My team for Designing the Future of Television was inspired by the buzz around a potential Hulu iPhone App. There were reports that it was “coming soon” back in April, but still no app yet. There are some hurdles to the app’s release, such as the need for sign-off from Apple and AT&T. Also, according to comScore, only slightly more than 3% of mobile users watch video on their phones, so TV for mobile still has a long way to go. While iPhones have native support of watching YouTube videos, having the addition of Hulu would increase consumer choice to include a variety of commercial and longer form content.
We also checked out the AT&T Mobile TV service, but we were less inspired. AT&T’s service basically makes your cellphone a TV tuner for live TV. But you have to pay for it, unlike traditional broadcast (as opposed to cable) TV, which is free as long as you have the hardware. Also, we are less interested in watching live TV on my phone unless it’s breaking news or a sporting event. The whole point of mobile phones was to free us from the tether of our landlines, and the whole point of video on demand is to free us from the standardized schedules of broadcast. While landlines and live broadcast TV still have their place, we find the on-demand video of Hulu coupled with the placeshifting of a cellphones a compelling and inspirational direction for the future of television.