The rumors have proven to be true as Hulu, the Internet's number two video provider, announced on Tuesday that they will be launching a pay version of their site dubbed Hulu Plus. While large portions of Hulu will remain free to those unwilling to shell out $9.99 a month, paid subscribers will have access to enormous back catalogs, including entire seasons of their favorite television shows from every major network. Hulu Plus is currently in beta testing and early adopters have to be invited to take part in what is sure to be a crucial step towards the eventual demise of physical media formats and possibly of leading television providers such as Time Warner and DirectTV.
Along with gaining access to entire seasons both past and present, Hulu Plus users will also be able to enjoy their favorite programs on their home televisions courtesy of several new apps that will be making their way onto numerous HDTVs, Blu-ray players and video game consoles soon. In another big move Hulu Plus will be bring Hulu video to Apple iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch via a special free app.
While no news was given as to how Hulu Plus will affect Hulu's movie content, odds are moving to a subscription based model will put many Hollywood studios at ease about the once free platform, and potentially open Hulu up to show newer films versus the library titles they currently offer. Hulu Plus video will be available in HD in resolutions up to 720p. Hulu officials stated that it was a conscious decision on the provider's part not to go to 1080p in order to ensure fast streaming speeds and error free playback for more users.
While the response among industry players at the major networks has been favorable, Hulu fans and users have been less receptive to the news; especially given Hulu's announcement that paid subscribers will still have to sit through limited advertisements.
Only time will tell if Tuesday's announcement is the right move for Hulu, but one thing is certain; it's another step towards breaking free of the shackles of physical media inching us ever closer to a download-only world.