This week, Hulu released its desktop player for Mac. If you're a TV-loving Mac user, you probably tried Boxee to disastrous affect. So is Hulu's homegrown app any better?
Not only is it better, it's downright amazing. Firing up Hulu Desktop is a lot like turning on a TV: just one click and you've got a show on-screen, playing where you last left off. The image is larger than on Hulu's Web interface, and the sound quality seems better as well. That's because Hulu Desktop defaults to High Quality streaming, unlike its Web counterpart. If your connection is slow, this will be painful, but loading seems to happen more quickly through desktop than Web in my tests.
There are only three buttons: Start Watching, Menu, and Login. The image itself is also a button: click it, and the show you're watching spreads to the full size of the window, and reveals the size of the buffer, the episode, and its average ratings.
Here's where things get trippy: hit Command-F, and enter into full screen mode. Hit Escape to get out, and, no, you don't get back to your desktop; the video playing gets shuttled into the corner of the screen, and you're taken to a Front Row-like interface where you can browse through all of Hulu's offerings in a clean, snappy interface that can--brilliantly--be manipulated by the scroll wheel on your mouse.
Download it at Hulu Labs.