Hulu Plus throws open the doors

Hulu Plus is still in BETA mode – but users can sign up for a monthly streaming video subscription.

By , Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

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    Hulu Plus is now open to subscribers.
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This week, users can start signing up for Hulu Plus, a "premium" offshoot of the traditional Hulu platform. The cost is ten bucks a month. So what does a Hulu Plus membership get you? Well, for one, you can watch Hulu on your Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. A Hulu Plus membership also allows you to view streaming video on a 720p high-definition feed – a much higher resolution than traditional Hulu videos.

But the real draw here is the expanded library.

"Hulu Plus is not a replacement for Hulu.com," Hulu CEO Jason Kilar wrote today in a blog post. "Hulu Plus is a new, revolutionary ad-supported subscription product that is incremental and complementary to the existing Hulu service. For almost all of the current broadcast shows on our service, Hulu Plus offers the full season. Every single episode of the current season will be available, not just a handful of trailing episodes."

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Translation: You've still got to watch the advertisements, but you'll no longer have to worry about missing any episodes. Hulu Plus has them all.

Hulu Plus, of course, won't have the pay-for-play streaming video market to itself. In recent months, Netflix has greatly ratcheted up its streaming video efforts, releasing a free app for the Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, and expanding its online library. (A Netflix membership is required for the iPhone and iPad app; the app works over Wi-Fi and 3G connections.)

Meanwhile, Netflix has rolled out a stream-only subscription service for consumers in Canada – and hinted that a wider roll-out could occur by the end of 2010. "We are looking at adding a streaming-only option for the USA over the coming months," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote recently.

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