Hulu is a much-maligned service. I have never quite understood the animosity that some have held against the service for using commercials to subsidize the extensive programming it supports. While a lot of cord cutters heavily tout Netflix, which is great, or Amazon Instant which comes along with a number of totally unrelated perks Hulu is by far the least expensive and easiest way to access current season programming available. As far as I’m concerned Hulu is great for cord cutters.
Netflix Netflix is the quintessential streaming app and was the very first streaming application that Roku ever supported. With over 50 million customers its quite likely that you already have a Netflix account. What does Netflix offer? A gigantic library of movies, TV shows, documentaries and a growing list of special presentations like concerts and comedy specials. Netflix is more of a streaming network than an app with over a dozen original shows from the gritty like House of Cards, Jessica Jones and Daredevil to the Emmy-winning comedy The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It’s a great way to check out the shows that everyone at work has been telling you to see like The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time or even long time favorites. Best yet if you have a 4k TV and a Roku 4 Netflix is one of the only places to find content for it.
Amazon Video Amazon’s video service is a feature included in conjuction with Amazon’s prime service. If you have been considering Amazon Prime for the shipping, Kindle reader perks and and special offers it is a no brainer. Amazon has exclusive streaming deals with CBS that makes it the home of summer hits like Under The Dome and offers a large number of TV Shows and movies from multiple studios. A perk of Amazon’s service is that the content is broken down by network so if you have a favorite TV neighborhood it can be found easily. Amazon has some well regarded originals too including breakout alternative history thriller The Man In The High Castle and the Emmy-winning Transparent. On the movie side of the spectrum Amazon offers the Epics movie catalogue which features big titles from Lions Gate and other studios.
Hulu Hulu is a great service for those who don’t have a DVR and or cable television. The service offers
next day replay of content from Fox, NBC, ABC, CW, the majority of viacom based networks including Comedy Central, the entire library of South Park, the Epics Movie Catalogue, The Criterion Collection (art and Indie films) BCC content and a large slate of originals. There are also tons of television shows from throughout the TV landscapes organized by network and studio. Users can pay as little as $7.99 for the commercial supported version of the channel or kick it up a notch for the commercial free version. Hulu customers also have the option to add current and archived content from Showtime. Overall it’s a great value.
NBC NBC has its own freestanding app on Roku where users can catch up on NBC shows and specials. Users who have a participating cable provider can access even more content. The app will allow users to access a great deal of content for free though including original movies and series without the need to provide a Cable password.
CBSN CBSN is a 24 hour Internet based news network. It provides a daily rundown of breaking news much like CNN, Fox News and others. The service is free no strings attached. With CBSN you will not be caught off guard when someone asks you about the tornado in Texas or even the latest pop culture buzz.
PBS PBS is one of the most complete apps on Roku. Any of PBS’s programs can be found via the app and users can sign in with their local PBS station to open regional based programming. For fans of hits like Downton Abbey, Sherlock and what ever makes its way through the BBC pipeline next PBS is a treasure. There are also a number of PBS favorites from yesteryear including the Joy Of Painting.
YouTube YouTube is the most heavily used streaming service in the country. If you don’t know what YouTube is now you can probably ask the person next to you and get an earful about cute babies, Kittens and more but the app overall can become a go to for people from all walks of life. From clips uploaded from all over the world to great original programming from professional production companies it is easy spend an entire night on one short form feature after another. It is also one of the most popular places in the world to find music. Link your own YouTube account and see your favorite subscriptions and saved videos.
Watch ESPN is the app of apps for sports fans. Like its mobile app the Watch ESPN app for Roku provides access to ESPN’s family of networks provided that your TV provider participates in the program. A great bonus offered by Watch ESPN is ESPN 3, an internet based option that gives viewers access to extra contests from major sports conferences including live football and BAsketball, Baseball and non revenue sports. Many ISP’s especially DSL providers allow users to access ESPN 3 content without a cable subscription.
Pandora You might be surprised at just how much you use this free music service. Pandora has a gigantic selection of music available on request. Users can set up their own stations based on specific performers and genres. Want easy listening? Search for adult contemporary or look for James Taylor and the system will populate Taylor, Paul Simon and simmilar artist. Type John Williams and listen to Star Wars, The ET score, and other works from Williams, Hans Zimmer and more. It’s one of my personal favorites when I am writing.
