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A Preview of Online HD

December 3rd, 2007 by Eric Feng

While we love the convenience of watching our favorite shows on the web anytime we want, we also love the stunning resolution, true colors, and widescreen landscapes of high definition video on an HDTV. We’re video geeks at heart. You know the type of person who insists on driving an extra half hour to see a movie at the theater with the nicest projection system in town? That’s us.

We’ve kept our streaming video bitrates at modest levels to allow as many people as possible to enjoy our videos. But computing power and internet bandwidth continue to increase, and with that comes the promise of widespread High Definition video streaming over the web. We’re as anxious for that day to arrive as anyone.

Thanks to the efficient compression of the H.264 video codec, that day may be coming sooner than anticipated. Today we’re excited to launch an HD Gallery featuring a selection of High Definition video clips at 1280 x 720 resolution. Those of you with a fast internet connection of 2,400 Kbps or higher, the latest build of Adobe Flash Player 9, and a fast computer (check out our system requirements) can stream these High Definition clips and preview the future. We realize the requirements are still fairly hefty, but we know and empathize with those of you who like to stay on the cutting edge and wanted to give you a sneak peek of streaming high definition video.

We’ve limited the bitrates on these HD streams to allow as many users as possible to sample high definition streaming. Even so, we think you’ll agree that the results are a huge step up from what we’re used to seeing on the web. We look forward to a day when this becomes the baseline for video quality on the web, and we plan to play our part in making that a reality.

If you don’t have a fast enough internet connection at home (like me), you can buffer the stream by clicking pause at the start of the video and waiting. Or, you might find that your internet connection at work is fast enough. We’re not necessarily advocating that you watch our videos while you’re supposed to be working, but if you want to take a moment during your lunch break to watch an HD clip or two, we won’t tell.

Eric Feng ()
Hulu tech guy (and CTO)

Last comment: May 2nd 2013 78 Comments
  • File Sharing says:

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  • paul says:

    very good stream. good technology. very pleased with the service. thankyou

  • bruce says:

    bring back genre with TV.

  • Alexei says:

    I’m really looking forward to hulu working on the wii. Even if it is a hack that I have to do…
    Thanks,
    -Alexei

  • Ilustre says:

    aye would like to access your web. please tell me how to register. I can be a beta tester too. Thanks.

  • Mike says:

    Does the h264 client support hardware acceleration? That would make it much easier for a computer to work well.

    How about a media center plugin so I can browse the site easily with a remote?

  • Eugene says:

    Thanks for all the good questions. Feel free to submit e-mails to feedback@hulu.com and support@hulu.com as well. Let me provide some answers one by one. Brian: we’ll continue to support the old URL structure with the /show/ID/show-title structure for ALL shows, but for many shows we’ll default to the shorter structure for readability. Not all new shows will use the new naming convention because of URL collision and because we’re creating those shortcuts by hand.

  • SimuMan says:

    It’s been a busy several weeks and “I have returned.” — ™(c)(tmz)(hulu). Huge Kudos to your entire Staff! Rubbing my… Crystal Ball, I see GREAT THINGS in Hulu’s future. You’re not there “quite” yet, but count me in when you officially open the shop.

    Sincerely,
    SimuMan

  • ryan says:

    I know you are probably trying to manage your bandwidth costs effectively, but is there any idea of when new users will be able to log in ?

    I registered, but have yet to receive a username and password.

    I look forward to utilizing your service.

  • morgan says:

    I think an option with close caption is very necessary.

  • Paul says:

    Just a note FYI: Bandwidth and buffering not a problem at my location, well enough. But the playback on my VAIO T29 (single core x86)is jerky. Guess it’s the flash player performance.

  • fendee1 says:

    love HD .need more HD. looks awsome. need a-team in HD.

  • Slick says:

    When will NBC be returning to Itunes? I was perfectly willing to pay 1.99 per episode for portable, ad free content?

    This is dumb.

  • sheepsound says:

    ca marche pas en France votre merde !!!!!!!!!!!! y’en à que pour les ricains !!!!! fait chier …

  • Katie says:

    I’m still waiting for my invitation! Pleease- when will you be inviting more people?

  • Jedrek says:

    Hey!
    What about Hulu in GB?? Will it be accesible here??

  • Jeff says:

    HD COPS FTW :D

  • Paul says:

    Can I come play? Could you send me an invite? I have be dying to check out the service for forever. :) Please??? :) :) :)

    — Paul

  • Ren says:

    Why did you send out invitations to people who don’t have access to Hulu? I live in Alaska…clearly I’m used to disclaimers. It’s one thing to say it upfront. But when you invite someone, allow them to create a profile and enter a zip code, you obviously haven’t thought the whole thing through. I heard the forgotten passwords option is available now. Nice work.

