Hulu is a website that offers free, ad-supported streaming video of TV shows and movies from NBC, FOX and many other networks and studios. Hulu videos are currently offered only to users in the United States.
Hulu provides video in Flash Video format in a higher resolution and bit-rate than YouTube, including many films and shows that are available in 480p. Also, some TV shows and movies are now offered in high-definition. Hulu also provides web syndication services for other websites including AOL, MSN, MySpace, Yahoo! and Comcast's Fancast.com. Hulu provides one of the largest free video selections from a collection of over 50 broadcasting networks. It allows the users to watch shows with limited commercial interruption by watching longer ads prior to the start of the selected program.
Hulu distributes video both on its own web site and syndicated to other sites. In addition to NBC and FOX programs, Hulu carries shows from other networks such as Comedy Central, PBS, USA Network, Bravo, Fuel TV, FX, SPEED Channel, Sci Fi, Style, Sundance, E!, G4, Versus and Oxygen.
Hulu offers full episodes and segments from over 400 different TV shows, some no longer on the air, some in syndication, and many currently shown only in the United States. The TV content on Hulu is provided by NBC, Fox and their TV production subsidiaries Universal Media Studios and 20th Century Fox Television, respectively, as well as the aforementioned cable networks and other TV studios such as Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. Television, MGM Television and Lionsgate Television. Hulu allows users to share or edit these clips. Shows that get the most traffic on the site include The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Battlestar Galactica, The Simpsons, Bones, House, Arrested Development, Family Guy, The Office, Saturday Night Live, American Dad! and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It is the original host of Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.
Hulu offers over 100 motion pictures that range from classic to modern films. The movie content is provided by studios such as Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Lionsgate Entertainment and Sony Pictures among others. Hulu also offers trailers for new and upcoming movies. R-rated and TV-MA content is available unedited but only for registered users.
The Hulu venture was announced in March 2007, with AOL, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo! planned as "initial distribution partners". The name Hulu was chosen in late August 2007, when the website went live, with an announcement only and no content. It invited users to leave their email addresses for the upcoming beta test. In October, Hulu began the private beta testing by invitation, and allowed users to invite friends. Hulu launched for public access in the United States on March 12, 2008.