If you own or are interested in owning a VuNow POD, chances are you're waiting with bated breath for some news, any news, regarding the forthcoming fate of Hulu on the VuNow.
The VuNow POD is small and simple looking. It's easy to look at the box and the lack of positive Hulu news, and ponder if maybe, just maybe, the POD just can't cut the Hulu mustard. That would be terrible, it would be horrible, but it wouldn't violate Verismo's public claims one bit. Nowhere have they stated publicly that the VuNow has 'stuff' to play Hulu content. And so on-lookers are left pondering and hoping.
That hope has kept most people from jumping to the conclusion that the VuNow simply can't playback Hulu content. In fact, I only run into this viewpoint from people in Real Life - conversationally. Friends will visit and watch something on my VuNow and often ask, "so, this thing doesn't have the juice for hulu, huh"?
I'm here today to nip this in the bud. The VuNow POD has plenty of horsepower to decode the flash video streams from Hulu as well as other flash based video sources. Decoding a Flash Video file requires roughly the same computational effort as decoding most MPEG4 video formats, such as the latest h.264 and Windows Media Video.
As we can all witness by watching the VuNow Streaming samples form the 'Movies' section of our devices, the VuNow renders Windows Media Video without any issues at all.
What about specific codec extensions, you ask?
Verismo Networks tells me that Hulu uses the VP6 codec and that the VuNow supports this.
(VP6 has been thoroughly compared to WMV, if you care, right here: http://www.flashcomguru.com/index.cfm/2006/2/19/vp6wm9 )
SO WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
It means that:
A) The VuNow POD already has the Goods to decode a video stream from Hulu
B) Verismo Networks has taken the time to determine what would be needed to support Hulu streams and have ensured they will be capable of it.
So why don't we have Hulu yet?
The only reasons I can imagine are business posturing and strategy. Note that Crackle.com is a Sony company and a direct competitor to Hulu. It is possible that Verismo has had to negotiate between the two companies, with one or both hoping to forge an exclusive partnership. Or possibly the hold up has nothing to do with Crackle, but simply an internal dilemma within Hulu, an NBC/NewsCorp joint venture with strong ties into mainstream broadcast television: could Hulu management be indecisive over whether to allow their online content to stream directly to a television without regard to their distribution partners?
Spend 20 minutes and you can invent 100 reasons why Hulu may be stalling the process of integration with the VuNow POD (or any other set top box for that matter). Are these reasons real, is Hulu the source of the delay? I don't know. What I DO KNOW is that the VuNow is physically capable and programmatically prepared for playing back Hulu's content.