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Beta Testing Begins For Hulu

October 28th, 2007 by Jason Kilar CEO

Today marks the first day of Beta testing for the Hulu service.

We’ve been hard at work on a service that offers a great selection of television shows, clips, feature films and more that you can enjoy for free and on-demand. At Hulu, you’ll find current hit shows like The Office, Prison Break, The Simpsons, Heroes, and many more. You’ll also find a large number of classic television series, including Arrested Development, Miami Vice, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The A-Team. We’re also going into beta with an initial selection of feature films that includes Conan the Barbarian, Sideways and The Blues Brothers.

Starting today, we are sending out invitations which will allow users to access the private beta at Hulu.com. If you haven’t signed up, you can do so by visiting Hulu.com. As well, this week we’ll start serving Hulu’s content lineup to our distribution partner websites, which include AOL, Comcast, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo.

The team here is excited to gather real user feedback. We’ve made it easy to leave comments and suggestions through a feedback form which can be found next to each video that is played on the site. We’re committed to making the service great, which means that we’ll be reading every piece of feedback and working hard to improve the service each day. You should expect to see us adding more content and more functionality throughout the private beta period and beyond.

Not everyone will receive an invitation to the private beta today, but we will be ramping up the number of invitations to the private beta each week. In the interim, we’ve captured a number of screen shots for those interested. Here’s Hulu’s homepage, which we just pushed live:

On behalf of the Hulu team, thank you for giving us the chance to present this service to you. To a person, this team is extremely passionate about fulfilling what we see as a big consumer need: to enable people to find and enjoy premium content when, where and how they want it. Great content needs to be that easy. Please know that this crew of technologists, user interface geeks, and all-around media junkies will not stop in our pursuit to provide you more and more premium entertainment to enjoy on your terms.

Thanks in advance for your feedback…

Jason Kilar ()
CEO, Hulu

Last comment: about 15 hours ago 463 Comments
  • Jim Pitts says:

    NO iTunes, NO DICE.

    Stop being greedy and put the content where people want it.

  • Marcos says:

    Thanks for the free viewing of The Office. The story of that episode is just a bit ironic on a levels. I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader to figure out.

    Since the advent of iTunes, I’ve more or less weaned myself off of unauthorized copies. All else being equal, I’d rather do the right thing and pay a fair price for entertainment and reward the creator.

    I hope that you are able to give us more choices and provide competition to iTunes, but I have to warn you: I want less DRM, not more. iTunes strikes a balance and the convenience factor is high. Some other media services that use DRM seem to be missing this point, and I think that’s why we have seen so many fall by the way side. On the other hand, services like Emusic have stayed viable because they do not use DRM at all.

    I’m very interested in where you take this and wish you luck with it. I hope that you are prepared to listen to the customer and are willing to adjust you business to satisfy the customer needs.

  • Japester says:

    I’m in Australia and have wanted to buy movies and TV shows on iTunes for years now. This type of operation at best delays or at worst eliminates the possibility of ever getting video content here.

    I buy a lot of TV on DVD but would buy TV from iTunes.

    NBC has effectively cut me off from obtaining their shows via the internet. I’m mad about this. I hope this website is a spectacular failure.

  • iTunes Fan says:

    Hulu is doomed to fail. Nobody wants to sit and watch episodes of TV shows on the internet with advertisements. They want episodes of TV shows on to put on their iPod. Don’t waste your time with this site NBC and put your content back on iTunes.

    Screw this, I’m unsubscribing from the Beta.

  • Joost Watcher says:

    I’m watching TV shows on Joost at joost.com.

    Mojo, Paramont Pictures, FOX, and even CBS shows are there on demand.

  • Tom says:

    After reading all the blogs here on this site since the start of the beta and not receiving my invite Hulu the biggest joke on the net from NBC/Universal I have chosen to unsubscribe from the Hulu Beta because I can not watch on my iPod or AppleTv. I will still continue to read the blog post and see if NBC/Universal gets the message from the fans of the TV shows and iTunes to see if they elect to get off there high horse or cloud number 9 and come back down to earth and smell the coffee and come back to iTunes and make some money again.

  • SlingBox_User says:

    How about no cost per [any] TV show?

    I use the SlingBox from SlingMedia.com to
    watch my own TV from laptops, office, vacations,
    wherever I go. With the cable TV connection
    you get a built-in cable TV tuner that you watch
    and control the built ion tuner over the internet,
    from anywhere.

    I use the at-large recorder 2 from applian.com
    to create TV media files for viewing on my PDA, laptop,
    cellphone, or load on a USB drive for use on planes or wherever. It’s not limited to NBC shows either.

    The cost per show is $0.00, nothing, zip, zero.
    The cost of the slingbox I bought was under $200 and
    $50.00 for at-large.

    Being forced to use iPod/iTunes file formats and
    locked into one distribution method is bound to keep costs higher than an open distribution platform.
    It’s like being locked into AT&T for your cell phone carrier. Oh wait .. iPhone does that too.

  • Wayne says:

    Virtually everybody I know has an iPod and/or iPhone. Virtually everybody I know has purchased NBC/Universal content from the iTunes Store. Virtually everybody I know will continue to purchase other content from the iTunes Store. Absolutely nobody I know will bother with Hulu.

  • Smithson says:

    Can’t watch it on my iPod or in full-screen? Screw that.

  • DumDeDeeDee says:

    Such a hullabaloo. After an hour of reading comments I’ll go and cancel my supposed invite and think about owning an iPod.

  • Armando says:

    I supouse your clip in this page is working well, but not is it. Is necesary that the first work well. Sorry by mi english.

