Hulu Hoops

So, NBC pulled it’s videos from YouTube and iTunes (that mistake in another article). Well, now there’s Hulu, a website dedicated to allowing you to stream content from NBC. I went ahead and signed up for their BETA testing several weeks ago. Surprisingly, I had a confirmed invitation today. I headed there briefly and here’s what’s up so far.

The interface is slick enough. The video isn’t full 640×480 (regular TV resolution), but it’s close. And, when viewed in the default window (not full screen), the image is surprisingly sharp. I’m impressed. There’s also a neat “dim the lights” feature that dims the screen around the video . . . pretty cool. You can also send links to your friends from the clips section . . . though at this point they need to be invited already, so that’s not too usable right now.

As for selections, there are lots of programs to view (including favorites like the Simpsons . . . guess Fox is in on this too). One thing I’m not finding right off the bat is an option to view pilots for shows up to their current schedule. I’d love to try shows like “Chuck” or “30 Rock”, but the shows I see available are in the middle of the current season. How hard would it be for NBC to place a full library online?

There are brief (30 second) commercials, but I didn’t see them as too aggrevating.

My initial thoughts are good for the service. I can see it more for a “my Tivo goofed and I need to make up a show” type use, but all in all, this works for me. I don’t see much innovation beyond what ABC.com is doing, however.

If NBC would offer purchases that would be compatible with my TiVo, that would be very nice. I won’t hold my breath.

For more information, or to sign up for an invitation to the service, visit http://www.hulu.com.

Added 12/09
I was browsing through and, man, if they’d have pilot episodes to allow users to see if they like the season, that would be great. I don’t want to start an episode on into the season. I’d like to start from the beginning, thank you.

Pandora: Better Still

Well, I stumbled on to an old favorite. Pandora.com now has Genre channels. I just fired up the symphonic classical channel (yeah, I know) and it sounds great! If you haven’t tried Pandora, head to http://www.pandora.com and check it out. If you work while online, this is just too good to pass up. Here’s my other rant on the subject. Happy listening!

The Disc is Dead

If you’ve kept up with high definition television in the least, you’ve probably heard about Blue Ray and HD-DVD. These new formats are the “replacement” for your standard DVD player. While both of these options offer great picture and so on, I think it’s too little, too late for the format. Here’s why . . .

I mentioned in an earlier post that TiVo has downloadable movies through Amazon. I use this feature alot. It’s simple to use, and gives instant (almost) gratification. I find a movie, I enter my pin for payment (from my Credit Card already authorized) and within the hour I have something to watch. I don’t have it in high definition, but that’s ok for now. It still looks as good as a DVD and is formatted for my widescreen TV so it looks just great. I say that to say, I can see the jump to hi-definition for downloads working just as well. I have 2 HD tvs, and all I’ve used them for is DVD (480p) signals. Once HD is in place (2009 hopefully), I can possibly upgrade to an HD TiVo and continue. No discs. No problem. And, I can buy the videos if I’d like and keep them on the player or download whenever I want after purchase. The one drawback is that I cannot take the movies with me on my laptop or burn them to DVD. I don’t mind this, but if they could figure that out . . . that’s just icing on the cake.

The second reason I don’t see the new DVD formats working is that they can’t get on the same page. The movies to watch are split down the middle (HD-DVD has some, Blueray has some, but not both). And studios won’t commit to sell to both camps. That fuels my download option even more.

To sum up, it is my opinion that the growing amount of portable electronics for video on-the-go is growing at such a rate that disc media just isn’t going to be a viable option for movies. And, hard drives are cheaper by the day.

Google Phone?

So, I was checking Reuters today . . . looks like the much rumored Google phone will become a reality next year. From skimming the article, I gathered that they’re going to make surfing on your phone as easy (or close) as surfing from your computer. I say, bring it on, Google. I just hope they don’t lock it down like the iPhone. Aaaand, I hope they don’t take away their great apps like Google Maps and Youtube for smartphones . . . will post more as news unfolds.

Update (11/09/07)
So, it looks like it’s not a phone at all (at this point). Just software. Here’s hoping it’s innovative (and works on my phone! Ha!)