Hulu's long-awaited iPad app and premium subscription service is becoming a reality in the coming months. The service will launch by invitation only for starters, and later will be expanded to the general public and to cover more devices including the Xbox 360 and PS3. The streaming video subscription to Hulu Plus runs $9.99 per month.
This provides access to thousands of streaming television shows including complete seasons and historic reruns from the 80s and 90s. Users can sign up for the invitation only phase and the Hulu iPad app will be launched in the App Store. There are several shows available free of charge in the Hulu app and reviews so far on video quality are positive.
Unfortunately, even with the $9.99 per month subscription fee, the Hulu app is still ad-supported. Functionality of the app is said to be similar to the web version of Hulu, which many fans know has lots of content but interrupts shows with ads. Hulu has experienced problems generating enough revenue to keep studios and television rights owners happy with earnings from showing their content on the site.
The Hulu Plus app for iPad will use unspecified video technology to stream television content, meaning it's neither Flash nor HTML5. The stand-alone app model is already in use by Netflix, another subscription service that offers streaming video and DVD rental by mail. In addition to an iPad application, Netflix offers iPhone, Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 apps for instant viewing.
Hulu will not comment on when the iPad application will be available in the Apple App Store. The app is expected to be free of charge for download and installation, with selected content free to watch as well. Initial reports said that Hulu was planning to launch the service in May, however this date failed to materialize.
Negotiations with studios to secure additional streaming video content is said to be underway, as Hulu wrestles with the pricing of wide Internet distribution and its relatively new business model. Hulu is the second most popular video website on the Internet, turning a profit for the first time in the past two quarters of operation.
The Hulu Plus iPad app will stream video content over Wi-Fi and 3G connections.