  • Jason says:

    Face it guys, Apple / iTunes / iPod has locked up this market. The iPod is the de facto standard for audio and video on the go. If it doesn’t play on an iPod, it’s doomed to fail. I have no desire to watch “television” in a web browser with a sub-par interface. Here’s what I want: a) $1.50 per episode max, b) 720p or better resolution, c) a ten-foot-interface usable from my couch, d) compatible with my iPhone. When you can deliver all of the above, you’ll have me as a customer.

  • nicecubes says:

    Well…back to the illegal downloads.You had a great thing going with i tunes…download and watch at a reasonable price and take it with you. Now..in the name of greater profits comes HULA…like its fad namesake…colorful…but useless and it goes around in circles. The greed on NBC will cost them dearly ….in the name of short term profit they will screw themselves to the wall. It will be so fun to see the entire HULA library on torrent or some othe share program for free…if for no other reason than to highlight the stupid greedy business model. BTW…the planted compliments are so transparent and insulting…don’t the drones at NBC have better things to do??

  • Creed says:

    I’m looking forward to watching your fight with Apple. You are going to lose, of course, but it’ll be fun to watch the scuffle.

  • ITunes Fan says:

    NBC – Everybody was happy when your programming was on iTunes and now you’ve got everyone upset.

    Get it back on iTunes! Think of how much money you could be making now that all of the new iPods can play video! The new iPod Touch is definitely going to be one of this year’s biggest Christmas gifts.

    iTunes saved The Office and you were stupid to pull your content off of iTunes. Put it back on and make everyone happy again!

  • Wallyworth says:

    It’s just another example of NBC Universal corporate stupidity when you decide that if they’re not making enough selling episodes at $1.99 that you should raise the price to $2.99. Good for Apple for telling you guys to screw off. If you want to make more money and sell more episodes online, sell them for $.99 each. You may reduce some DVD sales, but you’ll actually create a decent new revenue stream — and get some of those people who just download episodes of shows via Bittorrent to go a legal route instead. But no, you choose to go this route instead, and one that offers no international options? Bad move, NBC. I’ll just keep stealing. You’ve helped eliminate the guilt.

  • Greg says:

    Wow, you guys are amazing. When will you get it? Start by listening to the customer! Hope you enjoyed my cash from iTunes because you won’t be getting it here.
    “Apple will destroy video unless everyone goes to Hulu”. Yeah.

  • DumDeDeeDee says:

    I’m just waiting to show my 3rd grader the original Corbomite maneuver for free. The word on Amazon is that the for sale version is lousy (in quality). I might also want to relive the fun and foolishness of the original Battlestar Galactica before seeing any of the new episodes – if I ever have time, again!

  • skiddie says:

    Yayy! The studios are catching up to the 21st century!

    No!! It’s restricted to the US.

    I guess it’s back to Pirate’s Bay for now, until the studios smarten up and realize that if they embrace all that they CAN do with the internet, they will cultivate a much larger audience than they ever thought possible.

  • Alahmnat says:

    I would just like to add my voice to the growing pile of dissatisfied customers here. I had previously purchased entire seasons of Battlestar Galactica, Stargate: SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, Eureka, and Scrubs through iTunes. All of these are properties belonging to NBC/U and I was happy to purchase the season passes for those shows. It was more cost-effective to pay for the shows I wanted to watch, and be able to watch them when, where, and how I wanted to than to pay for cable and get some form of DVR for equal flexibility. I was entirely willing to purchase new season passes for Battlestar Galactica, Stargate: Atlantis, Eureka, and Scrubs this season, but obviously that option is no longer available. Additionally, I’m a Mac user and am unable to utilize Amazon’s Unbox video download service (though given the product restrictions, I don’t think I’d use it on a PC anyway). So, this leaves me with no legitimate method of acquiring the content I want.

    With regards to Hulu specifically, web-only streaming is a BAD idea for TV. Despite the fact that my 23″ Cinema Display is the best screen in my apartment, I don’t like having to watch content in the browser, and I am even less enthralled with the apparent lack of a full-screen option. I’m looking at getting a new iPod Touch for the express purpose of being better able to watch the content I purchased from NBC/U and other networks while I’m out of the apartment, and quite obviously, Hulu does absolutely nothing for me in this regard.

    I have no cable service, and most of what I want to watch is not on network broadcast stations anyway, so iTunes has been the way I watch TV for almost a year now, and I’ve been happy to pay the premium that comes with no commercials and possession of a complete digital copy that I can play whether I’m online (or even at my computer) or not. Please, NBC/U, stop this petty grandstanding and bring your content back to where making money off of it was a foregone conclusion. Put it back on iTunes. I’ll be happy to pay for it again; at $30 – $35 per season for four shows, that’s $140 I’d be more than willing to spend on your content. But until then, I’m afraid you’re getting nothing from me: Unbox doesn’t support my OS (or my choice in media player), and Hulu doesn’t give me the options or flexibility I want. So, congratulations on losing my $140.

  • Gatned says:

    Please give us some means of downloading and playing back elsewhere. If you don’t want my $2 an episode, that’s fine; or, if you don’t want Apple to have any of the $2, sell yourself or through Amazon, but don’t tell me you need to sell them for $5, and then start free streaming. We’re not idiots. We’re your audience.

    And as for this rubbish about a share of Apple’s hardware business, have you asked any TV manufacturers for their money? They are making their business just as much “on the backs” of your content.

  • Negat says:

    The latest from Zucker: “We know that Apple has destroyed the music business – in terms of pricing – and if we don’t take control, they’ll do the same thing on the video side.”