  • Bill G. Anderson says:

    Great service, it’s nice to see a lot of work going into getting legal television online. I hope you’re making sure the writers get paid. Or is this promotional material?

  • michelle says:

    Great idea guys! I love streaming things on my laptop, but hate how pixelated it always is. Luckily I have the setup requirements, since I work at home to enjoy. I can’t wait to get approved and start watching!!

    Love it! ~Michelle

  • Genevieve says:

    Are the writers being paid fairly for this online distribution of content?

  • Sue Doe-Nim says:

    Aww Gee Shucks Eric.

    CTO without DSL or cable modem at home? Really?

    Here’s what I heard from you (I’m not a techie)

    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah HI DEF blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

    Whatever, I still love you.

    xoxo
    Sue

  • Charles Dunn says:

    Just wondering how long it actually takes to get into the beta, been waiting over a month to actually see what this is all about. Was really excited to hear about this website on G4tv and am really anticipating a public launch, even if there is a membership. This is a great idea, especially for people who work during prime time or have 2 different shows on at the same time. Keep up the good work and hope to see what this website can do whenever it either goes up or i get into the beta.

  • Any videos from Animal Planet in HD? Or just any videos from Animal Planet at all?

    Thanks!

  • patrick says:

    Why would I use this service when the friggin blog doesn’t even work properly?

  • Tyson says:

    Awesome site! I love it. Can’t wait till you have more shows up! Also, I would like to see this on the PS3, Xbox 360, and the Wii. More work on the Mac would be great as too. Keep up to the splendid work!

  • Nuwan Kodagoda says:

    All this is wonderful but any ideas when people outside U.S. will get some content at least.

  • megracie says:

    Those of you who do not have access to Hulu can test out HD streaming over at ABC.com’s webpage. They have offering some shows in HD–full episodes. HD streaming is very cool! I hope to see more of this in the future.

  • Moveleft says:

    OK, I’m confused by the OH MY GOD HULU THANK YOU FOR BEING SO AWESOME comments here. They all reek of PR plants or praise from those who have never watched video anywhere else on the web. What is so remarkable about this site? It’s a collection of programming from a few networks ranging from stuff you would never want to watch to passable series NBC pulled from iTunes. There is NOTHING here that hasn’t been done before and done better. Want free streams of network series with limited commercial interruptions? Go to abc.com and check out their broadband video area. It’s been going strong for two full seasons now and the quality of the entire experience makes this site look quaint. They stream entire season and HD offerings are also available. The video quality is amazing…even in the full screen mode (which is a joke here). Want clever video shorts with amazing production values and insane celebrity interviews? Go to ngtv.com and skip the retread clips from SNL and the late night talk shows posted here. Warning: the stuff on ngtv.com is uncensored so no kiddies! I’m still scratching my head about NBC leaving both YouTube and iTunes to set up this ramshakle shop. It doesn’t make sense from a consumer or business perspective…especially when most NBC shows are struggling to attract anything more than a niche audience (I mean their biggest series is DEAL OR NO DEAL). If this site is going to do anything more than die a sloe death it needs a heck of a lot more compelling content delivered in a way that is consumer-friendly and revolutionary. As it stands now, all hulu.com does is remind me how much better the competition is. Sorry, I’ll stick with iTunes.

  • Edtorious says:

    yay! I finally got invite to Hulu and I’m glad to find they have HD ’cause I love HD. Even the videos not on HD still looks awesome. I just wish there’s option for close caption for those of us that are hard to hear. But other than that, everything looks great. I’d like to see classic shows that we liked to watch before but was cancelled. Keep up the good work Hulu!

  • chris says:

    This site is still useless to me until downloads are offered so I can take my shows with me on the train. . .why oh why did you have to get so greedy and leave i-tunes. . .for christ’s sakes I’d gladly spend the 40 or 45 bucks to get Heroes on my ipod. . .stop with the greed and give the people what they want!!!!!

  • Lynnsie says:

    I am so happy to finally get an invite to try out Hulu.com. I am totally psyched that older programming was added in with newer programming. Revisiting Dougie Howser is pretty neat. :D

  • Fern says:

    Hi, i am really excited to be accepted to this website because i am looking forward to watching shows i missed. Well, exactly when will i be accepted? I entered my email address literally at the beginning in November. But i am really looking forward to this website so please..

  • drew says:

    “hulu:watch your favorites anytime anywhere” none of this statement is true. watch your favorite anytime in the USA maybe…

  • Natt says:

    Stop wasting time (yours and mine) and sell these shows in iTunes so I can watch it conveniently on my TV rather than sitting in fromt of a tiny computer screen.

    What good is HD if it doesnt play on the HDTV?

