Hulu to concentrate on dedicated app, not website, to deliver video to Apple iPad

invisibleSHIELD case for iPadEugene Wei, vice president of product with Hulu, said in a blog post that has since disappeared without explanation “that his company’s contractual requirements make the transition to HTML5 too difficult,” Slash Lane reports for AppleInsider. “The current player on the website, built with Adobe Flash, does a great deal more than stream video.”

Wei wrote: We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesn’t yet meet all of our customers’ needs. Our player doesn’t just simply stream video, it must also secure the content, handle reporting for our advertisers, render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality, communicate back with the server to determine how long to buffer and what bitrate to stream, and dozens of other things that aren’t necessarily visible to the end user.

Wei’s statement “does not mean that iPad users will not be able to access Hulu,” Lane reports. “The company is still expected to bring its service to the iPad eventually, through software in the App Store much like the ABC and Netflix streaming players. It is believed Hulu on the iPad will be a pay-only service that would require a monthly subscription.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Speaking of the ABC app for iPad, Lex Friedman reports for Macworld, “Much like the Netflix app, the free ABC Player app for iPad truly feels like the future. ABC Digital’s app lets you watch recent episodes from two dozen ABC primetime and daytime shows on your iPad, without paying a cent or breaking a law. It’s excellent.”

Friedman writes, “If you’ve used Hulu, much of the ABC app experience will feel familiar. Episodes feature a small handful of commercial interruptions, usually limited to 30-second advertisements, all from a single advertiser—including one ad that runs before the episode actually begins… If an ABC show is available to watch on Hulu, you can watch it with ABC’s app, too. Different shows may employ different policies regarding how many recent episodes are available, or when they first become viewable. “

Full review here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Gabriel B.” for the heads up.]


  1. This is something that isn’t really talked about much, but Flash *does* allow you to do things that simply aren’t possible with HTML5. This “render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality” isn’t one of them.

    However, there’s a lot that has been built into Flash based video players that has yet to be replicated by any current HTML5 based video implementation.

    As Hulu is finding out though, that’s where apps come in.

  2. Well well, what do you know, video playback in web pages isn’t just about streaming video but also a whole heap of other things, none of which the HTML5 video element does or will do any time soon.

    MDN, where is the usual “kill Flash, ask Hulu and others to use HTML5” paragraph ? Suspiciously absent…

    The Hulu guys get it, however, the smart way to go for them is to write a native iPhone app.

  3. At least half of Hulu guy arguments about how they can not develop their service with HTML5 is ***LAME***, because those features already supported.

    But if they will bring iPad application, then it is not that important.

  4. It makes sense.

    All html5 video can be very easily downloaded, and the people behind Hulu are really paranoid about copy right protection.

    They currently use a flash media server that makes it nearly impossible to download video files outright. As far as I know, there is currently no equivalent way to protect html5 video from casual piracy.

    Of course, no matter how well a digital video is protected, it can always be copied with a screen recording.

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