    Riiiight. What an asinine, short-sighted, greedy comment. Just how much was the music business making from download sales before Apple came along?

    iTunes all the way. Why would anyone support NBC’s efforts when this is their attitude?

  • chris says:

    this is not the way you save the music industry. you all throw the shit on apple but apple is one of the only shops that sells music and has succes. otherwise, everybody would download it. you can’t fight piracy back by raising the prices and you can’t blame the tv-series prices for the end of the music business. you see, tv-series has nothing to do with music. i’m afraid, mister zucker that your end is near. learn how to make business (apple is a good mentor) and try again. GAME OVER!

  • Raj says:

    Hi
    when can we receive the invitation of Hulu
    Looks like every one is having fun with this , alteast for now and we still dont have a way to check it

  • Steve Gilrod says:

    This site should be called Xenophobia. Not only would it suck less than the name hulu, but it would be an accurate description of your approach to locking out international viewers. Or as we are known inside your country – Illegals and/or foreigners. I’ll stick with iTunes where I’m known as a viewer/customer.

  • Adam says:

    I won’t bother going in to the detailed and largely accurate post-mortem of your wrongheaded business plans…if you haven’t got it by now you never will. I just wanted to let the developer team know that despite the bad design and sloppy implementation I loved Hulu.com…it gave me something to watch while I torrented NBC’s entire season lineup. I normally would only do this for shows I like but since Mr Sucker is being such a tool I thought I’d go one step further.

  • mark says:

    The decision to leave iTunes was idiotic. Why a corporation, which was actually making money on the Apple deal, would actually pull content and host it themselves in a most heavy-handed DRM manner, is beyond me. Comments by Zucker blaming Apple for NBC-Universal’s problems are insulting to say the least. Apple and iPods have not increased piracy, instead Apple created a viable marketplace for digital content. I would think the board of NBC-Universal would recognize what a stupid idiot they have running the company. It sure doesn’t take a genius to figure it out.

  • Brandon says:

    I’m very excited about the upcoming season of Lost.

  • Roger Wilco says:

    Hulu seems like a worthy competitor to YouTube. Will there be a way to purchase and download programs so I can watch them from my iPod?

  • ruzel says:

    Forget it. I bought an entire season of Heroes off of iTunes. The fact that you guys can’t play nice with one of the simplest systems in the world and have to go re-invent the wheel just so you can show us advertising is obnoxious. Cause that’s the catch, right? The beta doesn’t have it, but you KNOW the final release of hulu will have ads. It’s not enough that I was willing to pay $40 for an entire season of programs? No. I say no. From now on your programming gets ripped off my Tivo. Go back to iTunes and I’ll re-consider.

  • King Stupid says:

    Can I watch these shows using iTunes or iPod? No? Ok, firing up bittorrent. You had me at $1.99 morons.

  • iPod User says:

    You guys need to shut Zucker up.

    I’d like to take my NBC shows with me, wherever I go. If I wanted to sit in front of a box plugged into the wall and watch your shows, I’d USE MY TV.

    Nice job stealing the look and feel of the iTunes store, too.

  • Matt says:

    Hula seems to be a decent alternative to YouTube. A pity it doesn’t compare to iTunes. Tell me again why I’m supposed to watch the Hula version of the Office on my computer instead of the copy that Tivo recorded?

  • Patrick says:

    I really wish you would go back to iTunes. I want to download you stuff and take it with me. Leaving YouTube and iTunes is like taking your toys to another room.

  • Allan says:

    I have a Mac dedicated as a media center, so having to watch on my computer isn’t a problem, but I can’t take these anywhere? Can’t watch on my iPod? Must watch commercials? No, I will not.

    I’ve watched The Office on iTunes for the past couple of years, and 30 Rock last season, and I told plenty of other people about them. I was happy to pay the fee to avoid the ads. They picked me up as a viewer, and apparently iTunes helped save these shows. Now, I won’t have that choice. I will not watch TV with ads, so I’ve been recording the shows and skipping through the ads. Much less elegant than the iTunes solution, but it does work. Why exactly would I want to use Hulu, then?

    Jeff Zucker’s comments that “…Apple destroyed the music business…” may give some clue to the thinking at NBC at this time. Or lack of thinking.

  • David Zulaica says:

    It’s ridiculous of you to assume that the internet is so ubiquitous as to be available to me and others 24/7 just to be able to stream television shows and be forced to watch them on a computer.

    Your model is inherently flawed.

  • kimguan says:

    The reason why Apple is setting the world on fire at the moment is because you can imagine their designers asking, “How can we improve the life of the person using this product? How can we make it more convenient, easier and a delight to use? Is it something I would want to use? How about my mother or grandmother?”

    The only question I can imagine the suits at NBC (yes, the suits, because I can’t imagine the geeks who built the system voluntarily designing such a steaming pile of useless manure) asking is, “How do we maintain the status quo? How dare the viewers watch OUR shows when they want, where they want, and on whatever device they want?”

  • Kevin says:

    Hmmm. I used to pay to watch some of your shows. Apparently you’d rather not have my money, and rather I not watch your shows.

    Good move, geniuses.

    The whole Hulu thing might not be such a bad idea, if of course, I could still buy on iTunes. But if it’s going to be one or the other, then Hulu loses.

  • Robert says:

    Do you care about your consumers?
    You don’t have to answer that, you already have.

