Hulu launches desktop app for watching web video
Hulu has been fighting a battle with media center application Boxee for months. Boxee is a desktop application that lets people interact with media on their hard drives or the web using a big screen interface that makes a good case for sticking your computer next to your TV. But Hulu's content partners like Fox and NBC make a lot more money when you watch TV shows through old fashioned TV broadcasts instead of on the internet, so I wasn't surprised to see Hulu disable Boxee support. But I was rather surprised to see Hulu launch its own desktop client today.
Hulu Desktop beta is designed to let you navigate Hulu from your couch, and it works either with a mouse and keyboard or a Windows Media Center or Apple remote control. You can use the desktop client to search for videos or browse through media by category. Videos can be viewed in full screen mode, and when you use the navigation tools to find additional programming the video will continue playing in a small window.
If you link Hulu Desktop to your Hulu account you can access your personal information including your Hulu queue from the desktop client.
Hulu Desktop is one of the first tools launched as part of a new Hulu Labs, a new experimental section of Hulu. Other Labs tools include the ability to browser for programs by original air date, video recommendations based on your viewing history, and video panel widgets.
Update: Oh yeah, before you ask... Hulu Desktop won't work outside of the US any better than the web version of Hulu does.