I want you to meet my new best friend (and soon to be yours), Hulu.com. It’s a joint effort between NBC and News Corp (Fox) and does what YouTube can’t (i.e. provide network-copyrighted video on the web). As far as providing high-quality, embeddable content, Hulu actually does a better job than YouTube, but that makes some sense since it’s not user-uploaded content but network TV shows and movies being streamed.
For a thorough rundown of what Hulu has to offer, you can check out this review. Two things to note if you read the article: Hulu.com is no longer in beta, and there is a way to embed Hulu videos in WordPress blogs. More on that last one coming up in a bit.
With Hulu, you have access to full seasons of TV shows (both current and classic) from NBC and Fox as well as programming from over 60 over networks (if you count the different networks on their “TV:Network” page), including: WKRP in Cincinnati (20th Century Fox), NOVA (PBS), Battlestar Galactica (SciFi), Monk (USA), and Welcome Back Kotter (Warner Brothers). Plus, if you don’t have cable (like me) you can always watch last night’s Daily Show or Colbert Report.
There are also full-length movies available, and the selection is just as amazing as the TV shows, with movies like Ghostbusters, Sideways, The Fifth Element and Lost in Translation. The amazing thing is that there are unedited R-rated movies on the site. So, in contrast to network television, the movies don’t have characters calling people “cork soakers” or stupid “mother fathers”, and the nudity is there in all its shirtless glory. If you don’t believe me, watch Porky’s or The Girl Next Door on Hulu.
Where watching movies and TV shows on Hulu becomes similar to watching actual network programming is when it comes to commercials. There is a pre-video commercial and individual commercials at intervals during any movie or TV show, but they’re only fifteen seconds. With a countdown to when your video will resume at the top of the viewer window, it makes them amazingly easy to bear.
When Hulu started testing their site, their videos were not embeddable on WordPress.com blogs. Thanks to VodPod, that’s a thing of the past. Hulu can provide you embed code that works for most blogs, but if you have a WordPress blog, you can find out how to embed a Hulu video on this page. Just be aware that for the “Post to WordPress” button to work as described, you’ll have to sign up for a free account on VodPod. Totally worth it. Because it allows me to bring you this: Vodpod videos no longer available.
I’m thrilled about all the Saturday Night Live sketches like this which are available on Hulu, but my current obsession is working my way through watching all three seasons of Fox’s Arrested Development. I never saw the show on television, and now I can see why so many people loved it. For free.
There’s one last feature worth mentioning, and it’s pretty cool. You can select the exact clip you want to share from any video in their library. Just hit the “Share” button (which appears when you mouseover the screen), and I’m sure you’ll be able to figure it out from there.
I suggest you give Hulu a look. I think you’re going to love it.