A day after posing the question of whether I would pay $9.99 a month for Hulu, and answering that I would, today I got my invitation.
I'd read all about many of the "free" Hulu shows not being available anywhere but on the web because of licensing agreements, but I didn't realize Hulu was immediately charging for the service despite its current limitations. They are.
But OK, "TV by the Numbers" will be paying the $9.99 a month ( it's the least they could do, right?) so I figured I'd sign up anyway.
I wasn't too surprised that shows like White Collar, Covert Affairs and Warehouse 13 weren't available off the web because in addition to being available on your iPhone or iPad you can get Hulu Plus shows directly to your TV via gaming consoles like XBOX & PS3.
Because of the way cable networks like USA and Syfy make money (in addition to advertising, subscription fees paid per subscribe by the cable, satellite, etc. companies) being bundled into a cheap monthly service is a "no-no" for the cable networks right now.
But I expected I'd be able to watch Hell's Kitchen on my iPhone. Nope. I can't. It's not available to the TV either. Only on the web.
They do have quite a bit of content available - if you want to catch up on every episode of The Office, Desperate Housewives, 30 Rock, Law & Order: SVU, Dollhouse, Eli Stone, FlashForward and much, much more, including full archives of many older shows, you're set and can watch on your iPhone or beam it to your TV. But with the exception of the most recent seasons, almost all of that is already available via Netflix instant streaming.
At least until the Netflix iPhone application comes out, that does give at least a small advantage to Hulu. But I'm guessing for most people, Free Hulu on the web plus subscription Netflix is probably the better option than Free Hulu on the web + FEE Hulu.
If you put a high value on the broadcast network shows available and that you will be able to access the current full seasons before they ever show up on Netflix, it definitely may be for you. Or, if you just can't wait for the Netflix iPhone application, or you have just been dying to watch old episodes of the Mary Tyler Moore Show on your iphone, then go for it.
But if you're looking to access your cable network favorites or want to hear Gordon Ramsay call someone a donkey, you'll be limited to doing that on the Web-only, which you can be limited to without bothering to sign up.