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Hulu Plus - is it really worth it or...?
Hulu Plus - My thoughts on the service.
So I'm in an free 1 week trial of Hulu Plus where I get access to all of their content for a week. Thought I'd give my opinion on whether or not I think it's worth the money to pay for.
To start I have to say they really don't have anything I watch, mostly due to licensing issues. "Chuck" - Limited to the 3 most current episodes at an time instead of full seasons. "White Collar" - No Seasons or Single Episodes available. "Smallville" - No Seasons or Episodes. "The Big Bang Theory" - No Seasons or Episodes. I've been wanting to check out "Harry's Law", but it's also limited to the current 3 episodes which doesn't help me get started with the show. "Criminal Minds", "The Mentalist", "Without a Trace", "CSI", "CSI: Miami", "NCSI", "The Good Wife"... shoot anything that comes on CBS isn't available on Hulu Plus. Which really sucks because those are the shows I used to watch growing up that I wanna catch up on... "Leverage" and "Southland" also aren't available.
People are obsessed with these "reality" Tv shows as well. But you won't be finding "American Idol", "So you think you can dance", "Top Chef", "Hell's Kitchen" or "America's Got Talent" on there. You will find "The Voice", "The Biggest Loser" and "Kitchen Nightmares" though.
So far "Friday Night Lights" and "No Ordinary Family" are the only show's on there I would bother to watch. A new show I really got into was "Fairly Legal", yet they only have episodes 6-10 on there. And "Human Target" as well, but they only have Season 2 episodes 9-13 which defeats the point of me starting the series. Same with "Royal Pains"... Only episodes 8-12 of Season 2. I have no interest in the following shows listed, but "Fringe", "Bones", and "House" all just drop you right into the current season forgetting about the previous seasons as well.
Hulu Plus is great if you wanna catch up on old tv shows. They do have full seasons of shows such as "Heroes", "24", "Prison Break", and "Lost" to name a few. Drop back even further and you can find stuff like "Angel", "Buffy", "Roswell", and "The X-Files". And a few current on air shows like "Greys Anatomy", "Private Practice", and "Desperate House Wives". None of which I have any interest in whatsoever... They have every season of "Law & Order SVU". Guess that's somethin' at least.
Another problem is most of this "Hulu Plus" content that is available has an lock on it. Meaning they are only available via Hulu.com's website. So if I want to watch "Chuck" or "Friday Night Lights" through my Hulu Plus service on my iPhone or Xbox 360 a message will pop up saying "We're sorry, we don't currently have the rights to air this program/broadcast on mobile devices". Yeah... Kind of defeats the purpose of me using Hulu Plus on said devices then.
I will say they do have an fantastic Anime collection though. Much better then Netflix does for streaming.
So I'm going to stick with saying, the service has plenty of potential. But why would I pay $7.99 a month to watch the current episode of an show when I could simply just buy an cord for my computer, plug it into my tv and stream the shows in HD from their official network websites? (Nbc.com, Abc.com, Tnt.tv, Fox.com, ect... they all do this).
Hulu Plus would be an excellent service if they were providing more full seasons of shows that are currently airing (As mentioned earlier they do with a few shows already). This would make the experience more unique, it would be more like using Blockbuster or Netflix's, except exclusively for tv shows and without the physical media of DVDs/Blu-Rays. But instead, they're trying to charge you for mostly old tv shows which you've no doubt already seen anyways or content you could watch for free legally on the official Tv network websites.
My #1 choice still remains Netflix's. It's cheap, starting @ $7.99 for 1 disc + streaming to any device (No silly "We don't have the rights to play this" messages) if I wanna watch it on my iPhone, Xbox 360, I can. And you have the option to upgrade to "Blu-Ray" discs, which I gotta say, watching tv on Blu-Ray in full 1080p is quite an different experience. So much definition... It's like an iMax or DLP Movie viewing at an theater granted you've got an Tv that will display 1080p content.
Netflix's does have it's cons though, except for movies, there's really not a whole lot to stream that's worthwhile. The movies are hit or miss. Like for instances right now they have "Salt" streaming, but it'll only be there a few weeks and then gone. The permanent stuff is just a bunch of old tv shows/movies for the most part. The new stuff they include for instant streaming is usually rated mature, meaning most of it is coming from Showtime or HBO (shows like "Dexter" for instance). They also have that annoying 28 day waiting period on new movie releases (I'm patiently waiting for Blockbuster to officially go out of business so this will be lifted.) But I think it's a better service then Hulu Plus. If I want to start an season of an tv show (practically any tv season, any tv show) I just toss it in my DVD/Blu-Ray queue, wait for it to arrive and I'm on my way. If I missed an episode or two, I just chose the disc with the missing episodes and I'm on my way. With Netflix's I don't get that "What do you mean you've only got season's 5-6 available?!" feeling that I'm getting from Hulu Plus.
This is all just my opinion though. Maybe Hulu Plus has shows you actually want to watch, but for me I pretty much hit an dead end at every corner. Especially "White Collar" and "Royal Pains", I've seen episodes here and there and was really looking forward to getting started on those. Also the no love from CBS & TheCW as far as content goes also sealed the deal for me not to buy into this service. Maybe once they get more licenses and content in the future, but for now the service in my opinion is meh...
5/6/2011, 3:44 am
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