Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Watch It With Hulu:(But Only if You Live in the US!)

A month or so ago, I heard about a TV show that I'd like to watch. The show, "Warehouse 13," sounded like a mixture of "Indiana Jones," "National Treasure," "Moonlighting," etc. The only problem was that it was already into its third or fourth episode and it was on the SyFy channel.

I used to like to take an occasional look at SyFy (yes, it was Sci-Fi until recently) but since I have cut back my cable subscription, I haven't seen it lately.

There are many places that you can get rebroadcasts of TV shows and movies online. The obvious place for this one is at www.syfy.com, which is where I first found it. When I was talking to a friend about it, they suggested a site named Hulu, (hulu.com) where you can get many shows, movies and other media. I remembered the site and found that I had joined it a year or so ago when it was just starting and didn't have much to offer.

Now all of you geeks out there don't have to blast me about other, better sites as I know there are many similar sites out there. However, I think this is a good place for the online TV newbie to start exploring. If you want to offer a friendly tip that is fine with me.

Here's a few things to know about Hulu. First, you don't have to be a member, although it is free. Oh , and you have to be streaming from within the US. When you join, the system can keep up with what you have watched in the past, make suggestions about what you may want to take a look at, etc. If you download their desktop player as a member, (hulu.com/labs/hulu-desktop) it will keep track of where you left off. For example, I was watching a show one evening, fell asleep, turned off the application and my computer, then went to bed. When I came back to the Hulu desktop a day or so later, it remembered where I was in the show and started playing from there. This is almost as good as my DVD player and may be better.

They do run advertisements during the shows. The majority of the ads are from 15 to 30 seconds long and you usually get one at each break. If you see an ad that interests you, click a link and go to the advertiser's Web site and check it out. You may then return to the show/movie and go back to the ad afterward. You can also visit the advertiser's site and, with another click or two, return to your movie.

Some of the people I have talked to about Hulu seem to think that they will start charging to use this service. However, I believe that if people click some ads and buy some products, it may continue to be free. If anyone from Hulu happens to read this and can comment, let me know.


By Ron Doyle

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