Hi Dave --
So today I took the dive and got a trial of Hulu Plus (I'm usually a Netflix man personally) because of the WWE now offering its shows on Hulu.
I've watched wrestling for 31 years. At times I've had cable, at times I haven't. These days, I don't frequently see Raw on USA, so I'm either watching it through online streams, following it from people on Twitter, or catching up on pieces of it from the WWE.com site. I watched WrestleMania this year online through the WWE's live stream.
I've been waiting for quite a while for the WWE to offer Raw episodes online. I've always been amazed they don't post full shows on their own site. So when I saw the announcement this week that Raw and other shows would be on Hulu, I was psyched.
I've got to be honest, I enjoyed watching Raw straight through on Hulu even though it was a day late and I already knew what happened. First off, the Hulu show has very few commercials (not even enough to take a bathroom break between matches). The episode, with its short commercials, clocked in at just about 90 minutes.
Some parts were edited off. There was no Ziggler vs. Kofi, which was a good match live. No Prime Time Players tag match. No Barrett vs. Tyson Kidd. The show went from CM Punk's opening segment immediately to his promo with Mick Foley. We saw an abbreviated version of the Kane/Bryan segments from the diner, which was all right with me. Matches that did make the cut included the Ryback squash over Miz, the six-man tag, and Brodus vs. Tensai.
Thankfully (having seen it live), the divas match was edited off.
Let's face it, even seeing the full three hours, this was not a wrestling heavy show, aside from Ziggler's match.
So what did I like about it on Hulu? The streaming quality was good, aside from a few hiccups early on. I loved not sitting through commercial breaks. It was easy to go back to certain segments or move forward in the show. I liked that I could catch up on Raw at 11 p.m. when the rest of my family was asleep.
Most of all, I liked that the WWE had caught up to 2012. So many networks are posting their shows online. It was foolish for Raw not to be online somewhere. Hulu's deal with the WWE gives those of us without access to cable the chance to watch Raw, albeit edited. I believe Internet TV is where most of us will watch programming within a decade. There are too many options not to go online, especially as streaming quality improves and devices like Roku give you a way to put wireless signals on your TV set. Broadcast TV is too limited, and cable TV packages aren't customized enough to be valuable for most of us.
I've watched entire TV series onlne. I'm watching Mad Men and Breaking Bad exclusively via web these days. I'm happy I can do it with Raw. I hope someday it goes live online on Mondays.
The WWE on HuluPlus announcement was great news for someone like me who doesn't have access to cable or satellite TV but has internet access. Hulu already provided me a lot of shows for free (including WWE shows) but after the announcement I upgraded to HuluPlus. So far I'm not impressed with WWE on HuluPlus.
Before I could watch full episodes of Superstars and Smackdown every week for free but only short clips from Raw. Plus, all the old episodes of NXT and ECW they were hawking as part of the package have been on there for free before the upgrade. Now I can at least watch Raw but it is only 90 minutes and some content is cut. This week I missed a few matches and some other segments.
Getting to watch an almost full episode of Raw is great I guess. Apparently, the shorter version may be better than the three hour version but it seemed to be way more talking than wrestling this week with the way it was cut down. Still, at least I can watch Raw now, which always bugged me about Hulu. They have never had full episodes and yesterday after I ordered my HuluPlus subscription, I clicked on last week's episode (which they had up on the site and it convinced me to order the package) but I only got a message that the video had already been taken down.
However, this week's episode was put up today and I watched Raw for the first time in months. No matter how long the show may seem to some, it's not near as grueling as trying to sit through just Superstars and Smackdown every week for your WWE fix like I did before yesterday's announcement. I'm excited for the prospects of WWE on HuluPlus but am not impressed just yet. It seems to be an upgrade in their Hulu programming package as opposed to an indication of what the supposed WWE network will be like but maybe they will add more content. Right now, the classic videos are kind of the same short videos that one can find at wwe.com and I don't like just two or three minute clips of classic matches when the whole match tells the complete story. I hope they add complete classic matches in the future but right now, adding a near-full episode of Raw is the only real addition to their programming on Hulu that now costs money but was free.
Soon NXT from Full Sail will be airing on HuluPlus so that seems cool since I hear it is a good show and now I can get a better grasp of WWE shows since I can watch Raw now but they really need to add more content and maybe they will. Hopefully they will or I won't be a HuluPlus subscriber for long because the addition of Raw and more WWE shows are the only reason I bought a subscription.