In the past week, Hulu has started laying out the specifics for Hulu Plus, their long in development pay-for-content subscription system. In the next few months, they will take the majority of their content behind a pay wall, forcing users to pay $10 a month for access to what had been free on the site for a few years prior. Like any good Internet-savvy web-type-guy, my initial reaction was to deem this a travesty. “How dare they charge me for unlimited, on demand access for literally thousands of hours of television and movie content?!” I thundered to no one in particular. “Surely this will hasten the downfall of their entire business model!” However, when I took a step back and thought about it, I realized it may not be the worst thing to ever happen, and it may even be… gulp… worth the money.
How much do you pay for cable right now? Obviously, as a blogger, I live in my parents basement and therefore pay nothing. But I’m willing to bet many of you pay well over $100 a month for a digital cable package. And you do so without batting an eye, because you’ve always had to pay for cable. This is where Hulu’s original plan is coming back to hurt them, because they got us all used to getting something for nothing. And like my grandmother always said, “Why would you buy the cow when you can get thousands of hours of streaming, 480-720p quality television for free?”
Let’s look objectively at what you’ll be getting for $10 a month:
- the current full seasons shows under the Hulu umbrella. No more of that “only the last five episodes” crap. It always infuriates me when I watch the first few episodes of a show, decide it sucks, and give up on it – only to hear later that it hit its stride further along in its run (*cough*ParksandRec*cough*). Or when I’m studying for gawd-awful law school finals and fall behind on “Justified.” Or when all the cool kids are watching “Sons of Anarchy,” and I’m tired of missing out. Well, now you can get all caught up in time for the season finale, instead of waiting for the DVDs to come out.
- entire catalogs of series. Like, good series. A sampling of what will be available: all 53 episodes of “Arrested Development,” all three seasons of “30 Rock,” and the entire runs of the UK and U.S. versions of “The Office” (go forth commenters, and tell us all exactly when the US version fell off). All six seasons of “Lost.” For the Whedonites, seven seasons of “Buffy,” five seasons of “Angel,” and 14 episodes of “Firefly.” For nerdy drunks like me, the whole collection of boozy travel show “Three Sheets.
- older shows. “Miami Vice,” “The A-Team,” “Married with Children.” Lots of stuff that may strike a chord with you from your younger days. I know I took an unplanned trip in the wayback machine when I saw the first four seasons of the TV version of “Weird Science” while researching for this recommendation. I loved this show when I was in my early teens. Not because it was good, because it was just an excuse to get Vanessa Angel in naughty outfits. Ah, boner nostalgia.
So as you can see, there’s a pretty extensive collection that could save you a bunch on DVDs and really help give you something to do other than, like, talk to your family or something . *shudders* “OH BUT WAAAAA, it costs just over $0.25 a day and has a handful of brief commercials placed intermittently throughout the episodes.” Good Christ. Louis C.K. was right – technology is wasted on a society of spoiled idiots:
So if you’re someone who watches quite a bit of television content on the computer, why not be a contributing member or society for once in your life? Instead of illegally downloading or streaming all your shows and risking all sorts of malware, how about you pony up an entirely reasonable sum and watch safely in high-definition.
It’s totally what George Washington would have done.