(Profile Facts)-Hulu is a website and over-the-top (OTT) subscription service offering ad-supported on demand streaming video of TV shows, movies, webisodes and other new media, trailers, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage from NBC, Fox, ABC, and many other networks and studios. Hulu videos are currently offered only to users in the United States and its overseas territories. In order to ensure that no international users outside the US have access to the videos, Hulu blocks many anonymous proxies, Amazon EC2 IP addresses and virtual private networks.Hulu provides video in Flash Video format, including many films and shows that are available in 288p, 360p, 480p, and in some cases, 720 HD. Hulu also provides web syndication services for other websites including AOL, MSN, MySpace, Facebook, Yahoo!, and Comcast's fancast.com.
Hulu is a joint venture of NBCUniversal (Comcast/General Electric), Fox Entertainment Group (News Corp) and Disney-ABC Television Group (The Walt Disney Company), with funding by Providence Equity Partners, which made a US$100 million equity investment and received a 10% stake
The name Hulu comes from 2 Mandarin Chinese words, hulu (simplified Chinese: 葫芦; traditional Chinese: 葫蘆; pinyin: húlú; Wade–Giles: hu-lu) "calabash, bottle gourd" and hulu,: 互录, 互錄; pinyin: hùlù; Wade–Giles: hu-lu) "interactive recording." The company blog explains:
In Mandarin, Hulu has two interesting meanings, each highly relevant to our mission. The primary meaning interested us because it is used in an ancient Chinese proverb that describes the Hulu as the holder of precious things. It literally translates to "gourd," and in ancient times, the Hulu was hollowed out and used to hold precious things. The secondary meaning is "interactive recording." We saw both definitions as appropriate bookends and highly relevant to the mission of Hulu.
The Hulu venture was announced in March 2007 with AOL, MSN, Facebook, and Yahoo! planned as "initial distribution partners. Jason Kilar was named the CEO in June. The name Hulu was chosen in late August 2007, when the website went live, with an announcement only and no content. It invited users to leave their email addresses for the upcoming beta test. In October, Hulu began the private beta testing by invitation, and later allowed users to invite friends. Hulu launched for public access in the United States on March 12, 2008.
Hulu began an advertising campaign during NBC's broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII with an initial ad starring Alec Baldwin titled "Alec in Huluwood. The ad intended to humorously reveal "the shocking secret behind Hulu," portraying the site as being an "evil plot to destroy the world" by suggesting that Baldwin is really an alien in disguise. Advertisements have since aired featuring Eliza Dushku, Seth MacFarlane and Denis Leary.
On April 30, 2009, Disney announced that it would join the venture, purchasing a 27% stake in Hulu.
At an industry conference on October 21, 2009, News Corporation Deputy Chairman Chase Carey stated that Hulu "needs to evolve to have a meaningful subscription model as part of its business" and that it would likely start charging for at least some content by 2010. Carey's comment jibes with other News Corp. heads, including Rupert Murdoch who has expressed a desire to charge for content with a number of on-line units.
Hulu on TV
Consumers can now also watch Hulu on their TVs by simply connecting a computer with a streaming capable video card to the TV via HDMI or other connection. Additionally, the Hulu Plus service, fully launched in November 2010, allows first-party access to Hulu from a variety of Blu-Ray linked TVs, integrated into Internet-connected televisions, iOS devices, gaming consoles, and set-top boxes.
In late June 2010, it was announced that a version of Hulu would be available to the iTunes App Store for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch running iOS4 or higher. Viewing the content on Hulu, however, requires a subscription.
On November 2010, Orb Networks announced the Orb TV box which streams Hulu on the TV for free when used in conjunction with a computer and a smartphone.
Hulu Desktop (Windows, Mac, and Linux)
Hulu has released a beta version of Hulu Desktop, a standalone program for watching Hulu programming without a web browser. The program uses a 10-foot user interface and is designed to be compatible with existing computer remote controls. It requires a Flash player and runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Hulu Desktop does not currently support all content accessed through normal browser means.
The latest version of the software was released on February 10, 2011, bringing the version number to 0.9.14. The new version includes both bug fixes and also support for the new Hulu Plus subscription service.
Hulu on Tablets
Hulu Plus, the monthly subscription package, unlocks the iPad application that allows streaming of some, but not all Hulu content from Wi-Fi and Wireless data networks via a dedicated iPad app.
Hulu on Smartphones
Hulu Plus, the monthly subscription package, unlocks the iPhone and iPod application that allows streaming all Hulu content from Wi-Fi and Wireless data networks via a dedicated app users may download freely. Hulu Plus will also soon be available on the Android platform.
Currently, Hulu's content is only available in the United States with licensing reasons cited.Hulu was planning on launching in the U.K. and Ireland in September 2009, but as of April 2010 these had been abandoned for the foreseeable future after failure to sign any content deals. In July 2010, the Financial Times revealed that Hulu had been working on plans for an international launch of Hulu Plus for several months, and had now identified the UK and Japan as markets where its free website and subscription model could feasibly work. Hulu chief executive Jason Kilar expressed his belief that the US model could be replicated elsewhere, saying "We won't be satisfied until this is a global service."
As of February 2009, Hulu has pulled its content from CBS Corp.'s TV.com, and from Boxee, a software firm that makes Internet video suitable for viewing on a large screen, like a television connected to a PC. However, Hulu worked with PlayOn, which when combined with an Xbox 360, PS3, or certain other devices would allow playback of Hulu content on a TV. Also, Boxee produced a workaround for Hulu support.