  • Felix says:

    Ah, I live in the UK. Seems like you won’t allow me to watch content which US residents can. So you fail hard. I’m going to torrent this now…

  • Tom says:

    Hey Hulu here is what I spent on iTunes last year – Heroes: $42.99, Law & Order: $35.99, Law & Order CI: $34.99, Law & Order SUV: $42.99, Psych: $28.99, Eureka: $25.87, House: $42.99 and Dead Zone: $25.87 for a total of : $280.68. This is a total of 8 season pass with I paid for last season and would have gladly paid for again this season. Well NBC/Universal that is just from me a starving artist who would spend his money for a good show. Hey everyone out there lets show NBC/Universal how must money we all spent on iTunes last season and see if that makes a difference. I guess NBC/Universal was not happy with there $0.70 on the dollar they get from iTunes and that is what they pay to the recording industry. NBC/Universal please come back to iTunes and I will pay for my shows again!!!!!

  • Even more problems with what you’re doing:

    1) Your tagline/motto on your About page reads “Watch your favorites. Anytime. Anywhere. So does that mean when my wife and I travel to Germany next summer to visit family that I can watch Hulu shows on my Zune or iPod during the plane ride? How about when we have some downtime from seeing the country… can I get online with my notebook and visit Hulu.com to catch up on Heroes and The Office?

    I sure could when I used to buy your shows through the iTunes Store.

    2) This business about asking Apple and other device manufacturers for a piece of their revenue is ridiculous. Absolutely. Do TV manufacturers give you a cut of their profits? How about Monster Cable; does it give you a share of all its “premium” accessory sales?

    Stop it. Just plain stop it. You want to present your shows online and rake in some ad revenue? Super. But don’t cut off another portion of your *paying* customers because Apple won’t let you mark up your shows to whatever prices you want.

  • Tom says:

    Hey Hulu here is what I spent on iTunes last year – Heroes: $42.99, Law & Order: $35.99, Law & Order CI: $34.99, Law & Order SUV: $42.99, Psych: $28.99, Eureka: $25.87, House: $42.99 and Dead Zone: $25.87 for a total of : $280.68. This is a total of 8 season pass with I paid for last season and would have gladly paid for again this season. Well NBC/Universal that is just from me a starving artist who would spend his money for a good show. Hey everyone out there lets show NBC/Universal how must money we all spent on iTunes last season and see if that makes a difference. I guess NBC/Universal was not happy with there $0.70 on the dollar they get from iTunes and that is what they pay to the recording industry. NBC/Universal please come back to iTunes and I will pay for my shows again!!!!!

  • Jefe says:

    No iPod content? Then what’s the point? I had three NBC subscriptions on iTunes, cause it was easy and portable, and I wanted to do the right thing. Now I guess I’ll head back to Bittorrent where it’s easy, portable, and free.

    Good luck.

  • Brandon says:

    Hey idiots, if you want my money then get The Office back on iTunes.

  • BM5k says:

    no iTunes? no digg

  • jack says:

    Hulu, you can make a better system than iTunes but this is not it. One obvious thing is providing HD content, which iTunes still does not do, even for its AppleTV. That said, you still need to come up with a way to move it from my computer to my 46″ HDTV (iTunes shows don’t look so good on it). And you’ll need to come up with handheld devices yourself, or find a way to send it to my cellphone and/or other players, even if it sickens you to send it to the maybe 40 million iPhone/iPod video-capable players already out there, and the 20 million more being sold this very quarter. I know hulu is a beta, keep it that way until you fix it, since I won’t be using it until it’s fixed. If you do go ahead with a launch, I’ll only badmouth it until it’s fixed. Didn’t you just get a $100m investment? Use it NOW.

  • BobbyD says:

    Please for the love of god, NBC and whoever else is still living in the 1990s– you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone! your executives keep trying to shed apple/itunes in a nasty light, but it’s just because they realize there’s no place for the middlemen anymore! For everything you’ve learned at business school, you’ve somehow forgot that people value honesty– that is, they’ll pay for it. give us all of the studios and all of the labels on a single distribution system, and give it to us cheap… you will make money. you have no right to the sales of an mp3 player, for christ’s sake– stop trying to make that argument. apple sells ipods because they are designed FOR the people. get with it.

  • The only explanation that makes any bit of sense as to why you’ve removed your shows from iTunes and are trying to go it alone is that this is a pissing contest between your executives and Apple. There’s no perceivable need to *remove the shows* from the iTunes Store in order to show them here—why not do both?

    Sell your shows on iTunes, show them here, give each portion of your audience what they want. Hell, in the meantime, you could use efforts like this to rally support from other networks to convince Apple to allow the variable pricing you want. Just don’t go overboard—you start getting too greedy and you’ll pay the price for it.

    Stop this silliness. Get your shows back on iTunes (and into other digital distribution stores like the Zune Marketplace) so your customers have a choice. Don’t restrict us to one medium or another just because you’re having a tiff with Apple over how much of a markup you can place on your content.

  • JAR says:

    This is going to be either a great outlet for your real TV shows, or a complete bust. Since you won’t have anything from other broadcasters, that immediately makes you look like a corporate entity. (“Limiting” is a bad feeling to start with in this new age of the web)
    So, if anything, people will use you for what you’re worth (free TV) and then leave you for YouTube – a true open domain, for user generated content.

    Avoid becoming a total laughing stock (failed corporate attempt at web 2.0 system) by at least allowing open viewing (do not block countries)

    Questions? Feel free to email me.

  • Jeff says:

    NBC, please get real. You used to get my money when you were on iTunes. I wanted to pay for good content and iTunes made it easy for me to use that content on either my TV (AppleTV), my iPhone, or my PC. Now I get none of that except streaming to a computer. So you now you get none of my $$$ and Bittorrent gets my love. You lose money and your customers hate you for taking away their freedom. Just look at the comments above!. Sound decision making. You must all have MBAs.

