rumors of a possible buyout, the popular TV and movie streaming service Hulu is at last making its Android debut as promised. Like its iPhone counterpart, the mobile app connects paying customers to the Hulu Plus service, Hulu's premium subscription-based offering.Amid
Unfortunately, not all Android devices are supported at launch.
6 Phones at Launch: Piracy Concerns?
According to Hulu, the initial rollout includes only six phones: the Nexus One, the Nexus S, the HTC Inspire 4G, Motorola Droid II, Motorola Droid X and the Motorola Atrix. Although the company won't say why, we expect the reason for the small lineup has to do with compatibility issues as well as a need to secure the content using digital rights management (DRM).
Netflix did much of the same thing for its Android launch - only supporting 5 phones out of the gate, including the HTC Incredible, HTC Nexus One, HTC G2, Samsung Nexus S, Motorola Droid and LG Revolution. Both companies have promised "more on the way."
In Netflix's case, the company was more transparent as to its reasons, stating:
Because the platform has evolved so rapidly, there are some significant challenges associated with developing a streaming video application for this ecosystem. One of these challenges is the lack of standard streaming playback features that the Netflix application can use to gain broad penetration across all available Android phones. In the absence of standardization, we have to test each individual handset and launch only on those that can support playback.
Those are likely the same reasons that are holding back Hulu from a larger initial rollout on Android too, in addition to concerns over piracy. An earlier entry on Netflix's blog had explained that DRM was the real issue with the Android platform. Certainly Hulu's corporate parents, Comcast (NBC), News Corp. (Fox), Disney (ABC) and Providence Equity Partners, have the same fears as the movie studios Netflix deals with when it comes to protecting their content on the
How to Get It & How Much
In any case, in brief tests here on ReadWriteWeb writer Dan Rowinski's Motorola Atrix, he found that the app installs, loads and runs without any issues. The only shows it doesn't have access to are the "Web only" ones, which won't play on anything but a laptop, even with Hulu Plus.
The Hulu Android app is available for download for free from the Market here. New subscribers can get one week free to try the service. Afterwards, it's $7.99.