Since the initial announcement, I’ve been pretty excited about Hulu Plus. However, only a few weeks in, I’ve already cancelled my subscription. Why? It just doesn’t do what it needs to. In fact, it’s still a hell of a lot more convenient to just download the episodes through bit torrent than to watch them on Hulu Plus. That’s a problem.
Back in June, I gave you five reasons to love Hulu Plus. I still stand by those ideas, even if they haven’t all worked out quite yet. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still potential here. There’s just a lot that needs to be improved.
I want to love Hulu Plus like I love Netflix. I want it to be convenient and consumer friendly, and I want to be able to cancel my cable TV. But it’s just not there yet. It’s not even better than theft.
The biggest problem I’ve been running into is that there’s still a significant delay on some shows. A new favorite of mine is ‘Louie’ on FX. It’s absolutely hilarious and it’s strange to watch – ‘Louie’ isn’t presented in anything close to a traditional format.
Since it’s an FX series, I have to wait eight days before I can watch each episode of ‘Louie’ on Hulu Plus. That means that my friend, who downloads it illegally, gets to watch it before I do. It’s actually faster to steal the show than to pay for it and wait a week.
The other thing I find disappointing in Hulu Plus is the quality of its HD streams. It’s not that the picture is bad – it’s fine. But I had absolutely no luck making an HD stream work. I’ve got a decent connection, more than enough bandwidth, and a computer that can handle high-definition video. Yet when it comes to Hulu Plus, I just get chunks. HD works wonderfully when I’m watching Netflix, but not Hulu Plus.
Again, to compare this with piracy, I could jump online right now and download a 720p version of any new show I want to, and it’ll play with absolutely no problem. There’s a good chance it’ll even play on my Xbox 360 or PS3. It’ll look great and play without the need to buffer even once.
These free downloads also have absolutely no commercials. Hulu Plus is supposed to have fewer interruptions than regular Hulu, but sitting through a 2 ½-minute commercial for the latest Jennifer Aniston vehicle doesn’t feel like less to me.
Obviously, there are the moral and legal issues of stealing a show. We don’t endorse illegal bit torrents here at The Bonus View, but from a practical standpoint, it’s hard to argue against them when you’re paying for the channel anyway and the legal downloading options are as inconvenient as Hulu Plus.