Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Criterion Moves to Hulu (for real this time)

A long while ago, I reported that Criterion titles were seeping onto Hulu.  This happened, but in minuscule numbers not worth mentioning.  Really, Hulu was essentially just a holding area for all the Zatoichi films.  Now, however, that game has changed.  Today, the Criterion Collection added 150 films available to watch instantly on Hulu Plus.  Over the coming months, that number will steadily increase to include the over 800 films in the Criterion library.  What this means is that right now there are art house films available to watch on Hulu that don't even have a DVD release (!!!!).   Yes, it's a cinephile's total wet dream.   Yes, I'm pretty much planning on signing up for Hulu Plus now.  Yes, I realize how few of you will care.

You might, however, be interested to learn that in the fine print, it seems Criterion is severing its ties with Netflix by the close of the year.  Why?  Well, because Netflix Instant really is a pain in the ass, and the company as a whole offers you no way to search for the collection as a whole (which, if you're looking for one, usually goes hand in hand with the other).  If you know nothing about the Criterion Collection, what you must understand is that its a serious prestige thing.  The editions they release of world cinema's absolute classics are the definitive versions and there's a reason why people are still more than willing to shell out $35 for a single film on DVD.  When Netflix doesn't make their titles easy to find, they have earned their right to diva out (for those curious, Blockbuster does differentiate).  That said, Hulu's $7.99 subscription price sounds like a pretty amazing deal for a ridiculous amount of film geek access.  Kind of excited...

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