First published here on 1/12/08

I’m just back from catching up with some friends in the States, where aside from eating too much, I also managed to spend some time playing around with what some people are already calling the new YouTube; Hulu.

At the moment the site only works in the States, where it allows you to watch clips, TV shows and movies from broadcasters like NBC, Fox and others. It’s pretty extensive and catching on fast.

Analysts are predicting a pretty quick upward curve in its usage. In some respects what it offers doesn’t strike me as entirely new, US MySpace users have been able to watch episodes of their favourite shows on the social networking site for a while. However, where I found Hulu came up trumps was with its high definition offer, something I’m not sure that MySpace offers.

So, the other Sunday I hooked my laptop up to my friend’s wireless home network and streamed a high definition movie which I watched on my 10″ screen with their three year old. I forget what I watched, but I know it involved characters that were vegetables and that it looked like a Wallace and Gromit film, but with fewer references to cheese.

The cool thing about it, aside from the quality of the movie (by which I mean the imagery, not the already forgotten story,) was that it was entirely free. Every 10 minutes or so I’d get a 30″ advert for something. But, as this constituted much less advertising than I might get through standard US TV watching, I figured this was a good deal.

I then used the service again at a couple of airports to watch some short Family Guy clips (no ads) – again streamed in very good quality (although I don’t think that Hulu classed them as HD). Each one was a couple of minutes long and they certainly looked as good as the new high quality streams on the BBC’s iPlayer.

Suffice to say I’m already signed up to the potential of super-fast broadband, but the experience brought some of the potential alive to me in a way that simply reading about it cannot / does not.

Does anybody else have a similar experiences, or experiences, from places they’ve visited that they want to share?

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