'Hulu' May Be the Last Sound Joost Ever Hears
With virtually no load or lag time whatsoever, today we blew two hours of our workday watching Sideways online.
We didn't need to pay for, illegally download, or sacrifice precious computer space for it.
And while the occasional :15 or :30 ad cuts through our experience, we're willing to deal. The content is worth the trouble.
This is all part and parcel of Hulu beta, a valiant joint effort between News Corp. and NBC Universal.
We were hesitant to pin Joost a YouTube killer, but we're fast inclined to pen Hulu the end of Joost. It's got all of Joost's convenience except with better shows, better ads and no software downloads.
Hulu avails us to:
* Shows and clips from different networks
* Feature films that, unlike the Netflix film player, work fine on a Mac or a PC
* Somewhat appealing advertising (no ballpark franks here -- mainly Axe Vice spots)
* An "embed" and "share" feature (this is awesome!), and the ability to create custom clips
* Sophisticated toggling. You can pull up film info, full-screen your show, pop it out of its window, rewind, fast-forward, or embed it somewhere else without losing your spot or having to stream the whole thing again
But Hulu isn't perfect either. Some cons:
* Ad breaks could be more graceful. Sometimes breaks occur while characters are mid-sentence. And after a spot, a black screen appears for a few seconds. It's a little WTF?!-ish but a Hulu developer said they're smoothing this out
* No uploads onto iTunes, no episode-saving or downloading to your hard drive (but come on, you can't have it all)
* Films cut to accommodate time slots and content restrictions
Watching a film on Hulu is a lot like watching a movie on the USA network. A scene where Maya exclaims, "You wanted to fuck me first!" has been dubbed to a more morose "You wanted to fool me first."
And when Miles sneaks into the trucker's house while he's in bed with his wife? You get loud rock music and a stray bedsheet. First-time watchers of Sideways will have no clue why a naked trucker chases him back to his car.
Anywho, congrats to a couple of old-timers for stealing the limelight from the new kid on the block -- and actually improving the value proposition (for the most part). How often do you see that happen?
And because we want to see if we can actually get away with it (it totally feels like we're doing something bad right now), check out this (FULL LENGTH!) embedded version of The Breakfast Club, courtesy of Hulu.
Deal with the commercials, for Chrissakes. What could be cooler than this?! (Aside from a commercial-free offering that you can actually save onto your computer and import on your iPod?)