reDesign

January 2, 2009

10 ways hulu is better than a DVR

Filed under: consumer electronics, hulu, media, movies, television, video — Rakesh Agrawal @ 4:39 pm

I’ve been using a DVR for at least 8 years. I started off with a Replay 2020 and have since used other Replays, TiVos and cable company DVRs. Now my primary DVR is the whole home DVR that comes with AT&T’s u-Verse service.

DVRs have transformed the way I and many others watch TV. Besides breaking news and sports, I rarely watch live television.

But less than a decade after their inception (and before they’ve reached 50% penetration) they’re headed the way of the dodo, vinyl and cassette tape. The DVR’s kissing cousin — placeshifter Slingbox — will have an even shorter life.

The reason: Hulu. Here are 10 reasons why Hulu is better than a DVR:

  1. It’s free. DVRs typically cost $10-$15 a month for service. For a TiVo, add $150-$600 in hardware costs. Many people can use hulu to ditch their cable TV subscription altogether and save $60-$75 a month.
  2. You don’t have to program it. Sure, programming a DVR is a lot easier than programming a VCR. But it still takes work. And with 300+ channels, a lot of scrolling. Most DVR UIs are atrocious. While Web interfaces can make things easier, AT&T’s interface (powered by Yahoo! and recently redesigned) feels like Web 2004.
  3. You don’t have to manage it. A lot of the UI on a DVR is devoted to managing conflicts among recordings, managing recording space, etc. Many a user forum has been devoted to identifying the logic behind what gets recorded and deleted on DVRs. I just know that on my AT&T DVR, things don’t work the way I’d expect. (e.g. deleting programs I’ve watched before deleting programs I haven’t watched.)
  4. It’s infinite. You have access to thousands of TV shows and movies, way more than a DVR can hold. That’s only going to expand as programmers recognize the power of hulu and television on the Internet.
  5. You don’t have to know what you want to watch beforehand. If you hear about a program you’re interested in, you can go to Hulu and watch it.
  6. It has fewer ads. For many people, skipping ads is a big part of the appeal of a DVR. But it’s still a hassle. You have to pick up the remote at the right time and you usually end up watching 7-10 seconds of ads anyway because things don’t line up right. I’d rather sit through one 30 second ad. This isn’t bad for advertisers or TV networks either. (More on that later.)
  7. It helps you discover. Hulu recommends shows you might be interested in. Most DVRs don’t. (TiVo is a notable exception.)
  8. It’s social. You can share programs that you like with your friends on social networks.
  9. Your shows won’t be screwed up due to cable system outages, storms, power outages or a football game that goes long.
  10. It’s searchable. As a search geek, I’ve been impressed with the quality of Hulu’s search interface. They’ve made it easy to find content you want.

There are some advantages that DVRs have over hulu. I’ll write about those later. In the meantime, check out my list of ways to improve hulu.

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10 Comments »

  1. [...] hulu, media, movies, television — Rocky Agrawal @ 8:50 pm I recently wrote 10 reasons why hulu is better than a DVR. Here are six advantages that DVRs have over [...]

    Pingback by 6 ways a DVR is better than hulu « reDesign — January 12, 2009 @ 8:51 pm

  2. [...] Kilar, CEO of Hulu – Jason and his consumer-obsessed team built my favorite product of 2008, beating out the DVR. I just hope that his phenomenal success in giving consumers what they want isn’t a death [...]

    Pingback by 15 people I’d want to have dinner with « reDesign — March 22, 2009 @ 9:59 pm

  3. Hulu is only free if you consider your time to be worthless. Besides timeshifting the main function of DVRs is to ff past ads. Hulu eliminates that option. Right now there are not that many ads on Hulu, but you know they will ramp them up as soon as they get enough viewers.

    Remember, when cable TV first came out there were no ads because you paid to have the cable service, which offset the lack of ad revenue until some bright guy said “lets charge them and force them to watch ads!”

    Comment by Michaelc — May 21, 2009 @ 9:31 am

  4. The big difference between advertising on hulu and advertising on television that can be skipped with DVRs is that hulu can personalize the advertising and have a lot less of it.

    They’re not doing it yet, but they can when they get bigger.

    I once tracked how many ads on a TV show were relevant to me. For many shows, not 1 of the ads was relevant. I should not be seeing ads for feminine hygiene products, mobility scooters for the disabled or lawn mowers. These ads provide zero value to me as the viewer and zero value to the advertiser because I will never buy their products.

    Broadcast TV can’t personalize to the individual. hulu, in theory, can.

    I don’t mind watching ads that are relevant to my needs. I just hate watching ads for things I’d never be interested in.

    Comment by Rocky Agrawal — May 21, 2009 @ 11:52 am

  5. [...] peers, but have seen numerous commercials for it.  I decided to do a little research and found a few sites of interest if you’re thinking of switching from dvr.  Here are a few reasons I’m [...]

    Pingback by Trone—Unmass the Message® » Blog Archive » Hulu…Who knew?! — July 8, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

  6. You actually make it seem really easy together with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be really something that I believe I might by no means understand. It kind of feels too complicated and very huge for me. I am taking a look forward in your next submit, I will try to get the grasp of it!

    Comment by Learn More About Commercial Window Tinting — March 11, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

  7. [...] With officially licensed content, Hulu can offer content immediately after it airs. In many ways, Hulu is better than a DVR. For paying subscribers, much of Hulu’s content is available on television screens through [...]

    Pingback by Zen and the art of disrupting TV | VentureBeat — October 17, 2012 @ 9:53 am

  8. [...] With officially licensed content, Hulu can offer content immediately after it airs. In many ways, Hulu is better than a DVR. For paying subscribers, much of Hulu’s content is available on television screens through [...]

    Pingback by What Is Streaming? » Zen and the art of disrupting TV — October 18, 2012 @ 12:53 am

  9. [...] With officially licensed content, Hulu can offer content immediately after it airs. In many ways, Hulu is better than a DVR. For paying subscribers, much of Hulu’s content is available on television screens through [...]

    Pingback by Zen and the art of disrupting TV | HenQ Venture — October 18, 2012 @ 4:43 am

  10. […] With officially licensed content, Hulu can offer content immediately after it airs. In many ways, Hulu is better than a DVR. For paying subscribers, much of Hulu’s content is available on television screens through […]

    Pingback by Zen and the art of disrupting TV | BaciNews — December 26, 2013 @ 7:13 am


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