UPDATE: Well, that didn’t last long. Hulu has plugged the hole, and there is now a geo-block in place for streaming content – it was fun while it lasted.
An interesting tidbit from Apple’s release of the Hulu Plus ‘app’ on the Apple TV earlier today. Unlike Hulu’s normal service, you can watch it in any region as long as you have a U.S. iTunes account attached to your hardware.
Normal Hulu service is strictly limited to the U.S. and, as of recently, Japan. Its restrictions, which are based on the licensing deals it has worked out with content providers, are notoriously reviled. The black market of Hulu viewing techniques is vast, as evidenced by just searching for ‘Hulu region restrictions‘.
But, as Beautiful Pixels’ (and former TNWer) Preshit Deorukhkar pointed out, he’s in Mumbai, India and the Hulu Plus app works just fine for him. Here’s his Apple TV running the Hulu Plus app from Mumbai:
So, what’s different? The billing system for Hulu on the Apple TV is significantly different than it is on Hulu’s website. It’s billed right through your iTunes account. This means that Hulu doesn’t get information on its subscribers viewing habits and it has to give Apple its 30% cut of the profits from the $7.99 fee.
This also means that, in order to watch Hulu Plus in any country, you still have to have a U.S. iTunes account. But that’s not too hard to come by, and you can recharge it with gift cards quite easily. This makes watching Hulu in ‘out of area’ countries the easiest its ever been. So, if you’re a Hulu lover who has resorted to proxies in order to get your Buffy watching on, then this could be a one of the best ways to do that.
Provided, of course, that Hulu doesn’t put a stop to it, but since Apple doesn’t share user data with third parties (a big sticking point for publishers of magazines) you should be fine for now, because there’s no telling where you’re accessing the service from. Until Hulu starts tracking the IP address and country where the stream is being accessed from that is.