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Hulu Plus Coming to Roku and TiVo, Puts Cable on Notice

Hulu Plus on Roku
In their review of the latest and greatest Roku box, the XDS, our pals at Engadget said, "add in Hulu support and it's game over, guys." Well, cue the dead 'Pac-Man' sound because Hulu Plus is coming to the Roku. For $10 a month, Roku owners will now be able to stream all of the shows they want from the vast archives at the popular Web TV outlet. Compare that with the $0.99 cent rentals on the Apple TV (and $0.99 show purchases from the Amazon video store) and it would seem like Roku has won the streaming set-top box wars. But things are not quite that simple.

Hulu, which has actively thwarted attempts to make watching its content on the big screen easier, now has a model for monetization: Hulu Plus. And Roku isn't the only gadget to be getting TV playback. TiVo just announced that it's adding a Hulu Plus channel, and the service will also be available on select Samsung and Sony TVs, the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and other (yet to be announced) devices. With an iPhone and iPad app already available, porting Hulu Plus to the Apple TV (which also runs iOS) should be simple. And with the Boxee Box on track for release in November (which will presumably also have access to Hulu), the Roku might not be alone for long.

Still, it's impossible to downplay the importance of this announcement. Getting access to shows on demand, often the morning after they air for a flat subscription rate is considered by many to be the holy grail of streaming set-top boxes. And don't forget, the bargain level Roku HD sells for only $59.99, steeply undercutting the competition. Unless you absolutely need to watch live, local sporting events and premium programing from channels like HBO ditching your costly cable subscription is not just feasible, it's looking like a no-brainer.

Tags: apps, hulu, hulu plus, HuluPlus, movies, roku, tivo