It took Hulu just two months to bring its subscription video-on-demand service to the $35 Chromecast streaming device for HDTVs — showing how quickly and easily content partners can get on to Google’s low-cost Internet TV platform.
Google launched Chromecast on July 24, initially with support for Netflix, YouTube and content purchased through Google Play. Because the cheap device doesn’t have an on-screen menu — using Apple or Android mobile devices as remote controls — new content partners can relatively easily adapt their existing apps to support Chromecast.
Hulu had an added incentive to get on Chromecast as fast as possible: The device lets users “cast” web pages and video from a Chrome browser to a TV — including free Hulu.com videos, subverting the $8-per-month Hulu Plus subscription service.
About one-third of Chromecast early adopters use it daily to watch free Hulu shows on TV, according to a study by Parks Associates. That stat comes with a caveat: The firm surveyed only 148 Chromecast users (out of about 3,000 total broadband consumers in the study).
Hulu began working on adding Chromecast support for Hulu Plus in late July, and on Wednesday released updates for Hulu Plus apps for Android phones and tablets as well as Apple’s iPad for the Google device. (The company says support for iPhone is coming very soon.)
Chromecast units sold out online within 24 hours of its July debut, indicating Google underestimated demand for the cheap video-streaming adapter. Also spurring initial interest: the limited-time offer of three free months of Netflix for Chromecast users, a promotion that Google ended after one day.
Currently, Chromecast is listed as the No. 1 bestseller on Amazon.com in the electronics category. Chromecast also is now in stock and available on Google Play, BestBuy.com and Best Buy stores.
Watch a Chromecast ad featuring Hulu’s “The Awesomes,” the animated skein from Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker: