Tag Archives: Hulu

Hulu Desktop 0.9.10 – Stream TV shows to your desktop

Hulu Desktop is a lean-back viewing experience for your personal computer. It features a sleek new look that’s optimized for use with standard Windows Media Center remote controls or Apple remote controls, allowing you to navigate Hulu’s entire library with just six buttons. For users without remotes, the application is keyboard and mouse-enabled. Hulu Desktop is a downloadable application and will work on PCs and Macs. It will initially launch as a beta product during which we plan to gather and incorporate user feedback to improve the service.

Version 0.9.10:

  • This update includes general bug fixes for everyone and Hulu Plus support if you are a Hulu Plus subscriber. The update should be automatic for Mac and Windows users.
  • **One known issue we’ve noticed – if you are already signed into your Hulu Plus account when the update installs, you may not see your entire queue. In this case, sign out and sign back in again, and your full queue should appear. Our apologies on this glitch – we should get it fixed soon.
  • Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz.
  • At least 2.0 GB of RAM.
  • Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
  • 2 Mbps Internet connection.
  • Flash 9.0.124.

Download Now

(Via MacUpdate – Mac OS X.)

Five Things That Will Keep Shaping The Web in 2011

Five Things that Will Keep Shaping the Web in 2011

Last time, I discussed the things that shaped the web design industry in 2010. Now, let’s look forward to what’s ahead this year. I won’t be making crazy, outlandish predictions; instead, I’ll be talking about things that will likely continue to exert an ever-increasing influence on our industry this year.

1. Flash

Flash? I can hear people seriously questioning my mental state right now. How can Flash be a major influence this year? ‘But…but…but Flash is fighting to survive amidst HTML5 APIs,’ you must be saying to yourself. But that is where the key is.

If Flash does die, it will die fighting. And, as we all know, the best innovations happen when companies are fighting for their survival. Think about how Apple almost went bankrupt in the 90s, and now they are industry innovators with products such as iTunes, iPad, Macbook Air, and iPhone.

I doubt Flash will ever vanish from the web completely, even amidst open technologies like JavaScript and HTML. With this battle ahead, Flash must prove its worth; it must innovate, stand up, and say, ‘Look, this is what I can do for you that HTML5 and JavaScript won’t be able to.’

Adobe, the company that owns Flash, knows that it’s under serious threat against open HTML5 APIs such as canvas, audio, and video that leverage JavaScript for creating rich media components with animation and dynamic drawing capabilities — an area that their product has been primarily fulfilling.

Because of this realization, they’re one of the first companies working on creating an HTML5 editor/IDE, starting with their HTML5 prototyping tool (codenamed Edge). They have also incorporated HTML5 canvas-exporting capabilities in Flash CS5.

Flash

Adobe has continued the development of Flash to increase its performance, especially on mobile devices with the release of Flash Player 10.1 for mobile devices.

Expect to see something out of Flash this year, whether its innovation, a repurposing of the technology, or a significant drop in usage.

2. Print Media

I regularly pick up and read a newspaper, but it would certainly be true that I am among a declining number of people who are doing so.

An industry that has significantly influenced and inspired web designers and content-driven websites (such as blogs, for example), the traditional print medium is under threat.

But it’s fighting back.

Among those under threat are print companies that produce content in a more disposable form, such as newspapers and magazines where speed and timeliness is crucial.

From paywalls to mobile apps, companies in the printed world are exploring ways to adapt to the web so that they may continue delivering the quality content they’re known to produce. If The Times, for example, can make their paywall work, then don’t be surprised to see other similar print media companies throwing up paywalls across the web and potentially influencing the culture of free content on the internet.

A big area where newspapers and magazines are focusing on is the Mobile Web. Reading a magazine on the desktop isn’t that great of an experience, but sitting with an iPad while you have your morning coffee and breakfast can easily compare to the experience. iPad apps, accompanied by subscription-based payment models, are seen as the key focus for a number of print media outlets.

It’s not just a case of traditional media being ported to apps either; the first iPad-only magazine, called Project, has already been released.

Project

As traditionally print-based companies feel the threat from the internet, we might see innovations in the ways their websites seek monetization and revenue. Even content-driven sites, already increasingly less reliant on internet-advertisement monetization, may take cue from a medium that has heavily influenced their own. We have seen recently, for example, the Tuts+ network, which got its start on the web, offering subscription-based premium content much like The Times and the New York Times paywall.

3. Hardware-Accelerated Browsers

Described as the ‘next frontier of the browser wars,’ by ReadWriteWeb, hardware acceleration is set to bring a whole new realm of speed to your browser. Opening up previously untapped processing power in your computer will enrich our browsing experience.

Widely touted by Microsoft in IE9, hardware acceleration (or hardware-accelerated browsers) is set to improve the power and speed of your browser, boosting the performance of rendering times, JavaScript performance, and HTML5 animation, audio, and video performance.

Hardware-Accelerated Browsers

And it’s not just IE, Google Chrome and Firefox are coming out with their own hardware-accelerated browser features. Google Chrome, for example, has Tabpose and other GPU-accelerated compositing features in the works. Likewise, Firefox 4 has full hardware acceleration.

From a user’s perspective, we’re set to see improvements in the speed and quality of graphics rendering. The ability to utilize hardware more fully will mean an even richer web experience.

4. Television

Watching TV on the internet and accessing the internet on your TV are the two primary ways the internet and the television industry are working together. TV on the web is already on demand with web services such as Hulu, Netflix, Fancast, and BBC iPlayer.

TV advertising revenues will inevitably drop as people increasingly watch their shows on demand rather than at their scheduled time with the programmed ads. Bandwidth is also an issue: Streaming HD video through the internet can be taxing on internet service providers.

The second focus is having the internet on your television set so that you can watch streaming video on your awesome flatscreen TV while taking advantage of the web’s interactive and socially-networked features. We have Apple TV, Google TV, internet-capable TVs, and gaming consoles such as Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii; the number of options for getting the web in your TV is near endless.

Television

Expect industry leaders to investigate new compression and encoding technologies to assist the speed and file size of delivery of TV through the web. Expect even more innovation in the TV/web space this year.

5. Location-Based Services

The internet no longer sits on your desktop, and everybody from your kids to your grandmother uses the internet. You carry the internet around in your pocket, in your laptop or netbook, and in your tablet; it’s only natural that technology companies will want to take advantage of this.

Facebook has stepped into the space last year; and now, they already have over 100 million Facebook mobile users. Gowalla rolled out their latest iteration not so long ago, along with some very interesting features that highlight the power of location-awareness. The Notes feature in Gowalla, for example, allows users to leave notes about a particular location that a friend can pick up when they visit the area (e.g., ‘Dad, don’t forget to pick up milk when you come here to Costco’).

Location-Based Services

There are now also plenty of ‘near me’ applications such the SoleSearch iPhone app that uses GPS data to show you boutique sneaker retail stores near you (the app was initially built by shoe enthusiasts/entrepreneurs with no programming experience). The task management iPhone app, Omnifocus, shows great use of location awareness by allowing you to create tasks with specific locations so that your to-do lists have improved context that can increase your productivity.

We’ll see more location-aware apps that will serve you relevant information and features depending on where you are at any given moment. Combine location-aware features with other upcoming technologies such as barcode scanning, book cover recognition, Google’s speech recognition API, and augmented reality — and the possibilities suddenly becomes countless.

No doubt, an increase of pushed, location-aware content for smart phones and similar devices informing you of nearby points of interest will only rise in popularity.  We’ll also see content tailored to your current location while you browse websites on your mobile phone, and even more innovation focused in this space.

(Via Six Revisions.)

How to Access Hulu and Other U.S.

hulu.pngWe’ve covered several ways to access blocked stuff on the web, but most free proxies are problematic; namely, they go down, and they’re slow. Lifehacker AU explains how to set up a Squid proxy on your own server to avoid those problems.

Note: This tutorial is fairly technical, and requires that you’re willing to pay for server space of your own in the U.S. If you’re based in the U.S. and looking to access geo-locked content in other countries, you’d want to rent your server space in the appropriate place. For another great alternative that you control, check out Digital Inspiration’s guide to using Google App Engine as a free proxy server.

One of the perennial challenges for Australian TV enthusiasts is finding a way to use Hulu and other geo-blocked streaming services. Here’s how Lifehacker reader Luke Carbis solved the problem.

I realise that you’ve featured Pandora and Hulu access from overseas on your site before, but this way hasn’t really been done before. The beauty of it is that once you’ve got it set up, you don’t have to look at it or think about it ever again!

  • A server in the US (I use Slicehost, but any US server will do)
  • SSH access to said server

The premise

We’re going to set up the U.S. server to run a proxy (alongside Apache, because my server is a web server, too). Then we’re going to tell our computer to use that proxy for the web, but only if the URL is pandora.com or hulu.com.

Step 1: Install Squid

Squid is a fully-featured HTTP/1.0 proxy. Log into your server via SSH, and install it by using this command:

sudo aptitude install squid squid-common

Step 2: Edit the Squid config file

You can edit the file using vi or nano while you’re in the SSH environment like this:

sudo vi /etc/squid/squid.conf

Or you can just use FTP. The file you want is located at /etc/squid/squid.conf.

Now there’s two things that we need Squid to do, which we specify using this file.

1. Authenticate the user by checking their IP, and

2. Use port 8080 so we don’t have any Apache conflicts

You can download my squid.conf file here. Change lines 603-606 to allow your own IP addresses (instead of the two IP addresses I use).

Step 3: Restart Squid

First, correct your permissions with:

sudo chown -R proxy:proxy /var/log/squid/

sudo chown proxy:proxy /etc/squid/squid.conf

And then restart with:

sudo /etc/init.d/squid restart

Step 4: Set up your proxy settings

Sounds easier than it actually is. It’s not as simple as using http://your-server.com:8080, because we only want to use that as a proxy if the URL is something specific (pandora.com). Instead we need to create a custom .pac file with our specific proxy settings.

So, create a .pac file (it’s just plain text), and save it with the following:

function FindProxyForURL(url, host)

{

// variable strings to return

var proxy_yes = “PROXY your-server.com:8080″;

var proxy_no = “DIRECT”;

if (shExpMatch(url, “http://www.pandora.com*”)) { return proxy_yes; }

if (shExpMatch(url, “*pandora.com*”)) { return proxy_yes; }

if (shExpMatch(url, “http://www.hulu.com*”)) { return proxy_yes; }

if (shExpMatch(url, “*hulu.com*”)) { return proxy_yes; }

// Proxy anything else

return proxy_no;

}

You can save this to your hard drive for use, or you can upload it to your server and link to it that way. If you have multiple machines using this file, I would recommend the latter so you can easily update the proxy settings for all of them if you need to.

On a Mac, you can tell your computer to use this file for it’s proxy settings by opening System Preferences, clicking Advanced, clicking on the proxies tab, choosing Automatic Proxy Configuration, and entering the URL there (or choosing a file on your hard drive). I’m sure you can do it on Windows too, but I’m not sure how (you’ll figure it out, I’m sure).

Once those settings are saved you should be good to go. Enjoy Pandora and Hulu from Australia without having to open a special program or change your network settings!

Thanks Luke!

Access Hulu And Other Blocked Services Using Squid [Lifehacker AU]

8 Companies That Are Reinventing TV Online

television-setWeb television has matured significantly in 2009; we’ve seen the introduction of the Streamy Awards, Dr. Horrible seized control of the Emmys, and the launch of more internet TV-related startups than we can count. TV-over-IP is starting to hit television sets thanks to set-top-boxes, TVs, and disc players with built-in streaming capabilities, and like print media before it, traditional broadcast television is beginning to grapple with the inevitability of an Internet-driven future.

Here are several companies that believe they are well-positioned for the transition — big and small, old and new. This isn’t a complete list by any stretch, but these samples will give you an idea of where the industry is headed in 2010.


1. Hulu


hulu

Along with TV networks’ own websites, Hulu has been one of the de facto destinations for users seeking network television programming on the web. It’s a joint venture between NBC, FOX, and ABC, and while it still isn’t profitable, it’s arguably the best example of giving users what they want from a site that streams professional content.

At the 2009 Digital Hollywood conference NBC executive Mark Graboff said, ‘Hulu is basically an anti-piracy move.’ If you’re a major TV studio, it’s better that viewers are getting the content from you with minimal advertising than from BitTorrent and RapidShare pirates with no advertising at all.

In addition to shows from participating broadcast and cable networks, Hulu distributes some programming that originates on the web. You can’t be sure where Hulu is ultimately going to go — though premium subscriptions have been discussed — but at the moment it’s a strong proof of concept.


