(Update: Hulu Plus has been redesigned and improved with the 5.2.1 release of Apple TV.)
The long wait is over. Hulu Plus has finally released an app for Apple TV! I always suspected that Apple stymied Hulu’s presence on Apple TV. After all, a lot of Hulu’s content overlaps with iTunes. There were rumors that the Hulu development team had an Apple TV app ready to go, but Apple would not approve it. One can only ponder why it took so long for this to happen, as Roku, Boxee, myriad game consoles, the iPad, iPhone and select Android devices have had Hulu Plus for a few years. It’s about time!
The main advantage of Hulu Plus is affordability. It costs $7.99 a month and they are offering a free one week trial. That amount of currency does not go very far on iTunes. I just ate an $8 burrito at Chipotle! With iTunes, you have to wait for your content to download. The last time I bought TV shows on iTunes, I found it frustrating to wait 2 hours to download a 1 hour show. My internet connection was not the problem. The iTunes backend can be very slow. I really don’t want to own the show, either. Watching it once is fine. With Hulu, you can watch shows multiple times. The only problem is that sometimes they lose content licenses. For example, they lost the first few seasons of Parks and Recreation, before I had a chance to watch them. Not a big deal — Netflix has them. Apple TV, as a standalone device, is now a compelling option for cord-cutters wishing to ditch cable. Sports fans even have plenty of content with NBA, MLB, and NHL apps built into Apple TV. AirPlay provides even more options.
I actually put my Hulu Plus membership on hold. During the summer, TV is full of re-runs. The shows I like, such as Parks and Recreation and The Office, don’t release new episodes in the summer. Nonetheless, I am so ecstatic about Hulu Plus finally being on Apple TV, I resumed my membership.
Unfortunately, not all content is available on the Apple TV app. Much like their offerings for game consoles, iOS and Android, you get a subset of Hulu Plus content. The other shows can only be viewed on computer’s web browser, due to licensing issues. If you have a Mac, you can check out my tutorial on setting up an AirParrot-based entertainment system. This setup will allow you to beam Hulu from your computer to your Apple TV, controlling it all with Splashtop on your iPad. (continue…)