  • The Kobles says:

    I know what people want, they want 3D and non-stop motion. They don’t want Hulu.

  • Andrew says:

    You greedy basteds!!! Stop trying to put the genie back in the Tube!!!

  • Nate says:

    I do not have television service. I watch little enough of it, and find there are very few shows that I like. That said, friends pointed me to Battlestar Galactica, Heroes and The Office — three series that I promptly bought season passes for on iTunes.

    I watch television from iTunes on my iPod in the plane, on my laptop in hotel rooms, and at home on my 30″ monitor in the living room which I use to watch movies on. I was happy to pay $2 an episode for each and every one of these shows (and more) to be able to watch them how I wished.

    Your new “service” does not scale well to large monitors, I am unable to watch your shows on mobile devices, when I’m out of the country on business I am blocked from viewing your shows.

    Why are you making it more difficult to view your content? This does not make sense.

    iTunes made it easy to pay for and listen to music, watch television, and view movies. It was far easier to do this than to find pirated copies of songs and shows. With iTunes, I *knew* the level of quality I was getting, and I knew it would play on all of my devices.

    Now, it’s back to the old days, pre-iTunes: it’s easier to find your content on torrent sites and Usenet newsgroups with the commercials conveniently cut out for me.

    But it’s even easier just to not watch your content at all, and stick with the other media companies that still get it (at least on some level.)

  • Mogden says:

    Pirates | iTunes => win
    Hulu => fail

  • Zac says:

    So all of this effort to create a web based system that means that people can’t watch their programs locally…

    So you want to recreate the artificial vertical environment that exists in TV distribution on the web?

    Sorry but are you really this stupid? Or is it just you being venal?

    This form of distributing is dead. Get over it and start to work with people who understand how to distribute and sell content. Like iTunes.

    I don’t watch TV. Consequently I am forced to Bittorrent shows. Why? You could be making actual sales from me and instead you want to take a broken model from the real world and foist it off on the net.

    Bad idea.

    Thanks for trying but this is really monumentally stupid.

  • Meme says:

    With Bullshit like this, no wonder torrent sites are more active than ever before.

    HULU TEAM: Offer something that changes the world by IMPROVING it … all this and the feedback above just shows how many lightyears you are away of understanding it.

    Do the internet a favour and die a dignified death.

  • Doug says:

    “To a person, this team is extremely passionate about fulfilling what we see as a big consumer need: to enable people to find and enjoy premium content when, where and how they want it.” So, every person on your team is committed to enabling people to enjoy content when, where and how they want it. I guess there are other things your team is committed to as well, like serving your business goals. That is as it should be. But, your business goals are at odds with enabling people to “enjoy content when, where, and how they want it.” A house divided against itself cannot stand.

  • Zach says:

    This is going to be such an EPIC fail.

  • Tug says:

    I noticed that NBC has pulled the plug on “NBC Universal Media Manager” before HULU is even up and running fully, glad I converted the Shows I hadn’t watched yet to MWV files for my Zune so I don’t need your software. Did you guys ever hear of FOCUS groups? seems like you have pissed off 9 out of 10 of the most tech savy if the comments on this website are any true indication?

  • Jean-Denis Muys says:

    Hi,

    I too will continue with pirating, for the simple reason that I have no other choice. I would gladly pay for the US TV Shows I like. iTunes had a very sweet solution: decent quality, affordable, add-free, usable on the move. Too bad even it wasn’t available outside the US.

    To a poster above: NO international law forbids making video shows available world-wide. The only thing that keeps them from being available is greed (NBC’s in that case).

    Now the incredible:Jeff Zucker claims Apple destroyed the download music business!! Hello, Mr Zucker (Sucker?): Apple *created* the download music business. Before Apple, the going rate for music tunes was precisely $0.00.

    Please give me TV Shows on iTunes in my country.

  • Paul says:

    Guys guys guys, somehow you miss the point. While I’m sure ya wont read these comments, OR if you do will miss anything negative. Remember this, until you realize that by limiting your content to the states, and trying so hard to wring every last penny we make to line your pockets, you will fail to stop, slow down, or even make a dent in piracy.

    YES i am a pirate, like so many around me. I dont do it cuz i cant afford your over priced under produced shows.
    I do it cuz i find it ridiculous that you can have the balls to complain that you ONLY made 15 million last year through itunes.. or you ONLY made this or that. Study after study shows that you are not losing any profits, but your greedy. Your greed makes me loath you that much more, and so as such i will continue to download the shows i want to watch, in HIGH quality, without commercials, and without having to wait.

    You guys are dinosaurs in a digital age, evolve or perish… Your choice.

  • Luis Diaz says:

    Hulu, hulu, hulu…

    You guys really don’t get it.

    You have a shot at changing the world, of building the future.

    Right now you suck.

    Rethink. Rethink. Solve real problems. Make this better than TV. Make it downloadable, available.

    What you have now will fail.

    GO MAKE SOMETHING BETTER.

  • Victoria says:

    I live in Canada and I watch NBC, CBS, ABC all from Boston is real time, Fox comes from Rochester, NY.

    It makes to sense to me why they continue to block Canada out of the online libraries when we are watching the actual network.

    It makes sense to block countries where episodes have yet to air but that is not the case in Canada.

    bah humbug

  • Nick says:

    Mhmmm,

    You guys have the best content on TV but if it does’t work with iTune, I can’t get it. Please go back to Steve and give him what he wants.

