Earlier this evening, I received my invitation to join the private beta for Hulu, the new video joint-venture between NBC Universal and News Corporation. I’ve played around with it for a few minutes, and here are my first impressions.
First, it’s obvious this isn’t intended on being a direct competitor to YouTube. There’s no way for users to upload their own content, though you can rate and review videos. The interface is clean and simple, making it really easy to browse content by popularity, network/studio, and more.
Most important, of course, is the content. Hulu has quite a bit of it, considering it’s currently a closed beta. I count 16 different networks/studios with videos, from the big ones (NBC and Fox) to E! and the SciFi channel. And while all the currently popular shows are available, including Heroes, The Office, Chuck, The Simpsons, 30 Rock, etc., there is quite a bit of older material too. You can now get your fix of The A-Team, Airwolf, or Doogie Howser, M.D., among lots of others.
Videos for the various shows are available in either full episodes, shorter clips, or both, depending on the type of content. Hulu even lets you embed videos into your site as you can with YouTube, which gives me a great excuse to share with you what may be one of the funniest scenes I’ve seen on TV in years. It’s from an episode of 30 Rock titled “Hard Ball“: