Hulu Plus: More Devices, More of a Threat to Netflix?


The Hulu Plus tornado is truly starting to descend upon the connected TV market, inhaling more and more devices. Today, Sony (s SNE) announced that the Sony Dash personal Internet viewer would have access to the $9.99 a month subscription service.

The Wi-Fi-enabled Dash, which retails for $199, is a tablet-style device with a 7-inch full-color touch screen, and is the newest Sony product to gain access to the service. Many Sony connected TVs and Blu-ray players also have access.

This comes on the heels of Wednesday’s announcement that the Boxee Box would also carry the service at some point in the future, in addition to apps to enable access to Netflix (s NFLX) and Vevo.

Boxee’s efforts to feed Hulu into its service and Hulu’s attempts to block its access provided great drama early last year for connected TV fans, but the battle has ended in a compromise: According to Peter Kafka at All Things D, Boxee will remove free Hulu access from its service in exchange for Plus.

So let’s refresh: Here’s the current list of devices that have, or will soon have access to Hulu Plus:


  • Apple (s aapl) iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch
  • Samsung connected TVs and Blu-rays
  • Sony connected TVs and Blu-rays
  • Sony PlayStation3
  • Sony Dash

Coming Soon:

  • Xbox 360 (s msft)
  • Vizio connected TVs and Blu-rays
  • Roku
  • TiVo Premiere

Pretty much the only major devices not on that list are Apple TV and Google TV. I guess we can call it a bandwagon now, huh?

And with the addition of every new device, Hulu Plus becomes more and more of a competitor with Netflix — which, as Janko joked last month, is “something every washing machine can now access.”

Netflix said earlier this year that it considered Hulu Plus a threat — and Hulu, with 30 million monthly users and projected 2010 revenue of more than $240 million, is now a threat to take seriously.

However, both companies have fundamental differences in their operations and both offer substantially different content to their users. In fact, while their catalogs have some overlap, they’re almost complementary at this stage: Keep up with current TV on Hulu, use Netflix for back-catalog TV and recent film releases. The two companies might be professional rivals now, but they might soon become a cord-cutter‘s salt and pepper.

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Agreeing to restrict access to free Hulu? I understand their dilemna but what does this say about Boxee and other over the top hardware providers? What happened to the open approach to all content on the web? So now the hardware company will negotiate and dictate which content the user will access from the web? PC to TV still the most open approach to content.

Scott Easterday

Seems like you are getting confused about what is considered open. There was never a push for open content on the web. The platform is open but not the actual content. Hardware companies never dictated what content is shown, I am sure they would take anyone who is offering. The media companies dictate what is shown where, and who has access to it.


Thank you but no I’m not confused. By including a browser with your product, you are saying you can access ANYTHING on the web. But now Hulu and/or Boxee is saying but not certain sites. When I use the browser on my HP laptop I have never been told by the PC that I could not access a web page because they choose to not let me do so.

It seems that you are using the word “open” to refer to the app platform and that they allow outside developers to build onto their software.

Scott Easterday

Please do a search for open content on Google and do yourself a favor by researching it. The content provided by Hulu is Copyrighted by the media industry and they have every right to dictate where and when the content can be played. Just like I can’t legally put a TV Show on Limewire to share with my friends, the same way the media can say no to what platform Hulu can play on. Just because you can doesn’t mean you are allowed to.
Open content would entail the Creative Commons license, where people can redistribute the material however they like.


Scott, of course owners of content have legal right to distribute their content however they choose. That is obvious. My comment was not referring to whether Hulu should/shouldn’t restrict access. I was commenting on whether I as a user should buy hardware which controls which web pages I can access.

Dave Zatz

You have to have subscribers to be a competitor. Seeing the service available on a number of devices doesn’t necessarily make it a successful venture.

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