The long-predicted subscription offering from Hulu has arrived, and while it’s not the service changer I think we all feared or expected, depending on how the private beta goes, it could define the future direction for the service.
It’s called Hulu Plus, and as expected, will run you $9.99 USD per month, and give you access to entire seasons of popular series, and will extend to other devices for which Hulu is making streaming video apps like the iPad and iPhone.
When they are available, the Apple apps will run over 3G or Wi-Fi, Hulu said.
Shows will play in high-definition 720p resolution and content will also sync between devices.
“You can start watching a show on your HDTV one night, pick up where you left off on your laptop at lunch, watch another chunk on the bus ride home on your iPhone, and finish watching in bed on your iPad. The time to watch your favorite shows is any time you want,” [Hulu chief executive Jason] Kilar wrote.
Kilar said Hulu Plus will not replace the original Hulu, but will instead provide access to an extended library of content. At this point, Hulu users typically have access to the five or so most recent episodes of a given TV series. With Hulu Plus, subscribers will have access to every episode of the current season.
Hulu will also add back seasons or full runs of certain TV shows, including The X-Files, Arrested Development, Law & Order: SVU, Ally McBeal, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Roswell, Grey’s Anatomy, and Desperate Housewives. The company will also make available skits from the first five and most recent seasons of Saturday Night Live.
“This is all on top of hundreds of shows already on Hulu.com today,” Kilar wrote. “It’s a treasure chest in the cloud for TV lovers.”
It makes sense that Hulu is looking for some way to broaden its reach and make a little money in the process. A number of people have complained that any subscription Hulu service should come ad-free, but it’s not clear whether or not Hulu Plus will be – the service is still in private beta and was only released this week, so more details are sure to follow.