After months of speculation and rumors, Hulu has revealed a new subscription option for its video streaming service. The newly minted Hulu Plus (making June the launch of two " Plus" based subscription services) will allow users to stream full seasons of shows on the service (as opposed to the first five episodes) as well as watch the complete back-catalogs for older shows.
The real kicker for our video game corner of the world, however, is that Hulu Plus will finally bring the service to the PS3 and 360, allowing you to browse current television releases from your cross media dashboard (or whatever it is you kids stream from).
The two questions that now need to be answered about the service are
- How will the Plus service surface on consoles?
- What will console owners need gain access to the service?
360 owners know that access to the Netflix movie-streaming service requires a Xbox Live Gold account in addition to the Netflix subscription. Will Microsoft make Hulu Plus also be a gold account exclusive feature? On the other hand, would Sony allow all users to access the Hulu Plus service, or would it require PS3 owners to subscribe to the just-launched PlayStation Plus service? Hulu Plus access seems like it could very easily be a subscriber-only feature to make the service more compelling, but considering that Hulu Plus is going to charge a fee of its own, stacking up the hurdles and making it harder to access on consoles is probably a bad idea.
It's also worth pointing out that this subscription service looks like the only way to access Hulu on consoles at all, so don't expect any to be able to use the "free" portion of Hulu on consoles. We'll have plenty of time to see how Sony and Microsoft work out their plans for the service (and find out if the Hulu Plus subscription fee is worth paying at all) when it launches on consoles sometime in the next nine months.
Update: According to Major Nelson, Hulu Plus will be a feature for Xbox Live Gold subscribers only. Thanks to GB user Zidd for the heads-up!