

  4. the service is great., just checked out some alfred hitchcock. i was wonderfully suprised.

    and om – good job on the mea culpa. your good buddy mike should probably take some clues.

  5. Joe and Patrick,

    I can’t argue on the issue of how YouTube became what it has now, but I think once you use Hulu, you would see that they are not trying to compete with YT but carving out their own space, and have done a good job.

    YT will clearly take a hit, but how big a hit it will be, not quite sure just yet. They need to move aggressively to fill the gaps. I think going after niche legit content is a way forward for them.

  6. Om

    Spent some time at Hulu today, and wanted to suggest you compare the picture quality against what ABC is doing. Hulu hasn’t yet told me the bit rate, but there’s a visible difference in quality. ABC is going out at 1.9 for shows like Lost.

  7. My biggest concern with Hulu is if the following is true: “As another general rule, Hulu will keep distributing TV shows until five weeks of newer episodes have passed, at which point older shows will presumably just disappear from the site.” (From TechCrunch’s review)

    If that’s true, this isn’t going to be striking much of a blow to anybody, YouTube or Joost.

    I remember a lot of complaints with Comedy Central’s Motherload player for doing this…embedding a video is great, but after just a few weeks it won’t work anymore and they remove it from their site. At a time when people can find all kinds of old blog posts via search engines, this kind of behavior is frustrating. Comedy Central showed it understood that a week ago when they launched dailyshow.com to permanently host clips from the 9 years the show has been running.

    Basically if there’s some kind of time restriction on the availability of content, I don’t see it seriously threatening competing services in the long term.

  8. Lets see, I can’t use the content to go on my cell phone, I can’t see episodes that are older then 5 weeks, I can’t visit the site if I happen to live outside the US, I can’t watch the content on my TV, I can’t see the shows on sites I already use because hulu is issuing take down notices, I can’t fast forward through the ads like I can on a DVR, and I can’t find any user generated content on the service.

    I’m sorry OM, but I disagree with you on this one, I don’t see anything “brilliant” about this. I want to get legal video content online as much as the next guy, but this is the wrong way for them to go about doing it. Video on the web is about increasing the ways in which you can consume media content, not restricting it. Unless Hulu wants to open up, it still won’t be able to compete with the p2p systems.

  9. So the big question regarding Hulu is… will you use it? Does anyone plan to watch Hulu as often as you watch YouTube or Om TV? Personally, I have DVR through my cable provider. I can watch pretty much anything I want to watch from regular television. I do love the ability to send or embed clips, that has to have huge potential. But I don’t know that I’d go through the trouble of loading Hulu up just for that.

  10. “Hulu has a long way to go before it can claim an audience as large as YouTube’s”

    what? do you really think it’s possible to get as big as youtube with an us-only audience?
    come on.
    It really astonishes me lately how ignorant us-techbloggers are towards the stuff happening outside the US. (no one of you knows what happened with flickrs launch of its german version and that yahoo since then is done when it comes to the german bloggers)

    most of you don’t seem to realise how international the audience on the big sites really is. most of the illegal uploading on sites like youtube, stage6, dailymotion and so on will keep going on as same as bittorrenting the tv-shows, because: there is no over way of getting hold of it otherwise. so no matter how big hulu will get within the us, it won’t be big on the web. the world wide web. THAT is the biggest mistake done with hulu which overwise might be decent.

    anyway who is going to blog and embedd scenes then they’re going to disappear after a certain while??

  11. “Unfortunately this video is not currently available in your country or region”

    It’s interesting to think through what this means. At one level it’s the balkanization of the internet – for China it’s politics for the US it’s entertainment – but the effect is the same – a stifling of dialogue, creative and opportunities to monetize.

    At another it may lead to a shift in value to content creators & distributors from other parts of the world who gain local audiences due to Hulu’s restricted access regulations and gain again from the take down notices to competing video services that make Hulu the only source for content on its service – removing audience competition world wide.

    No matter how you slice it, good content, as long as its not on Hulu, will be easier for a couple of billion people to find.

  12. I think the arguments about embeds that vanish and limited archives are quite valid and i think that is a challenge that hulu would have to overcome. I think they will have to basically follow the daily show with jon stewart approach and start archiving the entire seasons.

    Given that they are in beta, one should give them benefit of the doubt. Obviously they will have to address many of the issues that all of you have brought up in this thread.

  13. Dave,

    I do agree – the quality of the ABC shows is better than what these folks are offering. Different backend technologies. I think ABC uses Move Networks, while Hulu is on thePlatform.

  14. They’re clearly two different services, that said, I completely agree with the notion that most Youtube users only go there for premium content. Very few users are on Youtube for user-generated content.

  15. I’d guess people will use this as they use nbc.com or abc.com (which I’ve been surprised with the quality of). A cable replacement so they don’t have to pay for cable and get what they want via network sites or iTunes.

    And anyone can plug their computer (I use a mac mini) into their TV for nice big-screen viewing pleasure.

