Possible Winning Combo: OTA HDTV + Hulu Plus + Blockbuster/VUDU


hulu logoLike many of you I was pleased to hear the news that Hulu unveiled their Hulu Plus offering today. Now I’m wondering if it’s actually something I’d be interested in paying for. Luckily, NewTeeVee did the leg work for us in comparing Hulu Plus with Netflix’s instant streaming collection. According to the site, Hulu’s biggest advantage over Netflix is the amount of new and popular reality TV show programming Hulu Plus has on tap. Netflix’s strong suit, on the other hand, is its long-tail content. Being the case, Hulu Plus would make for a very capable on-demand service — similar to, or even better than, Comcast’s who only offers a limited number of episodes for viewing per show.

So lets follow the logic… if Hulu Plus for $9.99/mo can replace Comcast’s on-demand feature, all we need is access to real-time TV programming. Enter FREE, over-the-air (OTA) HDTV. Sure, we won’t have access to premium cable channels, but do you really need them? If the answer is no, then Hulu Plus + OTA HDTV will work like a charm. Note: Hulu offers a variety of programs shown through premium TV channels.

Now we need access to new movie releases. The option here, since we no longer have a cable/satellite box or a subscription to Netflix, is buying a Hulu Plus capable set-top box, game console, or networked Blu-ray player. With this kind of device, we’ll most likely also be able to access new movie releases from Blockbuster OnDemand, CinemaNow, or VUDU for one-off rentals (no subscription required). The other thing we can do is just rent movies in-store at Blockbuster or via kiosks from the likes of Blockbuster or Redbox. Or, then again, you can just keep an entry level Netflix $8.99/mo plan going and get new movie releases by mail.

So what do you think? Is this winning combo too frugal and/or complex for your taste, or does it make perfect sense?

UPDATE 6/30: MediaMemo – Hulu CEO Jason Kilar: We’re No Cable Killer! We Swear! – essentially Jason Kilar says: Hulu Plus “augments” cable TV offerings, not replace it. Kilar makes some good arguments why you wouldn’t want to replace your cable TV service with Hulu Plus (i.e. no live TV programming, local news, etc.), but I think I’ve countered most of them with the winning combo above.




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  • andrewmclaughlin

    The real killer is the TiVoHD with its OTA Tuners + DVR. And Hulu/Netflix. Somehow I feel Apple isn't going to sit this one out much longer.

  • http://twitter.com/agrundner Alexander Grundner

    You're right. TiVo could handle both OTA HDTV and Hulu Plus (if they end up supporting it), but then you'll still have to pay TiVo's $12.95 monthly, $129 annual, or $399 product lifetime service fee.

  • andrewmclaughlin

    For many, the Tivo is a sunk cost. I've got the HD with lifetime.