VUDU Nope this is not a cult channel. It is an on demand movie and television service and one of the best places to find 4K content online.Roku 4 users with 4K TV’s should take a look at this channel early. It is free to add and with a free account users can purchase digital blockbuster films and even access their own digital content through Ultra Violet. The service offers multiple viewing options for content including SD, HD and 4K.
Hulu is busy. The streaming option that provides streaming access to first run TV content (in most cases) less than 24 hours after it airs has been moving aggressively to sign new exclusive deals with content providers. Already this week Hulu announced a deal to stream the entire series run of Seinfeld. Hulu outbid more popular rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant video in order to secure the rights to the 1990’s show. The terms of the deal were steep (as much as 1 million per episode) leading many analysts to conclude that it may have been too big of an investment. But the prestige of the property appeared to be too much to pass on.
Hulu Flexing its TV Muscle
Hulu Announced that it will be the exclusive streaming home of a number of shows produced by AMC Studios including Fear The Walking Dead, an upcoming spin off. AMC Studios is also responsible for content on BBC America, WE tv, IFC, AMC, and Sundance TV. The service will also feature series from FX another major content creator and distributor.
There were no details announced as to whether the service will have access to content the day after it airs as it does with a majority of the content available or whether it will have the content after a season has been finalized.
Private channel for Roku, Tablets and other devices adds loads of content
Originally published 9/2013, this article has been republished due to repeated questions and the increased interest in Hulu with the Fall TV Schedule launching.
This article is going to focus on accessing the free version of Hulu at home on TV’s and mobile devices via PlayOn, a multifaceted media server and DMR (Digital Media Renderer) application with many capabilities.
Everybody’s Favorite Next Day Channel
There is not a more popular legal way to watch current TV shows through a computer or mobile device then Hulu. The company which is a joint venture between Disney, Fox and Comcast has millions of users utilizing both the “Freemium” online service and Hulu Plus pay service which was developed as a mobile app for use on tablets phones and select media streaming boxes.
Apples and Apples
There are a few subtle differences between the free version of Hulu when accessed through a computer and Hulu Plus. But one of the obvious differences is that one does not have to pay to access Hulu while using a computer. For 7.99 per month Hulu Plus also provides its users with full seasons of many current shows and even shows long since cancelled along with a wider selection of movies. It’s programming is available on the go through a smart phone or tablet and at home through a streaming devices which include game consoles, Roku products and Apple TV, Fire TV and the Chromecast through wireless devices. Both services allow users to view shows after they air on broadcast television.
It seems that as long as one is anchored to a desktop or even lugging a laptop the company will give you a break, but you pay a monthly “convenience tax” for the ease of portability. Remember when a slim laptop seemed like a portable convenience? This appears to be the unifying theory of the Hulu universe. But like many seemingly absolute theories further research sometimes opens another path.
How can I use the free version of Hulu?
Enter PlayOn. PlayOn is a media server based app for multiple platforms produced by Media Mall which allows users to access an entire universe of official and third party apps on their televisions and mobile devices. For our full article on PlayOnclick here The app requires users to download a simple to install media server program to an internet connected laptop or desktop computer. Once installed one can stream content to many devices including, Roku boxes, Google TV, tablets, phones or even be utilized on dedicated HTPC’s, computers connected to TV’s for home theater entertainment purposes. For a complete listing of compatible devices see Playon’s official site click here
In order to utilize PlayOn on an HTPC it is helpful to have some sort of media center software such as XBMC or Windows Media Center. The computer must either be wired in to the same router or have a wireless card.
