High Definition Video Coming to Hulu, Samples Available

Hulu, the joint online video venture between NBC and News Corp, has given private beta testers a sneak peak at the high definition video that should soon be available on the net more ubiquitously now that Flash supports the H.264 video codec.

Hulu currently provides only nine trailers in high definition as a sampler, including ones for Jumper, 27 Dresses, Hitman, American Gangster, and Definitely, Maybe. Playback requires a connection of 2,400 kbps or higher, Flash Player, and a fast computer (at least 3 GHz for PCs and 1.83 GHz for Macs).

The quality of these samples is certainly impressive. Full-screen mode looks particularly sharper with H.264 than with the current video quality offered by Hulu for the bulk of this collection. However, the video does stagger more often as it struggles to buffer in time. Of course, you can pause the video and let things preload if you have a slow connection. The screenshot below shows what high definition video on Hulu looks like for me in full-screen (unfortunately, embedding has been turned off for these samples).

No word yet on when the rest of Hulu’s collection might become available in high definition. Perhaps we should all email them demanding “I want my HD PC.”

As we’ve mentioned before, announcements like these should have competitors like Joost worried because much more high definition video will eventually find its way into the browser and not require downloadable clients or BitTorrent.

For more on Hulu, which has yet to be publicly released, check out our initial review of the service.