PROS / This service provides the best way to catch up on current episodes of the biggest network shows.
CONS / Commercials are a serious drawback to the user experience.
VERDICT / Hulu Plus is a good value and is close to achieving streaming greatness with an impressive selection of up-to-date shows and complete series.
Hulu started out as a joint venture between several major media networks in 2007. Three years later, Hulu Plus started its monthly subscription service. While Hulu is specifically meant to be viewed, without a fee, on a computer, Hulu Plus added more ways to watch streaming TV through apps and an expanded library of content. This online TV service started TV-only, but it has since added a small selection of movie choices. Because you have the ability to watch the latest television episodes, Hulu Plus deserves the Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award for internet TV sites.
There's no question about it: Hulu Plus is the best internet TV service when it comes to catching up on current running seasons of your favorite shows. You only need to wait one day after it airs before the episode is available to you. While there are full seasons of popular shows available, we ran into a few instances when only the last five episodes of a particular series were available to watch.
In terms of exclusive content, Hulu Plus also has its fair share. It has recently announced a short-term exclusivity deal with BBC America to bring in cult favorites. However, the original content needs a fair amount of work and is not enough reason to make you want to sign up for this service.
With Hulu Plus, there is no additional cost for HD programming. This service utilizes a personal queue and watch history to keep track of your favorite programs.
What you are really paying for when you sign up for Hulu Plus is the ability to stream TV from devices other than your computer. It's convenient to watch streaming TV from the comfort of your couch, and this service makes that possible. We just wish there were other major benefits of paying a monthly rate.
The overall user experience is seriously affected by Hulu's insistent use of advertising. Even after paying for a membership, you will be treated to commercials throughout your program. It defeats the purpose of paying for a service. In a typical 42-minute television episode, we sat through seven minutes of commercials. While that's better than watching TV the old-fashioned way, just remember that you might see the same commercials seven times throughout the show. Hulu Plus would win over entertainment consumers in a big way if they ever chose to cut the commercials entirely. Also, the addition of commercials makes the service choppy. We dealt with several issues of the stream freezing up while playing ads.
Hulu Plus is very binge-watcher friendly. If you have a few hours to spare and are finally going to watch a show like "Breaking Bad," you can start from the beginning and relax. The auto play feature will start each episode after the current one finishes.
Help & Support
Hulu Plus's help and support is better than average. It hosts a regular blog if you want to see what innovations are being released in the near future. If you want to contact Hulu with concerns, there is not a live-chat option, but you can reach the company by an email form. The general FAQs page will take care of your minor problems. The tutorials page is the most beneficial and covers billing, smart device troubleshooting and video organization, among other topics.
Hulu Plus is so close to being the best way to watch internet TV. Its constantly updated library of the most popular television shows is second to none. If only it met customer demand by cutting the barrage of commercials, it would be difficult to pass up. However, overall, this internet TV service is an amazing deal.