Hulu has begun sending out invites to a beta version of its highly anticipated live TV streaming service, the latest option for cord-cutters alongside similar offerings including AT&T's (T) - Get Report DirecTV Now, Dish Network's (DISH) - Get Report Sling TV and Sony's (SNE) - Get Report PlayStation Vue.
Hulu has set up a landing page that allows users to sign up for a chance to try the beta version. Fewer than 100 invites have been sent out so far, and the beta version is an early prototype that will look different from the interface when the service officially launches, according to Cord Cutter News. To try the beta service, users have to own an Apple (AAPL) - Get Report iPhone or iPad, Apple TV, Xbox One or Android device, according to the website.
The page also provides a few details about the streaming service, though many of them have already been disclosed. The service will include Hulu's existing on-demand library of TV, movies and original content, as well as a live TV option that allows viewers to pause, record and gain access to saved programming using a cloud DVR feature.
Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said at the Citi Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference earlier this month that the platform will probably launch early this year.
The service is expected to be priced at less than $40, compared with DirecTV Now's recently raised rate of $60 per month for its 100-channel package, Sling TV's starting price of $20 and PlayStation Vue's starting price of $29. Alphabet's (GOOGL) - Get Report Google Unplugged is expected to charge rates similar to Hulu's streaming service.
Hopkins also confirmed at the conference that Hulu's live TV service will have programming from CBS (CBS) - Get Report (unlike Sling TV or DirecTV Now), Time Warner (TWX) , Disney (DIS) - Get Report and 21st Century Fox's (FOXA) - Get Report Fox channel, among others. Hulu has yet to secure a deal with Comcast (CMCSA) - Get Report for NBC content, despite it being a co-owner of the streaming service along with Disney, Fox and Time Warner.
Hulu also provided some details about the live TV platform at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month. The platform provides several options for personalized content, allowing users to pick shows, networks and genres they like and then generating recommendations based on those preferences, according to Business Insider. Recommendations also can be catered to the time of day and what device is in use.
These specialized content features could stem in part from Hulu's recent acquisition of video metadata company Video Genome Project, a deal Hulu said would enhance its content recommendation capabilities.
Representatives from Hulu didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.