|Posted on August 1, 2012 at 12:50 AM||comments (0)|
While Apple TV isn't heavily promoted by Apple, Inc., they continue to add value to the platform, making it more and more attractive to consumers looking for a home streaming media player. This year the following changes have taken place:
Just a few hours ago, Hulu announced on their official blog that they have arrived on Apple TV today! You can order Hulu Plus and have it assigned to your Apple TV device by clicking here. As soon as Apple TV performs a system update, the Hulu Plus app will appear next time you pull up the interface. Select Hulu Plus, select "already a Hulu Plus subscriber", and then enter your email address and password that you used to sign up for your Hulu trial.
|Posted on July 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM||comments (0)|
On July 21, Hulu announced on their official blog that they have once again made significant improvements to their video player, which is now "sleeker, chromeless and friendlier interface."
At the top of their bragging rights list is a new, 10-second rewind feature that allows you to seamlessly jump back and relive that killer punchline. Additionally, the pause feature will "remind you of what you were watching and how much time is left to watch."
Their "Up Next" feature enables you to browse through other video titles while you continue watching the current stream, so that you can have the next show up and running right away.
Finally, they've organized the settings all in one place, including closed captioning, pop-out player, and lower lights.
What is the pop-out player and lower lights feature, you ask? Good question. It really is a nifty little feature for you multi-taskers out there. While you have the option of watching video full-screen, if you prefer to surf or work and just have a little pop-out window moved to the corner, and resize it so that it doesn't interfere with what you're working on in the rest of the screen. And you can mute the rest of the browser window and dim the lights while you're watching the video to minimize any distractions.
A few users expressed their dislike for the new video player, particularly over the auto play feature, which now appears to be permanently "on" with no way of disabling. Daniel from Hulu Support addressed these concerns as follows: "We're sorry for the frustration with our Auto Play feature. Still, I have some good news: you can still turn Auto Play off temporarily. At the end of every video you watch on Hulu.com, there will be a popup that says "Pause Auto Play." If you click on this, Auto Play will be turned off for the next four hours of playback." He also assures the concerned commenters that Hulu takes their feedback very seriously, and that the ability to disable Auto Play permanently will be reintroduced soon.
I decided to check it out for myself. They still allow you to select which ad experience you prefer up front when you wish to watch a show. I opted to see Panera, which made me hungry
When you click on options underneath the network logo and title of the show, you have the option to send a link of the show to a friend by email, engage the pop-out player. Here's a screen shot of me inside by blog platform with the popout window next to me. I'm watching video updating the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado that happened on Friday at the midnight viewing of the new Batman Movie. I'm particularly interested in this because I have family that lives in Aurora.
Hulu even let's you embed a thumbnail preview of the video right on your website. Unfortunately, my website builder will NOT let me embed a thumbnail in this blog post (I know, I know, lame ). You can even decide which 42 seconds of the video you wish to "thumbnail."
|Posted on May 11, 2012 at 10:30 AM||comments (0)|
Lots of interesting news swirling around Hulu these days, including that recenty they have told their users they must connect their Facebook account to Hulu in order to use any social sharing features. Hulu's reasoning was that it prefers Facebook Connect due to the strong social platform it provides. The benefits include the fact that it's now very easy to turn sharing on and off, which is important if you don't wish to broadcast all of your viewing habits to your friends. In my case, they will think I am a huge Dora the Explorer fan. But for others, it could be an embarrassment for some content they are watching (you know who you are!).
People who don't use Facebook, but were connected via Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo, were understandably upset, as they lost all of their social features (which they can get back by simply getting a Facebook account). Forbes talked about a user named Karen, who didn't use Hulu's social sharing features through Facebook, but in the past had "the ability to have friends, the ability to IM friends, and the ability to see friends' activties and comment streams." All of these benefits for Karen disappeared without warning.
Of course the biggest piece of news to hit the 'net is the rumor that Hulu is seaking authentification plans, forcing anyone who relies on the free Hulu.com site to prove that they have a cable or satellite TV subscription. Some stories have even gone so far as to say that this is the end of Hulu Plus as well, but that wouldn't necessarily make sense since that is a paid monthly subscription. But you never know how far Comcast (which is part owner of Hulu) will go to protect it's lucrative business model.
Also pushing Hulu ahead in the news a few weeks ago was their announcement that they were backing a new web series entitled The Awesomes which center around "Saturday Night Live's" Seth Meyers. The animated show follows the antics of a superhero who battles diabolical villains, who are actually the paparazzi (marrying a tongue-in-cheek version of what fame is like along with our love of the battle of good vs evil).
More unique, original programming includes Don't Quit Your Day Job similar in idea to NBC's The Voice where stars get to mold wanna-be musicians in order to find the next big talent. DQYDJ, with Adrian Grenier, will focus on pairing musicians with famous artists to give them another chance as stardom.
And yet another series given the thumbs up by Hulu was Flow, which follows a man on a journey of trying to clear his name after being framed for a crime he didn't commit. The plot will extend to supernatural venues in order to get the job done.
Other titles include We Got Next, Up to Speed, as well as previously launched programming like A Day in the Life and Battleground.
Hulu recently reached a milestone topping out at over 2 million subscribers, up 500,000 from the end of 2011.
To find out more about the pros and cons of a Hulu Plus subscription, click here.
|Posted on April 17, 2012 at 10:30 AM||comments (0)|
Five years ago a group of prominent television companies - NBC Universal, News Corporation, and the Walt Disney Company among them - decided to pioneer an online presence that would revolutionize the way consumers viewed content, and revitalize the television industry. This pioneer company was Hulu, which was created to view network television proramming online, with limited advertising. Today many people turn to Hulu to catch up on television shows they missed, or to subscribe to the service that allows them to consume multiple entire seasons at their leisure.
This week, Hulu will be announcing that in the first quarter of 2012 it has over 2 million subscribers for Hulu Plus, up 500,000 the end of 2011.
There have been several surprising twists and turns over the last five years. When the idea came to conception, there was a definite concern that providing television shows fo free online might cannibalize revenues from traditional pay television sources. Interestingly, providing this content in an all you can eat buffet has proven to be good for Nielsen ratings of many shows. It seems that people are still tuning in when the new show comes out, or it is being rebroadcasted under syndication.
Streaming services are viewed in two ways by consumers - either as an extra choice in their many entertainment options, or as a way to slash costs. Hulu and it's rival Netflix are still "teenagers" in their corporate lifecycle, and streaming is yet to be widely adopted. For starters, television subscriptions are very convenient in that they deliver all content in one subscription. Additionally, licensing deals are proving to be sticking points when it comes to movie content in particular. And finally, broadband caps and net neutrality have to play out before streaming can become a truly viable option for say a family with high entertainment demands (for single households, it's a great way to have your cake and eat it too).
Hulu upgraded their web player on Hulu.com, and the company has been working on a lot of original content, like the "mockumentary" Battleground, to set itself apart from other entertainment options available.
|Posted on April 6, 2012 at 9:05 AM||comments (0)|
One of the best things available for consumers is more than one solid choice. This keeps things more of a "buyers market" where we have lots of good options, and all we have to do is select the best fit for us. So far in the Netflix vs Hulu debate, Netflix wins in parental controls, particularly with their "Just For Kids" programming that is appropriate for children 12 and younger.
Both Netflix and Hulu are investing in original content that can only be found through their services. They both get a thumbs up in that area. Hulu.com gets a big thumbs up for having recently aired content available for a limited time in case you missed an episode of your favorite show and just can't wait until it finally makes it to a streaming service. Their new, improved web player sweetens the experience.
In the past, Hulu Plus has always been a solid winner when it comes to TV selection, particularly in the vast selection of several seasons' episodes. However, Netflix is definitely gaining some serious ground scoring important licensing agreements with major entertainment companies.
Netflix Wins This Round: Hasbro Content Added April 5
Los Angeles based Hastro Studios has announced a multi-year deal with Netflix, where very popular programming, including both new and catalogged seasons content, will now be available to watch instantly on Netflix. Content available includes:
Later in 2012, more content will be added, including:
Cindy Holland, Vice President of Content Acquisition at Netflix states "We are very excited to be working wth Hasbro Studios. This deal allows us to offer even more great kids' programming to our members, both adults and kids alike, including new seasons of My Little Pony, Transformers Prime, and Pound Puppies after the season finale airs on The Hub."
|Posted on March 23, 2012 at 10:00 AM||comments (0)|
According to the CEO of Roku, Anthony Wood, who opened the 3rd annual OTTCon a few days ago in San Jose, the delivery and consumption of content is being radically changed by pioneer stream services like Hulu Plus and Netflix, as well as the affordable media players that his company and sources like Apple TV provide.
The natural relationship that content delivery services and consumers have with the internet makes this transition amazingly easy to accomplish in just a short period of time. Says woods, "When I talk about the future of TV, I'm not talking like the Matrix, future of TV. I'm talking more about the next couple of years. The internet is creating a lot of opportunity and a lot of risk fo companies in the space." He aptly noted that content is really driving the growing distribution models as well. Roku itself has almost 500 channels available, and new ones are being constantly launched, practically on a daily basis.
As consumers begin to understand how streaming can meet their needs, the transition to reliance on internet as a delivery technology for the majority of content will continue to rise. Wood noted "I think it's going to continue growing until it reaches 35 hours, the average that viewers watch today." Currently, most people rely on services like Hulu Plus and Netflix to access content.