    I would much rather pay 1.99 and have automatic download into my iTunes library from where I can watch it on my TV, iPod and iPhone.

  • wipee says:

    this site seems to be really amazing for sure. But there’s just a little huge problem with it, it doesn’t work everywhere. i not only talking about third world countries (with all my respect) but here in europe we can’t even watch previews…

  • Kevin Reilly says:

    Apple TV likes H.264. Do you have any plans to allow hulu to be streamed to my TV through Apple TV?

  • Nuno Tuna says:

    Hi Guys.

    This is really becoming a global problem. Portugal is offline too. Is the video feed available anywhere? I hope this is just a transitory situation. Anyways I would like to give my congrats for the graphic interface and the whole idea. Please get all things functioning soon. I’m dying to see it working. Thanks in advance.

  • Wow this is a great site. I am happy to see something like this hit the web. There are a few questions I do have though. Are you going to be putting a purchase/membership model in place? Do you plan to integrate full length movies into your system?

    I love the fact that you have compatibility with Firefox and Mac OS X, not even Netflix can do that ;)

    Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing the site grow in the future.

  • frederic says:

    and i have no problems with the HD streams in the beta HD gallery, i wish you guys would put all episodes in there, not just pilots of upcoming shows…

    but i’m on a 16Mbit down DSL line… ;-)

  • frederic says:

    why not do hulu AND leave the itunes contract in place…???

    i love itunes, and i like the hulu site… to offer everything for free with commerials, but to tell iTS that $2 for an episode is not enough??? what’s up with that argument… you guys don’t want to tell me that advertisers pay $2 per epsiode and individual hit…

  • No love for Canada says:

    No offense but… why send me a beta invite if I can’t view any of the videos? For thumbnails? I can do that with Google Image Search. Thank you. Love the look though. ;)

  • Mike A says:

    Is there some way a non-member can download some test clips to see if this is even going to work on my hardware? I’ve got AMD running a 2-cpu 64-bit linux, and I’m able to run youtube flash movies now. The clips in the other blog post don’t go to fullscreen. Commercials can be ok if they play correctly, are decent quality, and if the same ones don’t repeat again and again and again. Thanks.

  • Joan says:

    As others have said, not being able to view content outside of the US is a real problem, especially while travelling internationally. Is *any* content available internationally at all? If so, can’t you at least filter your result set so that those videos can be displayed? Joost does this…why can’t you?

  • RayDJ says:

    First of all, I have got to thank you for all the work you and the rest of the Hulu.com group have done. This is going to be a fantastic service. The only suggestion I have so far is that hopefully we’ll be able to have some “Social Network” style interactions. Maybe that would include some shared playlists or some forums for fans to discus things. Perhaps as Hulu.com gets more progressed, we’ll be able to see shows the day they are featured on regular TV.

  • Brillig says:

    I’ve been using this for only a few hours and I have to say; I’m totally blown away.

  • Mitch says:

    We really don’t care that you’re offering HD now. That’s something you can add in later. There are lots of us that would like ANY ACCESS AT ALL. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I was excited for this new service. By now, I’m annoyed. Torrents already offer HD for these shows, they’re free and they’re ALREADY available. Release your product or you’ll lose most us. And after being ignored and treated like dirt many of us won’t be coming back.

  • Terry says:

    Well out all the video and video beta places for video your doing wonderful right out of the gate. No lag here on HD stream. :)

  • David says:

    invite me.. I wanna check it out :)

  • Liam says:

    I signed up for the beta test a few weeks ago…..am I not special enough to get in the club :-) I am eager to check out this site, heard a lot about it, so what’s the deal, are you guys being uber selective as to who you let in?

  • Parker says:

    Hi, thanks for the content. The ad-support isn’t that intrusive either..though seeing the same commercial three times wears on you. Also, towards the end of clips I experience skippy like quality even when it’s fully loaded. And I tried to add the RSS feed for my playlist (I assume hulu adds new videos of shows that I subscribe to) but got an error. It might be my reader or just some minor hulu development kink.

  • Varun says:

    Waiting for hulu to be available in other countries!

  • Rachel says:

    While I’m sure that the dev team would LOVE to offer hulu elsewhere, it would be a /huge/ hurdle for them, copyright-wise and getting-other-companies-on-board-for-more-content wise.

    Still waiting on that hulu invite, guys.

  • Jimmy says:

    I want to be a beta tester! Come on, this is killing me!

  • Shakir Razak says:

    Hi Eric,

    couldn’t you please license just some short sampler material that is accessible to anyone anywhere -maybe present it to them when they’re told they can’t access the media they wanted to.
    You have your own rersouces for that, but you could also use most under fair-use.

