“Unfortunately, this video is not available on your platform. We apologize for any inconvenience.” Those words still haunt many PlayStation 3 users. It seemed like the good times would never end. The halcyon days of free internet TV, combined with the power of Sony’s PS3 are over, but then Hulu, once accessible to PS3 owners, was blocked.
It began last summer when suddenly the Hulu application on the PS3 network stopped working without warning. The program would open, but the video was replaced with the error message. It was a few weeks before Hulu confirmed that they were blocking the video content on PS3, citing some vague reasoning that was tantamount to them not making enough money. They used plenty of double talk, but what it came down to was that it wasn’t profitable enough, so they stopped. Some suspect that there may have been behind the scenes license negotiations, and Hulu may have been angling for an exclusive deal with either Sony of Microsoft, but nothing has come from that. Whatever the reasons, the end result is that PS3 users got screwed.
Well, if there is one thing that any tech based service provider like Hulu should know, it is that given enough time, people WILL find ways to get around blocks. If aliens came down and blocked Google (it could happen…) odds are a group of hackers with nothing better to do would have a work around in a week, or someone would sell a program to get around it.
For those looking for an easy way to get Hulu back on your PS3, we have a pair of downloadable programs for you to buy.
TVersity is a program for your PC that allows you to stream most content to your PS3 over a home network.
The Good: The Pro version of TVersity allows you access to a huge selection of online websites that stream media content, including Hulu. It is easy to download, the setup is straight forward IF your system is up to date, and the cost is reasonable.
The Bad: There is a standard edition that is free, or a Pro edition which is a onetime fee, but kind of expensive. The catch is that the Pro is slightly expensive at $40 for a single PC, or $70 for a household. Not a bad price for what you get, but the promise of the free edition rings hollow. Also, you are using your PC to stream the content which can slow your home network. The program can be finicky about your system, and may require a few codec updates. In fact it likely WILL BE finicky and require you to delete any previous codecs and reinstall a new pack. The audio might share the same problem. The software is currently for PC only, although a Mac program is in the works according to the website. You will need a decent PC to run the program.
So How Do You Get Hulu Running?: The process is fairly straightforward. You can download the program from the TVersity website. Once you sign up, you pay a onetime fee for the license. You can sign up for the service for free, but without the selection on the Pro service, the program is borderline useless. The free service is a joke. With the free selection, you can access YouTube, Flickr, Funny or Die and a few other video web services. With the Pro, you get Hulu, CBS, NBC, ESPN, Comedy Central and many more. The difference between the two borders on ridiculous.
Once you install the program on a computer that is on your home network, you will just need to follow the setup on the computer. Once it is fully up and running, you just need to make sure the PS3 is running on the same network. Assuming everything works properly, the PS3 should be automatically identified by your media player. If it does not, you may have to alter the settings of your media player. The TVersity website offers plenty of step by step guides and work arounds, but hopefully an updated system won’t need to worry about it.
Once you have TVersity up and running, and the PS3 is connected on the network, you will add a folder in the TVeristy program that will store your media. The software will then scan for available content. If everything worked properly, you should see an entry on your PS3 under the video section. Click on it, and you can stream away.
Like TVersity, this program streams content from your computer and sends it to your computer.
The Good: It is slightly easier to use than TVersity, and it features a step by step walkthrough to help you through the setup process. It is a bargain, and the company frequently offers sales; right now it is $20 through May 20th, but it will then jump back up to $40. They offer a free 14-day trial.
The Bad: You are still using your PC and streaming over your network, which will slow your network. For many of the channels, you will need to download plug-ins which are notorious for causing problems. No Mac support, and no word on any plans to support Mac. The PC system requirements are very high.
So How Do You Get Hulu Running?: First, you need the software from PlayOn. Once you have them, you simply install the program and let it run. In theory. You may need to download one of the patches on the website which will take care of most of the codecs, but you may also need to download several plug-ins to access certain sites. Once you have that set up, you can access Hulu, CNN, ESPN, MTV, NBC, Spike TV, and many more.
After you download the program, you need to connect your PS3 to the network and then PlayOn should see it. Like with TVersity, if the PS3 does not appear you can head to the PlayOn website for a series of walkthroughs. Check out the video below for a visual description.
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While neither of these programs is quite the same as the awesomeness that was the official Hulu program on the PlayStation Network, this is the next best thing. It may take a little technical knowhow, a decent PC, and a few dollars, but once you are set, you can access TV content at any time.