October 19, 2009

Do You Use Hulu (and Are You Using It Right?)

Let's be honest - I watch a ton of television. Like, more than is probably OK for a normal person to consume, but I can't help it. It's what I do. Needless to say my DVR fills up very quickly with shows that I can't watch in real-time, and I often defer to online outlets to catch up on shows I've missed. While almost every TV outlet streams their shows online, I consistently go to Hulu.com to watch everything; except CBS shows, which aren't on Hulu. Before I continue let me state that I am under no obligation to promote Hulu, I just really like it.

Most web-savvy people are aware of Hulu and how you can watch full TV shows and movies, but I've noticed that a lot of people aren't taking advantage of all of its features. The first thing you should do is register for an account. Yes, you can totally watch all the programs without having an account, but you're missing out on all the personalized features.

Just like you can schedule to record your favorite series on your DVR, you can "subscribe" to shows on Hulu so you never miss an episode. Just go to the show page for the series you're looking for and click subscribe. Hulu will keep all of your recorded episodes in your queue, so you can go back and watch whenever you're ready.

This feature's great because you don't have to remember which episodes you've seen, and it lends itself nicely to an impromptu mini-marathon of catching up. I use this feature a lot, especially for shows that aren't critical for me to see the night they air. I also watch a lot of shows the day after they run on Hulu while at work (hey, I'm an entertainment producer, I'm allowed) so I don't have to wait to watch at home at night.

This weekend I also discovered the joys of Hulu Desktop. It's a download-able program that lets you watch everything Hulu has to offer without actually logging into the site itself. I can use the remote for my Macbook to turn it on and navigate without typing anything. It's perfect for the person with a large computer display or people that watch the majority of their shows line. Here's a better explanation from Hulu:

I know that my television consumption is greater than the average person, but anyone can use Hulu to improve their viewing experience. I'm curious to see how many more years I go before I ditch my cable altogether and watch everything exclusively online, but for now I'll take every workaround possible.

Do you watch full-length shows online? Where do you watch them and why? Would love to hear your thoughts.