Spotlight On Hulu

Hulu streaming video website provides first-run TV shows and movies. Hulu provides two offerings. Their free service will often give the last 5 episodes of TV shows, some 30 days after first airing, and a variety of back catalog movies. Hulu also offers their Hulu Plus subscription to gain better access to current and older shows and movies.

Offering Price
Hulu Free Uh, FREE
Hulu Plus $7.99 / mo

Hulu is attempting to sell themselves, and a Who’s Who list of potential suitors have come out of the woodwork. The results of this sale will have a large impact on Hulu’s personality and offerings over the next few years.

Places To Watch Hulu

Hulu supports most platforms, but it has to be done with a Hulu Plus account. The free Hulu is limited to PCs, although there are ways around it. Some shows have limitations to certain devices over and above the Hulu’s general limitations.

PlayBack Device Hulu Plus
Hulu Free
Android Devices YES no
iOS Devices YES no
Roku (TV) YES no
Playstation 3 (TV) YES no
XBox 360 (TV) YES no
Wii (TV) no no
Blue-ray Players YES no

Hulu Video Bitrates

Hulu offers standard definition video rates with the Hulu Free, with 720p high definition available on some shows when subscribing to Hulu Plus. Hulu not directly published the bitrates for various video qualities, but have provided enough hints that we can guess a bit. Hulu has signaled that they’re using both the On2 VP6 codec as well as the MPEG 4 / H.264 codec. It’s not clear yet which codec is used for which bitrates.

High Def Audio Quality Bitrate
1 HR TV Show Size
Better 720p Stereo 3.2 Mbps 1.45 GB
Good 720p Stereo 2.5 Mbps 1.1 GB
Standard Def Audio Quality Bitrate 1 HR TV Show Size
Best 480p Stereo 1.0 Mbps 0.45 GB
Good 360p Stereo 700 kbps 0.3 GB
Ok 288p Stereo 480 kbps 0.2 GB

Before using Hulu, check that your internet provider gives enough bandwidth to get the video quality you’re expecting.

Hulu Conclusions

The Good: Hulu is the easiest way to get access to TV shows without buying them outright from Apple or Amazon. The Hulu Plus service is worth the money to get full access to the TV shows if you’re a frequent TV watcher.

The Bad: Hulu’s movie selection is so-so and they have a love-hate relationship with TVs, in that they tend to hate showing all their shows on them. If TV is how you watch your shows, a PlayOn subscription ($39.99 / year) lets you get the most out of Hulu Free or Hulu Plus.