Hulu is extending access to its Hulu Plus subscription service to Roku devices and to TiVo Premiere. The service will be available to owners of these devices for $9.95/mo. Roku and TiVo follow availability of Hulu Plus on Samsung connected devices, Sony PS3 and the iOS devices.
Of course it's a real benefit to Hulu Plus subscribers to gain on-TV viewing through inexpensive connected devices, and no doubt we can expect more devices to come, with boxee right at the top of the list. Still, with Hulu Plus following Netflix onto these devices, consumers are inevitably going to closely compare the two services. In this respect, as I've pointed out numerous times, most recently in the wake of Netflix's expanded deal with NBCU, Hulu Plus's content is going to look skimpy.
To be fair, for what it is - access to current and past seasons of broadcast programs, Hulu Plus is a great service. The problem is that DVRs already solve the current season episode value proposition for many (40% of homes and growing, according to Leichtman Research) while the prior seasons episodes are increasingly available on Netflix. Meanwhile, with TV Everywhere rolling out, Hulu Plus will be challenged to get access to cable TV network programs.
Expanding the number of devices that can access Hulu Plus is the right move (and a refreshing update after previously blocking free Hulu.com content). Nonetheless the big challenge for Hulu Plus remains getting more content.
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