Hulu Plus launches for Windows Phone 8 today, representing Microsoft's latest major "get" in the company's continued push to fill out its app catalog. Like Pandora earlier this year, the streaming video service has long been available on competing smartphone platforms iOS and Android. But Microsoft and Pandora managed to deliver a polished final product nonetheless — one arguably better than any competing version of the app — and Hulu has clearly received equal focus and attention. After you've signed into the premium subscription service, you'll notice that every section of the app is incredibly fluid and responsive. Videos queue up quickly (which obviously can vary depending on how solid your data connection is), playing in HD resolution on our Lumia 920 with no signs of stuttering. Closed caption support is also available for supported titles.
'Better late than never' is the story of Windows Phone's app ecosystem
Everything you'd expect from Hulu Plus is here, and navigating around the app proves quick and efficient. TV shows, clips, movies, trailers, queues, favorites, and a kid-friendly section are all helpfully linked from the main menu. The company's deal with Criterion is also placed front and center, with classic films separated into categories like "spectacular set design" and actor-specific portals ("Totally Trintignant").
Unfortunately whereas Microsoft managed to pull some strings and give its users an ad-free Pandora experience, the pre-roll ads Hulu subscribers have grown familiar with are in full effect here. They're never overly annoying, and the company's financial upswing suggests viewers are willing to put up with these quick interruptions over traditional cable commercials.
Hulu Plus will undoubtedly help Microsoft further round out its Windows Phone app ecosystem. It took a long time to get here — too long by any measure — but in the end users should be more than satisfied with what's been delivered here. It's available as a free download from the Windows Phone Store today. Now, about Instagram...