Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - The Answer? Or just the next step?

HULU... it might not be THE competition to watching TV on actual TV, but it's close.

I'd signed up for the beta preview a couple of months back, but after looking at it for a few minutes, some other shiny thing commanded my attention and I forgot about it. It kinda came back on my radar with the well-publicized official public release (it must have been well-publicized because my non-techie wife came into my office asking if I'd heard about this new thing called Hulu). But a seemingly innocuous link to a video of Steve Carrell and Stephen Colbert from 1996's Dana Carvey Show that made me a believer.

In watching that video clip, and then realizing that the ENTIRE season of episodes of this long-sought-after show (by me) was available in high quality, and for free, that showed me the depth and scale of this new service.

Arrested Development - The ENTIRE series available for free.
SNL - All the skits individually accessible (so you only have to watch the good ones)
Simpsons, Family Guy, Office, 30 Rock, and dozens of others are also offering a growing number of episodes (although no complete seasons yet, but I expect that to change).

There's DOZENS of shows, from almost all broadcast and cable networks (although I don't think ABC or CBS are on board yet, but I'm hearing rumors that that will change soon). Literally too many to list or count. I found a show I hadn't seen since I was five years old and watched a part of an episode (I'm nostalgic, but not THAT nostalgic to sit through a whole episode).

They have entire sporting events, like game 4 from the 1977 Stanley Cup Finals (that's hockey to you non-sports fans).

They even have dozens of movies available available for free, many of them relatively prominent titles. As you might surmise from the image at the top of this post, I chose to watch "Man on the Moon" with Jim Carrey. (for my review, click here).
(I'm going to embed the video of the entire film here, but I don't know if you have to registered for it to show up. Please let me know what your experience with this embedded video is)

The quality of the film was good with two options for commercials. One where you could watch a 2 minute movie trailer before the film and have no commercials during the film, or another option where you get normal commercial breaks throughout the film (but these are only single 15-second long breaks every fifteen minutes or so.)

After about 40 minutes, my office chair began to get less and less comfortable to watch a full length film in and my butt fell asleep a few times. While you CAN watch a full-length movie at your desk, you probably don't want to. But for TV show episodes? No problem. And if you're on the road and have your laptop and an internet connection, Hulu makes the perfect entertainment destination.

I know that if I miss an episode of my favorite TV shows that I'm not out of luck, or that I have to scramble to find it or hope that someone has uploaded it to bittorrent or youtube.

Hulu is a great step forward. Now we just need the nerds that are working on the box that allows internet videos to be played on our TVs to step up their game. Come on, nerds, let's GO.

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