Online video streaming site Hulu has certainly garnered some fans offering content from NBC and Fox (and, soon, ABC/Disney too), while at the same tiem alienating users who wish they could tap into Hulu’s content using tools like Boxee. Now, in a Google-like move, Hulu has taken the wraps off Hulu Labs, offering interested users a preview look at some of Hulu’s future technologies and products…and the first item available from Hulu Labs is Hulu Desktop, a new native desktop client for Windows and Macintosh that lets users take in Hulu content full screen and control playback with a a mouse and keyboard or any standard Windows Media Center or Apple remote control.
“Hulu Desktop was built by a small group on our engineering team (two devs, one designer, one product manager) who asked themselves one day: how can we make it easier for users to immerse themselves in the great shows and movies Hulu is fortunate to have access to?” wrote Hulu CTO Eric Feng on the company blog. “Our answer was to build a new PC and Mac application that gives users the option to step outside of their browser, keyboard, and mouse and into something different.”
Hulu Desktop still requires Flash, but enables users to both watch steaming content from the Hulu service as well as browse available content by studio or Hulu channel, or just pick from a big alphabetical listing. Users can also log into their Hulu accounts to access their queues, subscriptions, and viewing histories, as well as well as control things like captioning settings and video playback quality.
Breaking out of a Web browser is undoubtedly a good move for Hulu as it tries to move from a computer-only experience to something that works in living rooms, although fans of Boxee and folks who want a Windows Media Center add-on that handles Hulu are still waiting.