Besides PCs, MACs, and a variety of mobile devices, we also have a lot of choice as to how to get our content from the internet right onto our televisioni set. People are utilizing gaming consoles, blu-ray players, and are purchasing internet-enabled TV sets and utilizing apps to interact with the stream providers of their choice. But probably the easiest way for people to stream high quality content the most economically is through streaming media players like Roku, which works with viirtually ANY set, and Apple TV which works only with high definition TV sets. To find out more about Roku, check out the comprehensive Roku Player Revew.
|Posted on March 16, 2012 at 9:35 AM||comments (0)|
When you scrutinize Netflix vs Hulu, there aren't a ton of differences. They both offer a subscription price of $7.99. They both have excellent libraries, but are slim on new releases of movies (not their fault, by the way! Hollywood is trying to keep new releases for other distrubution channels to maximize their profits). Hulu is missing parental controls, which can be an issue for some families. But one thing that Hulu has is their free version of Hulu.com where you can watch new television shows for a limited time. Miss the recent episode of Dancing With the Stars? You can find it on Hulu the next day for a limited time without paying a dime, or worrying about getting a nasty computer virus because you are downloading a malicious web player.
Which comes to my next point. Yesterday on their official blog Hulu just announced their new media player. Anyone who wishes to watch Hulu.com on their PC will be able to enjoy a screen that is now 55% larger in size, with a clearner look and a new frame. All of the video details have been moved below the player, and they have cleaned up the pattern and style "for a cleaner, crisper look."
|Posted on March 4, 2012 at 3:10 PM||comments (0)|
Bloomberg Businessweek sat down with Hulu CEO Jason Kilar in a fascinating interview where the head Hulu guru predicts a huge shift soon to take place in the entertainment industry, akin to the invention of the television set itself. At that time, content owners viewed television as a huge threat to their livelihood, but in actuality, it turned out to be a huge benefit to content creators both in the movie and television arenas. Kilar says that the internet and all of it's possibilities is no different when it comes to the monumental benefit it will have on content creators and owners, especially in terms of mobility.
Kilar doesn't seem to think that streaming services like his Hulu TV product are a replacement for big bundles of hundred of television channels, but rather "another subset of programming." He touches on how it's a great time to be a content creator, and then discussed the reasons for getting into original programming in their new series, Battleground. For starters, he says that the story was so good it begs to be told; plus, it would be a great way to differentiate Hulu from other content providers.
The winners in internet-accessed content will be those providers who provide the easiest to use, most well designed platform for the best price - in other words, the best value fo consumers. He didn't feel like one clear winner will emerge, as providers have different business models that will appeal to a variety of consumers.
|Posted on February 27, 2012 at 9:50 AM||comments (0)|
Many people are thinking about cancelling their cable subscription, and in many instances have already done so and have not looked back. With home entertainment being easily acquired online, consumers are reasoning that paying extremely high costs for cable or satellite TV simply doesn't make sense in today's tough economic climate. If you are considering joining these new brand of budget-minded consumers, you may want to ask yourself some targeted questions in order to get the most entertainment for the least amount of money. For starters, it's a good idea to assess the monthy subscription plans that allow you access to their entire online libraries.
So the Netflix vs Hulu debate is one you should take on immediately. While Hulu has always had a reputation for having better television offerings, the truth is that both services do a very good job of filling in for your television needs, with more and more viewers using Netflix for TV shows. Many people opt to subscribe to both, as it is still considerably cheaper than a cable tv subscription. Another issue is how to watch movies. Both Netflix and Hulu Plus have a decent movie library, but the biggest complaint is that they tend to have older movies, and not newer releases. Hollywood is all about making money, and they have been very resistent toward licensing their newer content to stream services. However, the good news is that either with a DVD mailing service like Netflix's or Blockbuster Total Access, or a digital file rental or purchase store like the iTunes Store, there are always great ways to easily rent or purchase a good flick.
One of the biggest selling points for Netflix is that they have fairly decent, albeit rudimentary, parental controls. Hulu Plus has none, and children who shouldn't be watching more mature content should not be let loose on this service without parental supervsion.
|Posted on February 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM||comments (0)|
The much-anticipated marriage of Hulu TV to the Wii platform has finally arrived. It is still on target to be supported through intendo 3DS later in the year. Hulu's VP of Marketing & Distribution says "We want to be everywhere, on every screen where people want to watch their favorite shows and discover new ones on their own schedule. Wii is not only one of the most important entertainment devices in the living room, but one of the most heavily anticipated and requested platforms by users and subscribers. Teaming up with Nintendo gives millions of households across the U.S. an immediate way to access some of their favorite current season shows on-demand in their living room through Hulu Plus." To access Hulu Plus through your internet-connected Wii console, simply visit the Wii Shop Channel and download Hulu's application for free. The free two-week Hulu Plus trial applies to anyone who does not currently have an existing account. Hulu Plus is available for $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming of its library, including movies and TV series.