Hulu.com is a brand-new, free, ad-supported streaming video service which combines content from more than fifty providers including FOX, NBC, MGM, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, and more. Although Hulu has been live since October, the site just emerged today from its private beta-testing phase and is now open to everyone–as long as you live in the United States.
Hulu lets you watch full-length feature films like The Big Lebowski or The Usual Suspects, or recent television episodes of Family Guy or The Office. Plus there’s a fair number of canceled cult classics like Firefly.
Both shows and movies are interrupted with brief commercial breaks, but these can be –*ahem*– suppressed, and they are definitely less intrusive than those on regular commercial television. Content on Hulu is certainly limited, but they’re just getting started, and I must say, with respect to the movie selection, I’d be inclined to browse Hulu for decent flicks before I’ll suffer the crap from the Netflix “Watch Instantly” archive.
Probably the biggest selling point for me is the fact that the Hulu Flash player is completely browser- and platform-independent, so I can watch fullscreen TV, movies, and eventually HD content on my fast, new Linux box with the big LCD. I’m sick of having to go to my Windows laptop just to stream LOST on ABC.com or watch Netflix movies (which also require Internet Explorer–a double whammy!), because I get the “your OS/browser is not supported” message on Kubuntu.
Hulu also lets you embed full-length shows or movies right into a blog or website, and on top of that, the interface gives you the option of selecting a specific “clip” from a film or show to embed. So, for example, if you wanted a specific scene from the film Field of Dreams, you could have it:
Anyway, I’m sure there are a few bugs to tweak, and I’m always leery of anything with this kind of support from the “legacy” content providers, but so far it seems worth checking out, if only to see some old Airwolf reruns!