  • Bill Woody says:

    My use model is simple: in the evening my wife and I sit down and watch an hour of television during dinner, and in the evening we watch a second hour before going to bed. Right now we have a ReplayTV which we use to record TV shows so we can watch it in the evening. On occasion we’ll also watch the commercials if it is an ad for a new movie we haven’t seen or for a product that looks interesting. (I purchased a Sears CompuCarve based on a TV commercial watched on ReplayTV.)

    What I use iTunes for is to purchase programming that for some reason I was unable to record over the air, and to see the sequence of episodes for more episodic series so we watch the recorded shows in proper order.

    If we had a service which we could purchase a wider variety of programming in order, I’d cancel my cable in a heartbeat: for the convenience of watching episodic television on demand I’d happily pay $2/show.

    The problem I see with Hulu is that while it does satisify the time shifting aspect, it doesn’t satisfy my ability to sit down in front of the big screen TV in our living room (where computers have been banished) and watch time-shifted TV.

    Apple is kicking everyone’s ass in this arena for the very simple reason that it satisfies the typical use case of the older non-technical set who has money to spend, and does it with elegance and ease-of-use. While the younger set may be willing to watch and share programming like YouTube videos on their blogs, it’s a novelty: eventually you’ll either need to figure out how to distribute your programming on existing hardware (such as Tivo, such as Amazon’s UnBox service) or create new hardware (a’la Apple TV) so people can watch Hulu programming on their big screen TVs. Or else you’ll just be a marginal player that dies a slow painful death after a few months.

    Embedded videos on web sites are great for a 30 second to 2 minute clip of a cat attacking a roll of toilet paper. But for a 22 or 45 minute program, embedded video just doesn’t work for a long-term solution.

  • Les says:

    NBC, I mean this in the gentlest way possible. The internet is a force larger than yourself. Swim with the current, not against it. The sooner you learn this, the easier it will be for you in the long run.

  • Kelly M. says:

    Wow. Why NBC/U thinks I want to watch T.V. on my computer is beyond me. I realize that you need to focus on squeezing every ounce of profit from your productions – but this makes no sense. Watching short videos via YouTube makes sense (enough sense that people are willing to “endure” lousy encodes), but watching T.V. on your computer screen *and* being forced to sit through commercials (the same ones mind you – over and over and over) is definitely a sign that you’re not thinking this all the way through.

    It seems to me, that if you want to make money, then you sell something people want. In this case, you’re giving it away (for now), and selling the ad space to your advertisers. But what good is your ad space when the vast majority of people will not use your service?

    It’s very obvious that you burned your iTunes bridge in a bad way – but to burn it for this? Someone is seriously mistaken. I subscribed to 4 separate shows on iTunes – even though I could get the shows for free (watching it on cable or Tivo) simply because it worked and I could watch what I want with no annoying ads and take the content with me. Hulu offers me none of that. I don’t care that it’s “free” (for now) – it doesn’t let me watch it in my living room, or my iPod and I am forced to sit through commercials (which I could at least skip with Tivo).

    It is apparent that your only attempting to create a single distribution channel which you conveniently control – so that in the end, you can stipulate whatever price you want. That’s what the music industry did, and that’s why the music industry nearly *destroyed* itself. If you were smart, you would be interested in getting your content on as many outlets as possible – not ripping it from a major outlet (like iTunes) for this.

  • Bill C says:

    So…..your plan is to re-invent iTunes but without all the….ummm….capability, good-looks and functionality?
    Spending wads of cash to build something that already exists in a form that will blow-away anything you could even dream about building is such a waste of time, energy and money.

    Save your R&D dollars. Tail between your legs….ask Jobs for forgiveness…get your cut of $1.99 per and roll naked in the positive cashflow.

    One more thing….concentrate on more scenes of Sarah Chalke in her underware and leave the technology to those who have demonstrated success.

    Repeat over and over until it sinks in…Networks are for content. Networks are for content. Networks are for content.

  • John says:

    requested beta invite, read Terms no mention of US only -I’m in Germany. Probably missed it. I skim through above comments only to become quickly and painfully aware that it is US only. This seems idiotic. What is it about the media industry, so full of imaginative creative people, to become so fenced in in their thinking when it comes to the extraordinary global commercial opportunities for possible with the internet? Of course it is possible to come up with advertising models that will allow global distribution of your products. You will have to because others will see and grab these fantastic opportunities, and they will sweep by you and grab that market, and NBC, Fox, the BBC etc and the record companies and all the other “mainstream media” organisations will become just memories.

  • HASSAN' says:

    please invite me for Hulu

  • I guess now I’ll just have to bittorrent them instead of getting them off iTunes….

  • Gary C says:

    About you… “Hulu’s ambitious and never-ending mission is to help you find and enjoy the world’s premium content when, WHERE and how you want it.”

    …I’m in the UK, so WHERE am I?

  • Frank Reiff says:

    +1 for everyone who complaints about your stupid DRM and US only policy

    There’s a killing to be made with online media (yes money, lots of it, mind boggingly huge stacks of EURO bills!): You just need to let people buy it off you.

  • mark says:

    Hey, someone just deleted some postings. A Jay just wrote that iPod users were morons for watching on a 2″ screen and should get a life. That but in nastier words. And I was going to respond but it’s now gone.

    I was going to say that I sure hope Jay’s attitude wasn’t the one that Hulu or Zucker has of iPod users. But then again, maybe it is and that’s why NBCU has chosen this as its only solution.

