Are there any good alternatives to Hulu for watching TV on a computer?
October 31, 2008 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Are there any good alternatives to Hulu for watching TV on a computer? I'm having some bandwidth/connection problems, and I'd like to try an alternative if one exists.

I've been using Hulu to watch TV on my computer while working out. Lately, it seems that I can't get through an entire 40+ minute show without the picture stuttering and freezing about 25 to 30 minutes into it. It's incredibly annoying when I'm looking for something to distract me from my sweaty effort.

I don't know if this is a problem with Hulu's ability to pump out enough bandwidth or my ISP throttling my connection after some amount of sustained throughput, but if there's another "watch TV online" site out there that I could try, I'd like to.

Alternately, is there anyway to increase the amount of prebuffering that Hulu does with their shows? I tried watching in standard resolution instead of high resolution thinking a smaller file size might help, but it didn't.

I've tried going to individual network sites as many of them have full episodes online, but their UI isn't as nice as Hulu's (like they keep dropping out of full screen when going to ads, or there isn't any way to go smoothly from one show into another without having to get up and change the feed).
posted by willnot to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Joost? I don't know whether they have any good programming.
posted by grobstein at 10:18 AM on October 31, 2008

AOL Video might be an alternative, I think much of their stuff actually comes from Hulu itself, but I've seen stuff on it that isn't on Hulu.
posted by General Malaise at 10:29 AM on October 31, 2008

I find the Online Video Guide to be a great hub/jumping-off point for a wide variety of online TV-viewing options. Perhaps you can find something more amenable there.
posted by antisocialstudies at 10:45 AM on October 31, 2008

Hulu has a lot of exclusive deals so I doubt you'll find a perfect substitute. Many of the network websites stream content the same way as Hulu though - does for example, with slightly different shows from what comes up on Hulu. The UI is nearly identical to Hulu's though, so you may end up with the same issues.
posted by GuyZero at 11:01 AM on October 31, 2008

posted by chillmost at 11:04 AM on October 31, 2008

I've seen a lot of commercials for Fancast lately.
posted by junkbox at 11:09 AM on October 31, 2008

I didn't know about things like Hulu or zattoo, so about two weeks ago I bought this usb tuner, and I've been happy as a clam with it. It gets both analog and digital broadcasts, and if I go to this website, I can see the full broadcast listings and also, with a single click, have it record any show I want to watch later.

I don't own a tv and didn't want to buy one, but now for a fraction of the price of a television my laptop is not only a digital tv, but a dvr as well.

(This is not Pepsi Blue or Green or whatever, just someone who's happy he can record Jeopardy and watch it whenever and wherever he wants.)
posted by trip and a half at 11:14 AM on October 31, 2008 [5 favorites]
posted by nadawi at 11:14 AM on October 31, 2008

I've had varying degrees of success with Note that must click the link that launches the "helper" before viewing.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 2:20 PM on October 31, 2008

If you can handle the incredibly awful video quality, which doesn't bother me personally, there's actually quite a wealth of History, Discovery, PBS and BBC documentaries on Google Video. Many can be downloaded as mp4's, which is great if you have crap bandwidth and a video-equipped iPod, as I do.
posted by mister barnacles at 5:02 PM on October 31, 2008

A Slingbox or Hava, since it's on your local LAN, will not have such throttling issues. If you have a DVR of any kind you can even hook it up as a source and get the shows you record (at least on a slingbox, don't know about hava). I have mine hooked up to a basic digital tuner and I get all of the free on-demand crap too.
posted by datacenter refugee at 11:06 PM on October 31, 2008

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