Home Hulu Announces Monthly Subscription, Support for iPhone/iPad; Still Ad Supported

Hulu Announces Monthly Subscription, Support for iPhone/iPad; Still Ad Supported

The rumors about a paid subscription service coming to Hulu have turned out to be true, as the online video hub has announced Hulu Plus – a premium service that will give users access to more content on more platforms for a monthly fee. For $9.99, subscribers will be able to access full seasons of shows on Hulu.com, on apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, on Internet-enabled TVs and BluRay players, and on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gaming consoles.

UPDATE: The Hulu Plus app is now available in the AppStore to download on iOS 4.0 devices. You can watch some free previews, but full episodes obviously require an account in the trial program. Check out the screenshots below!

Hulu is expressing that Hulu Plus is not a replacement for its home page. Non-subscribers will still get the same new content at the same time, but subscribers can access a deeper back-catalog of shows. Hulu users hoping for an ad-free version of the site will be disappointed to learn that despite the $9.99 price tag, Hulu Plus will still feature ads during shows.

“Hulu Plus is a new, revolutionary ad-supported subscription product that is incremental and complementary to the existing Hulu service,” the company said in its blog today. “For almost all of the current broadcast shows on our service, Hulu Plus offers the full season. Every single episode of the current season will be available, not just a handful of trailing episodes.”

Hulu is keeping the ads and is instead providing subscribers with the ability to watch shows on a plethora of media platforms. Free iOS 4.0 apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad will let users of those devices catch shows on the go via Wi-Fi and 3G, and Internet-enabled TVs and BluRay players will bring the experience into the living room. Hulu also says PlayStation 3 users will have access to its content “soon,” and Xbox 360 fans will see Hulu in their dashboards in “early 2011.” Plus subscribers are also provided with an HD 720p stream for all shows.

Right now, Hulu Plus is taking requests for preview invites and is surveying users on how they digest their media. Upon requesting an invitation, users will be asked what mobile devices they own, what their Internet connection is and what additional set-top boxes and gaming consoles they use. There is no mention of whether support for the Nintendo Wii is coming, or whether Hulu itself will launch a set-top box. With all the support for these various devices, a Hulu box seems unlikely at this time.

This announcement comes hot on the heels of Fox Interactive Media’s foray into mobile video with its on-demand service Bitbop. Fox has an exclusive deal with RIM to bring mobile video to BlackBerry users, but with Hulu’s broad sweep of the Apple mobile device platform, the going will likely get tough for Bitbop.

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