  • I was happily paying $2.00 an episode to watch your shows how I wanted on iTunes. Now all I have is OTA and Hulu delivery, and it’s so restrictive that I’m not willing to watch them FOR FREE. I think maybe you’re doing it wrong.

  • Jay says:

    I think this site rocks !! All those stupid iPod jerks can say all they want. Imagine watching a show on 2-inch screens !!! How pathetic can these iPod freaks get?? For all you iPod morons, all I can say is GET A LIFE !!

  • Michael says:

    Go back to iTunes. It was much more convenient to the user. I will not be using your site as I have to have my shows on my iPhone or iPod or Apple TV. That is where the beauty of the iTunes system is. Buy in there and play it anywhere (within the limits of the DRM). Which really was fine.

    I don’t have cable so I will not be watching Top Chef, Heroes, Battlestar Galactica or The Office as you have removed them from iTunes.

    This is why you are in last place and will be staying there!

    Good luck.

    P.S. Your contact forms on your NBC Universal site are terrible. How can you connect with your customers if your forms and email links don’t work?

  • Barles says:

    I don’t get it. This Hulu is terrible. I don’t want to be locked to my computer, locked to my webbrowser. I want to put videos on my iPod and watch them on the subway when I go to work.

    Hulu is a nice site, but lame. The entire concept is awful. Maybe it sounds great for the TV moguls, but I think, if I can’t put it on my iPod and go, then I’ll check out other shows from other networks. Maybe some people are addicted to their television shows, but not me.

    Such a backward mentality. Get with the future, NBC.

  • Hugh says:

    There is no reason I would be interested in watching NBC’s shows from a streaming website. I’ll just keep them programmed on my DVR.

    Unfortunately I can’t fit my DVR (or my computer) in my pocket. Please return to iTunes (and my iPod).

  • Todd says:

    This is a big step in the wrong direction. I want to watch Heroes on my iPod/TV just like last year. Bought every episode on iTunes. Now I’m forced to find it elsewhere for free… and it’s not nearly as convenient. NBC, come back to iTunes, for the love of GAWD!

  • james k says:

    Hulu looks great but it looks like it won’t work for me. Here’s why:
    1. When I’m at home with broadband, I prefer to watch on a TV, not on my computer. So hulu has to get your content to my TV, but it doesn’t. FAIL.
    2. When I’m not at home, I most likely don’t have access to free broadband (or wifi), i.e., in the car, bus, subway, plane, station, airport. So hulu has to make its content portable so I can watch on my computer or my iPod/iPhone, but it doesn’t. FAIL.
    3. So of what use is Hulu to me? What this says to me is that you’re launching into beta without even thinking hard about what the user wants. Instead of launching, you should go back and add some more useful features so that your whole concept and brand doesn’t get totally dissed and dumped in the toilet. Your launch is analogous to launching a new broadcast TV network today with just black and white TV shows and no sound. Lame.

    Also, you need to fix the commenting so it preserves paragraph breaks. That’s also lame.

  • Jon Hancock says:

    Nice try, decent quality except for occasional stutters, but you know, compared to buying your shows on iTunes, which I did a LOT of last season, this just won’t work for me. Part of why iTunes is such a joy is that I can watch the shows wherever and whenever I have to be on business- (travel 2-3 weeks most months), and iTunes is my replacement for cable TV, which is pretty useless.

    Well, non-resizable video that’s only available streaming online and in the US of A is pretty useless to me when I’m in a Sinagpore hotel room, or on a 747 between SFO and Frankfurt. I was willing to pay good money for that, but now you guys thing a rate equivalent to DVD TV pricing is too low…. what a disappointment.

    Well, there are many other networks on iTunes, and believe me, I’m enjoying them and discovering new shows every week it seems.

    I think you folks are going to miss the boat on this one….

    ~Jon

  • tug says:

    Jason Kilar,

    Home, 60″ Toshiba HD TV, DirecTV HD, Dolby Surround,DSL
    streaming works great but don’t need your content.

    On the road, Toshiba laptop with 15.4″ screen or Zune, cell modem. Steaming bad or not at all, would like to have your content.

    Get it?

  • Ms. D'Opportunity says:

    John Gruber puts it this way:

    ‘Jackass of the Week: NBC Universal’s Jeff Zucker:

    NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker claims Apple “destroyed the music business in terms of pricing”. As John Paczkowski points out, the going rate for digital downloads pre-iTunes was zero. Zero.

    So while they sit around until hell freezes over waiting for Apple to voluntarily just start sharing iPod hardware profits with entertainment companies for no good reason whatsoever, that’s what they’re going to get for video now, too: zero.’

  • Mike says:

    Guys,

    When Hulu does become fully available to the US and you are outside of the US, just use a web based proxy to view the videos.

    PS: Bring The Office back to the iTunes Store!

  • Pete says:

    So you’re not happy w/ Apple and you want to make your own service to compete with them. Do you get the idea that people buy the media they sell so that they can play it on their iPod or iPhone? All you are doing is disconnecting yourself from those customers. They are not going to want to carry around their laptop instead of their iPod so that they can watch your programs.

    Plus we can already watch your shows w/o paying on TV…. for free! The fact we were willing to pay and watch them is a plus for you. But the reason we were willing to pay was because we could throw them on our iPod and take them w/ us!

    Love The Office, love My Name is Earl, and some of the other shows. Too bad. Oh well, ABC just got another customer for their season of Lost.

    Don’t think you were doing Apple a favor by giving them the content. This was a case of them doing you a favor by having it available for their massive iPod customer base.

