Monday, October 29, 2007

Hulu launches, I get to embed a feature length movie in a blog post

I feel I should warn you that there's a good chance this blog post will self destruct at some point. OK, the blog post will be here until the end of time, or until I forget to pay my domain registration bill. But if we've learned anything by trying to embed YouTube videos of Viacom content, it's that nothing embedded lasts forever.

And so while NBC and FOX have launched a private beta of their new online video service Hulu, there's no guaranty that the video clips I can embed today will still be available tomorrow. That said, here's the complete movie Sideways. It's ad-supported, although I won't make any money from those ads. And while you can watch it in full screen from Hulu.com, there's no way to make make the video full screen from this site.



I haven't actually seen Sideways yet, but I was impressed to see that there are a few feature length films in the Hulu library. You can also watch a bunch of current TV shows like Bones, House, Prison Break, Heroes, 30 Rock, and Bionic Woman. And as if that wasn't cool enough, there's retro shows like Doogie Houser M.D., Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Airwolf. No seriously.

On the down side, while it should be easy for Hulu to post every episode ever made of each series, you typically only have access to a few episodes. For example, Buffy season one, and just the last few episodes of currently running shows. It's not yet clear what happens if you embed a show or a clip from a show on your website. Will that clip disappear when Hulu pulls the video down from its site, or will it remain? I guess we'll find out when Hulu decides to replace Sideways with something a bit fresher.

Now, before you ask, I don't have any invitations to give away. Hulu is in a private, invitation-only beta. But unlike Gmail, Joost, and other startups that built buzz by staying in private beta a bit too long, current users do not get to invite their friends.

But here's a little tip. If you signed up for an invitation a few weeks ago when you first heard about Hulu, you may already be in. Just go to Hulu.com, and click "forgot password?" Enter your email address, and there's a good chance Hulu will send you a new password that will let you login to the site. If that doesn't work, have fun playing with the menu button in the embedded clip above. It should let you access all sorts of Hulu content.

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