03. 14. 2008
Hulu.com: free movies and TV online
YouTube can be fun, and very occasionally brilliant, but a lot of its content is, let's face it, Amateur Hour. Not so Hulu.com, which just opened to the public. It features real TV shows and even movies. For free - so long as you're willing to watch ads too, of course. (Hulu estimates its ads at about 2 minutes per half-hour's entertainment, less than commercial television.)
I was one of Hulu's beta testers, but I didn't get the big head because there were 5 million of us. I only checked in a couple of times, partly because the selection was limited and partly because I'm spoiled by my fairly big TV screen - not to mention haunted by many hours of programming languishing unwatched on my DVR.
Some of Hulu's offerings are top-drawer. TV shows include "The Simpsons," "30 Rock," and "The Office" (US version). Among the movies are "Sideways," "Ice Age," and "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" - plus several golden oldies. There is, of course, also dreck. Exhibit A: "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine." I can tell it's dreck without having watched a minute of it. Don't argue.
Still, Hulu's selection is much better today than when first sampled last fall. There's some decent stuff here, and it's free. You should probably sign up. One of these days you'll be home sick and whining, "There's Nothing On TV!" That's a perfect moment to catch up with a perfect movie comedy, for example "Some Like It Hot."
Hulu is betting that zillions of us will decide we like movies and TV on small screens despite the allure of 52-inch plasma. I don't know how content I'll be to watch an hour or more straight on my 19-inch monitor. That's my workspace, not my funspace. Still, I've got my eye on all 14 episodes of "Firefly," an exceptionally shiny scifi series that I missed when it flashed through the TV heavens briefly in 2002 and then winked out. But, thanks to Hulu, not forever.