As some you might know, we are sadly (and temporarily) separated from our DirecTV (and TiVo). We had planned to use this separation as a chance to revisit cable, see what was new, and, maybe re-evaluate our television viewing options. Cable failed on every possible level.
While there isn’t much of it to watch, the television that is available right now is good. We have our household favorites lined up like happy brain-busters: Battlestar Galactica, The Office, Lost. Given the fact that the Charter Cable DVR had a 75% failure rate (amazing!), we sought and found alternatives.
Yes, kids, I’m talkin’ about the Hulu.
I remain a Hulu skeptic, but let’s talk about the good for a moment. Hulu does offer full-length programming with limited commercial interruption (extremely limited, ad sales staff people). The quality of the stream is pretty good. You can go full screen or partial screen mode quickly and easily.
You can even pause — for those who are missing the importance of this, please check out CBS’s Innertube. Back before the WGA strike, we watched an episode of CSI:NY called “Down the Rabbit Hole”. It was, for those who missed it, the Second Life episode. Being the tidy types, we thought we’d watch the breathlessly anticipated second part. Not as easy as it sounds. Innertube didn’t want to do this — no good episode guide, no easy navigation, and no way to pause for potty breaks!
Okay, we could sorta, kinda pause, but that put us into a weird time warp where the episode started over, we couldn’t get to where we left off, and it was just a mess, and we ended our attempts frustrated and more convinced that ever that CBS is the Titanic. I sure hope those crazy kids in the crime lab solved that mystery!
Hulu can do so much better. First, of course, comes the realization that web viewers are different than appointment television viewers. If we’re watching via the web (with a less-than-optimal) sound system, there’s a reason. Web viewership complements your television broadcast. Get rid of the time delays — until you as an entity realize that these viewing methods are more similar than different, you will be marginalized.
Also, better selection. The episodes available on Hulu are like a mish-mash of content. I’m sure that Monty Python fans will not be offended when I suggest that it’s a serious problem when one of your “Most Popular” programs is Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life.
And explain to me how “He That Believeth In Me” is Season 4, Episode 3 for Battlestar Galactica. Yes, I get it intellectually, but what kind of crazy numbering system are you working here? This goes to the SciFic Channel as well: stop confusing your fans! Thanks.
No seriously, better selection. Everyone needs to stop being precious about protecting this window or that window. If you’re so worried about money, put the series/movies back up on iTunes and let people who want to pay for commercial-free programming get what they want. Let those who don’t mind advertising supported programming watch that way. If we’re the DVD type, we’ll buy the boxed set.
Also, look at your comments. Do you, oh wise ones, realize how insane you are to be zealously protecting territorial rights in this day and age. Does it make sense to block viewers from, oh, Peru from watching the streamed programing? If they choose to watch, let them watch.
Because they do have alternatives — remember, only you can build a better pirate!