After reports started streaming in Tuesday morning that Hulu Plus is now available on Apple TV, I checked for myself. And lo and behold, after restarting the set-top box, a bright green Hulu Plus channel showed up on the Apple TV homescreen. Hulu confirmed the news in its own blog post. This is the first time Hulu has appeared on Apple’s streaming box, but the subscription version of the service is the same as all the other mobile and living room device platforms that carry it: it’s $7.99 a month to have access to its streaming library of TV shows and movies.
This is a case of two rapidly growing lines of business coming together. Since Apple lowered the price to $99, sales of Apple TV have shot up dramatically. Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed last week that the company had sold 4 million units so far in 2012; Apple sold 2.8 million units in all of 2011. Hulu Plus has been on a growth tear of its own in the last year, hitting the 2 million subscriber mark in April, after passing 1 million paying users in summer 2011. In other living room options, Hulu Plus is also available on Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3 and Roku’s streaming media player.
Adding the channel was sort of an obvious move on Hulu’s part because of what Apple has done with Airplay. Thanks to Apple’s own streaming feature, owners of Macs, iPads and iPhones can stream anything on their desktop to their television through an Apple TV — including Hulu and Hulu Plus.
The first thing I did when I upgraded to OS X Mountain Lion last week was see whether I could finally watch the free version of Hulu on my TV via Airplay. The answer is yes, but the quality isn’t the best. With Hulu adding a distinct channel right onto the Apple TV homescreen, it appeals to the laziness in people like me who’d rather pay $7.99 to have access to all shows and see better picture quality without having to resort to Airplay streaming.