I was happily enjoying all the Parks and Recreation episodes (great show!) on Amazon Prime Instant Video when suddenly that stopped being available as part of Prime. I was about halfway through the fifth of seven seasons. What to do?
I didn’t really love it enough to pay ~$25/season to watch the rest of it, but it was available as part of Hulu Plus for only ~$10/month. I found a coupon for a two week trial instead of the normal one week and fired it up.
It was my first experience with Hulu Plus, and, while it was nice that it worked on all my devices (Amazon Fire TV, Xbox360, Xbox One, and Windows Phone), I wasn’t impressed. First of all, the ads are annoying. Yes, it’s less than normal TV, but I don’t watch ads in normal TV because I DVR it. Here I’m forced to sit through a small selection of commercials over and over again. They do have a new price tier that lets you get rid of commercials for a few extra bucks. That would definitely be worth it.
The commercials were annoying but I knew I could pay money to get rid of them when the trial was up so it wasn’t horrible. What really annoyed me was the failure to remember not only where I was in an episode when I stopped watching but even what episode I was watching. I switched from device to device regularly and it seemed like it worked properly only about half the time. The other half of the time I’d have to flip through all of the episodes, figure out which one I was on, and then fast forward through the episode until I got to the point where I stopped before.
In a world where we are talking about 4K high dynamic range content coming soon, Hulu still streams their content in stereo like it’s 1950. Where’s the 5.1 that every other streaming service offers?
And finally, when I watched from a desktop PC, the video would stutter every few seconds. This PC is a beast and it easily handles YouTube, Netflix or Amazon Instant Video. Why does Hulu have to stink?
Hulu was around before Netflix or Amazon Instant Video and what do they have to show for themselves? It’s the same story they’ve always had: it’s almost something awesome, but it’s still not there yet.
I cancelled my subscription before the trial ran out. Thanks for letting me watch Parks and Rec.
The Grand Tour
I don’t watch a lot of British television, but Top Gear is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. If you’ve never seen it before, pick out any of the reboot episodes (2002-2015) which corresponds to series 1 through 22. Some of my favorites are the Top Gear Polar Special, or Season 8 Episode 6 where they go camping in RV trailers. But basically anything that includes James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson is great.
Last year there was a big hubub and the BBC dropped them and replaced them with other hosts starting with series 23. I haven’t seen those new hosts and frankly I don’t really care to. The show was about the 3 people, not the cars or the channel it was on.
Amazon was smart enough to realize that and picked up those same three hosts for a “new” show on Amazon Prime called The Grand Tour. It promises to be everything we loved about Top Gear but without the constraints of the BBC execs. I have very high hopes for this and I won’t have to wait much longer because it comes out on Friday!