Monday, May 23, 2011
Hulu Plus locks arms with TiVo Premiere for TV streaming
Hulu Plus has finally made it onto a set-top box that people in the real world have heard of: the TiVo Premiere. For the usual $7.99 per month, TiVo users can access Hulu's back catalog of TV seasons and watch episodes that are not available to free Hulu users, all from the comfort of that familiar groove in the couch. And, from now through the end of August, TiVo is offering a six-month trial of Hulu Plus for free to those who buy a new TiVo Premiere.
Hulu Plus officially came out of preview late last year, starting out on the Roku Box and spreading to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Hulu Plus is also available on a handful of Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray players and all iOS devices, but so far, it's hard to argue that Hulu Plus has the same straight-to-the-TV-screen reach as its competitor Netflix, which is on practically every set-top box, console, and device that an average consumer might have.
Hulu director of Product Management Rob Wong discussed the TiVo agreement on the Hulu Blog, noting that TiVo subscribers will still have to pay the separate monthly fee if they want to access Hulu Plus—it doesn't get rolled into their TiVo subscriptions. Still, it's good news for Hulu, which seems to have been struggling to bring on new subscribers since the beginning of Hulu Plus.
There have been rumors, however, that Hulu may try to rebrand itself as an online TV bundle provider—one of the options would allow users to sign up for certain tiers of on-demand video content for a certain price. If that ends up becoming a reality, Hulu's availability on set-top boxes will become even more important, especially to cord-cutters who want all of their content on-demand and aren't dependent upon a live sports schedule.
By Jacqui Cheng | arstechnica.com