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Hands on With Hulu Desktop

Thisweek, Hulu released itsdesktop player for Mac. If you’re a TV-loving Mac user, youprobably tried Boxee to disastrous affect. So is Hulu’s homegrown appany 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 largerthan on Hulu’s Web interface, and the sound qualityseems better as well. That’s because Hulu Desktop defaultsto High Quality streaming, unlike its Web counterpart. If yourconnection is slow, this will be painful, but loading seems to happen more quickly through desktop than Web in my tests.

Picture 1

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 thewindow, and reveals the size of the buffer, the episode, and itsaverage ratings.

Picture 2

Here’s where things get trippy:hit Command-F, and enter into fullscreen mode. Hit Escape to get out, and, no, you don’t get back to yourdesktop; the video playing gets shuttled into the corner of the screen,and you’re taken to a Front Row-like interface where you can browsethrough all of Hulu’s offerings in a clean, snappy interface thatcan–brilliantly–be manipulated by the scroll wheel on your mouse.

Download it at Hulu Labs.

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