Exploring Hulu In Full | Out Of Beta And Officially Launched But Is It Any Good?

2 min read

Exploring Hulu In Full | Out Of Beta And Officially Launched But Is It Any Good?Hulu officially launched on Wednesday after an extended and
very successful period in beta. 

Hulu is a joint venture between NBC Universal and News
Corporation which offers multiple online videos. 

As listed on their blog, while announcing the launch:

“Today we are excited to leave our private beta and open
Hulu.com to
everyone in the U.S.”

So what is the Hulu experience? That depends on your
and starting point. I’m going to start with the technical experience
since that is how I approached de-constructing the site.

Hulu Homepage

Speed Tests

The picture below illustrates there is a fair
amount of distance between the user and the media, 12 hops with an
average of 168 ms in my ping test.

I emailed Jason kilar, CEO of Hulu to inquire if they are
using edge
servers or any form of P2P network (since they are good at moving large
files) however, he did not respond.

The speed tests I ran (East Coast, West Coast and that Middle
🙂 at 6:00am shows my bandwidth is not constrained which has me
wondering why the 1280×720 HD delivery would not play without

The smaller size (360 or 480p) played without any problems.
According to that part of the site, Flash 9 and a 2.5MB connection are
the minimum requirements; processor/memory is not an issue with my
workstation and I used FireFox 2.0 in my tests.

Having tested the technical quality and
transport of Hulu content, both in SD and HD, I was satisfied with SD
delivery and quality but unsatisfied with HD, this due to too much
shuttering of the 1280×720 video, quality was good.

Hulu Trace Route

User Interface

On to UI. The experience was as I have read elsewhere, clean
easy to navigate. Logical with lists by; Popular movies, popular movie
clips, Alphabetical, Genre and Studio.

main player has a very clean grey on black and reminds me of the front
of one of the old Sony broadcast monitors, which had pressure buttons
on the front. Some of the features are worth noting, both good and not
so good.

List Of Features

  • Chapter points: When the user
    mouse’s over a pop
    up window appears and if you click, it plays from that part of the
    content or you get a spot though I have not determined if there is any
    methodology behind this. The pop-up windows are cute but would be
    better served if they were user definable for future reference/playback
    or for sharing with others, this does not enhance the experience in any
    meaningful way.
  • Lower lights: very nice
    feature, which dims the rest of the desktop to make the player
    prominent, works as, advertised.
  • Timer for Ads: In the upper
    left portion of
    the player window, you are informed how long until your content will
    resume and with a notice of limited commercial interruption, nice!
    Certainly a feature to allay concerns you are going to be in for the
    kind of commercial pummelling one gets when watching American Idol.
  • Video is intended for mature audiences,
    both in text and with a VO: Tipper Gore would be proud.
  • Details window: limited
    information so far but needs to be there.
  • Share: Covers most of the
    top-level share and comment sites to reach most people in the
  • The landing page, for Sideways
    as example has
    limited information about the cast, user feedback, etc… How cool
    would it have been if they had struck a deal with IMDB to spawn out to
    their site, or embed some of the content within the Hulu page? The
    irony of course is that Hulu spawns out to Amazon if you are interested
    in buying a film…since Amazon owns IMDB this seems like a big
  • Pop-up undocked window: Good
    if you want to watch while multi-tasking.
  • Ouch, Edited for TV and Pan Scan?
    Are Sideways and other titles cut down in length? “to run in the time

Hulu Screenshot


In summary, the user experience
was positive and this is still version 1.0 for all intensive purposes.
I will likely use this on my pc, which I dedicated to our large screen
like Netflix, which I stream to the set. 

However, most consumers do not
have the sophistication to connect such devices and a simple solution
would have been to work with platforms such as the SanDisk Sansa TakeTV
so people can move to their large screens.

The ITV experience is getting better, an evolutionary process
Hulu gets props for what is does well, let’s see if they can lean back
for a larger audience…

[Content in whole or part adapted from IPTVe and is licensed under Creative Commons, no addition derivative works may be copied from this article without prior permission from IPTVe and Web TV Wire]