updated 10:35 am EDT, Fri April 18, 2008
Hulu Mobile Talk
NBC's Hulu TV streaming service is likely to expand beyond its web-only presence of today, the service's CEO Jason Kilar said this week at the NAB video production expo. While not committing to any one format, the company head explains that cellphones and "anything connected to the Internet" would be an ideal platform for the feature, which allows users to stream (but not download) episodes of NBC and Fox shows.
Kilar also observes that the presentation would have to change on each device, potentially evading the requirement to use Adobe's Flash browser plug-in to view shows. The NBC senior staffer doesn't explain how he would expect ads to air on non-Flash platforms; currently, the technology is built to automatically insert ads in between segments, keeping a fresh rotation of advertising and mirroring conventional TV.
The change follows similar efforts by the BBC to bring its iPlayer video archive service to mobile platforms. In its implementation, the British TV producer has already created versions of iPlayer for the iPhone and iPod that stream the raw video files rather than requring Flash, though the public, UK-only nature of the service lets the BBC avoid ads. A similar service is available for the Wii.
Services for Apple devices may prove difficult, as NBC continues to decline hosting shows on the former's iTunes Store after a pricing dispute and hints that it would prefer a return only if iTunes adds DRM to the software itself rather than just purchased media files.