Apple TV Hulu Plus is here, but what caused the hold-up?

Hulu Plus may have arrived on the Apple TV today, popping up unexpectedly on the company's set-top box, but there's no word on what held up the release of an app that was supposedly functionally ready eight months ago. According to rumors back in November 2011, Hulu had already finalized its Hulu Plus software for the Apple TV and was merely waiting for the Cupertino company's own approval for release, something which Apple was oddly reticent to grant.

Apple, so the rumors go, had put the Hulu Plus Apple TV app on ice over concerns that it could bite into its own iTunes revenue. The delay was not said to be a technical one, with all elements of software and service ready for action, with Apple instead suspecting that Hulu Plus subscribers might be less likely to spend money renting or purchasing movies from its own download store.

Muddying the waters were Hulu Plus' existing iOS apps, available on the iPad and iPhone, and which already offered access to the subscription based streaming media service. At the time it was suspected that the absence of AirPlay streaming support for the apps that was all that had prevented Apple from denying its a place in the App Store; users would simply be too lazy to plug in an HDMI cable and adapter.

Availability on the Apple TV, however, makes opting for Hulu Plus rather than iTunes far more straightforward. Hulu hasn't mentioned the delay in its blog post on the new functionality, and Apple was apparently content to push it out without fanfare.

Apple TV has seen a sales boom in its third-generation, though Apple itself still refers to the set-top box as a hobby among its range. The company has seen long-standing rumors suggesting it is working on a full television set as part of a more forceful challenge to the living room.