Hulu, the TV network-supported streaming online video service that was started in response to the growing video section of the iTunes Store, has recently released a beta version of Hulu Desktop, a full-featured client application for the Hulu service that allows users to turn a 2.0GHz dual core Mac or Windows PC into a Hulu media center. Hulu Desktop is designed to work with standard keyboards, Windows Media Center remote controls, or Apple remote controls, and can easily be controlled with just six buttons, allowing users to navigate between menus, select content to watch, play and pause content, scan forward or back through the currently-playing video and adjust the volume. An iPhone app version is expected in the near future.
Similar in concept to Apple’s Front Row and Microsoft’s Windows Media Center applications, the Hulu Desktop is designed to make Hulu’s entire library of content more readily available to Hulu users without having to rely on a web browser, enabling access to TV shows, movies, and short video clips with commercial sponsorship rather than download charges. The initial release of the Hulu Desktop is as a beta so that Hulu can gather user feedback to improve the service. Hulu Desktop is available as a free download from http://www.hulu.com/labs/hulu-desktop in both Mac and Windows versions, and requires an Intel Core Duo 2GHz CPU, 2GB of RAM and Flash 9 to be installed. It is presently available solely for U.S. users.