  • jay c says:

    To get people to use any commercial programming off the internet, it has to be:

    1. convenient
    2. cheap
    3. watchable on an iPod or iPhone

    Otherwise no one’s interested and they’ll get your shows elsewhere and probably not by legal means. Stop playing games and cut a new deal with Apple. They know what they’re doing and you don’t.

    And asking for a cut of iPod sales is like gas companies demanding a portion of automobile sales or a software manufacturer wanting a cut of computer sales: idiotic.

  • Tug says:

    I work on a boat with marginal interenet availability so streaming video is rarely watchable. I have a slingbox attached to DirecTv and it works great when I am at the Airport or a WiFi hotspot but poorly via cell modems. If HULU is for streaming only it won’t be much use to the traveler or others who need entertainement offline. It obviously won’t work on a plane or halfway across the ocean. If I can download at home, where I have High speed DSL, and take it with me to watch on my Zune or Laptop then I will be a very happy man. I am more than willing to watch the Adds if they are what is footing the bill. I don’t want to watch them over and over or keep them for ever. NBC has been allowing me to take it with me for some time but the selection was infantesimal. Conan and a few epasodes of this or that. We’ll see what the final verdict is on HULU after I get my invite………

  • William says:

    It’s been said already many times here, so I’ll just reiterate: your media needs to be portable. Let people do what they want with your content or they’ll just find different content.

    Good luck. You’re gonna need it.

  • Steven says:

    And if you do charge for some features can I be an assosiate?

  • Leslie says:

    I must say I agree with the comments. I really want to watch shows legally but NBC, you’ve made it almost impossible now for mac people.

    This is how stupid the situation is. I buy Heroes and the Office through Amazon’s Unbox service but actually download the shows from a torrent site to view because I don’t have a Windows machine. And yes, you can buy through Amazon Unbox on a Mac, but not watch’em.

    Guess how I did it last year? The answer starts with “i” and ends with “Tunes” and I was 100% legal. sigh.

  • Phil says:

    I wonder if prior to this internets thing happening if NBC was getting portions of the sale of each TV, like you seem to want to do with the sale of each iPod. I’m pretty sure there are millions more televisions than there are iPods.

    What if instead of being called iPods they were just considered small televisions?

    I did sign up for an invite but after some further consideration I realize I won’t use Hulu anyway. I prefer to watch anything longer than a few minutes on my TV. I don’t even like to watch YouTube on my computer, the AppleTV works nice for that though.

    See I like watching tv shows with my wife and as romantic as an evening sitting in the office in two separate chairs sounds, or on the couch with a laptop, I don’t think we’ll be doing it.

    Everything that should be said has been by others.

    Go back to iTunes or make content downloadable via Hulu in a format that works for everybody. You guys really don’t get it at all do you? Fire the guys in the suits, go down to the mailroom and promote some of the young kids with wires leading to their ears, have them help you out.

  • Brendon says:

    I used to watch the Office all the time, when it was on iTunes. Now that it’s gone so am I. How about you quit wasting your money and our time and give us our freedom of choice back. Thanks.

  • Zach says:

    This is the second day since you’ve posted this and you haven’t posted a response to all the negative comments yet. This shows that you can imitate all you like, but you do not (and probably will never) get this whole internet thing.

    Go read the cluetrain manifesto. If you think it doesn’t apply anymore read it again because you’re wrong. The technology has changed but what you need to do with that technology has not.

  • Louie Mantia says:

    I’m sorry to say NBC/U, but iTunes is the best way for most people to purchase content. I don’t see how starting your own site is going to help me get this content on my iPod/iPhone. You’re limiting viewers. iTunes will have a bigger user base than Hulu can over hope to achieve. I won’t be buying any more NBC/U DVDs as well. Get your head out of wherever it is and get with the program. You are backtracking and being idiots. Act rational, and start caring about the consumer instead of your profits. You were making enough on iTunes. End of story.

    Hulu seems really restricting. iTunes is worldwide.

  • Anders says:

    Geographic restriction seems to be the number one issue with Hulu. After that is fixed, you need to create a non-streaming solution that can play on portable players. Until then, you force your customers to go back to pirating. Of course the easy way to get there is to just go back where your customers already are on iTunes. In the meantime I won’t be watching NBC.

  • mark says:

    hulu: you’ve got to end the “last 5 shows” limit. one key to Internet distribution is time-shifting, and that limit kills it. and decouple the ads from the show so you can show me a few new, timely ads for older shows. even better, you can more or less know my zip code, so use those demographics to show me ads for the things I’d likely be interested in.

    please remember that your NBC and Fox TV content is essentially free to me, and that the benefit of hulu is that I don’t have to spend the effort to record and digitize it myself (which by the way is getting really easy to do). But in exchange for that convenience, I’m more than willing to watch a few up-to-date and tailored ads.

  • TVMitch says:

    Just an awful idea, front to back, from people who have not a clue about what consumers want in November 2007. I can only imagine the Hulu pre-launch meetings. “Well, Apple screwed us over, so let’s make our own video site with a catchy name! There’s a hula hoop in the corner, let’s name it Hulu. People don’t want to be able to take video with them so we’ll tie them to a tiny little video player and hire some people who can do CSS. It’ll be Web 2.0-riffic, and we’ll make lots of money!” Truth is, this is a dud from the start, and we won’t fall for it. Torrents, here we come. (Of note: the early comments on this post, the fake “OMG Hulu is the r0x0rz!!1!” stuff: beyond pathetic. Like staging your own press conference. Only fools would think this Hulu a step in the right direction.)

  • Gabe says:

    Why would I pay for this if I can’t watch it at my convenience — on my iPod, or on my TV?

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