What's Up with Hulu?

I'm always up for new ways to see TV shows and movies that I like, so I took NBC's new venture Hulu for a spin. I liked that there was lots of content, but in the end the user experience flat-out sucked. The kicker? I think there's a chance Hulu may be around for a while anyhow.

So what didn't I like? First, there's the perception that tons of content is available, but I continually came up dry with my searches. My search for Knight Rider, for example, returned Team Knight Rider. Ouch. That's like searching for Battle Star Galactica and only getting a list of Galactica 1980 episodes.

Hey, don't look at me all weird for looking up Knight Rider episodes. All of us kids were totally excited watching the Hoff and KITT in action each week. Really. And Hulu really does have Galactica 1980, too.

OK, I have to ask: What were they thinking? The network just couldn't leave well enough alone and had to create the abomination known as Galactica 1980? Really?

It looks to me like Hulu has a broad selection of shows, but not necessarily a great selection of episodes.

Second, I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of watching TV shows and movies on my computer in a Web browser. I just don't get why people would want to do that. Sure, my Mac rocks, but I have a Sony Bravia flat panel for watching TV. And a comfy couch. And TiVo.

I just have issues with the whole watching-TV-at-my-desk-on-my-Mac-when-I-could-be-sitting-on-the-couch-in-front-of-my-snazzy-TV thing.

Finally, the commercials. Yes, Hulu forces you to watch commercials during shows, and you can't skip them. I understand that it takes money to produce, distribute and maintain the programming we all love and hold dear to our hearts, but the inconvenience of watching shows in a Web browser while sitting at my computer doesn't hardly feel balanced by the non-avoidable commercials.

I have a better idea: Let me rent or buy the shows I want to watch, download them to my computer, watch them where ever I want -- like at my computer, on my TV, or even on the go on my iPhone -- and give me a user friendly system for managing those shows that doesn't involve my Web browser.

After that glowing review of Hulu's shortcomings, how could I possibly suggest that it won't tank (at least not right away)? Because I've chatted with several people that think Hulu is good enough. Not great, not something to get really excited about, just good enough -- which may be all it takes for a product like this to get by.

Granted, the handful of people I've discussed Hulu with clearly is not a complete cross section, but it was enough for me to see a trend. It makes me think that with the selection of programming available coupled with its "good enough" approach, Hulu might just stick around for a while.

OK, one more thing: Hulu actually has some episodes of Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot. Why must Hulu taunt me this way?