Hulu, the TV streaming site, has launched its long-awaited Hulu Plus, offering subscribers unlimited viewing of current season television shows over the Internet for a monthly fee.
The company is offering a free one-week trial, with a subscription cost of $7.95 a month after that. It has been offering a free trial since June, with a stated subscription cost of $9.99 a month. The actual launch price amounts to a 20 percent discount.
Hulu began in March 2007 as an independently operated video content website. Major content producers, like NBC Universal, News Corp., and The Walt Disney Company share in the ownership of the company.
The site offers a free selection of TV shows, clips and movies, designed for viewing on PCs, TVs, mobile phones and tablets. Hulu's selection of premium programming is provided by more than 225 leading content companies, including FOX, NBC Universal, ABC, Lionsgate, MGM, National Geographic, Paramount, A&E Television Networks, PBS, and Warner Bros. Television Group.
Until now, Hulu users have only been able to access older episodes of TV shows. Episodes from the current seasons aren't available until at least the following season. That changes with Hulu Plus, the new pay service.
"Hulu Plus gives you exclusive access to every episode, all season long, of Glee, Modern Family, House, and dozens of other popular shows - some featuring full series runs - from ABC, Fox, NBC, and more,â€ the company says on its website.
As with the basic service, you can watch programming on your TV, mobile device or computer. Subscribers will be able to stream episodes instantly in 720p HD to a supported device.
Increasingly, viewers with high-speed Internet connections have opted out of cable TV and satellite TV services in an effort to save money. Instead, they watch video content using the Internet.
The missing ingredient, of course, has been access to the most recent shows on the broadcast networks. Hulu has supported its free service through the use of advertising, but the Wall Street Journal reports some investors have "viewed that business model as a disappointment.â€