Hulu Plus: It’s Cheap, but is it Ready?

I’m a huge fan of Hulu. In fact, Hulu is my primary source for watching TV shows and even the occasional movie. I also don’t subscribe to cable TV as I can find almost anything I’d like to watch via resources such as Hulu or iTunes.

When Hulu Plus was announced, I was both excited and hopeful. I was among the fortunate(?) first Hulu Plus subscribers as soon as invites began rolling out. Is it worth the price? Is it ready for primetime? I answer these questions and more so read on.

Hulu Plus

In case you’ve missed it, Hulu Plus is a paid addition to the free version of Hulu. For $10 per month you get content access on your iPad, iPhone, PS3, supported TVs and Blu-ray players and soon other devices like the Xbox 360 (in addition to your computer of course).

Devices

Devices

In addition to accessing content through a much greater selection of devices, you also get access to more content such as entire TV show seasons, and higher quality content at up to 720p.

Content Access

I thought I would be able to access all of Hulu’s regular content in addition to their Plus content via other devices such as the iPhone, but that’s not the case. There are different content categories for different device types; Web, Mobile and TV. Accessing Hulu via computer allows full access to all content, Mobile and TV are, however, much more limited.

Content Access

Content Access

So why is it that I can watch a show via computer but not on my iPhone? Content licensing. Hulu’s goal is to get all content available on all devices, but that, of course, depends on content providers. It will take some time to accomplish this.

Content Rights

Content Rights

You can see the full list of content available on all devices here.

One big advantage Hulu offers over competitors like Netflix is it delivers the most recent episodes of TV shows throughout the season, rather than having to wait for the season to finish (which Netflix does).

Pricing & Commercials

$10 per month for additional content availability, higher quality and better device access really isn’t a bad deal. Cable subscribers pay much more per month for what some would consider much less. Those of us who spend a lot of time on the web don’t generally take kindly to paying and still being forced to watch advertisements or commercials. With Hulu Plus you are. However, it’s really no different than cable except Hulu has no option for devices like DVRs that let you skip commercials.

At first, I really didn’t like paying and still being forced to watch commercials. After giving it some thought, I still don’t like it but it’s not reason enough for me to cancel my subscription, especially for only $10 per month.

Live TV

One massive gaping hole in Hulu is the lack of live content you get with traditional air or cable TV. Paying for Hulu seems like it deserves at least shows be posted immediately after being aired or even streamed live as if you were watching it on live TV.

With technology where it is today, I’m sitting here asking myself where my live cable TV equivalent served via the internet is.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Hulu Plus has the right potential (as we all already knew), but for many it just isn’t ready yet. As more content becomes available on more devices it may be worth it for you. Several of the shows I watch aren’t even offered in HD yet, nor via iPhone, so it’s really not worth the price for me.

Hulu Plus isn’t quite ready for primetime but that’s probably why they’re rolling it out slowly with invites. What do you think? Are you a Hulu Plus subscriber and are you happy with it? What other downfalls does Hulu Plus have?