Hulu Plus: The Roku Review

Unplggd Test Lab

Hulu Plus as it should look on Roku,..but doesn't. Check below for our assessment of Hulu Plus.

Product: Hulu Plus
Price: $7.99
Rating: Weak Recommend

Hulu Plus is one of the many promises of a cable or satellite free life. Once we used it, we decided that we were hopeful for the future, but disappointed at Hulu's half baked attempt to free us from cable. Check below for our review.

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The image above shows the broken user interface elements that are present in Hulu Plus. Notice that the home menu is cut off.

Hulu plus is a strange beast. When we downloaded (yes you have to downloaded it) it to our Roku, it took nearly 40 minutes. That time made us assume it would be some awesome and well written software since it took so long to pull down over our 20 mbit. connection.

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Boy, were we absolutely wrong. Nothing makes us more cranky than poor software on a platform that we have come expect perfection from. Our Roku HD can barely get the box to pump out smooth video and it always seems to stall when we are most into our favorite videos of Modern Family. In our house, that is an offense worthy of death on a pike. We then had to reset our Roku to get the software to reload and work properly. All of those issues paled to the fact that we cannot navigate up levels in Hulu plus without having to restart the app. Other Roku apps allow you to use the up arrow to navigate up levels. When coupled with tiny text that is chopped off, we were left feeling ripped off.

Another criticism is that there are a set of two commercials every 5 minutes. This would not be so bad except we are paying a fee and are being forced to watch more commercials than by those using the browser based Hulu. The fact that more shows are available through Hulu Plus did help to quell some of our frustration with the commercials. Further, when Hulu Plus worked the video quality was excellent and vastly superior to what is delivered via browser based Hulu.

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Modern Family refusing to work resulting in much anger from our girlfriend after a long day

But, we digress because when the Hulu Plus service does work it begins to show the promise of what TV should be in the future. Hulu Plus is content delivered at any time over the internet. Its not stranded on cable boxes and TiVo's because of recording time. Hulu Plus makes us anxious for the future in a bad way, even with its flaws we will continue to pay for it. Why you might ask... because in a house without cable, it is still the best option. We just hope that the Hulu Plus service can blossom into a robust alternative to cable and our TiVo addiction. Give it a try if you are willing.

Our Ratings:
Strong Recommend
Recommend
Weak Recommend*
Don't Recommend

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.

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