Hulu Plus Apple TV App Is Ready for Prime Time, But Apple Won’t Pull the Trigger [Rumor]


Hulu Plus

It appears that Apple has had a Hulu Plus app for the Apple TV cooking in Cupertino for over a month, and the app is running on prototype Apple TV units inside Apple’s headquarters.

According to 9to5Mac’s sources, a Hulu Plus app is “ready to roll out” to current Apple TV users right now. Apple hasn’t pulled the trigger yet due to “political” reasons, like the fact that Hulu Plus directly competes with the TV section of iTunes.

While there are no technical issues standing in the way of the Hulu Plus release on Apple TV, there appear to be some political ones. At some level at Apple, there appears to be some consideration that the Hulu Plus app could eat into iTunes TV sales on the Apple TV. Where Netflix tends to run older programming, iTunes is the Apple TV’s only outlet for current TV programming.

So, there’s a Hulu Plus app in the works for the Apple TV, yet Apple obviously considers the service as a threat to iTunes. While it’s true that both iTunes and Hulu Plus offer current TV episodes, the $7.99/month Hulu Plus service is based on a subscription streaming model and iTunes is download only. Netflix doesn’t really play into the equation, as it mainly focuses on movie titles and cataloging older TV seasons to watch in bulk.

Whenever you get involved with Hollywood, there’s always a lot of red tape. That rule is no exception with Hulu. Currently, the Hulu iOS app can’t stream content to the Apple TV via AirPlay. The Hulu Plus iPad app can play video via HDMI on a HDTV, but only in standard definition.

There were rumors months ago that Apple was actually considering buying Hulu, but the deal reportedly never even got past initial talk between the two companies. Google was allegedly also interested in Hulu at one point.

Hulu Plus is available on select set-top boxes, like the Roku. Apple implementing the service into the Apple TV would be a huge win for customers.

There’s also the chance that Apple will introduce a video streaming subscription service in iTunes, or even an iOS app to compete with cable providers. There are many factors at play, but hopefully Hulu will make its way to the Apple TV sooner rather than later.

  • MacRat


    We currently don’t have the rights to make this show available on TV or mobile devices — request to be notified if it becomes available in Hulu Plus.

  • CharliK

    sorry but the logic is bull. Folks have been yelling for Apple to do subscription for ages. Allowing Hulu Plus on the Apple TV is the way to do that without doing it. People that want to buy will buy, those that want to ‘rent’ will rent. Same as with DVD sales v Netflix and RedBox. Apple has known this for a while. 

    The Political reasons are the same ones that hit Google. Hulu doesn’t have the rights to broadcast on TVs, Google, Apple or otherwise. So they would have to block Apple TV access just like they block Google until the rights are figured out. And that’s not likely to happen for a while cause the cable companies have the networks locked in for such rights for a while. 

    It is possible that Apple did prototype the app when they were revamping the Apple TV and were trying to get a deal for it but that fell through and thus why they never hit go on. It’s also possible that they are actually trying to improve the buying of shows with more stuff available right off rather than 6 months later, no more dropping older eps, more CC etc and cheaper prices, especially for season passes (and also simply more season passes). That would be in line with their talk that folks would rather buy than rent shows.

  • Michael Dotson

    If Apple could somehow swing a deal to buy Hulu, then they’ve won the TV game.  Why shell out money to crap cast when I can buy a Super Apple TV? Cable companies (among others) have america by the balls. If Apple can find a way, it’ll spearhead a whole new way of television. It’ll do for TV what the iPod and iTunes did for music. I mean, how is it natural that a company can contract a town to where i can subscribe to the competitor in said town? What kind of government would let a company do that to its people? Apple would piss off a lot of people, but they could do something very big.

  • turbohand

    “Availability: We currently don’t have the rights to make this show available on TV or mobile devices — request to be notified if it becomes available in Hulu Plus.”
    THIS! The problem with Hulu is that a large percentage of what I want to watch cannot be viewed on a device other than my Mac. I have a Roku player and Hulu Plus is virtually worthless. I don’t see the value add to AppleTV.

  • TipseyMcStumble

    I don’t get your reasoning for Apple to not do Hulu due to subscriptions. Apple has been serving Netflix for awhile now.

  • Shane Bryson

     You might be an idiot. It is extremely clear that it isn’t Hulu blocking the deal, it is APPLE. It has nothing to do with Hulu’s broadcasting rights. It has to do with Apple being afraid of losing a dollar on their own services by offering a competing service.

  • NotThatBobJames

    CORRECTION NEEDED — Hulu CAN be shown via Airplay. Airplay Mirroring on iPad 2 and iPhone 4 S, that is. Just zoom your HDTV and it can be nearly full-screen. Still SD, though.

    I do love my Apple TV, but plan to buy a Roku 2, as it has Hulu and lots of other stuff. Get movin’ Apple or I’m movin’ out.

  • CharliK

    IF that was true then why do they offer Netflix. 

  • CharliK

    Netflix had already set up deals for the Roku etc. Apple was able to piggyback off those 

  • Josh Korpi

    Dumb that Apple is forcing me to buy a Roku box for NetFlix+Hulu+ access, I’m not purchasing multiple boxes when Roko will do Netflix, Hulu+ and others all in one @ 1080p

  • Rush Libraughl

    Apple won’t do Hulu Plus because Hulu Plus has advertising that Apple couldn’t control.

    Apple is a company that is trying to “fix” the way we watch TV while Hulu’s model merely perpetuates it on a new medium. Also, Apple is a company that does things well — meaning, if they can do something but not do it better than everyone else then they just won’t do it at all until they completely figure it out.

    As a user experience professional and someone who cut the cable cord over half a year ago and recently subscribed to Hulu Plus (thinking about getting rid of it after only a few days) it’s terrible to go from Apple TV’s zen garden of no commercials with iTunes and Netflix and all of a sudden have ads. I haven’t seen a commercial on my home TV in at least 7 months and I was horrified to encounter them again just days ago. Ads in their current form on television would ruin the Apple TV experience.