NBC and FOX launch Hulu online video portal private beta - VIDEO
by Brad Linder, posted Oct 29th 2007 10:40AM
I may never have to pay for cable again. I cut the cable a few months back when I hooked up a digital antenna to my TV and personal video recorder. Since this summer I've been watching crystal clear high definition TV shows recorded over the broadcast airwaves. But I've also been a bit concerned about what would happen once BattleStar Galactica starts up again. Would I be tempted to pay for cable? Would I buy the complete season from iTunes?
While I was a bit skeptical when I first heard about Hulu, the new online video site from NBC and News Corp, here's one thing I will say for it: The site will feature BSG episodes. And a whole lot of other programs too, it turns out. Between FOX and NBC, the two networks own an awful lot of channels and TV shows. You can find all sorts of current and classic goodies on Hulu, ranging from Bones and Heroes to WKRP in Cincinnati and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Right now, the site is in private beta. That means you'll need an invitation to watch. And while you can sign up for an invitation at the main web page, only a few thousand people will be granted access for now. But thanks to Silicon Alley Insider we got an embed code which let us post a video. And that means you can access all kinds of other Hulu Goodies as well. Check it out after the jump.But Hulu is more than just a web page. It's also a distribution channel. Hulu will be partnering with online video portals including MSN Video and AOL Video. You can already see a handful of Hulu-distributed shows at AOL's site.
There's also a limited number of movies available. You can check out complete lists of content from TechCrunch or NewTeeVee (PDF Link).
Hulu is not a video download store. All of the videos will be streaming and ad-supported. You'll be able to watch them from your browser with the same Flash player software you use to watch YouTube videos. And like YouTube videos, you'll be able to embed videos on your own web page. Since the advertising shows up no matter where you watch the video, Hulu gets paid either way.
On the other hand, Hulu videos will only be available for an average of 5 weeks. So if you want to start a Bionic Woman fan page with full-length versions of every episode, there's a good chance your links could be dead by next month. If Hulu has the server space and bandwidth to deliver Doogie Houser MD reruns, you'd think they could create a site that lets you see every episode of My Name is Earl. If they could do that, I'd seriously consider throwing out my PVR. Well, you know, if CBS, ABC, and The CW jumped on board too. Oh, and PBS and the BBC.