My Hulu Plus preview code hasn’t arrived yet but I’ve been able to sample the subscription service via the iPad app. Turns out the “free gallery” on the iPad includes pilot episodes for Parenthood, Ugly Betty, Spaced, the documentary Super Size Me and a dozen or so other shows and clips — just a taste of what a sub might get for $9.99 a month. I’ve dipped in and out of several shows, getting dumped out of the app once but otherwise getting a good sense of the experience. Some quick notes:
— The user interface is uncluttered and bears a strong resemblance to Hulu.com. No surprises there. Also no detailed episode info but that may be listed to the samples.
— The subscription player — at least the one on the iPad — is missing most of the bells and whistles we’re used to in the free, ad-supported Hulu player. I didn’t expect embeds on a sub service but no sharing at all so far, not even a way to tweet and say,”hey, check out this cool video you can only get as a subscriber to Hulu Plus.”
— The video is crisp, streaming without a hitch over WiFi for the most part. (I did, however, get an error screen saying I needed an internet connection even while the video was streaming.) The picture changes from landscape narrow to landscape wide depending on how you hold the iPad; some shows are full screen, some are letterbox.
— Wryly amusing to see Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) advertise its new Kin phone on the iPad app.
To get to the free shows, download the Hulu Plus app from iPad and choose the “tour application” option, then click on the “free gallery” tab. The first video in the group is a brief demo. The iPhone app also has samples.