April 27, 2010, 5:58 PM — Hulu is one of the most popular video sites on the web. You can watch all kinds of different television shows and movies right in your browser. But there's also another way to watch Hulu and that's to download the Hulu Desktop application for Linux.
Please note that Hulu Desktop for Linux is currently labeled "beta" so don't be surprised if you find some burps here or there if you try to use it. Also, I did not test this with a remote control as I ran the application in Linux Mint 8 in VMWare and the Apple remote I had didn't work. So I used my trackball to navigate the application.
The package download for Hulu Desktop for Linux weighed in at a very petite 598KB.
I installed Hulu Desktop for Linux on my Linux Mint 8 virtual machine. On the Hulu site there are two download options:
Since Linux Mint 8 is an Ubuntu remaster, I downloaded the Ubuntu package.
1. Download the Hulu Desktop for Linux package.
2. Click the package to open the package installer.
3. Run the installer.
4. Agree to the end user license agreement.
That was it for the install. It was very easy and very fast.
After it concluded, the Hulu desktop application opened and a very cool video of some fighter jets called "Speed and Angels" began playing. The sound and video looked great in Linux Mint 8. I didn't need to do anything to get the video to play or the sound to work.
There really is an enormous amount of content available via Hulu. It's nice to have at your fingertips and chances are that, no matter how picky you are, you'll probably be able to find something that interests you.
I have to admit that I was tickled to find "Tentacles" available on Hulu as I remember seeing it when I was a kid back in the 70s. You haven't lived until you've watched a giant octopus wreak havoc among residents at an ocean town.
The Hulu Desktop for Linux interface is really geared toward using a remote control for navigation (obviously that's the main reason they created this application in the first place). If you've ever used Apple TV or Boxee, you'll know what I mean. You can certainly use a mouse or a trackball but it feels weird as you have to move up or down through the interface to choose a category, subcategory and then the program or movie you want to watch.
I'd like to see two interface options offered in the desktop version. One for remote controls and another more geared toward mice and trackballs. This would make it easier for those who prefer the desktop version of Hulu to the web version but who still would like to use a mouse or trackball to navigate.
Beyond that, I didn't encounter much in the way of problems with Hulu Desktop for Linux. Despite the beta label, it performed very well. I didn't see video stuttering, loading problems or any of the stuff you might expect to see in a beta desktop video application.
I found myself really enjoying Hulu Desktop. Given that it's a free application and that it's easy to install on an Ubuntu system, it's well worth a download. There's an excellent selection of content available that should entertain almost anybody.
I'm also very happy that the Hulu developers decided to support Linux as a platform. That's far more than Apple has done with its iTunes store and it gives me hope that more content purveyors will keep Linux in mind when releasing services like Hulu. If you have a moment, please drop by the Hulu forum and thank the developers for releasing a version of Hulu Desktop for Linux.