Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Hulu Still Not Coming to Your iPad’s Web Browser

Waiting to watch Hulu on your iPad’s Web browser? Going to have to keep waiting.

The video site announced today that it isn’t going to support HTML5, the standard Apple is promoting for video.

Or at least that’s what it said at some point in the last few hours–the blog post where Hulu made the statement has now vanished. (My hunch is that the disappearance is a technical snafu, not a corporate policy shift.)

In any case, Allen Stern of CenterNetworks grabbed the text before it went away. This statement came from Hulu product head Eugene Wei:

We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesn’t yet meet all of our customers’ needs. Our player doesn’t just simply stream video, it must also secure the content, handle reporting for our advertisers, render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality, communicate back with the server to determine how long to buffer and what bitrate to stream, and dozens of other things that aren’t necessarily visible to the end user. Not all video sites have these needs, but for our business these are all important and often contractual requirements.

The translation is that Hulu is going to stick with Adobe’s (ADBE) Flash, which means the site, like many video outlets, still won’t work on Apple’s (AAPL) gadget.

This doesn’t mean you won’t get Hulu on your iPad, since Hulu is working on an app for the device. I’ll leave it to more technically sophisticated folks to explain how the company could stream video via an app without using HTML5.

But no matter how that video gets to your iPad, it is unlikely to be free. Instead, it will be bundled in with Hulu’s in-the-works subscription plan. More details here, but last I heard, the site–owned by News Corp.’s (NWS) Fox, GE’s (GE) NBC and Disney’s (DIS) ABC–was still trying to hammer out rights issues to allow it to sell the programming it currently distributes for free.