April 28, 2011, 8:04 AM — We know that Hulu Plus is headed to the Xbox 360 sometime this spring, but Joystiq is narrowing that window down to this Friday. The gaming blog says they've seen a scan of the June issue of the Official Xbox Magazine, and this scan lists April 29th as the launch date for the service on Microsoft's gaming console.
It isn't a far-fetched rumor so I'm accepting it as true for now, which means it's time for my biannual Hulu Plus warning. Before you sign up for Hulu Plus (and hopefully Microsoft and Hulu will offer the standard 1-week free trial) make sure you're going to be able to watch the shows you want to watch. Hulu has two groups of content: stuff you can see on the website and stuff you can see on devices like the 360 (or the PS3, Roku, internet-enabled TV, etc). Hulu has to negotiate for different rights in order to bring content to "devices." This means there's plenty of content available on the web site that isn't available on a device, and plenty of content available to Hulu Plus subscribers (on devices or the web) that isn't available to basic Hulu users. Here's a list of content available on Hulu Plus.
Is that confusing? Let me rephrase. Non-paying Hulu users can see one set of content via the Hulu website. Paying Hulu Plus subscribers can see a different set of content (and yes, there's overlap from the freebie content) on their "device." Paying Hulu Plus subscribers can see everything Hulu has to offer via the website.
And yes, even with a paid subscription, you're still going to be seeing ads.
Assuming they've got the content you want to watch, Hulu Plus is a great deal at $8/month. Of course right now,subscribers who use their Sony Playstation 3 to access the service are out of luck thanks to the Great PSN Outage of '11. In a very nice gesture (I thought) Hulu sent PS3 owning Hulu Plus subscribers an email offering them a free week extension of their service. Granted that's just a $2 value but considering it wasn't Hulu's fault PSN went down, it earned the company some good karma in my house, at least.
Hulu Plus is primarily about TV (with the exception of the Criterion Collection), and if you're a movie buff you might want to look elsewhere. At Epix perhaps. Yesterday Engadget shared the news that Epix is going to start offering its content on Google TV, Android phones and tablets, the Blackberry Playbook, the Roku players and other devices. You can get a 14-day free trial of Epix, but after that it appears that you have to subscribe through your cable provider. Not great news for you cord cutters out there but the rest of us can get access to over 3,000 (older) movies on-demand via the website or (soon) these devices.
Hulu Plus coming to Xbox, Epix coming to various devices