The official announcement came today, but it's no surprise given that this has been in the works for a while. Hulu Plus (opens in new tab), the $9.99/month paid service, is now open to a select few users at a time. The company blog (opens in new tab) hints that those who follow Hulu on Twitter or Like them on Facebook will get first crack at weekly invitations, but you can also request one here (opens in new tab).
For $9.99 a month users will get access to all episodes of a number of popular shows. How is this different from Hulu before Plus? Now you get to pay. To be fair, some shows will be new to the Hulu service and other shows that only offered a few episodes at once will now offer the entire series run. But non-paying customers can look forward to fewer episodes on the free side of the pay wall and likely a smaller window for watching them.
Since the web-based Hulu isn't giving up the Flash-player anytime soon, iOS4 devices (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad) get an app to access Hulu Plus along with certain web-enabled Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players. Access via PlayStation 3 and XBox is coming soon, as are other, unnamed devices. Do you know which devices I do not see on that list? Android phones. Thanks, Hulu.
Another thing I do not see are the words "commercial free" anywhere. That's because Hulu Plus users will still have their shows interrupted by commercials. I wonder if that means non-Plus users will have to sit through more of them? That's something to look forward to. But hey, 720p HD viewing makes up for that, right?
For now I think I will stick with Netflix On Demand. For $5 I can watch commercial-free TV shows and movies, and I still get DVDs to boot.