    Also, AS the embeds have an expiry date, couldn’t you offer a minitiarised/watermarked version, or/and a click-through (with animated flash explaining) to a buy-site; or if you want to be really ambitious and into the long-tail; how about offering individual blog-owners the semi-persistent right via site-license an existing embed for a negligable sum beyond the standard self-destruct.

    Appreciate your thought.

    Yours kindly,

    Shakir Razak

    P.s.
    separate b2b question, how do 3rd-parties get their content into hula cms.

  • L W says:

    I was wondering when you’re opening for the public or when you’ll be sending out new invites?

  • L W says:

    When are you sending out more invitations?

  • Anthony says:

    I’m at work and the HD streams are definitely not streaming at 2.5Mbps. Not sure if it’s the server load is too high right now or not. But it’s impossible to watch an HD clip without fully loading it first.

  • Matthias says:

    I have to agree with Craig Baker and Kamil: will there ever be an international access to Hulu or is this going to be an US only service like all the rest of its kind?

    I think NBC Universal is making the right decisions at the moment with the move away from iTunes and its Hulu project. It would really be great if you guys could do some more breakthrough work and go international. :-)

  • Dave says:

    Eric,

    What a great job you guys have done here. This is MOST appreciated!! Going through the ENTIRE site now, but so far…WOW!

    Dave

  • armando says:

    Does anybody know how long it takes to get an invitation? I asked for one three weeks ago and have not received one.

  • gabriel says:

    i can’t sign in
    whi?

  • chaser says:

    Hi

    On my 42″ LCD where my PC is hook up to, the HD doesn’t blow me away while in full screen. It’s the same quality you’d see while watching Divx/Xvid content on Stage6.

    Either way though it’s good stuff as technology progresses towards full screen HD.

  • Jimmy says:

    I want to be a beta tester! Come on, this is excruciating!

  • Chris says:

    Are you guys still inviting people!

  • Shakir Razak says:

    Hi Eric,

    couldn’t you please license just some short sampler material that is accessible to anyone anywhere -maybe present it to them when they’re told they can’t access the media they wanted to.
    You have your own rersouces for that, but you could also use most under fair-use.

    Also, AS the embeds have an expiry date, couldn’t you offer a minitiarised/watermarked version, or/and a click-through (with animated flash explaining) to a buy-site; or if you want to be really ambitious and into the long-tail; how about offering individual blog-owners the semi-persistent right via site-license an existing embed for a negligable sum beyond the standard self-destruct.

    Appreciate your thought.

    Yours kindly,

    Shakir Razak

    P.s.
    separate b2b question, how do 3rd-parties get their content into hula cms.

  • Shakir Razak says:

    Hi Eric,

    couldn’t you please license just some short sampler material that is accessible to anyone anywhere -maybe present it to them when they’re told they can’t access the media they wanted to.
    You have your own rersouces for that, but you could also use most under fair-use.

    Also, AS the embeds have an expiry date, couldn’t you offer a minitiarised/watermarked version, or/and a click-through (with animated flash explaining) to a buy-site; or if you want to be really ambitious and into the long-tail; how about offering individual blog-owners the semi-persistent right via site-license an existing embed for a negligable sum beyond the standard self-destruct.

    Appreciate your thought.

    Yours kindly,

    Shakir Razak

    P.s.
    separate b2b question, how do 3rd-parties get their content into hula cms.

  • Don says:

    With the pause to buffer the stream, I viewed the HD videos. The resolution is awesome. Thank you, Hulu, for bringing the internet video watching experience one notch higher. Congratulations!

  • Kevin says:

    mmm. I wanna watch TV on my TV, not on my computer. And there’s no way I’m sticking a computer in my living room next to my flatscreen.

  • This sound really great! I wish I could see the quality of the HD content… but alas I am in Canada and apparently we are not worthy of watching HD trailers ;-)

    Seriously, could those be made available to people outside the US? I would really like to evaluate the video quality and report on my blog site.

    Cheers!

  • Matt says:

    How About HULU on the Wii ,PS3 and Xbox please ;)

  • Matt says:

    How About HULU on the Wii ,PS3 and Xbox please ;)

  • Josh says:

    That link resolves to the hulu homepage… did I miss the preview? Maybe it’s not firefox compatible?

  • Kamil says:

    Okay thats cool, all people like HD but where’s some progress in global access to hulu?? I think most of people care more about that than quality as it’s probably good anyway..
    Well..?

  • Jackson says:

    Lies!!!

  • Craig Baker says:

    “Unfortunately this video is not available in this country or region”

    What’s with that, we can’t even watch HD preview videos is Australia.

  • Bob says:

    Don’t have any idea what you are talking about. Can’t get on the site without an invite and don’t get any invite. It has been 2months since I signed up and still waiting.Send e-mails and no response.

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