What You Need to Know About the Hulu Live Streaming Service

hulu-live-the-mindy-project

The anticipation continues to build for the new Hulu Live Streaming Service, which is still expected to launch in early 2017. Ever since November, Hulu has been releasing more and more details of the service, so that it’s possible to put together a rough outline of what the service will include, as well as how much it might cost.

What streaming content will Hulu Live include?

As it stands now, Hulu Live has inked deals with four major content partners: Time Warner, Fox, Disney and CBS. In addition, Hulu executives have hinted that a deal with NBC Universal might be coming soon. As of now, viewers will get 35-40 different cable networks, all of them available as live streams, much as you’d get with traditional cable TV.

There’s a lot of great content here, primarily in three major areas: sports, entertainment and news. These are, essentially, the three reasons why you need a live streaming service and it looks like Hulu Live is trying to cover as many bases as possible here by partnering with the biggest and best content providers.

For sports content, Hulu Live viewers will get the following TV networks:

  • Fox Sports
  • All the ESPN networks (including ESPN1, ESPN2 and ESPN3)
  • All of Fox’s regional sports programming
  • CBS Sports

For entertainment content, Hulu Live viewers will get the following TV networks:

  • CBS
  • TNT
  • TBS
  • Cartoon Network
  • Turner Classic Movies
  • Adult Swim
  • Freeform
  • National Geographic
  • NatGEO Wild
  • Disney
  • Disney Junior

And for news content, Hulu Live viewers will receive the following TV networks:

  • CNN
  • FOX News
  • FOX Business

Moreover, it looks like Hulu Live is trying to expand the partnership with CBS to include the CW Network and Showtime. As of now, Hulu Live won’t get the full current season of every series like “NCIS,” which is basically a way for CBS to carve out some exclusive content that it can include as part of its own streaming options. So there should probably be an asterisk next to “CBS” – Hulu Live viewers will get almost all of the current CBS content, but not all of it.

How much will it cost?

There are so many streaming services out there right now that cost is a very important consideration. For that reason, Hulu executives have been careful about tossing an exact dollar figure our there. Right now, the consensus appears to be that Hulu Live will cost about $40 per month.

For that price, you would get access to Hulu’s video on demand library, which current Hulu subscribers pay either $7.99 or $11.99 per month (depending on whether or not they get commercials with the content). It’s not clear yet whether that $40 price will include the ad-free content, or whether there might be a price bump to get rid of all the commercials. So a little basic math tells you that you’re essentially paying $10 for archived content and another $30 for streaming content.

hulu-live-shows

Which streaming service is most similar to Hulu Live?

In many ways, then, Hulu Live looks like it will a prized option for cable cord-cutters. You’re essentially getting all the best live streaming channels that you’d get on cable, for a lower price. Moreover, you’re also getting access to all of Hulu’s movies and TV shows, which was always the major allure of getting Hulu.

Thus, the streaming service that is most similar to Hulu Live is Sling TV, which for awhile was the only live streaming service with top cable networks like ESPN. The big question will be about price. Right now, Hulu Live is expected to be priced at $40 per month, but the current cost of Sling TV is just $20 per month. So that’s nearly double the price.

Who should get Hulu Live?

The core audience for Hulu Live will be people who enjoy watching the current seasons of hit TV shows, but who also want to watch the shows on their own schedule without having to tune in to the programming schedules of the major TV networks.

And that has always been one of the major selling points of Hulu – getting access to all the hit TV show episodes almost as soon as they air on the networks. Unlike Netflix, which has a very long wait before shows appear in its archive, Hulu was always about delivering episodes within a day of them airing on networks. So, if you missed your favorite TV show on a Tuesday night, you’d still be able to watch it later in the week.

How will Hulu Live differentiate itself from the competition?

Right now, Hulu executives are banking on the fact that its new streaming service can carve out a niche in the competitive streaming market. Unlike Netflix, it will have live streaming content and a huge library of TV shows. Unlike Sling TV, it will have a growing library of original content series, including “Casual” (nominated for a Golden Globe), “The Mindy Project” and “11.22.63.” And unlike any of the competing cable or satellite providers, which are starting to roll out their own streaming services, Hulu Live will be cheaper.

And the competitive differentiation goes beyond just content and price. One advantage that Hulu has been talking up is “The New Hulu Experience,” a new user interface for finding content more easily. This new interface will be easier to navigate and use, and possibly be as good as the Netflix user interface.

Moreover, there’s also the question of how many concurrent streams the new service will allow, as well as how many different platforms the service will support. These are all important questions, especially as more people than ever before consume streaming content on multiple devices. Will it be possible, then, for kids to watch Hulu TV in the living room while parents watch their shows in the bedroom?

The one big advantage that Hulu Live has over the competition is the built-in user base for Hulu, which is estimated to have 12 million subscribers. Presumably, Hulu will attempt to up-sell some of the people paying $11.99 per month to now pay $40 a month for the full streaming experience in addition to the rich archive of TV shows.

