Why I Canceled Hulu Plus

As a person who enjoys un-American activities on a regular basis, I long ago ceased to have a regular cable/satellite television subscription and went all-in on Internet only. It’s been years since I watched anything on television, and those years have been happy and productive.

Naturally, I am an anime fan so “cutting the cord” as it is now called was not a big issue for me anyway. I loathe fakey history, home and garden shows, reality tv, and sitcoms; I did not miss much by cancelling my subscription. These days finding legal sources of streaming anime online is a simple matter. Crunchyroll is my primary streaming site, and I am more than happy to pay for it. In fact, I would pay a great deal more for it if I had to. I spend a great deal of money on licensed merchandise for the shows I like, to support the things I want to watch.

Recently, I started watching Accel World. It’s a cool show about a crazy VR fighting game; you should watch it. Merits of the show aside, I was surprised to learn that it was streaming over on Hulu. I had never really used Hulu before since it seemed to be some sort of crippled version of a cable subscription. I had also heard that you had to watch ads even though you paid a subscription, which seemed truly ridiculous.

I put my misgivings about the service aside and signed up for Hulu Plus, because I wanted to support the streaming of a fun show. I was prepared to pay $8 per month for new episodes of Accel World and nothing else. I waited until the new episode came out and sat down to watch it.

A note about how I am watching here. I have a mac mini attached to my HDTV via HDMI. I use this computer for all my media viewing, and have exactly zero issues with it. Netflix, Crunchyroll, video news sites, local 1080p media, it all works no problem. So I opened up Hulu in Chrome.

First, Hulu complained because I was using AdBlock. Fair enough, I can live with this. I disabled AdBlock and continued on. I could choose to watch a 180-second uninteresting movie trailer or an assortment of other ads during the episode. I chose the trailer. Even muted it was a painful wait, but I put up with it.

The episode finally started, and immediately I noticed that the video quality did not match Crunchyroll’s. Not even close really, and I have a very solid Internet connection. Manually selecting HD did nothing to improve the quality. I was irritated, but again, I could deal with it. Then it started misbehaving. I refreshed the window, and then it kindly showed me a few ads before resuming.

The next week when I tried this again, I was forced to watch ads before the episode, before the eyecatch, after the eyecatch, and before the closing credits / next episode preview. The quality did not improve and the stream crashed three times while loading ads. I was, to put it mildly, irritated.

Irritated enough that I promptly cancelled my subscription, actually. I do not want to watch ads. Hulu offers an “ad selection” model to better target things to one’s interest. Problem: I don’t care about anything they are selling. At all. Even if I was, I still would not want to watch ads. I hate ads. Assuming that I am willing to put up with uninteresting ads which irritate me by their very presence, they can at least have the decency to not interrupt and/or destroy my viewing of the content itself.

So I am done with Hulu. Sadly, this whole experience does not really surprise me. I was a bit shocked at how irritating the ads were though; I had forgotten just how useless they are.

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