Can we watch Hulu on a smartphone? Yes, but only if it’s made by Apple. A tablet? Yes, but only if it’s made by Apple. A PC? Yes. A TV? Yes, but only if Samsung, Sony, Roku or Vizio are involved somehow.
A PC hooked up to a TV? Yes. A PC hooked up to a TV but this PC is called Google TV or Boxee? No. Hulu arbitrarily blocks its website (as do many of the large content providers) from the web browsers of certain TV-specific computers like Google TV and Boxee.
And keep in mind that you have to subscribe to Hulu Plus for $8 per month in order to watch Hulu content on anything other than a PC, and that $8 fee doesn’t remove ads from any of the programs.
It’s part of Hulu’s very cable-like “dual revenue subscription service; one revenue stream from the subscription fee, the other from a modest amount of advertising,” according to Kilar’s post.
An Alternate Future?
Don’t get me wrong; the idea of paying $8 per month for access to a ton of TV shows is much more appealing than the $100+ per month I shell out to Comcast for the five channels I actually watch.
I’m also truly pulling for Hulu’s vision of what the future of TV will be like to become a reality because I believe Hulu’s probably one of the only services that can actually pull it off. And why shouldn’t it be able to? It’s owned by three big content providers, so it has access to lots of quality content.
But the post’s notion that “the future of TV is going to be very good to users, advertisers and content owners/creators” doesn’t seem to jive given the current state of affairs. Advertisers? Yes. Content owners? Yes.
Consumers? Maybe a little bit in the form of fewer ads and potentially lower subscription prices. But the methods in which we’re “allowed” to ingest content as dictated by the types of content owners who a) jointly own Hulu and b) are blocking their own websites from Google TV and Boxee while dragging their feet on non-Apple apps still have a long, long way to go.
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