RUMOR: Flash-free version of Hulu could launch on Apple iPad

“When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad last month, one notable potential partner absent from the stage was Hulu, now the second-largest video site on the Web. The launch event focussed more on the iPad as an eBook reader to rival the Kindle, but watching videos on it will be just as important,” Erick Schonfeld reports for TechCrunch. “The TV shows on Hulu would be perfect on the iPad. There is just one hitch: the iPad doesn’t support Flash, and all of Hulu’s videos currently run inside a Flash player.”

“But that could change by the time the iPad launches in March,” Schonfeld reports. “One rumor I’ve heard from an industry insider is that Hulu is working on an iPad-friendly version of its site that should be ready by the time the iPad hits the market. Hulu itself is still vague about its plans. When asked directly by Om Malik whether Hulu has any plans for the iPad, CEO Jason Kilar recently hemmed and hawed about how he is a big believer in mobile, but wouldn’t confirm or deny anything.”

“Putting Hulu on the iPad boils down to a business decision, not a technical one. Getting Hulu to work on the iPad would not take as much work as some might expect,” Schonfeld explains. “The biggest challenge to getting a large video library to play on the iPad (or iPhone) is to convert the underlying video files to the H.264 standard. Fortunately for Hulu, its videos are already encoded in H.264 and have been since the summer of 2008. So it doesn’t have to go back and re-encode all of its videos. But on the front-end, it would have to create a non-Flash player (Flash plays videos encoded in H.264 as does the Quicktime player on the iPad and iPhone).”

“More importantly, all the ads that run on Hulu are designed for Flash, especially interactive ads like overlays. The ad code, business logic, and underlying analytics would all have to be rewritten for a Javascript player. Frankly, this is the biggest hurdle,” Schonfeld reports. “So porting Hulu to the iPad is not completely trivial, but Hulu has a large engineering group (including a group in China) more than capable of doing the work.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “James W.” for the heads up.]

43 Comments

  1. You know what’s really funny. The Amazon Kindle ad on the MDN website. I wonder just home many click’s that ad will get from this group. Now that I think about it, we should all click it so MDN’s can make some money before the Kindle disappears.

  2. Sounds to me like HULU is getting closer to that subscription plan that flew around the internet rumor mills a couple of months ago. It’s hard to charge a subscription when you can’t provide the product everywhere your users want to watch it. Like any good drug pusher, they should offer a taste (a couple of months) for free, then start draining credit cards after that.

    I just wonder what everyone would be willing to pay for a HULU subscription? $10/month? $15/month? $20/month? $30/month?

    If you ever wondered why Fox and NBC/Universal/Comcast wouldn’t sign up for the Apple TV Subscription proposal, here’s why, they want to charge you the subscription fee to use their system – HULU.

  3. Wow, you guys should read the comments to the original article.. Those people just do not get the iPad.. They don’t get Flash either.. Some of them think Apple will be forced to allow Flash on the iPhone..

    LOL

  4. Oh yeah, let’s support Apple’s self-focused narcissistic quest to control everything and expect products to change formatting to become compatible with – in this case – iTampon. Would it not be easier for Jobs to get off his misguided high horse and simply make Flash available? Not only is the name of this devise idiotic, but it clearly cannot fulfill Job’s idea of “holding the internet in your hand” when the iPad cannot display the majority of web-sites because Apple refuses to incorporate software required to render web-pages fully.

  5. Does anyone really think that Apple hasn’t thought of evry possible obstacle and it’s solution ????

    iPad will scorch on every level, np matter what all the clueless pundits and pompous loud mouths think

  6. Like any good drug pusher, they should offer a taste (a couple of months) for free, then start draining credit cards after that.

    I can’t believe you bought that ridiculous bullshit. Drug dealers don’t give anything away for free.

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