open hulu, hula

openhulu, hula, search me,, youtube

The Hulu hullabaloo. Network site goes live today.

By the accounts of some you'd think they were giving away free money over at, the new site from NBC and Fox where a ton of their shows and a bevy of clips can be found - though not for free. You still have to watch ads. Sometimes not that many, sometimes way too many. CBS has not joined the party, but still could. ABC is likely to stay out of that particular game because, well, it's Disney, and there's no sense in mixing with the little people.

Why is this important? Good question. With individual network sites, you can already get much of the content on Hulu. But the real attraction is the deep vault stuff the site has put up (or at least promises to keep putting up, which would certainly add value). Hulu was created to steal some of the thunder of YouTube or, in other words, cut down on the copyright problem, the theft, the incessant need to make sure those pesky kids haven't uploaded precious content for the world to see - commercial free. I'm not a believer that Hulu is going to kill that trade, but at least it offers some options. Better yet, the site is clean, it's pretty easy to navigate and it has many useful features. I think one of the best is the little tool that allows you to not just embed video, but to self-edit that video from, say, an entire episode (though it doesn't always work). I loved "The Tick" when it was ever-so-briefly on Fox, back when they made good shows, so I've taken a quick clip from that show for your enjoyment. It only makes me miss the series even more. Except I've got it on DVD. I don't really need to watch commercials on Hulu to see what I've already seen - twice (at least).

There's already been a ton of hype about Hulu. And there will be more. But here's the thing - it's just a clip and show service. No big deal. No revolution. With YouTube, iTunes and the individual network sites, it's not like there's a real lack of access to back content. And maybe you've already got it on video - commercial free. Yes, if the vaults get opened wider (and CBS joins), Hulu might become more of a bigger deal. As it stands, it's a fun diversion like so many millions of other sites on the web. If you haven't already, take a spin and leave your thoughts. Primarily what I'm looking for are thoughts on these issues:
1) Do you like it and intend to check it out regularly?
2) What did they get right and wrong?
3) Best feature?
4) Biggest annoyance.
5) How can they fix it to be better.

I'll resist the urge to get into my regular rant here about how this doesn't completely revolutionize the future of television - it's just another added option. It doesn't in any way signal that Internet content will kill television because, duh, that content was made by television. But I have to say that watching commercials online is annoying. I don't like watching commercials on any network site, either. But sometimes - like when my TiVo didn't tape "Lost" - those sites are handy to have. That's their real value, commercials or not. But I still prefer to record shows on my TiVo and fast-forward the commercials. Call me old school. Anyway, check it out and report back. Pencils down.

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