How Hulu Changed My Life

The season and series premieres for the Fall Television season have begun, and so far I have watched all of my favorite shows.  But I’ve done so without having watched one hour of “television”.  How is that possible?  Hulu.

Hulu.com is a free online site that allows you to stream television shows and movies.  My friends who have DVR tell me that it has changed their life.  Their DVR lets them record and save their favorite show for viewing when it is most convenient for them.  I am too cheap to get a DVR, and most likely I am the only one in my family who would really care to use it. Hulu fulfills the same need.  Just as the television networks are busy promoting and launching their new season, I am just as busy this fall with all the work and demands of being a pastor.  I don’t have time to set aside for when the shows are being delivered and to watch an hour long show with all of the commercials.

So, what is Hulu? Hulu.com is the brainchild of Fox and NBC and was created to be a “YouTube Killer”. The thought behind this concept was that instead of having YouTube rip off and post all of the networks’ shows, they could post them themselves and make a business model out of it. The great thing about having Fox and NBC behind this endeavor is that you not only have their stable of shows (and links to other networks shows hosted elsewhere) but a deep and rich movie vault (Fox Studios and NBC’s Universal) to draw from as well. All I have to do is log into Hulu and browse through the hundreds of viewing choices.

Hulu has successfully wed television with social media.  I can subscribe to the show RSS feed or add the show to my queue the next time a new episode is available.  I can emded the video in my website or blog.  I can share what I am watching with my friends on Facebook.  But beside the cool functionality of Hulu, watching movies and television when I can and decide to do so has made a significant difference in my life.

First, television viewing doesn’t have temporal constraints. I don’t rearrange my life around television. I can remember growing up when my family and I used to race back after Saturday evening Mass to watch ChiPs. We didn’t want to miss an episode. But in order to get back home in time, we hurried and rushed our life. No need to do so with Hulu. No need to fret that the “The Office” is on at the same time of your small group. Enjoy your fellowship, don’t get anxious that you’ll miss the drama between Jim and Pam, and watch it on Hulu at a later time.
I get to watch T.V. in the margins of my life, on my time.  Hulu allows me a good steward of my time.
Second, television doesn’t have spacial boundaries. I can watch what ever I choose to watch whereever I can plant my laptop with a high speed internet connection. If I am traveling or away from home, I can boot up my computer and catch up on my favorite shows.

There are of course some drawbacks with Hulu, such as how my television and movie watching can become a privatized affair (it is hard to gather the family around the computer screen to watch a show), and I need to be careful that I see Hulu only has a nice convenience and don’t allow watching television to become an idol in my life.

But so far for me the benefits have outweighed these potential pitfalls.

Check out Hulu.com, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

About Bill Reichart
  • Alan Noble

    Bill,
    I’m right with you on this. My wife and I get basic cable with our apartment, but we haven’t connected it to our TV because we don’t want that constant distraction. When I lived with my parents who had cable, I loved to channel surf. Now I know exactly what I’m going to watch before I watch it. Also, with Hulu you miss almost all commercials. Which is extremely important to me.

  • http://www.rayfowler.org Ray Fowler

    Hi Bill,

    How are finding the quality of the stream from Hulu? I tried it out with the family last night. I hooked the laptop up to our TV, and we watched a TV show. We found the picture kind of jerky throughout. The best I can describe it is like a subtle stop animation with live people. The picture also froze for a couple seconds at a time (maybe 5-6 times during a one hour show). I checked the Hulu site, and they said you should have at least a 1000 kbs connection. We have a cable modem, and I measured the speed at 6000 kbs, but the picture still seemed to stagger.

    Ray Fowlers last blog post..Quick Takes – 10/4/2008

  • http://www.provocativechurch.com Bill Reichart

    @Ray Fowler – Not sure Ray, I haven’t had many problems with the stream quality. Occasionally it might freeze, but that has been a rarity.

    Bill Reicharts last blog post..Porn Again Christian

  • http://www.rayfowler.org Ray Fowler

    Thanks Bill. I sent an email to Hulu tech support to see if they have any suggestions.

    Ray Fowlers last blog post..Another Garfield Monday – October

  • Alan Noble

    My download speed is supposed to be 14 mpbs down and 3 up, (although it is usually closer to 11-12 down and 2 up). Even though that is way over the suggested speed, Hulu still stutters for me at times. This is probably because my actual speed varies based on how busy my provider is at the time. On their site, they suggest pausing the shows and letting them load if you are experiencing stuttering. That usually does the trick for me.

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