As someone who streams Netflix content through several different devices, including my HDTV, the iPad, and others, I recently decided to give some other streaming offerings a chance to win my affection. My first choice among the many out there was Hulu Plus.
Now, I should note that I’ve used Hulu quite often. While I’m having lunch, I’ve been known to surf to Hulu’s Web site and watch some episodes of shows I might have missed recently. I guess you could say that I’ve been a Hulu veteran for quite some time now.
However, I had yet to take the plunge into Hulu Plus. I reasoned that as long as I had Netflix and a DVR, I didn’t need it. But after considering the sheer number of shows available to me via Hulu Plus for the cheap price of $8 per month, I decided recently to subscribe.
My first impressions were quite good. I was able to sign up for Hulu Plus in a matter of seconds, and after logging in to my account from my HDTV, I was welcomed to try out all the content the service offered.
And then the trouble started.
First, I realized that the browsing feature on Hulu Plus is atrocious when you use a television remote. I can’t tell you how much time I wasted holding down the right arrow key on my remote just to find the show I was looking for. And when I got there, I was even more upset to see that only three out of the six episodes that have aired so far this season were available to me.
Once I started playing one of the episodes, I was forced to sit through not one, but two commercials. Overall, the video quality was quite good, which made me happy, but then, after sitting through just seven to eight minutes of content, I was presented with another ad. During the rest of the hour-long show, I had to sit through ads with each commercial break.
Now, I should admit that I knew that would be the case. After all, I’ve been covering Hulu Plus for quite some time now. But to actually experience it first-hand and realize that my $8-per-month fee to watch programming wasn’t enough to save me from some of the most annoying ads I’ve ever witnessed was too much to handle.
So, after trying it out for just a few days, I can now officially crown Hulu Plus a loser. Admittedly, I didn’t have high expectations going in, but I did offer up an objective mindset. After just a few minutes of using the platform, things went awry -- and they never recovered.
I’m sure there are some out there that use Hulu Plus and scoff at my opinion on it. They would tell me that I need to sit through ads because I’m watching recently aired content. They would also point out that the service does offer a wide array of worthwhile programming. And while I might agree with the second point, the idea that I should accept ads in a paid service simply because that’s the way it is just isn’t enough for me.
As far as I’m concerned, Hulu Plus is another example of all that’s wrong in the streaming-entertainment business nowadays, and not a glowing example of where the industry should be going.
Now more than ever, I believe Netflix has it right. And Hulu Plus, well, Hulu Plus is a downright disappointment.