I’ve been contemplating dropping my satellite service and hooking up a computer to my TV and watch shows on Hulu and iTunes for entertainment.    I began investigating this seriously then discovered several flaws in my diabolical plan.

First, when I tried to use Hulu I received a friendly message that I needed to upgrade my flash player.  Hmm….so I might be subjected to frequent requests to “upgrade” my player every few months eh?

Second, iTunes shows aren’t exactly free but I’d be willing to pay for the content but it seems iTunes is heavily laden with DRM and I’m not sure the viability of  “broadcasting” shows to numerous TVs in my household.

Third, I’m wondering how obsolete all my equipment will get with time.   To illustrate the point, one of my pet projects I’ve been working on during my time off was to convert all the video I’ve recorded over the years (in various formats analog, digital 8, dv, etc) onto my computer.    My original plan a couple of years ago was to edit and put all the video on DVDs but then BluRay came out promising to be the be-all end-all of video format.

Of course, now I’m hearing about 300 gb and 1 tb optical disks that may be coming out in the near future so why bother burning anything to BluRay?  I’m sure in a year or two we’ll have PurpleRay then GreenRay and then something else so I finally opted just to convert the video onto hard drives and watch the video directly from the computer to the LCD screen.   It actually works great because I don’t have to worry about 4:3 or 16:9 formats or whether to burn something onto DVD-R or DVD+R or DVD+RW or BluRay etc.

Unfortunately, there is always a catch and I’m worried that the video format I’m converting video to won’t be easily readable in the future.   There are a ton of video formats: mpeg-2, mpeg4, mov, avi, wmv, etc.  Which ones will last and which ones will not?   Initially, putting the video on my mac was easy but now I’m running into many problems which I won’t get into here.

With regards to Hulu, I’m wondering what hoops we’ll have to jump through to watch TV.  Upgrade flash players every few months?  Upgrade browsers? Buy new hardware?  Increase internet speed?  Sign a service agreement every 3 months? Just thinking about it is already getting me frustrated so I’m not sure I’ll ever take the plunge.

Hulu may be “free” if you don’t factor in the “aggravation” cost and I can only compare it to the iTunes experience.  At first iTunes was easy and friendly but now iTunes is a bloated program with Genius, DJ, Music, Movies, TV shows, Apps, and CONSTANT service agreement legalese that you have to agree to every few months!  Oh yeah,  iTunes needs to be upgraded every few months too.

Hulu may seem free but you don’t get something for nothin’ and just wait until Hulu execs try to figure out how to squeeze money out of it; that’s when the aggravation will begin to take hold!