Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Watch your favorites. Anytime. For free.

The NBC-News Corp. video joint venture Hulu.com is a video site that features video from more than 100 content providers. Offerings include TV shows from FOX and NBC, as well as from subsidiary cable channels such as Bravo and the SCI FI Channel. The website also shows films from studios including Sony and MGM. Especially, this website is free of charge for full length movies and TV Shows. After a nearly five-month long beta version, Hulu.com was launched in 2008.

In order to enjoy videos at Hulu.com, users will need the following software installed on their computer: 1. IE 6.0 or above, Firefox 1.5 or above, or Safari 2.0 or above. 2. JavaScript and Cookies must also be enabled 3.Adobe Flash Player 9.0.115 or above. 4. Microsoft Windows XP SP2, Microsoft Windows Vista, Macintosh OS X or Linux. It streams, just like YouTube, and it's ad-supported, with bumpers and "commercial breaks," just like the TV it's trying to ape. More importantly, the streams have been exceptionally smooth.

The website is very easy to use. It only has two main menus: TV and Movie. For example, when users click the “TV” button, it will show submenus: Channels, popular Episodes, Popular Clips, Popular Shows and Browse. For Channels, it presents TV shows including all types such as Action and Adventure, Animation and Cartoons, Comedy, Drama, and Family etc. There are updated lists of the most popular and the highest rated videos, so uses can keep up with what other people are watching. When looking for a specific show, users can search by name or can also look at an alphabetical list of all the shows in Hulu’s library. In addition, one of the biggest highlights of using the site is the video player. Users don’t need to download and install special video player, because the website operates directly in the web browser using flash player technology. When users are watching movies, mouse over the player and the usual controls will appear. The “embed” function allows users to set in and out points, so users can embed just a selected chunk of a video clip on their blog. The “share” function allows users to send the link to their friends. The “timeline” function allows users to watch a movie at any time point. “Lower lights” dims the whitespace around the player to dark gray. And “Pop out” turns the video player into a pop-up. On the full-screen mode, the site allow users to watch at full screen. Even users can leave comments under the player. For metadata, the website provides a thumbnail picture, name, time and channel for each item.

All in all, Hulu.com is a video presentation site with a good variety of TV shows and movies to start. Hulu’s user experience is better, and everything loads and plays very quickly. The audiences for this collection include all TV and movies lovers.

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