How to Get Hulu on Your iPhone

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There is a new rumor floating around that there will soon be a Hulu app coming to the iPhone and iPad! Of course we have been hearing those same rumors for nearly two years now. With Hulu often in the news today, and the demand for a Hulu app on the iPhone and iPad continuing to grow, there is still no end in sight. Don’t believe it? Go to Google and do a search for an Hulu app on the iPhone. You will find pages of results. Unfortunately it is the same headline from 2008 as it is from yesterday. In other words, we’ll believe it when we not only see it, but have it, have taken it apart, and have confirmed that it works. As it stands now, the only way to get a true version of Hulu on your iPhone or iPad, is to completely delete the OS and reload a different one, which kinda defeats the purpose.  But fear not, there are ways to get Hulu, or  something like it, on your iPhone. Be warned though, they are not for the feint of heart.

The growing consternation between Apple and Adobe’s Flash, and Hulu’s recent announcement that it is not planning on changing its Flash based model in favor of HTML5, makes it more and more unlikely that we will see an official Hulu app on the iDevices anytime soon. There is always the possibility that Hulu will write a specific app using a different type of video compression, just as YouTube did for Apple, but the longer we wait, the more frustrating the wait becomes. So we decided to take matters into our own hands.

There are a few ways to get Hulu (or an imitation of Hulu) on your iPhone or iPad, but many of them involve a crazy amount of expertise, a lot of hacking tools, and enough technical knowledge that if you could pull it off, you probably already have. So we went through and compiled a few of the easier work arounds that should get Hulu up and running on your iDevice.

Please note that Apple does not take kindly to people messing with their stuff *cough Gizmodo*, so undertake these hacks at your own risk!

Jailbreaking Your Device

This is the most effective, and most dangerous way to get Hulu and any Flash based programs- or any unauthorized Apple program for that matter- on your iDevice. There are a lot of good reasons to jailbreak your iPhone, and a lot of bad ones as well. But if you are absolutely determined, if you really hate Apple’s locks, then this is the method for you.

The Good: A jailbroken phone is a free phone. You can access programs that Apple would not authorize, and there are entire stores designed for jailbroken phones. Certain jailbreaks also bypass Apple’s deal with AT&T and let you use any carrier, and many jailbreak walk through software programs exist if you need help. And yes, you can finally use Hulu- or at least a type of Hulu.

The Bad: For the love of God don’t do this unless you have an idea of what you are doing. Sometimes there are good reasons for Apple to lock something out. Multitasking is coming soon for the new iPhone OS, but it wasn’t included on the older models for a reason. There are dangers in accepting unverified apps, both technically, and by threat of viruses. Any new update from Apple (iTunes for example), might reset your jailbreak and force you to do it all over. Oh, and you will INSTANTLY void the warranty.

So How Do You Get Hulu Running?: First you have to jailbreak the phone. There are several websites detailing the process, and some jailbreaks are more intensive than others- for example, jailbreaking your iPhone so you can switch carriers is much more difficult than other types.

Once you have jailbroken your phone, there are a few programs that can get Hulu up and running for you, but you may need to buy them, and they won’t be easy to find. Most of the hackers that claim to have added Flash to an iDevice are just bragging- ask them for proof and they will suddenly remember that they left the oven on and disappear. You will need to go deep, and have the technical expertise to truly port over Flash, and so far Flash Lite is the only version that has a guide floating around, and even that is hard to find.

But if you go this route, here is a way to run a Hulu(ish) app on your jailbroken phone. It ‘aint pretty, and it ‘aint really Hulu, but it works. Click here to learn how to jailbreak your iPhone.

Trick Your iDevice

The majority of the “hacks” out there to allow Hulu to run on an iPhone, are not truly hacks, rather they are work arounds. Most of which simply involve capturing the videos from Hulu through ingenious ways, then putting it on your iDevices as a video file. This is a good solution for people that have a grudge against bit torrent sites, but there are a lot of steps, and you need specific software.

