Walter Mossberg reviews Hulu in the Wall Street Journal. He’s impressed to:
I’ve been testing Hulu, and I am very impressed with its design and ease of use, and with the fact that it allows users to edit and re-publish its content on their own sites. Despite some drawbacks, it’s the first Web property I’ve seen from mainstream studios or networks that shows a real understanding of both modern Web design and the Internet’s culture of sharing. In my view, it’s far better than the typical network or studio Web site.
Even though Hulu lacks programming from ABC, CBS and many cable networks, it has a fair selection of popular shows, such as ’30 Rock,’ ‘The Office,’ ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Battlestar Galactica’ and ‘Saturday Night Live.’ Its movie catalog includes old favorites like ‘The Usual Suspects,’ ‘The Big Lebowski’ and ‘Sideways.’
The site is organized in a clean, elegant manner. You can browse shows alphabetically, by genre or by network, or you can use an excellent search system. The search system even brings up links to videos of shows on other sites, such as ABC’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ that are missing from Hulu’s own collection.
Watching the material is a pleasure. You can view it in a fixed window or in full-screen view. You can also “pop out” the viewing window so you can place it anywhere on your screen and resize it to your liking. A feature called “lower lights” grays out everything on the computer screen but the video itself.
Even the advertising is relatively painless. TV shows contain just 25% of the commercial time that’s on regular TV. And Hulu allows you, in some cases, to choose the advertisers whose commercials you see, or else to opt to watch a movie trailer at the start of a video in exchange for seeing no further ads during that viewing.
But when will a site like Hulu be accessible on your TV without any special setup? That’s the big leap I’m still awaiting.