The PlayOn channel for Roku has many options but one of its most popular features is Hulu and like I said, this is the free version that you would otherwise only access via a computer. The reason this works on streaming boxes and mobile devices is that the actual media is being fed to the devices from a computer instead of directly from the internet. Playon is built from Microsoft’s windows explorer so Hulu’s website interacts with the program the same way it would directly accessing from a PC based browser instead of shifting the user to a mobile based web portal. If you are a user who generally utilizes Hulu online to catch up with shows week by week then utilizing Hulu’s Free content via a TV or tablet may be the perfect solution for your media needs. The free offerings include current shows from all major networks excluding CBS, who is not a partner with Hulu. Along with the traditional networks many cable offerings are also available. The app behaves differently depending on what platform you are utilizing it on. For Instance the app/channel for Roku utilizes a side scrolling method similar to many other Roku apps while the apps for IOS and Android devices and are optimized for a mobile platform. XBMC explores Hulu with a simple to follow list.
Where can I get the App
The PlayOn app is free to download but in order to utilize all of its features you must purchase the program. The company offers numerous special offers including lifetime access keys for $50.00 or less. Free Mobile Apps for phones and tablets are available via iTunes store, Google Play Store as well as the Blackberry official app store. The PlayOn Roku Channel can be added to your Roku via PlayOn’s own website or by clicking here. Once there, users are linked to Roku’s add on screen and prompted enter a short code. I personally purchased the program over a year ago and have used it on android tablets and an iPad and a Roku.
If you own a streaming device or have been considering purchasing one you have probably noticed there are multiple services free and paid to look in to but very few that offer access to recently aired material and even less that provide entertainment from cable channels. PlayOn is a service that allows users to watch TV shows and movies from multiple websites on their televisions through neatly packaged channels.
Nearly every TV channel has a website. Whether it is ABC, HBO, ESPN, A&E and everything in between. Each of these websites has video content and often full episodes of popular series, sometimes web exclusives and in other cases a collection of clips and interviews featuring the power players of an individual series. Each of these sites are accessible via a computer and users without PlayOn can bookmark the sites for later viewing, but finding all of the sites that have free video content and collecting them in one place can take a lot of time and energy. That’s where PlayOn comes in.
Want to watch Hulu on your tablet, phone or TV? With the latest update to the Hulu Plus app for Android, users can sign in and use a limited version of the service without signing up for a Hulu Plus account. All that is required is an email address and providing basic demographic info. There are numerous differences between full access with Hulu Plus and the new offering, more on that bellow. For a story on how to watch the free version of Hulu on TV click here.
Hulu Plus for Roku had a major update that changed how users search for topics as well as some interesting visual differences. Our video shows how these changes will affect current and future Hulu Plus customers like you going forward. Will the changes be difficult to adjust to or make for a better experience? Continue to view the video.
Hulu Plus on Roku just got a face lift. If you enjoy Hulu Plus but found navigating its choices daunting you may be pleased to know that Hulu thought so too. The tentpole streaming service has changed its look from time to time but it’s latest update is more streamlined and easy to use than than past iterations. From new
1. Roku is not a cable box Customers looking to save money on their cable subscriptions sometimes look to Roku as a replacement for a cable box. This is not what the Roku isdesigned to do. There is one caveat. Time Warner Cable has a Roku channel that works in tandem with the companies cable boxes. Customers who have at least one cable receiver can add the TWC channel to their Roku and access their cable channels via the Roku. This can be a fee free option for customers looking to add HBO go access to a guest room or another television in the home. As of now there are no other companies with such an arrangement.
In the set top business like all industries if you are standing still you are getting behind. In lue of releasing a new streaming box every year Matricom has been moving forward through extensive firmware upgrades. It’s release of 1.1.7 has proven to be a great improvement from 1.1.6 firmware released last year.
How do you get the New Firmware? Matricom provides directions to install 1.1.7 on its website here.
Firmware update 1.1.7 brings a simplified interface to replace the companies stylized version of Android’s standard launcher known as the 3D launcher. Its new flatter design emphasizes portals to services that resemble the Windows 8 tiles or other iterations of Android TV found on other devices.
The Streaming Advisor aims to teach and inform others about how to enjoy video content broadcast via the Internet through incisive stories and reviews that explore the new media marketplace and examine online media trends and how they effect consumers.
Online media includes familiar services like Netflix, Hulu, Crackle and other widely known sources along with small start up sites and companies like PlayOn. We keep tabs on Roku, Apple TV, Google TV and Android streaming so that all you have to do is keep tabs with us.