Last week, Hulu released its dedicated app for Mac, beta version 0.9.3. It's a fun, easy to use app that uses the Apple remote for MacBooks (if you have one) and looks very good, especially on a glossy screen.
Installation is easy. just drag the rather small app to the /Applications folder and drag a Hulu web plugin to the Internet Plug-Ins folder. (/Library/Internet Plug-Ins).
Installation is trivial
A help menu found by just clicking in the display area brings up a handy navigator along with help. You can use the remote or keyboard equivalents which are graphically mapped.
Help Display maps remote and keyboard. Nicely done.
The system requirements are listed as Intel Mac, and yet the app is a Universal Binary. Someone in the Hulu marketing department was uninformed, and users report that it runs fine on PPC Macs. Worse, however, is the stated minimum system requirement for Flash as 9.0.124. That version has been discredited with a security flaw, and everyone should be using Flash 10.x. (To figure out what version of Flash you're using, go to Adobe's test page.)
All additional graphics can be suppressed.
One of the things I really liked was the ability to drag the progress marker along the timeline and see a thumbnail preview of the show at that point. (That was hard to screen capture.) I also liked the organization of the content. It's very hierarchical and designed to be used with a simple remote.
One thing I didn't like was the license agreement. It can't be printed or saved. That's usually a sign that the developer is either lazy or hiding something. In this case, the license looked fairly standard, and was heavy on the protection of the IP of the software and the content it plays -- nothing unusual. I did notice that the app is strictly prohibited from being run on an Apple TV. (More Hollywood politics, which I won't get into.)
Every so often, you will be subjected to short commercials that can't be bypassed. That's the price of free content on Hulu.
The app is free and also seems fairly bug free. I pressed it to the limits on scan forwards in the timeline of the stream, and it never hung or crashed. However, another staff member reported that if a show remains paused long enough, it will fail to resume every time.
This is an app you'll definitely want to have and show your friends, assuming that you have a robust broadband connection of 2 megabits/sec or greater.