The Good: It is safe. You are getting the content from Hulu, so viruses and the like should not be an issue. You will also have full access to Hulu’s library, and anything you can stream, you can watch, and you might be able to find some exclusive content that you can’t find anywhere else. It makes Hulu your own private library. This will not have any negative effects on your iDevice either.

The Bad: It is much more difficult and time consuming than simply downloading a bit torrent, and you will  need specific equipment.

So How Do You Get Hulu Running?: Well, technically you can’t, but you can fake it with the best of them. To be honest, this is not a way to get Hulu running on your iDevice, but rather a way to get Hulu content running on your iDevice. Big difference.

One way to get Hulu content is to use your Mac to capture the video. Sampletheweb.com offers a solid walkthrough, but you will need this equipment, or something like it:

-Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard installed

-The Latest version of Quick Time Player (with screen recording support)

-Hulu Desktop client for Mac

SoundFlower, an audio recording utility.

Once you are set, you queue up a show in the Hulu app, then use Screen Recording when the content begins.

There are other programs and other ways to do the same thing, but essentially you are just capturing video and then loading it as a media file on your iDevice. There are a few programs that will automatically do the same work as the descriptions above, but they will likely cost you some cash. The benefit of doing it this way is that you have access to Hulu’s impressive library.

Forget Hulu and Use Something Else – Like Bit Torrent

Yes, everyone wants Hulu on the iPhone. Even people that don’t ever watch Hulu are enthralled by the idea of a streaming service that puts TV shows right in their hands. It is the future, only now. And more than that, for many people in love with their iDevices, it has taken on a life of its own. Hulu has become the Holy Grail of apps; it is the one everyone wants, because no one can have it. But there are other ways to get the same results. You can always try to find other websites like Justin.tv, and Adhte.net, both of which stream TV, and both of which have hacks that can make them accessible via iDevices. There are also other apps like Elgato’s eyeTv, but those will cost you money.  But then, there is always bit torrent.

The Good: It is awesome. If you know where to look, you can find things that are insanely difficult to find, even to buy online. Want a Japanese show that just aired? Easy! Hoping to catch that rugby match from Wales? Totally doable. The speed of which you can download is entirely dependent on how many other people are downloading, so sometimes you can download data at incredible rates. And the selection is unbelievable, and sometimes you might find yourself enjoying things you would never even have considered paying for.

The Bad: You can get in trouble if you use it too much. Most cable internet providers have some form of limit on the amount you can download and upload each month, and that is almost entirely to stop you from using things like bit torrent. Again, the download speed is limited by the amount of users. If you want to get last week’s episode of Lost, no problem. If you are looking for a 1969 episode of Doctor Who, big problem. But the biggest problem by far is the malware. It is about a 50/50 chance that you will download something horrible. Usually it is just tracking software for advertisers, other times it is a ticking time bomb that is eager to ruin your computer and steal your identity.

So How Do You Get Hulu Running?: Ahhh, the legally murky world of bit torrents. And by legally murky, we mean almost entirely illegal. The idea is simple enough (and Goggleable enough too). You download a bit torrent clinet, then find a torrent hosting site with the thing you want. You download the torrent, open it in the program, and viola! You are connected to several others (possibly including Hollywood studios that want to kill you), via peer-to-peer sharing. The speed fluctuates wildly based on the number of peers, so it could take minutes, or it could take days. Sometimes if the file is rare, it may never be finished if the only other person with the file isn’t online. Plus, again, it is crazy illegal. The people that abuse bit torrent the most and download content more because they can, than because they want it, tend to end up in court. But, if you get the file you want, if it isn’t already in a format the iPhone can accept, it is a relatively easy process of conversion- but you might need a program for that.

One day, we will look back at our primitive foolishness and laugh at our feeble efforts to unlock internet content, as video and audio is pumped directly into our brains via some futuristic chip. But until then, we want Hulu on the iPhone! Well, at least we can dream. So in summation, there really is no one particular way to hack the iDevices and get Hulu to work.  There are work arounds, there are imitations, there are even better ways to get video content, but until Apple allows Flash, or until Hulu develops an Apple specific video player that does not rely on Flash, we might all be out of luck.

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