Update: This is a new review of Hulu Desktop. The major difference here is that I got some recommendations to go back to beta 1 of Flash 10.1. In the original review I had beta 2 installed and saw pretty bad performance with Hulu and flash in general. After going back I saw a major difference. Here is the break down.
When I launched Hulu Desktop with beta 1 installed I was greeted again with the Shutter Island trailer, and to my surprise it wasn't very choppy when compared to what I saw in the earlier review. The trailer played till completion and wasn't in full screen mode, but so far it was looking good.
Hulu Desktop menu system is very simple and plain. It is gray text on a black background and all the menus scroll to the left and right. Navigation is pretty simple and there is plenty of content to go through. Menus were still sluggish however and with so much content and menus to go through it got a little annoying having them cycle slowly. This can be fixed by adding your shows to you Netflixish queue so you don't have to scroll through all of them. Overall I was pleased with the menu, however they are not as smooth as Media Center, but I could live with them.
I went back to my original test which was the latest episode of The Office, full screen, and at high quality. Where as before the video was completely choppy and unwatchable this time it was actually smooth with very few hiccups. I was extremely surprised and happy to see this. The overall quality of the video was comparable to any of the silverlight streaming inside of WMC. I decided to test some other shows including Family Guy, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show. Family Guy was flawless at high quality, but I did a tiny bit of stutter with the other shows. If I adjusted the quality down to medium everything was extremely smooth, and the quality difference was negligible. I decided that the very few stutters didn't both me too much and I adjusted it back to high quality.
Hulu not only offers TV shows, but they also offer movies and trailers as well. I decided to see how this performed and started up Blues Brothers 2000 at high quality, and again the video playback was just great and on par with Netflix streaming in WMC. Going through trailers was great as well as Hulu has a huge assortment of movie trailers. I went through all three trailers for Toy Story 3 and while I did notice some stutter at high quality, it was very watchable.
Flash 10.1 is supposed to push processing onto the GPU which is what allows Hulu and other Flash videos to work on an Atom chip. I monitored the CPU usage when playing high quality video and it was pretty high, normally around 70-80% usage. I didn't have any recordings or anything else going on when I did my testing, but in my early testing of tuner performance of the Revo they didn't use very much CPU usage.
The only difference between this review and the last is the difference in Flash 10.1 betas. I am not sure what happened between the 2 versions, but the original beta worked much better. It is no longer available through the official website, so I will post a download link in the Revo setup page. A few days ago I turned my back on Flash on the Revo and said never again. However, after some suggestions and going back to 10.1 beta 1 I can say that everything is great now. While, Hulu Desktop's UI is a bit sluggish on the Revo, I now have to recommend it. Video play back was great and there is so much content on there you will never get through it all.
To read my original review with beta 2 follow the jump:
Do you hate commercials in your recorded television shows? If so there is an amazing tutorial over at Engadget HD by Ben Drawbaugh. It is an older post so you might have missed it. By following these steps I have and you will be able to get automatic commercial skipping in your recordings. My experience has been very positive when I use this process, and I rarely have any issues with the skipping. Both ShowAnalyzer and DVRMSToolbox are constantly updated and have a great community behind them. Happy commercial skipping.