I'll admit it... I was late to the Modern Family party. People kept telling me it was good, but I brushed it off as yet another sitcom. After catching a few clips from the show, I decided to give it a try, and soon enough, @babymama and I were hooked. The only problem was that we had already missed most of the season. Through reruns, ABC.com, and even Hulu, we were able to catch most of the episodes, but there were still about a half dozen I wasn't able to find. Right about the time I was about to give up, Hulu announced Hulu Plus.
Hulu Plus is a premium subscription add-on to their standard free streaming service. For $10/month, you get access to much more content, HD quality and iPod/iPad/iPhone compatibility. After a little research, I discovered that they had the entire First Season of Modern Family as well as the Final Season of LOST (which I thought I had been recording all season so I could enjoy during the summer... but instead I somehow only set up my season pass for the "recap episodes").
The streaming quality was pretty good. I would occasionally get some video glitches, but for the most part, the video streamed smoothly. Even though you're paying the premium, you still get about one commercial per regular commercial break.
How does this compare with the (many) other subscriptions I have (Netflix, DirecTV, as well as ABC.com, etc)? I see Hulu Plus as a "sometimes" subscription. I'll sign up for it for a month, catch up on some shows and then I'll turn it off. If I manage to record shows as they air, DirecTV has pretty much the same content. If I'm more patient, Netflix will have the series on DVD and sometimes streaming as well. In this case, Netflix has ALL the LOST seasons available for on demand streaming EXCEPT the last season (which I needed), and I didn't see Modern Family available at the time of this writing. Compared to Apple's new $.99 rental model, I should be able to get 10 episodes worth within the month to make it a better deal than "al a carte" ordering form Apple.
PROs Great content library High quality video iPad app Hulu Desktop App is fun to use
CONs Streaming only -- so you can't load up before a flight (unless you have wifi) Most content is available elsewhere, or will be if you're patient Commercials
I'm a technology early adopter. I thoroughly enjoy geeking out with the latest hardware, software and electronics. I probably have as much fun setting up, tweaking, and configuring systems as I do actually … more
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Hulu is a website offering ad-supported streaming video of TV shows and movies from NBC, Fox, ABC, and many other networks and studios. Hulu videos are currently offered only to users in the United States. In order to ensure that no international users outside the US have access to the videos, Hulu blocks many anonymous proxies and virtual private networks. Hulu provides video in Flash Video format, including many films and shows that are available in 288p, 360p and 480p. Hulu also provides web syndication services for other websites including AOL, MSN, MySpace, Facebook, Yahoo!, and Comcast's fancast.com.
Hulu is a joint venture of NBC Universal (General Electric/Vivendi), Fox Entertainment Group (News Corp) and ABC Inc. (The Walt Disney Company), with funding by Providence Equity Partners, which made a US$100 million equity investment and received a 10% stake.