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Hulu's Google TV Gaffe: Today's Outrage

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- When Sony (SNE) announced its lineup of Google (GOOG) TV products this week, one large online video provider was absent from the discussion: Hulu, which has been absent from most platforms for some time now.

Though a long-rumored feature of Google TV, Hulu stood on the sidelines as NBC, Pandora, the NBA and primary rivals Amazon (AMZN) Video on Demand and Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) sidled up to the next big thing in Internet TV. When asked why the Hulu Plus subscription service was absent when Hulu partner NBC made the lineup, Hulu's spokespeople say "The Hulu and Google teams are currently in discussions to bring the Hulu Plus subscription service to Google TV enhanced environments." Given Hulu's track record, it should talk faster.

If Hulu is hoping that it's $9.99-a-month subscription service will help it fight off other video providers, the GE (GE - Get Report)/NBC, Disney (DIS - Get Report)/ABC and News Corp. (NWS - Get Report)/Fox joint venture should know it's already way behind on the cards. Hulu Plus is accessible on Samsung TV and Blu-ray players and will be available on certain Sony and Vizio products this fall. Netflix is also there. Hulu Plus just returned Hulu to Sony's PlayStation 3 after blacking out its service there last year and plans to jump on Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox 360 next year. Netflix is already on both systems and the Nintendo Wii. Hulu says Hulu Plus service for Roku and TiVo devices is "coming soon." Netflix will eagerly await its arrival.

Hulu's platform deficit is what makes the service's absence from Google TV particularly egregious. By making it easier to watch Web-based video on television and to view television and browse the Web on the same large screen, Google TV takes an enormous step toward full media integration -- which one assumes Hulu would embrace as a Web video provider. But Hulu never acts like a Web video provider but, instead, like an old, withered network exec clinging to his product with a bony, wrinkled, arthritically frozen hand.
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