Remember Hulu? Remember the Super Bowl commercials featuring Alec Baldwin almost a decade ago? Hulu promised to be your one stop shop for free television programs and started the cord-cutting craze. Unfortunately that dream is now dead.
Early on it turned out too good to be true. Programs could be watched as soon as the day after they originally aired with hardly any advertisements. I used Hulu so much during the first summer that my internet service provider throttled my connection speed.
But then the 24-hour delay became an 8-day delay. No worries! It was still better than watching live and at least I wasn't a season behind. I would make an exception for major shows like "Lost," or "The Walking Dead," but for the most part I forgot that I was watching a week later than everyone else.
Then Hulu slowly introduced more ad breaks. Normally a one-hour show could be viewed in as little as 40 minutes depending on the length of the commercials, but the ratio started to even out. If the internet happened to be acting up that day, then it could take one even longer than an hour to watch.
Television channels started pulling their programming off the service. If it wasn't on one of the big three networks, chances are it wasn't on Hulu. Wanted to catch up on "The Big Bang Theory"? Sorry, you're out of luck. What about your favorite show on FX or Syfy? If they were on Hulu at all, they were delayed a month and possibly required cable service anyways.
Not owning a DVR in my dorm room, the on-demand service allowed me to go out and enjoy my evening and catch up on shows later while doing homework or laundry. When Hulu Plus was announced, I knew the writing was on the wall.
I tried out their subscription service for a bit. You mean I can watch Hulu through my Xbox 360 and I don't need my laptop plugged into my television? Great! Wait, you mean even though I pay for it there are still ads? Not great!
My browser history leaned more towards Netflix and less Hulu each month. The exclusive content that Hulu provides pales in comparison to other on demand services. Last week Hulu announced it would end all free programing and become a subscription-only business. I promptly deleted my bookmark of the Hulu homepage.
Now we're stuck with Yahoo View for our free, but delayed, TV. With a horrendous user interface, lackluster search feature and no way to have a personalized watchlist, I won't be using it.
Why would I? I already have Netflix and HBO Go. Even though those two have more than a person could watch in a lifetime I'm eyeing up other services. Amazon Video's selection has been ramping up with original content like "Man in the High Castle." Newcomer SeesoTV is the next Funny or Die by creating shows made by comedians such as Cameron Esposito, Dan Harmon and Jonah Ray. I thought the point of cutting the cord was to save money?
There are only so many services I can subscribe to with my dollars and free time. Goodbye Hulu, it was fun while it lasted.
This column was originally published in the August 17, 2016 edition of the Valley Courier.