Hulu Plus, the new for-pay service from Hulu.com, is named incorrectly. Clearly the “Plus” in the name indicates that you are getting some extra benefit over the boring old “regular” Hulu. I’m not sure that is true.
For $9.99 a month, the service is touted as offering complete seasons of its shows, in HD. Hulu plus is also delivered to the iphone, ipad, and to some TV enabled devices. All nice additions to the existing service.
As mentioned on the last Sci-Guys-Podcast I got an invite to the Hulu Plus beta, and checked it out. I was very excited to finally be able to get Hulu content on apple devices which previously were unable to show this content, due to Hulu.com being flash based.
This is the point where it starts to break down. You see, Hulu Plus, as delivered via their app, includes very little of the content already on the “regular” Hulu.com site. I was looking to get caught up on Fringe. Sorry, no luck. This was rather surprising to me, since “regular” Hulu has the last few episodes of Fringe available. I went looking for a few other shows I want to get caught up on. Still no luck. Here is a list of the series available in Plus, and yes, there is a lot of stuff there. But nowhere near the number of titles available in the “regular” Hulu.
This is the dirty little secret of Hulu Plus. It is deep, but not broad. The series they have on Hulu Plus have every episode, or at least a lot of them, but you are not going to see a lot of the shows you would expect to find. There are tons of shows that are available on Hulu’s “regular” site, but missing from Plus.
Sure they do have some quality shows on there, like Lost, but I was surprised by how few currently running shows are in Hulu Plus. I think that is the deal-breaker, “regular” Hulu works as a poor-mans DVR, allowing you to watch shows you may have missed. Hulu Plus works a poor man’s Netflix, but with similar cost, and way less content – not exactly something I’m looking for.
This lack of current content in Plus might not be a big deal, if you could get the “regular” Hulu content through the app. But no dice. I can’t speak to the PS3 or other TV enabled device’s version of Hulu Plus, but for the Apple Hulu Plus app? None of the “regular” Hulu content is accessible.
To be fair, on the website, you do get all the hulu “regular” and Plus content, and the same goes for the Hulu Desktop application. So if you have a media PC hooked up to your TV, you might be marginally more interested in the service.
As I’ve said before, “regular” Hulu would not be worth paying for as a service, because the reduced quality of the videos, lack of TV enabled device support, and relative scarcity of episodes. Hulu Plus addresses the first two issues, and as such I was more than willing to give it a shot. But the amount of content is Plus is actually less than “regular” Hulu. At least the content I care about. This is still in beta, so things may change, but due to the current division of Regular and Plus in the apps, I simply can’t recommend the service. Especially for $9.99 a month.
With the name Hulu Plus, you would expect to get more, but in reality you get less. This should be called Hulu Minus.