( #netflix, #hulu )
Last week I signed up for the Hulu Plus service and I decided to share my experience. I have been a Netflix customer for years and I am very happy with the service. Since the stream service has been getting better selections, I rarely watch actual DVDs anymore. I decided to drop my 3 movie per month package to 1 and unlimited streaming. With the money I saved, I signed up for Hulu, so I am paying the same price.
Hulu is not available on the Xbox (it is coming in a few months), so I set it up on my PS3. If the image does not look good on the PS3, it is not going to look good on anything. After I signed up, I found that the Hulu web interface is not nearly as polished or easy to navigate as Netflix. Adding things to their queue system is not simple and requires going deep into the selection to save it (or I am missing a button somewhere which is just as bad).
The interface on the PS3 is no joy to navigate either and it drives me nuts that there isn’t a search feature since their queue system kind of sucks (but in Hulu’s defence, until the recent upgrades to Netflix’s console dashboards, navigation was not so great either). Once you select a show, the picture quality is very good (for HD). My wife and I watch 30 Rock and Outsourced over the weekend and the picture was great. There is a big but… the service is glitchy and skips a few seconds ahead sometimes. Netflix does not do that (even when dropping signal rate). I assume they are working the bugs out, but it is very annoying.
My other major beef is the commercials. This is a pay service, there should not be commercials. I could forgive one at the start of the program but not during. I suspect that Hulu won’t be doing away with that feature which is making me rethink keeping the service. Hulu’s catalog of TV shows isn’t nearly as robust as Netflix, but where they beat old red is posting shows within 24 hours of airing. You have to wait a week for Comcast on demand for many shows, and who knows how long with Netflix.
Overall it is a solid service at a good price ($7.99 per month), but they are going to have to get their back catalog expanded very quickly, fix their bugs, and ditch the commercials for me to think about keeping the service. I will give them a few months to see how the service evolves. If you are deciding on the two, Netflix wins hands down (especially if you already have cable). Neither services are a full blown cable replacement yet.
Looks like Netflix is offering an $8 streaming only plan and they are bumping up DVD costs.