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Monday, June 8, 2009

The Hulu, who do, what you don't dare do people

(title paraphrased from The Prodigy)

We all crave Hulu on our VuNow PODs. Crackle helps, but is only partially implemented. Joost would help further, but is only trivially implemented (and almost 100% failure prone). And so we are left wishing and waiting for that magical day when we sit down in front of the POD, click [Popular Websites], and see that most popular of websites: Hulu.com.

But would we pay for it?

We just might have to, according to Jonathan Miller, the so called Chief Digital Officer at News Corp (Hulu's primary parent corporation).

According to the linked article, Hulu may start "charging viewers to watch at least some of the programs currently carried free". Right. And what of the content that remains free?

This may yield essentially two separate web-services at the same address (that is, hulu.com): One you pay for and which gives access to the latest and greatest content; and one that airs old and unpopular content for free. Perhaps this is will enable Verismo to connect more easily to the free content, but would it still be the Hulu we all desire? And would Verismo offer a way to access the non-free content?

Verismo's stated goal is to provide the best interface to free online content from your TV. FREE content... While I love the fact that I don't have to pay recurring fees, I sure hope Hulu doesn't "jump the shark" in charging for their content. If this news is accurate, and News Corp does in fact follow through with it, perhaps this will encourage existing service providers to strengthen their offerings. Personally, I see crackle.com having a wide window of opportunity: they are already able to transcend PCs, Cable companies, and recurring fees. All they need now is a strong push with new content, a manner to profit (ads, most likely), and finally for Hulu to strap on those water skis fumble boldly toward that looming shark.

4 comments:

GPSMexicoMan said...

You can see Hulu in your POD, the way to do it is to install Play on in your computer and link it to the Vunow via the media server.

James said...

How do you do what GPS above suggests?

bitflung said...

@James
PlayOn is a software product that you install on a Windows PC to have it connect to and redirect various video content. Play On redirects video output using Universal Plug and Play [UPnP]: a confusing name for technology that has nothing to do with Plug'n'Play [PnP] which is used for easing the installation of new computer hardware.

More information on UPnP can be found here:
http://www.dlna.org/home

UPnP, in short, is a technology for enabling all the networked machines in your home, from music players to camera phones, to act as clients and servers in the exchange of media content. VuNow supports UPnP, and therefore can access and playback any content made available by a UPnP server.

Play On is, if you haven't guessed it, just a UPnP server component. It relies on an ever-present and always-on Windows PC to connect to a site like Hulu (hulu.com is specifically supported) and act as a conduit between any UPnP client and that site.

In short, if you purchase (or download the free trial of) PlayOn, you will be able to watch hulu on your VuNow.

Play On and VuNow are not the only UPnP compliant product out there. Most Nokia N-Series phones also have this feature (My N95 streams music, videos, and pictures to my VuNow all the time - and could 'tune-in' to the Play On product if i used it). Microsoft's Windows Media Player is also a UPnP server (and this features is how the VuNow already connects to WMP). The Playstation 3, and XBOX360 are also both UPnP compatible.

I hope that answers more questions than it poses. Check out Play On if you really want Hulu access on the VuNow and have a Windows PC already sitting around and running:
http://www.themediamall.com/playon

James said...

I tried the Playon connection and it works! Had to set Playon video setting to "Max" to have smooth operation without stutter.

NOTE: You can add more than just Hulu to the Vunow using plugins; see:

http://www.playonplugins.com
/index.php?PHPSESSID=jb56kgio21sb2ajolmaarlkvc1&board=2.0