Hulu Might Become an Internet Cable Service?

The Wall Street Journal has an epically long feature about Hulu and all the external pressures it’s facing as everybody else is finally figuring out this internet thing. It’s a great read, and you can learn a lot about how dumb and douchey corproations are, which is always fun.

Seems like the television networks finally figured out that there’s money to be made on the internet and so maybe they shouldn’t just send all their shows over to a website they don’t own derp. Obviously, this poses a problem for Hulu. The WSJ mentions a lot of different things Hulu is considering, but there’s one that sticks out above all the rest:

And in what would be a major shift in direction, Hulu management has discussed recasting Hulu as an online cable operator that would use the Web to send live TV channels and video-on-demand content to subscribers, say people familiar with the talks. The new service, which is still under discussion, would mimic the bundles of channels now sold by cable and satellite operators, the people said.

Intriguing, eh? But what the hell does this have to do with video games? Easy. It means your Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 might end up being even more of a super entertainment hub sooner rather than later.

That paragraph is the only one in the WSJ story that mentions the possibility of that radical a shift for Hulu, so I have no idea if Hulu would allow a cable-like operation to run through game consoles, and you could certainly expect for them to manufacture their own standalone device.

However, I would humbly suggest that the entire purpose of ┬áHulu Plus, which you can currently use on the PS3 and a whole host of internet-connected TVs and the iPad and will hit the 360 this spring, is about laying the groundwork for the possibility of this sort of radical change in structure. If Hulu does turn to a cable model for delivering content, millions of people would be able to switch immediately without any need for hardware installation. And if they offered a truly versatile tiered system, it’d be unreal how quickly folks would switch.

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