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Hulu adds 'Hulu Plus' premium service for smartphones and other gadgets

You can now use Hulu to catch up on your TV viewing on an iPad or iPhone -- but it will cost you, and you'll have to wait to tune in.

The popular TV-show site announced a new $9.99/month Hulu Plus service today that will offer access to more shows on more devices, including Apple's smartphone and tablet computer but also some Samsung HDTVs and Blu-ray players.


As that blog post by Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar notes, Hulu Plus won't do away with the site's relatively limited ads. But it will offer access to an entire season's worth of a show, not just the last few episodes, and the full runs of such shows as "The X-Files" and "Ally McBeal." (I trust you can guess which one I'd be more interested in viewing.) And it will provide high-definition streams of anything aired in HD.

Without all that bonus content, Hulu Plus might seem a fairly duplicitous ploy by Hulu: First the movie and TV studios that own it forced it to shut off access to such TV-friendly platforms as Boxee's Web-media software and Hillcrest Labs' Kylo browser, and now Hulu will sell you back that access at a healthy premium.

Signing up for Hulu Plus today requires requesting an invite through a form at its site; my request was promptly greeted with an automatic but unhelpful reply saying, "We'll send you an invite as soon as one becomes available." I've asked its PR department for a trial account but haven't heard back yet.

Watching Hulu Plus on Apple and Samsung's devices requires downloading and installing a new program, available in Apple's App Store (link opens iTunes) and in the TV-apps store Samsung announced in January.

What about other hardware? Kilar's blog post mentions Sony's PlayStation 3--update, 4:58 p.m.: a "Devices" page cites support this fall for Sony and Vizio Internet-enabled TVs, followed early next year by the Xbox 360--but the survey you're asked to complete when requesting an invite offers hints of other development priorities. In addition to typical questions about your age and type of Internet connection, it asks you to list your mobile devices (your choices are iPad, iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Palm), Internet-enabled TVs and Blu-ray players (from LG, Samsung, Sony, Vizio and "other"), game consoles (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii) and set-top boxes (TiVo, Roku, cable, satellite, other). The Apple TV, Google's in-development Google TV software and Boxee's upcoming Boxee Box all go unmentioned there.

What's your read on Hulu Plus? Is it something you'd consider paying for, or will you need something else in the package? Let me know in your comment if you pay for TV via cable, satellite or fiber or if you've joined me and, as of this week, my colleague Cecilia Kang in taking a break from that.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  June 29, 2010; 3:16 PM ET
Categories:  Gadgets , Mobile , TV , Video  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Google to defy China's censors a little less
Next: No, not another 'Verizon iPhone' story!


Hulu is going to charge $120 per year for its content? No thanks. You can get TV
via Internet from a program like seetvpc [dot] com. Have used it for a couple years and once you have it, they don't charge for

Posted by: Jenniferweb | June 29, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

That's the same price as Netflix's lowest tier. This is a dumb attempt to copy Netflix pricing but without the same level of content. There's no way Hulu even comes close to Netflix's offerings. Netflix streaming may be worth $10/month, but not Hulu.

On a peripheral note, the U.S. Senate's decision to vote down extended unemployment benefits last week, will mean MANY people will be looking to cut costs out of their entertainment budgets. Without the benefit check, even Netflix may be on the chopping block for many households. Those folks will certainly NOT be interested in a $10 Hulu; they're looking for something free. Hulu should have simply increased their in-program ads rather than start charging admission.

If you're using (aka ESPN3) to get your sports fix for free, you may have noticed that the stream is of lesser quality lately. The MLB stream has plenty of frame loss when before it was nice and smooth. The quality loss started right about the time that the World Cup matches started so I suspect they stole some of the baseball bandwidth and gave it to the soccer fans.

Moral of the story: you get what you pay for. Streaming will simply not perform at the same level as cable or satellite. An acceptable substitute for weeknight, dining-alone viewing but it is a source of minor embarassment when done among friends & family. Specific example: potential mates will think you're a cheapskate.

Posted by: taskforceken | June 29, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

This makes me tempted to ditch the sat TV. For $20/mo, I could use Hulu Plus, Netflix, and ESPN3 to stream just about any content I want.

I would probably wait till Hulu launches for the 360, though.

Posted by: jerryravens | June 29, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

The only thing I can't get online in some fashion is live hockey, thanks to the NHL blacking-out the local broadcast of games on its online service. Since they're too stupid to take my money I don't have any choice but to pay almost eight hundred dollars a year to Comcast for the privilege of watching a single channel for a dozen hours a week, eight months out of the year. It's infuriating.

Posted by: spacecadetkid | June 30, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Hulu is going to have to offer a lot more content in order to make that price worthwhile...a lot more movies, including recent ones that people want to watch, and a lot more TV shows, both full runs of old shows and a wider range of new shows.

Any halfway savvy person can probably already find much of this same content for free on the internet. The legality of it is sometimes up for grabs, and in many cases the content is clearly illegally shared, but I don't see many people paying for what they can already get for free, or for drastically less content than they can already get from Netflix at a similar price.

The only real advantage here seems to be the ability to get the content on mobile devices. I'd have a hard time justifying $10/month just for that.

And Pegoraro is an Ally McBeal junkie? Nice.

Posted by: blert | June 30, 2010 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Better headline for this article:

"End of Hulu near, adopts a pricing model inconsistent with low level of service provided"

The real joke? They still have ads. Game over for these guys.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | June 30, 2010 6:21 AM | Report abuse

"Duplicitous" means deceitful. Where is the deceipt?

Posted by: Bob_Dobbs | June 30, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I say that $10 a month is the price of a couple of beers in a bar.

If you cannot afford a measly $10 a month, then should be watching less TV and improving your mind more so you can make a better living.

Posted by: eternalemperor | June 30, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I was hoping Hulu would be coming to the Roku box... Anyway, Hulu might be worth $5/m tops.

Posted by: maus92 | June 30, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who agrees with and pay$ for web page visits… Is an Arse ..!!!

These Internet morons who are gullible enough pay for internet web page visits. Are the main reasons why the normal internet users are being bombarded with charges…!!!

Greed is the only driving force behind this crap …!!!! If “Everyone” stood United…?

Web sites would not dare charge for visitations to their web sites…!!!

The use of Internet service in the U.S. is “Not Free”… and…we have to pay an excessive Monthly fee already…!!!. Fees that is already excessive and completely outrageous if a U.S. Citizen wants a faster internet connection…!!!

Think people….!!!! We already pay excessively for Internet connection and usage to ISP service providers….

… Now A-holes like, Mega Video, New York Times i.e. Now want to add an additional fee for their Internet web page visits….

Anyone who agrees with and pay$ for… Is an Arse ..!!!

Internet users should unite to keep Internet web page visits Free from any charges….!!!!

For my part..??

I have “REMOVED” Bookmark from my Firefox-Favorites…!!!
And will “NEVER” vista their web site again…!!!!

Posted by: BFJustus | June 30, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

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