Hulu Plus exits preview, cuts price
Was it less than two weeks ago that I wrote here about how Hulu had finally opened its Hulu Plus subscription service for business? It was. But now the TV-viewing site's premium viewing option, with its higher video quality and expanded library of shows and movies, is really open for business: It's dropped the "preview" tag and cut its price to $7.99 a month.
Hulu chief executive Jason Kilar's blog post notes that customers who had paid the old $9.99/month rate will get a credit in the next billing cycle and announces Hulu Plus's debut on Roku's Web-media receivers.
Other devices will get Hulu Plus access in "the months to come," Kilar writes:
Internet-connected Vizio, LG Electronics, and Panasonic Blu-ray players and HDTVs; TiVo Premiere DVRs; the Xbox 360; and Western Digital's WD TV Live Hub Media Center and WD TV Live Plus Network Media Player, with many more mobile phones, tablets, set-top boxes, and Internet-connected devices to be announced.
That vague description could include Apple TV, Google TV and Android phones--but maybe it won't. (Last week, Netflix explained in a blog post that it had not yet brought its streaming movie service to Android because Google's smartphone software doesn't have enough support for the "digital rights management" viewing restrictions demanded by movie studios.)
I set up Hulu Plus on one of the Roku boxes I reviewed last month and spent a few minutes clicking around. The setup was easy--made easier by the option to type an activation code into a browser elsewhere instead of entering my Plus login on the TV screen with the Roku's remote--and the simple interface seems well suited for couch-distance use.
Kilar wraps up by touting free-trial offers for new subscribers, existing subscribers who refer friends and buyers of new Sony HDTVs or Blu-ray players and Roku devices.
He does not, however, address any of the issues I noted in my earlier Hulu Plus post or called out by readers in comments there. Namely, there's no reduction in the ads you have to watch, compared to Hulu's free service; Hulu still feels entitled to block people viewing it in the "wrong" browser; and some of the TV networks that own Hulu would like to shut out viewers who pay the "wrong" company for their TV service during a carriage dispute.
Does your estimation of Hulu's value change when it's $7.99 a month instead of $9.99?
| November 17, 2010; 8:55 AM ET
Categories: TV, Video
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