While I love the Internet (and TV shows), I also love not spending money on things. These two traits were combined last week when decided to cash in on a free month of Hulu Plus, a service I very much thought I wanted. Normally costing users $7.99 a month, I nabbed the program for a fee-free testing.
Here are my impressions.
As a regular user of Hulu’s free version, I already knew how to use their platform. You simply search for a show, or head to the “most popular” section, find your choice, and click play. I was also familiar with how many commercials take place in each sitting.
Neither aspect changed.
Despite charging a subscription, users still have to sit through regular commercials that interrupt their programs. Sometimes this may be a single ad, while others it was up to three in a row. All shows have multiple ad interruptions. (I can now quote, verbatim, an array of Home Depot ads.)
Another blatant annoyance is that many shows can only be watched via computer. (Not on game consuls, tablets, Internet-capable DVD players, etc.) This is a huge lack of privileges for paying customers. Imagine buying a tank of gas and being told, “You can only drive on the highways with this fuel,” or renting a movie that only works in Samsung devices. When charging, Hulu should ensure universal services. As is, however, Plus customers have to pay close attention to what devices can be used for which shows in order to fully reach viewing potential.
I used the program through an Xbox, which was extremely glitchy at every viewing. While it may be the Xbox version that has the errors, it didn’t work hitch-free on the computer either. Both the Xbox and computer had random jumps between shows and ads (sometimes requiring a section to be replayed), lagging load time – even when the Internet is working fine for other websites, and a variety of other issues. For instance, suddenly playing on fast forward, or pausing without warning. Once rewinding or re-pushing play, commercials had to be re-watched, even if they were played within the last 10 seconds.
The Selection is Small
One of Hulu’s main points is that viewers can “watch entire seasons,” of their favorite shows. And while this is partially true, the choices are few and far between. Regular cable or reality offerings are extremely rare, while some bigger names fall under the “computer only” section.
Hulu also offers syndicated shows, movies, or their original shows (for which users are bombarded with ads). The company may think they are doing us favors here, but really they’re just focusing their efforts in the wrong places. No one wants to watch original Hulu shows, or watch past, but not current, seasons of cable shows; that’s what Netflix is for. What we do want is to be able to watch entire seasons of shows that are on now. Reality, cable, etc. – and without having to pull out our computers to do so. A working platform would be nice too.
The free month was worth a go, but will I pay to keep the service? Absolutely not. Just as soon as my coupon runs out, you can mark my subscription as good as canceled.