The good news for TV fans is that all this competition in the streaming space has opened up a number of great opportunities. Hulu Live, in many ways, is what cable TV should look like, but doesn’t: great live content, a great archive of current TV shows for viewing on demand, and just enough extras – like original programming – to keep things interesting.

By partnering with CBS, Time Warner, Fox and Disney, Hulu Live has just about completed that goal. If a few more partnerships – such as the rumored one with NBC Universal – fall into place, Hulu Live could emerge as the dominant live streaming service with tens of millions of subscribers. It’s easy to see why the big cable companies must be concerned.

hulu-live-streaming

What Fans Thought of the “Stranger Things” Teaser Trailer

stranger-things-eleven

The first Netflix teaser trailer that came out for Season 2 of “Stranger Things” in August 2016 immediately had fans scrambling to make sense of what might happen over the next 10 episodes in 2017. The teaser just listed the names of the episodes, announced that Season 2 would take place in 1984 and played more of that synth theme music from the show that we’ve all learned to love.

But when you combine those tantalizing clues with recent announcements, it’s possible to create some truly epic fan theories. The Duffer Brothers have already hinted that Season 2 would be “bigger, badder and darker” than Season 1, and that’s led to even more speculation. And then fans really started to put together some theories after the “Stranger Things” Super Bowl commercial in February. So here’s what fans are thinking right now.

#1: They continue to create theories about Will’s time in the Upside Down

Not surprisingly, fans looked carefully for any clues as to what will happen to Will in Season 2. In the Season 1 finale, he vomited up a slug, and that had people suspecting that the monster in the Upside Down may have been trying to use him as part of a new plot to breed new monsters. At the very end of Season 1, we see the world around him briefly transformed into the Upside Down world, so we know that he’s somehow created new doorways into that alternate dimension.

There are different episodes announced in the teaser trailer, and there are two big clues hidden there about Will. One is the name of Episode 2 (“The Boy Who Came Back to Life”), which is the exact title of a newspaper clipping we saw at the end of Season 1. It’s a reference to the disappearance of Will and how the townspeople in Hawkins, Indiana are starting to piece together all the strange supernatural and paranormal occurrences. What actually happened, and what are the implications?

Fans also spent a lot of time theorizing about the meaning of the title of Episode 6 (“The Polly Wog”). That name happens to be a name of a special kind of tadpole, and that would seem to hint at a bigger explanation of what the slug means. It’s obvious now what Will’s time in the Upside Down has left him with PTSD-like symptoms, and some have even speculated that he might be becoming some kind of monster himself.

#2: “The Gang” is back together

All of the clips from the Netflix Super Bowl commercial seem to hint that the whole gang – Eleven, Mike, Will, Lucas, Dustin, Nancy, Steve and Jonathan – will be back in Season 2. We’re shown images of the kids wearing Ghostbusters suits, which makes perfect sense since the initial teaser trailer said that Season 2 would be based in 1984. And the Ghostbusters suits have another, more metaphorical meaning as well — the kids are going to try to get to the bottom of the “ghosts” that inhabit the Upside Down world.

stranger-things-season-2

#3: The Newcomers

The teaser trailer didn’t show any of the faces of the new cast members, but since the trailer was released in August 2016, we’ve had a lot more hints about what’s going to be new in 2017. First of all, there are the two new children characters – Billy and Max. The common consensus among fans is that Billy is going to be some kind of destabilizing influence on the group of friends while Max is going to fit right in and become friends.

There are also going to be two important adult newcomers – 80s star Sean Astin (“The Goonies”), who is going to play Bob Newby, a “kind-hearted former nerd” who went to high school with Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper, and Paul Reiser (“Aliens”), who is going to play some kind of evil scientist (Dr. Owens) at the Department of Energy. The consensus among fans is that the Dr. Owens character will be involved in some kind of cover-up of the all supernatural and paranormal events happening in the town.

#4: Eleven’s Back Story

One of the most important characters of Season 1 was Eleven, the young girl who is the subject of all kinds of tests and experiments by Dr. Brenner and the team at the Hawkins National Laboratory. What’s not so certain, though, is her full back story. We only see a close-up of her face in the Netflix Super Bowl ad, but there is one clue embedded in the teaser trailer. That’s the title of Episode 7 – “The Secret Cabin.” According to fan theories, this “secret cabin” is actually a reference to Eleven and the place where she is hiding out after her fight with the demogorgon.

There’s one other question on everybody’s minds: What exactly, is her connection with Sheriff Jim Hopper? In the season finale of Season 1, we see Sheriff Hopper leaving Eggos and food in a box for her in the woods. And in the still photos that Netflix has released for Season 2, we see Sheriff Hopper (if ever so briefly) reacting to an explosion and also doing some digging with a big shovel while carrying a flashlight. What exactly is he trying to find?

