Hulu + Windows Media Center = true Internet TV
by Brad Linder, posted Oct 29th 2007 12:58PM
I don't even have a beta invitation to Hulu yet, and already I can tell you that the new online video service from NBC and FOX is a game-changer. Sure, you can't download episodes and burn them to DVD or carry them with you on your iPod. But because the service provides free ad-supported streaming episodes of a bunch of series you actually want to watch, Hulu could make a serious dent on iTunes, Amazon, Joost, and other services that let you watch videos on your PC.
And since Hulu is partnering with online video sites like AOL and MSN, you can already watch quite a bit of Hulu content today, even without a beta account.
But there's one thing you can't easily do with Hulu -- yet. And that's watch the videos on your TV. But something tells me that's about to change very quickly. When Microsoft launched its new "Internet TV" component for Windows Vista Media Center last month, we were impressed by the technology but a bit disappointed with the content options.
The only videos available were from the MSN Video site. That means it's a bunch of clips from popular programs, user-generated content, and a handful of music videos and concerts. There was a grand total of one TV series with full length streaming episodes available. And while I love me some Arrested Development, I was really hoping for a bit more.
As of this morning, there are 80+ series available on MSN Video. Not all of the shows are from Hulu. There's also some CBS programming, including 18 billion different versions of CSI. There's no way to access these shows from the Windows Media Center interface yet. But I'm guessing it's only a matter of time before these episodes start showing up in MCE.
Update: I just got an email from someone at MSN Video PR, and it appears Hulu content will not be available through Internet TV. I suppose NBC/FOX don't want to cannibalize DVD sales, but this is still pretty disappointing news.