Friday, October 10, 2008

YouTube gives Hulu a runs for its money

Today, YouTube has done something that has previously been unthinkable.  They started offering full-length TV episodes.  (Don't worry.  This is official CBS content, not pirated.)
For a long time now, Google has been trying to make a profit off of YouTube.  They have been also facing legal problems from Viacom because of the pirated content that has become prevalent on YouTube.

And they have done it.  Today, Google started a test run by offering a limited number of full TV episodes from Star Trek, Beverly Hills 90210, and MacGyver.  

Once you open the page, it looks like an ordinary YouTube video page, until you select the "Theater view" tab above the video.  Then the picture widens and looks strangely like Hulu with dark strips on either side to make the video easier to see.
As with Hulu, ads are dispersed throughout.  In many ways, it almost looks like a copy of Hulu taken one step better.

Overall, this is a big step for Google and TV on the web.  TV has been slowing coming to the web and now that Google giving a hand, things will start to move faster.  In the future, I expect to see GoogleTV.