Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Hulu, Apple Finally Get It Together: Hulu Plus Comes to Apple TV, Lets You Subscribe With iTunes

Here’s how to make Apple TV less of a hobby: Add more content.

Like this: Today Hulu Plus subscribers can finally start using the service on Apple’s Web TV peripheral, via a software update Apple pushed out overnight. So if you’re paying the service’s $8-a-month fee, you can now stream TV shows, movies — along with ads — directly to your flat screen.

This brings Apple’s hardware to parity with other devices like the Roku devices and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, so it’s certainly not a game changer. But there are two interesting notes here:

  • Like Apple’s deal with Netflix, Hulu Plus is integrated directly into Apple’s iTunes store, which means that if you aren’t a Hulu Plus subscriber, you can sign up using your iTunes account, and Hulu will bill you via Apple. Presumably this means that, just like it does with Netflix, Apple will keep a portion of Hulu’s monthly fee. And from what I can tell, just like Netflix, Hulu won’t let you use iTunes to sign up for the service via a different Apple device, like an iPad or iPhone — if you’re going that route, you’ll still need to visit to
  • Hulu and its owner/content partners (Disney, Comcast, and News Corp., which also owns this Web site) had little choice but to get Hulu Plus onto Apple TV. Because with the new Airplay feature in Apple’s new Mountain Lion update, anyone with an Apple TV can already “mirror” the free Hulu Web service onto their TVs. Not being able to offer the paid service — which has features like a deeper content library and HD streaming — would have been quite vexing for Jason Kilar and company.

Big picture for Apple: Tim Cook refuses to say much about TV other than that Apple is interested in it. But these incremental feature adds give you a pretty good sense of where Cook may be going.

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— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle