Hulu on the Xbox – Here’s How

The video below is a file from my 3g iPhone – not the best video in the world – until you consider it streamed live from a phone.

As you can see in the video, I’m streaming not just Hulu, but CBS and YouTube straight to me Xbox.

Some fancy new Vista thingee from Microsoft with a monthly fee attached to it? Nope, a product called “Playon” – currently in free beta.

I’ve got my install of Playon running on a Windows XP box – install was a breeze, interface is easy to use and set up.

I can stream Hulu, CBS and YouTube out of the box (including programs longer than 10 minutes – which aren’t on the AppleTV YouTube option). They promise Netflix soon.

Let’s hit a few highlights here:

  • Despite being more than a year old, there is still no compelling reason to upgrade to Vista. Products like this can quickly, in fact, prevent people from upgrading because they have options that make sense.
  • The “coming” service that streams Netflix to the Xbox in the Fall dashboard update will require a $50 yearly gold account. Rumor is, once they start charging for it, Playon will cost $30.
  • If you check out the Playon site, you’ll notice that they support a number of other set top devices as well. This isn’t just an Xbox play. They even promise Wii support soon.

There is the obvious cool geek factor in this post but this product also has some very important implications for our industry.

The jump of television from the computer screen to the television screen is going to get easier and easier. Whereas this doesn’t have the brain dead ease-of-use elements of the Apple TV, this has the potential audience of all game console players – a very big number indeed. The price of the software (if it is in fact $30) is a no brainer to anyone with a box it can run on and install was as simple as this kind of approach could possibly be. By not requiring Vista, they have everyone with a PC in their market.

And they might even help sell a few more game consoles in the process.

Getting your content to your audience is getting easier and easier.

You can focus on the getting the content there, or being the content.

I’d suggest the latter – there’s much more money in it.

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