aug 14

Hulu Flicks

Some movies I didn't realize you could watch in their entirety on Hulu: Metropolitan, The Fifth Element, 28 Days Later, Requiem for a Dream, Lost in Translation, Koyaanisqatsi, and Eternal Sunshine.


Nice. I had no idea either.

posted by marrina at 12:53 PM on August 14, 2008

commercials throughout though.

posted by shawn d at 3:11 PM on August 14, 2008

Nice. Great for Hulu, which seemed really classy and great for the one week I was messing around with it. But they (and I guess the content providers they deal with) need to realize that they're competing with BitTorrent: high-resolution, no ads, free, fast, and an 85% of everything you can think of coverage.

posted by alesh at 9:18 PM on August 14, 2008

I guess that I disagree. I'm prolly the most likely person to look for Metropoitan online, and I would never bother with BitTorrent.

But even if that weren't true, how exactly do you imagine "competing" sans ads, paying, or... I have no idea.

posted by Rex at 11:34 PM on August 14, 2008

Really? "Never bother"?? My understanding was that bittorrent is the go-to source for anyone who wants to watch a movie on their computer.

Hulu's advantages are the lack of download time, convenience, and, um, that it's not illegal. BT's advantages are better quality, no ads, and a selection that's several orders of magnitude better then Hulu.

I guess they're not "competing" in a strict economic sense, but to the extent that Hulu succeeds it'll largely be by luring folks away from the torrents, no?

posted by alesh at 12:08 PM on August 15, 2008

I'd say definitely not. The percent of households that use Torrent? Hm, maybe 0.5%. The percent of households that NBC/FOX want to use Hulu? 30% sounds like a wonderful estimate.

posted by Rex at 2:33 PM on August 15, 2008

Also, Hulu doesn't work outside the US (at least in South Korea). So bit-torrent's the only way to go for us living abroad.

posted by Brendan Mackie at 10:42 PM on August 15, 2008

bah.. doesnt work outside U.S.

posted by larsb at 8:25 AM on August 16, 2008

alesh: "Hulu's advantages are the lack of download time, convenience"

These are huge. The time it takes to start downloading a torrent that's 480p or better may take more time than all the commercials combined in a Hulu movie. Then, of course, you have to actually download the movie, which can take anywhere between 30 minutes (if you're extremely lucky) to a few days. I don't want to spend the time/energy to torrent a movie and then watch it. I'd much rather chuck a couple bucks into iTunes or deal with the Hulu commercials and instantly start watching.

There's also consistency. I've downloaded a torrent movie that took forever, only to find out that the audio compression rendered the movie unwatchable. This will never be an issue on Hulu.

Oh, and the final plus is not having to worry about any MPAA legality issues (I know there are workarounds, but this is just another layer of time wasted, in my opinion, and time is money all the same).

posted by Stephen at 10:48 AM on August 16, 2008

I'd disagree with the 0.5%.. on Alexa, mininova has a daily reach of 1 - 1.5%, and that's just one tracker. In Prague, my retired parents torrent Letterman and movies all the time, and watch them on a TV hooked up to their laptop. Anecdotal, sure.

Anyway, I watched Groundhog day on Hulu and poked around the list of available movies. The video quality not great (it's sort of subtly jerky) but certainly watchable. The commercials are irritating but will probably be less so if they attract more advertisers and get some variety going. The selection is the interesting thing, though -- it's mostly crap. You and Kottke found literally everything interesting on the list. This suggests that the distributors are using this mainly as an experiment, and that I think is cause for celebration.

I also checked out Netflix's watch on demand service, which was interesting. After an irritating startup (What, I have to use internet explorer?! WHAT, I have to download software AND update Media Player??) the quality actually was pretty good. UNTIL, a few minutes in, it told me it needed to recalibrate my internet connection, and sit back and wait for "22 minutes." Needless to say they have some kinks to work out there.


So what you're saying is "Hulu is great when you want to watch something _right now_ and you don't mind it being crap." I guess I agree with that. There are maybe three more movies on there I won't mind seeing, but after that I dunno. Hopefully they'll keep adding content.

posted by Alesh at 3:16 PM on August 16, 2008

Croneneberg's film of W.S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch is on there, too.

posted by chris joseph at 9:49 PM on August 16, 2008

Ah, so now it makes sense why everyone has been Tumbling Eternal Sunshine quotes lately.

posted by katiebakes at 11:55 PM on August 17, 2008

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