After months of speculation, Hulu has finally announced a for-pay version of its online streaming television service. Hulu Plus costs $9.99 per month and provides full access to entire seasons (current and past) of shows from ABC, NBC, FOX, and other TV networks. What's more, Hulu Plus will be available on a multitude of devices, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and TVs and Blu-Ray players from Samsung, Sony, and Vizio.
While $9.99 per month isn't that steep compared to premium cable packages, Hulu Plus has some problems that may make you reconsider subscribing. Here are three reasons you shouldn't pay for Hulu Plus.
Now that you're paying for Hulu, the commercial interruptions should stop, right? Wrong. Just like its no-cost brethren, Hulu Plus is still primarily supported by advertisements, according to the Hulu blog. It just seems unfair to have to weather grating ads when other online streaming services -- Netflix's Watch Instantly, for example -- don't have such disruptions. Though the content on Hulu Plus is far more expansive, Hulu did nothing to change the viewing experience. For a monthly subscription price, I expect some kind of benefit.
Streaming Quality on Mobile Devices
The concept of streaming TV anywhere you go over your iPad's 3G or Wi-Fi connection is luxurious, but how good will the quality be? Since Android devices were suspiciously left off Hulu Plus's list, you can forget about streaming through a stronger 3G network than AT&T's -- and AT&T isn't well-known for security and reliability.
Face it: Hulu Plus will bog down AT&T's servers and exponentially inflate video buffering time and worsen picture quality, making Hulu Plus on-the-go pretty inadequate. And if you're planning on using public Wi-Fi, good luck with that, too -- public Wi-Fi signal strengths aren't nearly as good as they are in your home. And that's not even mentioning the iPad's preexisting Wi-Fi problems.
If mobile streaming quality hasn't deterred you, bandwidth caps will. The launch of Hulu Plus is perfectly timed with the death of unlimited mobile data plans. Naturally, AT&T was the first cellular company to announce tiered data plans, and Verizon wasn't far behind. So, if you thought it was shrewd to pick a less-expensive data plan upon buying your iPhone 4, you also essentially limited yourself to a couple of TV shows before having to write a bigger check to AT&T.
This story, "3 Reasons Hulu Plus is a Hard Sell" was originally published by PCWorld.