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Hulu is a website that offers commercial-supported streaming video of TV shows and movies from NBC, Fox, ABC and many other networks and studios. Hulu videos are currently offered only to users in the United Statesmarker. In order to ensure that no international users outside the U.S. have access to the video channel, Hulu has blocked many anonymous proxies and virtual private networks. Hulu provides video in Flash Video format, including many films and shows that are available in 360p and 480p. 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 NBC Universal (GE), Fox Entertainment Group (News Corp) and ABC Inc. (The Walt Disney Company), with funding by Providence Equity Partners, which made a US$100 million equity investment and holds a 10% stake.

Name

The name Hulu comes from two Mandarin Chinese words, hulu ( ) "calabash, bottle gourd" and hulu ( ) "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.


Also hulu means Peach in Persian.

History

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 Statesmarker 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." 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.

Features

Hulu distributes video both on its own website and syndicates its hosting to other sites, and allows users to embed Hulu clips on their websites. In addition to NBC, ABC and FOX programs and movies, Hulu carries shows from other networks such as Comedy Central, Current TV, PBS, USA Network, Bravo, Fuel TV, FX, Speed, Big Ten Network, Syfy, Style, Sundance, E!, G4, Versus, A&E, Oxygen and online comedy sources such as Onion News Network.

Watching Hulu on TV

Consumers can now also watch Hulu on their TVs, according to Popular Science’s Dec. 2009 Top 100 Innovations of the Year issue, by downloading MediaMall TechnologiesPlayOn software from http://www.PlayOn.TV to their PC which works with their networked Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or DLNA-compatible device connected to their TV.

Hulu Desktop

Hulu has released a beta version of Hulu Desktop, a standalone program that allows users to watch Hulu programming without using their 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 OS X. Hulu Desktop does not currently support all content accessed though normal browser means.

Availability

Currently, Hulu's content is only available in the United States with licensing reasons cited.. An exception to this was Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which was made available without regional restrictions for a limited time on Hulu, and was since added to the iTunes Store. Hulu was planning on launching in the U.K.marker and Republic of Irelandmarker September 2009 but this has now been delayed to 2010. About 10,000 hours of content from American networks will be available as well as, it is hoped, content from British networks BBC, ITV and Channel 4. 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 a, Xbox 360, PS3, or certain other devices would allow playback of Hulu content on a TV. Also, Boxee produced a workaround for Hulu support.

See also



References

  1. http://www.hulu.com/support/geofilter
  2. Kramer, Staci D. It's Official: Disney Joins News Corp., NBCU In Hulu; Deal Includes Some Cable Nets, April 30, 2009. Accessed October 30, 2009.
  3. "Hulu - Hulu TV Ads: Alec in Huluwood." http://www.hulu.com/watch/58538/hulu-tv-ads-alec-in-huluwood. Accessed May 10, 2009.
  4. Barnett, Emma. Hulu UK launch delayed until 2010, The Daily Telegraph, August 24, 2009. Accessed October 30, 2009.
  5. Barnett, Emma. Hulu set for September UK launch, Daily Telegraph, May 20, 2009. Accessed October 30, 2009.


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