#5: More 1980s pop culture references

Part of what made Season 1 so engaging for fans were all the hidden references and “Easter eggs” related to 1980s pop culture. Everywhere, it seemed, there were references to films by Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Stephen King, Wes Craven and John Carpenter. Since know that the action picks up in 1984 (and not at some later date in the future), it’s a guarantee that we’ll see even more of these 1980s references to films like “Aliens.” Moreover, the Duff Brothers have hinted that the outfits and haircuts (mullets and perms!) will be true 1980s vintage, so that’s going to be exciting. And Kellogg’s has gotten in on the game, offering Netflix access to its vintage 1980s Eggo commercials for that Super Bowl ad.

#6: Speculation about the monsters and horrors from the Upside Down

Nobody quite knows what to make of the monsters from the Upside Down. The current theory among fans is that the demogorgon has been breeding and using humans as part of this strategy. We’ve seen hatched eggs in the Upside Down and we’ve also seen the giant slug-like creature attached to Will’s face, which might be the reason why we vomited up that slug in Season 1.

But it looks like there’s going to be more than just that one monster. There are going to be multiple “tulip heads.” And, based on that epic Netflix Super Bowl commercial, it looks like there’s going to be gigantic spiders as well. We see a spider twice in that commercial. The really scary spider appears when there’s a flash of lightning and we see what appears to be a giant arachnid straddling the town of Hawkins.

**

The clues in the initial teaser trailer were limited at best – a listing of the episodes of Season 2, a note that the action would pick up during Halloween 1984 and more of that cool (but creepy) synth theme music from Season 1. But with everything we know from Season 1, the new Netflix Super Bowl ad, and interviews and stories that have appeared in the media, there’s a lot to work with now in trying to guess what’s going to happen in 2017. One thing is certain, though – Season 2 of “Stranger Things” just looks awesome!

stranger-things-teaser

How “New Girl” Keeps Its Charm After 6 Seasons

new-girl-zooey-deschanel

New Girl is an American television series which premiered on Fox on September 20, 2011. New Girl, starring Zooey Deschanel, is one of most popular shows on television today; it combines drama and comedy all in one.

Everyone is wondering how New Girl has maintained its charm even after six seasons. Most TV series lose their charm in the third season or so, but viewers are still watching New Girl even after 6 seasons! The show is aimed at a general comedy audience, and it is about an offbeat teacher (Jess) who moves to LA and into a loft with three men: Nick, Schmidt, and Winston. All these characters are in their early thirties, and they are struggling to deal with mature relationships and their career choices.

New Girl first got really interesting once Jess and Nick just decided to be in a relationship. Remember: the show was built around the four characters that were brought together by fate, but the connection between Nick and Jess quickly became so real for anyone to ignore. This was so captivating to the viewers because it was like a parody. The show had come from being a regular comedy to incorporating relationships, comedy, and drama all in one. By Jess and Nick getting in a relationship, the show changed its direction and made the relationship the key concept of the show. Nick and Jess are two likable, favorable characters, but the relationship gets even more interesting when conflict arises. The kind of conflict created by the comedy is so fascinating because it did not make either of the two parties look like a villain.

Because of Nick and Jess’ relationship and their conflict, it led to Schmidt moving out of the group’s loft and into a polarizing storyline that led to him dating two women, Cece and Elizabeth, at the same time. It was funny to see one guy legitimately in love with two women at the same time. It was not portrayed as cheating, but it clearly was.

new-girl-jess-nick

New Girl’s storyline is a bit complicated, and it has developed over the years according to the feedback of the audience. It started off as a comedy-drama of three guys moving into a loft together with one woman, which led to one of the guys falling in love with the woman. This was interesting enough because their chemistry was too much for anyone to ignore. The show was bound to be successful due to its nature of production and inclusion of the famous Zooey Deschanel. According to its producers, New Girl made some time creating some logistical developments when it tapped Prince to guest star in the comedy. This kind of development is a huge one, and it didn’t make things any easier for the producers. It took three months to complete that episode, and it was so tiring. It was like trying to put an entire show within another show, and it took a lot of energy to put together.

To make things more interesting, the show featured the return of Damon Wayans. He played the coach in the show’s pilot episode, but he was unable to continue on the show once “Happy Endings” was renewed by ABC. Wayans was brought back to New Girl for a one episode guest spot in season three, and eventually became a full time cast member shortly afterward. Nobody anticipated his return, which created excitement for viewers. However, it was challenging for the producers to come up with a good storyline to keep the audience captivated; they had to incorporate a new member back into the loft and come up with a good catch up storyline.

New Girl has received its share of criticism and praise, but all in all, the comedy was named one of the best new comedies of 2011 fall season. The comedy had the highest rated fall debut for a Fox scripted show since 2001. The pilot episode drew approximately 10.28 million viewers in the US, and it received a 4.8 rating from adults 18-49. The show has managed to keep its charm, and it is still interesting even now in season six. Most people thought it was losing its charm in season three where the stories became a bit complicated, and the Nick-Jess relationship became a fallout. However, this changed with the return of Wayans and when they bring the fun back.

This show has been nominated for several awards including five Primetime Emmy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards. The comedy still maintains its humor in addition to the drama. New Girl is a show that will keep its audience captivated until the very end!

new-girl-fox