I’m currently watching The Tonight Show on Hulu.com. It’s a recent episode with the lovely Kate Beckinsale. Man, she looks gorgeous.
A show like The Tonight Show is Hulu’s strength. It’s a show that isn’t the kind that people would buy on DVD or pay for on iTunes. Comedies work best for Hulu, especially The Family Guy and The Simpsons. Miniseries do too, like Tin Man, as do older shows that wouldn’t sell too well on DVD, like Hill Street Blues.
The quality is surprisingly good, although I have serious playback issues on my cable modem whenever I download anything over 100 kb/sec. Having just gone public after a long beta (FYI, I was one of the lucky thousands to have a beta account), and the site increased its content count. I still experience lag whenever I download concurrently to watching video.
I’m viewing on Safari 3.0.4 using Mac OS 10.5.1 (I know, I need to update to 10.5.2). I used it on Internet Explorer 7 using Vista, and I had serious issues with Flash. I uninstalled Flash several times, but the newest version at the time corrupted my system. After a week of trying to fix I gave up. Safari on Vista had the same issue. I haven’t tried since then, which was about four months ago. Maybe it’s been fixed.
The video ads are annoying, but at least they’re only 30 seconds. While mandatory, I find I can fast-forward at least once without getting hit with an ad.
Many people didn’t think Hulu would work for NBC, especially since it appeared to be a reflex action after abandoning (or getting tossed by Apple) iTunes. I think it serves a nice niche audience by allowing casual viewers to watch select shows whenever they want. It also gives viewers a chance to catch once-in-a-lifetime TV shows like miniseries without TiVo or DVD. It also breathes new life to older shows with smaller built-in audiences, although this fails when viewers can’t watch the entire show straight through because not every episode is available.