2. Apple


itunes

Never mind the fact that the Apple TV set-top box has been a niche success at best, iTunes is the world’s largest online distribution platform for pro-quality videos. You’ll only beat its variety of programming by subscribing to cable or satellite television.

The downside is that it’s expensive — $2.99 per episode if you watch in HD. But insiders have said that Apple is approaching TV studios to sign them up in a new plan: $30 per month for an all-access pass. If you have a set-top box or home theater PC to watch all those HD shows in your living room, getting cable or satellite for twice the price suddenly seems pointless. Oh, and you’ll be able to watch those shows on your iPhone or iPod, too.

If Apple succeeds in convincing the producers of content to cooperate, it’ll be a red letter day for Internet TV.


3. Boxee


boxee

Boxee doesn’t produce video content, and it doesn’t distribute anything on the web, either. Instead, it provides an interface for watching the stuff other people have made and distributed on your television set. Boxee software is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux home theater PCs, and you can run it on an Apple TV box too.

Using Boxee’s media center, you can browse videos from all over the Internet in an interface that is usable several feet away from the screen with a remote. Boxee also offers social networking features; you can rate everything you watch and recommend stuff to your friends.

Getting web TV into the living room is critical for the medium’s future, and Boxee is near the front of the line.


4. Clicker


clicker

At launch, web TV guide Clicker indexed 400,000 episodes from 7,000 TV shows. It lists content from distribution channels like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon, and numerous smaller sources. There’s not a better place to search for professionally produced content to watch online and the company has also partnered up with Boxee.

The size of the database isn’t the only draw — Clicker also provides tools for browsing shows without typing in text searches; that will be a big deal when and if the service makes its way to tablets and other mobile devices. The database is organized by network, genre, and several other tags. The idea is that you can go to Clicker thinking, ‘I’m in the mood for a science fiction comedy produced by the same people who made that other show I like,’ and find something to satisfy your craving.


5 & 6. Revision3 and Next New Networks


The Revision3 network was founded in 2005 by several TechTV alums, including Digg founder Kevin Rose. The network produces, distributes, and markets several shows for niche audiences. (Most of them are tech-related talk shows.) Just over a year ago, Revision3 began distributing and marketing shows produced out-of-house.

Next New Networks launched in 2007, and it operates several websites that each push out videos on specific themes. For example, Barely Political focuses primarily on politically satirical music videos, and Indy Mogul runs several film-themed programs.

These two ventures are included here as examples of bona fide TV networks on the web, delivering regularly scheduled programming just like NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, or The CW do. Both Revision3 and Next New Networks employ a super-distribution strategy — that is, they send their content to as many outlets as possible, including BitTorrent, YouTube, iTunes, and numerous others.

Revision3, Next New Networks, and other networks produce shows for niche audiences that mainstream television can’t afford to reach due to limited over-the-air shelf space. The New York Times thinks that might be the strategy that will win the race.


7 & 8. Mutant Enemy and Gary Sanchez Productions


drhorrible

Some Hollywood celebs are trying their hands at this, too.

Joss Whedon’s Mutant Enemy Productions was behind the broadcast TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse. It’s listed here because of just one web project: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. From the Hollywood camp, the three-act show starred Doogie Howser and Barney Stinson himself, Neil Patrick Harris. Opposite him was Felicia Day, Internet-famous as the creator and star of the web TV series The Guild (though she has appeared on TV, including an 8 episode stint on Whedon’s Buffy).

Dr. Horrible won seven Streamy Awards, became a minor pop culture phenomenon, proved that people are willing to watch long-form content on the web, and — as we mentioned earlier — briefly took over the Emmy Awards ceremony when Neil Patrick Harris hosted.

There’s also Gary Sanchez Productions. The company is owned by Saturday Night Live alums Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Their flagship product, Funny or Die, is a site that streams short comedic videos made by recognizable names like Judd Apatow and Zach Galifianakis. Users vote ‘Funny’ or ‘Die’ when watching each video, and the videos that get good reviews inevitably go viral.

Mutant Enemy and Gary Sanchez have demonstrated that figures from traditional TV media can make a big impact on the web. We’ll see how many more celebs successfully follow in their footsteps.

(Via Mashable!.)