My Week with Hulu Plus

by Mr. Nobel

Very recently, I finally took the plunge and buried myself head deep into the zany world of Community. The show was and is superlative. Pursuing ways of watching the show is not. Ethically, I can’t really justify watching it for free on illicit streaming sites (though I, of course, wound up watching a fair number of episodes that way). Yet, at the same time, I really don’t want to shell out 2 bucks an episode.

Part of the reason I hadn’t gone into Community earlier was because it wasn’t offered on Netflix Instant. I’d much rather watch the show on a legal streaming service without having to deal with poor streaming speeds, bad quality, copious and possibly virus laden advertisements, and deleted video files. After three years, I think it’s safe to say that Netflix won’t be getting Community any time soon.

So, that left me with two viable options: purchase DVD box sets of the show or subscribe to Hulu Plus. The latter won because a) Hulu offers a week-long trial of Hulu Plus and b) I didn’t want to buy a DVD box set of a show I didn’t know if I would enjoy.

Signing up for Hulu and setting up the service on my iPad and PS3 was straightforward. Both apps are intuitively designed, for the most part, and fairly lightweight. But, after going on a massive week-long Community jag, there are a lot of flaws with Hulu still present. The first and most glaring of which are the ads. I don’t like advertisements, especially in services I pay for, but I wouldn’t mind the omnipresent commercials if Hulu Plus for iPad had better commercial distribution algorithms.

In other words, that stupid fucking AT&T road trip ad has been permanently etched into a dark recess of my mind. All my exs do live in Texas. Hulu’s ads are incredibly repetitive – you’re liable to see the same ad across multiple commercial breaks in one episode, sometimes even in the same commercial break. I don’t believe this is an issue at all with the number of advertisers buying space on Hulu as their website doesn’t have the same problem. I think, instead, it’s an issue with the iPad app, an issue that really should get addressed soon. Please. For the sake of my mental well being.

The second issue is with poor page organization and retention. There seems to be two classes of pages for TV shows: an overlay on top of the main menu, and a fullscreen separate page for each show. The former remembers which season and which type of sorting you used when you exit out of the video player. The latter does not. It’s a small oversight that only adds up to a couple of additional taps, sure. But it’s still annoying as hell, and something that I would hope gets fixed.

The last big annoying gripe I have with Hulu is in its inconsistent show offerings. I know this is more the fault of the television networks, but I really want to watch The Simpsons on my iPad.

All things considered, Hulu Plus is overall a good service. It handily replaces normal cable subscriptions while providing new paradigms for viewing TV content. At the end of the week, I cancelled my Netflix subscription and went over to Hulu to get my Community fix. Cool? Cool. Cool, cool, cool.