Streaming Wars Escalate: Hulu Will Be Free to Stream on Mobile

The service was previously available via mobile for paid Hulu Plus subscribers only.
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Starting this summer, Hulu fans will be able to watch select Hulu programming for free from their mobile devices without the need for a Hulu Plus subscription. The announcement was made at Hulu's Upfront event in New York City on Wednesday, where the company also revealed that its Hulu Plus subscribers had surpassed the 6 million mark, up from 5 million in December.

Prior to the announcement, only Hulu Plus subscribers could access content on mobile devices. For non-subscribers, free content was limited to desktops and laptops only. But this summer, Hulu will let non-subscribers watch "a selection of ad-supported full TV episodes on mobile devices — for free." In conjunction with the free streaming on mobile devices, Hulu also said it will be launching its next-generation Hulu Plus iPhone app.

Moreover, the company reiterated that it is in talks with cable providers to get its Hulu Plus service installed in select cable boxes. This comes on the heels of Netflix's announcement that its app would soon be integrated with TiVo DVRs from Atlantic Broadband, Grande Communications, and RCN.

Although Hulu didn't mention which or how many shows will be available for free on mobile devices this summer, today's news is still bound to please TV junkies as it offers yet another way to enjoy Hulu's catalog of TV shows without paying. The Hulu Plus paywall was one of the last barriers to using the service via mobile; now, the media company will have new users to show ads to, potentially increasing revenue.

What do you think, readers? If you avoided using Hulu before, does this change your mind? And with Hulu easier to use, does it make you more likely to cut cable entirely? Let us know in the comments.

Louis Ramirez
Contributing Writer

With over a decade of experience covering technology, Louis Ramirez has written for CNET, Laptop, Gizmodo, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @louisramirez.
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Louis Ramirez (DealNews)
@brneyedgurl And just like that -- the free episodes have arrived! Looks like it'll be Android only for the time being. Here are more details:!bs6bKJ
Louis Ramirez (DealNews)
@brneyedgurl Unfortunately, Hulu has yet to update their app. They were never specific about the release date (they just stated as coming this "summer"), so technically they still have the month of August. Hopefully, they're just running behind as this was a pretty big announcement on their behalf back in May.
Still waiting. And haven't seen any other articles regarding this in the last few months. Any updates to this story??
I'm a HULU customer, do I need to cancel my paid subscription? There's enough ads already to support this. We'll see.
I cut the cord years ago. Hulu never did it for me though. I used + and the free but with the constant ads on free and the lack if programs on + I just started shows on netflix then bought seasons on itunes. I still save $30 a month and never see commercials.
WOW! I think Hulu are finally getting it; just like Pandora, their best bet for revenue is ads on their free service. I think both services struggle that the distinction between their free and paid service is not enough for most customers to justify the costs... so they should really focus on their free service.

I wonder if they would extend that to the Roku app?