Playbook users, who over the last couple days were enjoying all the free streaming TV shows that Hulu’s website provides, have now discovered a big fat error message. “We notice that you are trying to access Hulu from your BlackBerry browser,” the message says. “Right now, this device is not supported.”
That is, of course, total bull. Hulu was running just fine on the Playbook until the blockage occurred. A proper error message would have read, “Right now, we haven’t put Hulu Plus on the Playbook, so you can’t pay $8 per month for the privilege of watching free content on your tablet.”
We’ve seen this play out plenty of times before. The Playstation 3’s web browser, once capable of playing Hulu videos, no longer supports the basic site. Same goes for Google TV. Hulu is also blocked on Flash-equipped Android phones and tablets, including the Motorola Xoom.
Hulu does this to bolster Hulu Plus, an $8 per month selection of content with support for mobile devices and set-top boxes. I can’t really blame the company for that.
But here’s the thing: Tablets are computers, and drawing a line in the sand between a Playbook and a Macbook Air seems kind of silly. In a perfect world, Hulu Plus would be worth paying for because the content is better, not because of some arbitrary decision that certain platforms are a threat to the business model.