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HULU PLUS TV Streaming: What Parents Need To Know

As I mentioned in my post on ROKU, many folks are firing the cable company and going to just Internet TV services such as NETFLIX,  HULU & HULU PLUS.

These are great services but, just like  Cable TV, they are not without areas of concern for parents who wish to protect kids from inappropriate material.

Let’s take at look at: HULU PLUS!

First off, we have to understand that there is HULU and HULU PLUS.

HULU is a free TV streaming service that offers movies, TV shows, and clips for free viewing.  Some of the programs can be watched on TV or other Internet-connected devices such as ROKU, smart TVs, iPads, and smart phones.  Other programs are limited to just electronic devices and cannot be watched on TV due to licensing agreements.

One thing that makes HULU different from NETFLIX is that first-run TV shows are current and contain episodes from the current season. Many times, though, only the most recent 4-5 episodes of the current season are available at any one time.  This compares to NETFLIX which mostly shows previously completed seasons.

HULU PLUS, as you can imagine, just has more stuff, but it is also at a cost:   About $7.99/month.  Not bad, when you compare it to the $25-$200/month you pay for cable.  HULU PLUS also has HD content.

One of the key differences is that HULU PLUS has prior SEASONS of many (but not all) current TV shows whereas HULU just has the most recent 4-5 episodes. There are also more movies and TV shows available with PLUS vs. regular HULU.  All-in-all, it’s a pretty good deal.

The main benefit over NETFLIX, in my opinion, is that HULU PLUS has current episodes. This came into play in my house when my wife discovered the TV series BONES.  She found it on NETFLIX and quickly made her way through Seasons 1-7.  But, since NETFLIX didn’t have Season 8 (the current season) she then hopped over to HULU PLUS and continued on.

Now, HULU PLUS does have a lot of older TV shows, including such classics as:

  • Bewitched
  • Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Family Ties
  • McHale’s Navy
  • Twilight Zone (Original)
  • Quincy
  • Adam-12
  • …and more!

You can also watch more recent shows that are no longer in production such as BattleStar Galactica (new version), MacGyver, and a number of soap operas.

Movies are also available on HULU PLUS and cover all major genres.  Due to licensing agreements, some movies are available on HULU while other require HULU PLUS. HULU PLUS also offers telenovellas (Spanish-language TV shows) and movies/TV shows from Japan and Korea.

So, what are the hazards to kids?

First off:  As HULU/HULU PLUS says:

” At this time, we do not have a setting that allows for more customized parental controls. “

The only way to really control access is to request HULU to change your birth year on your account to under 17.  That’s really it.

Now, on the good side, you won’t find a ton of hardcore pornography on HULU/HULU PLUS. But, you will find NC-17 and TV-MA material that kids do NOT need to watch.  Because of this you need to control access by NOT saving your login and password on whatever devices you use to watch HULU/HULU PLUS.  The problem is, some devices may not have the option to NOT remember such information.

Second, HULU/HULU PLUS both have international content, as well.  TV shows and movies produced in other nations may not reflect our standards of content in terms of sexuality and graphic violence.  So, parents need to be aware of what shows their children are watching, especially given the attraction that asian live-action and animated shows have for young people.

Lastly, Hulu offers a full-range of genres, just like with Cable TV.  On Cable you might have LOGO, a channel that targets the LGBT community. In the same way, there is the GAY AND LESBIAN genre for HULU/HULU PLUS (and on NETFLIX as well, to be fair).   Also, there are the horror genres which, in my mind, are just as bad as other undesired genres due to their graphic violence and blood-thirstiness.

Families that have HULU/HULU PLUS can get a lot of entertainment value from these services.  But, you need to keep in mind that these services, like almost ALL services of this type (including traditional cable TV) bring the undesired with the desired.

My family and I really enjoy HULU PLUS and I believe it is a great value.  While it would be great if they (and all of the entertainment providers) were to implement detailed and customizable parental controls, the best solution is for parents to teach their children what is and is not acceptable to view, and WHY!  Keep in mind that we need to prepare our children to set and enforce their own boundaries as they move off to college and/or adulthood.  Home is a great place to do that!  So, watch TV with your kids!  You might discover some good shows, too!

CREATIVE IDEAS FOR HULU USERS:

  • To take a real ride into the past, watch the first season of Bewitched and notice all
    the changes in our homes, businesses, and cultures since then.
    (NOTE:  The first shows are in black-and-white!!!)
  • Watch some seasons of the older westerns, such as Rifleman, The Big Valley, and Bonanza. Discuss the values displayed, both in terms of family and social issues.
  • Do the same with some of the old family shows, such as The Cosby Show,
    the Dick Van Dyke Show, and Lost in Space.
  • Keep the availability of older shows/movies in mind when kids have school projects and papers!

You may also be interested in reading:  NETFLIX Streaming – What Parents Need To Know

Coming soon:  VUDU Streaming Movies: What Parents Need To Know

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