Hulu desktop for Linux

20 Ott/09

I’m sure by now everyone here knows about Hulu. If not, Hulu is a rather huge collection of television programs that can be viewed on line, for free, with few commercial interruptions. It’s brilliant. You can watch old reruns of What’s Happenin? or Mork and Mindy or Alf! Yes, Alf! But many of you may not know that there is a Hulu client available. This client makes the viewing experience very simple, and much more convenient than the standard browser viewing because, well, it doesn’t require a browser. Instead it’s like watching on a simple (but very impressive) desktop widget.

This desktop widget is now available for Windows, Mac, and (are you ready for it?) Linux! Yes, it’s available for Linux, so all of us Penguinistas can enjoy our Hulu as it was meant to be enjoyed. And best of all, it’s easy to install. Let’s see just how easy the Hulu desktop client is to install and use.

Distributions and installations

As of now the only distributions Hulu is available for are Ubuntu 9.04 and Fedora 11. So if you’re not running either of them you’re out of luck. Hulu does hope to, over time, support other distributions. But both Ubuntu and Fedora make sense. Now, I will tell you that I did successfully install the Hulu client on Elive Compiz which is a Debian-based installation. So – if you can install a .deb package on your machine, and you meet the requirements, you might be golden.

Let’s take a look at the installation process. The Hulu client depends upon:

  • GTK+ 2.12 or higher
  • GLib 2.16 or higher
  • LIRC 0.8.2 or higher (required for remote control functionality)
  • Adobe Flash Player 9.0.124

Most likely, if you are running either Ubuntu 9.04 or Fedora 11, you already have everything you need installed (minus Flash). Installing Flash is as simple (at least in Ubuntu) as visiting a site that requires Flash, and then walk through the steps for installation when prompted. To install Hulu you will need to download the file from the Hulu Linux page. When you have downloaded that file you will need to issue one of the following commands (from within the directory the file was downloaded).

For Ubuntu:

dpkg -i huludesktop*

For Fedora:

rpm -ivh huludesktop*

Once the command finishes up, you are ready to run the client.

Using Hulu desktop

To start up the desktop client, issue the following command:


Figure 1

Figure 1

You will most likely find Hulu desktop in your Audio/Video menu. If not, you can always add it. When the client opens (see Figure 1) you can immediately begin searching and watching your favorite television episodes.

The menu and overall interface are amazingly simple and sleek. More than likely you will be surprised just how well done this Linux client is (considering it is still in beta).

Figure 2

Figure 2

As you can see (in Figure 2) the player runs seamlessly on the Linux desktop. What you can not see is that the client requires very little in desktop resources. In fact, it’s no more noticeable than running a browser.

Final thoughts

The Hulu Linux desktop client makes watching TV (and movies) a breeze. I am thrilled that Hulu has brought out a Linux client without making the Linux community wait as the Windows and Mac community enjoy it’s services.

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