Ever since it became the go-to URL for streaming TV episodes, folks have been wanting to see a version of Hulu.com for smartphones. The response comes in the form of a monthly subscription to premium content that's available on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch via the free Hulu Plus app.
Hulu's large storehouse of content from major TV networks and movie producers is its claim to fame over competing services that are attempting to bring on-demand entertainment to mobile devices. Though we found the app's interface attractive, navigating around was doable, but more difficult than necessary. For example, the queue of shows you'd like to watch is buried in the More menu on the iPhone and takes multiple taps to access. Streaming is fine if you've got reliable Wi-Fi or 3G data, but the $10 monthly subscription should buy you rights to also download a copyright-protected video for a limited amount of time so you can watch what you pay for without fear of freezing.
Even with reliable Wi-Fi, shows could and did spontaneously stop and restart. Luckily, the video resumed in almost the same place, though on one occasion it replayed the opening announcement and ad--a frustration. Video quality on the iPhone 4 was choppy in one test, but reliable on the iPhone and iPad in another. In more than one instance, the scene lagged behind the sound. This kind of disjointing isn't completely unexpected with a streaming-media service, which brings us back to the hope that Hulu will expand its premium Hulu Plus service to include some sort of caching.
Speaking of pricing, the Hulu Plus app itself is free, and there's a decent-size library of free content that anyone with an iDevice can watch. The majority of the content costs about $10 per month, but it also includes the same ads you'd see when using Hulu for free from a desktop computer. We're not too happy with this double-standard-inducing price point, though we do enjoy finally being able to access Hulu while on the go.
What's new in this version:
Improvements:- New Episode badge bug fixes- Remote control updates