Hulu Amps Up HD

Hulu today beefed up its HD gallery, which continues to be a testing ground for higher-quality video rather than a more pervasive aspect of the video site. The HD gallery launched in December with 10 movie trailers; now it contains a total of 27 full TV episodes, documentaries, and sports and movie excerpts (and whoo-hoo, the first game of this year’s NBA finals). That includes Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog in its HD entirety, which is pretty cool seeing as the original plan called for that show to be offline by now.

Hulu’s HD video is streamed in 720p and requires a 2.5 Mbps connection. Embedding is disallowed. What’s a little bit strange — and makes the HD gallery seem more separated from Hulu’s long-term strategy — is that all the content is being streamed ad-free. I suppose there must be some logistical explanation for that, but I don’t think watchers would have any problem with seeing ads alongside higher-quality content. According to an email from Hulu PR, the lack of ads is “for a limited time.”

By contrast, ABC has all four seasons of Lost available for HD streaming on its site (if you have the Move Networks plug-in) and CBS is adding HD streaming (via Flash) as well.

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