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As rumors swirl that Netflix is planning to go beyond North America, Hulu beats them to the punch by launching in Japan, although the service is following the Netflix playbook on at least one front, with higher prices. Meanwhile, a new update to the existing iOS app allows HDMI output on the iPad 2 -- as long as you’re down with standard definition, that is.
The Hulu Blog announced Thursday that the service has leapt from the United States into the waiting arms of the Japanese, beating rival Netflix in their effort to expand beyond North America. (Sure, Netflix expanded to Canada recently, but Hulu beat them to crossing a body of water.) Japanese subscribers will get the same great service with two big changes: No advertising and a higher price: ¥1,480 per month, or about $20 here in the U.S., placing it more in line with Netflix for pricing.
“Hulu is now officially available in Japan,” the company announced on its blog Thursday. “Hulu’s first-of-its-kind service offers entertainment fans in Japan unlimited instant access to hundreds of premium feature films and thousands of episodes of popular TV shows from a variety of content providers, including CBS, NBCUniversal International Television Distribution, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company (Japan) featuring content from Disney/ABC Television Group and The Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Bros. Subscribers can watch at any time across connected TV’s, gaming and entertainment consoles, blu-ray players, smartphones, tablets and PCs, without advertising, for ¥1,480 per month.”
Speaking of connected smartphones and tablets, the official iOS Hulu Plus app got an update to 2.4 this week as well, finally adding the ability to do HDMI video output from the iPad 2 -- but it’s one of those “good news, bad news” scenarios, because HDMI is only output at standard definition, making it infinitely less desirable.
Back on the good news front, the Hulu Plus app now allows the ability to save an entire season to your queue at once, and some content now includes closed captioning support at last. The app also changed the “Subscriptions” language to “Favorites” (presumably to appease Apple) and of course, miscellaneous bugs were also squashed in the process.
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