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Rarely do I spend money on something, be it a product or a service, and feel more than satisfied with every dime I’ve spent.

Every once in a while though something comes along that I do in fact feel this way about. This time around, it’s Hulu.

For those that don’t know, Hulu is a service similar to Netflix that allows viewers to stream recent episodes of television shows and movies online, through a PS3 and Xbox 360, or an internet-capable TV.

There are two routes to take to the Hulu experience, the free route and the subscription route. The free route has a ton of content available, as this is how Hulu began life, and it’s only recently launched the subscription service in November of 2010. The subscription service however, dubbed Hulu Plus, is really where it’s at.

Comparable in price to Netflix (in fact, exactly comparable to one of Netflix’s pricing options at $7.99 a month), it blows Netflix out of the water in my opinion. While I know a lot of people who like Netflix quite a bit, I for one had these two services at the same time. Once I subscribed to Hulu Plus, I never used Netflix again, for three reasons.

The first reason is that it seems Hulu Plus has more current, up-to-date content than Netflix does. Keep in mind that my focus is more on the available television shows rather than the movies. Whenever I was perusing Netflix’s content, I came away with a feeling of being detached from mainstream media and entertainment, especially concerning their movie selection, which seemed to cater more towards those with a taste in old B-rated sci-fi movies.

The second reason, oddly enough, is the interface. I streamed both Netflix and Hulu Plus through my PS3, and every time I got Netflix going I found myself thinking about how bland and unexciting it looked. Whenever I turned on Hulu Plus, I enjoyed a much more aesthetically pleasing experience, with its bright green logo and loading screens against a black background.

Lastly, the third reason is that Hulu Plus has nothing to do with DVDs. I can remember many times when I came across something on Netflix that I really wanted to watch, only to realize I would have to wait for the DVD in the mail, at which point it didn’t seem so important to watch anymore.

As far as functionality goes, they both seemed to be just about the same, with the streaming capabilities similar enough to not notice any difference. I do recall one afternoon though where I received an error on Netflix stating that the service was currently unavailable.

On the business side of things, there’s one little tidbit about Hulu Plus I’ve noticed recently that makes me think more advertisers will take an interest (meaning more money and growth for Hulu Plus), and that’s the Ad Tailor feature. This feature allows a user to click on a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ button in response to being asked whether or not the running ad is relevant to you.

While this seems like a small thing, if I were an advertising agency, having this kind of information available to me would seem invaluable, making targeted advertising much easier. Of course this depends on enough users actually answering the question.

All in all, I really don’t think I’ll be subscribing to cable again, as Hulu Plus fulfills any need that having cable actually did, plus more, and all at the low price of $8 a month.

Update: Due to the recent Playstation network outage, I have been unable to watch Hulu Plus in my living room on my television (I stream it through my PS3, remember). I just received and E-mail from Hulu stating that my account would be compensated for the time the Playstation network was down, even though it’s not really Hulu’s fault. It makes me wonder if Playstation is compensating Hulu for this. Whether they are or not, they just earned a loyal customer for life.

Jake Evans
Jake Evans