Online video streaming site Hulu.com officially opened its
virtual doors today. A joint venture between NBC-Universal and Fox, Hulu has
$100 million in venture capital funding under its belt and partnerships with
over 40 content providers.
Hulu features a slick, clean interface that is direct and
to-the-point. The website isn’t cluttered with many advertisements and its (so far) easy
to find movies or TV shows. Load times for videos are also speedy and
quality is impressive.
As can be expected, content is the key factor that will
determine Hulu’s success, and the site has plenty of it. According to Hulu, the
company has created partnerships with numerous big names including Sony, Warner
Brothers, NBC Universal, Fox and MGM.
Hulu allows users to stream full-length TV shows such as The Simpsons or The Office, along with full-length movies such as X2: X-Men United or The 40-Year-Old Virgin. In total, Hulu says it offers over 100
feature-length films for free. Although the movie catalog might not be as large
as a Blockbuster’s, it’s free and a decent start.
To add to its appeal, Hulu also gives the option to search
for content that isn’t directly hosted on the service. For example, Hulu
currently doesn’t have a partnership to stream CW’s hit TV show Smallville. However, searching for the
show via the site’s search function yields links to the CWTV Smallville website, which features full-length Smallville episodes.
At the moment Hulu doesn't permit users to download videos to their hard
Advertisements on Hulu aren’t very intrusive. In-video ads feature a short pre-rolled
advertisement and a limited amount of interrupting commercials. In DailyTech’s testing of the service, most
advertisements didn’t exceed the length of 15 seconds, and also didn't occur very often. In addition, small
pop-up flash advertisements are also occasionally displayed in shorter video
Prior to its launch, Hulu spent 18 months in private beta testing.
The service cost over $15 million to develop.