  16. who is distributing their videos for these guys like ABC’s move networks? a quick nslookup and traceroute tell me it is Akamai 🙂

  17. Om,

    I have a slight correction to your comment above. Move Networks is providing an alternative to Flash video. thePlatform’s media publishing system actually supports both Flash video and Move Networks video. It’s up to our customers like Hulu to pick the best format for their content.

  18. Hello.

    I just read news about Hulu on Mashable and was surprised to see that they weren’t so happy, or they weren’t as happy as Mr. Malik. They kept on having some problems with the service… One can ponder about the 3 questions they have listed there:
    1. Is the service cool?
    2. Cool enough to beat YouTube?
    3. Was it worth it for NBC to remove their content from YouTube and iTunes?

    Anyways, in my opinion, this tech. of streaming videos, whether it be YouTube or Hulu, is a bit wrong. (Quality problems, viewport size problems, and so on).

  19. How cool would this be if they didn’t have Heroes episodes in there. I mean that show could make my websites awesome.

    And I can already view Heroes at NBC.com, or better yet, Netflix.

    We’ll see when I get an invite, etc. It’s probably pretty awesome. I don’t have cable TV and have been watching a lot of TV online lately. I’m excited about Hulu because it will put a lot of the stuff I watch all on one site. But then I’m not so excited about the 5-week time limits or whatever. Not cool.

  20. No one should be surprised that Hulu is geo-restricted to the US. In most cases the “International” departments of Fox and NBC Universal have already licensed out exclusive rights to other companies for other territories.

    But if Hulu takes off domestically, wouldn’t the next logical step be to roll out various national versions with different programming based on what’s cleared for each region, probably including TV networks and content specific to those regions? If I were running Hulu, I’d have a rollout of Hulu.co.uk, Hulu.ca, etc. mapped out for ’09 or so.

    I understand the frustrations of TV fans in other countries, but it’s hardly fair to beat up Hulu for not having their worldwide strategy ironed out while still in early beta.


  21. Putting Clips in your site shows international Visitors a
    “sorry this video is not currently available in your country…” a typical internet unfriendly Media behavior.

    What a shame.

  22. To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, You keep using that word brilliant. I do not think it means what you think it means. I think you really mean “doesn’t suck as much as we feared it would.” The service has serious limitations – no downloads, no mobile access, no transfers to portable players or TVs, only five episodes available, ads you can’t skip. Given all of this, it is by definition not brilliant. If NBC addresses these issues, maybe it will be brilliant. Until then, it’s just surprisingly OK for a big media company that is clearly still afraid of the internet and thinks competition and new technology should drive prices up, not down.

  23. I just started a group at Facebook to raise opinion and awareness of the fact that Hulu excludes everyone outside the US.

    Hulu.com at Facebook.

    Join it today!

  24. <>

    When I first heard about Hulu.com, I knew it was exactly the type of service that would lead people to question whether or not old media conglomerates could actually make an independent impact on the Internet. Although I would have been tempted to agree with most naysayers at the time, one thing stood out to me – the involvement of Providence Equity Partners (I have no affiliation). The firm has an incredible track record in technology, media, & telecom – a space that’s notoriously difficult for private equity firms. With business dynamics that change dramatically with the introduction of new technologies, you really have to have good insight to buy large, established companies and still do well. A quick glance at their investment portfolio also revealed that they own a large chunk of MGM (which also has ownership ties to Sony) and it quickly became clear why NBC/News Corp went to Providence for money.


    Although the physical distribution is indeed in the hands of the cable companies (and maybe one day Verizon and ATT too), the relationships between content and cable distributors are quite incestuous. This aside, lets remember – content is king. Especially if all the content folk are on one side – and it seems that way with Hulu.com (and with GooTube on the other), if the cable guys get grumpy about Hulu.com, they may not have much say or choice because they rely on the big brand content conglomerates to get subs.

  25. ugh. not brilliant. nbc can’t even get their content on their main page to play in firefox. they have what now, 15% share at least? i am not putting much faith in them. it is still easier and more convenient to download a torrent.

  26. Many have posted very good points about Hulu, however, I think that Hulu is going to succeed. People are moving from TV to the PC and the HD quality is comming soon to the internet. It is more convenient to watch the programs online.

  27. […] Hulu is a step in the right direction by the big boys, and its good to see them trying to embrace the direction of technology. In some ways just getting major organizations like NBC Universal and News Corp to both agree[…]

  28. do you know how to watch anything on Hulu.com?
    all it does to me it sase that thet clip or whatever is not available in my country or region. do you know what to do?

  29. bagi,

    I’ve heard that it’s only available USA web users. Kinda stupid if you ask me. If I were you I’d download episodes from The Pirate Bay and then email hulu and tell them what extents you need to go to in order to watch your favorite NBC or FOX shows.

  30. Geo restriction applies to Canadians outside the United States which is more advanced socially and mentally compared to others on this planet. The USA is more brash and simple with nukes for hockey pucks..

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