Final Verdict on Hulu Plus: Anime Library not worth putting up with the Ads

The crazy thing was I foolishly hoped I would be spared having to deal with ads since Hulu Plus is a PAID service.

Not so much.

It’s as I said on Facebook a few minutes ago: Hulu Plus may have the largest legal streaming Anime libraary possibly ever due to the Neon Alley buyout but it’s not worth sitting through the ads.

As I also mentioned in the same post on Facebook, due to licensing issues and/or the latest update, half the Anime I bought on Xbox Live is no longer usable. I’m hopeful it’s just a bug due to the update from last week but I’ve already accepted it as a loss. I already went through Xbox Live’s customer service twice for a refund and they came up with everything they could think of to not give me what I was owed.

It’s because of that experience I started buying Anime on DVD and iTunes: The chances of gettting screwed over because of DRM are significantly less likely that way.

Reminder: Today is the last day the Neon Alley App will work on your PS3/Xbox 360

 

Read this if you need a refresher but yeah.

After today, your only choices to legally stream Anime will be Netflix, Crunchyroll and Hulu Plus. Listen: I just logged into my Hulu account for the first time in almost 6 years. I checked the available Anime and was floored: Not only does Hulu have nearly all of the Anime currently and formerly available on Netflix but they’ve got literally DOZENS more I’d only seen listed on iTunes/Xbox Live/Playstation Network.

And that catalog is going to more than double in size come tomorrow.

It was then that I remembered I also happen to have the Hulu Plus App on all of my game systems as well as my iPod and Android Phone. Not only that, the monthly sub for Hulu is actually $6 and not $10 like I originally thought, which was the same price as Neon Alley’s subscription. That’s $2 less than what Netflix charges. Add to that Hulu, like Crunchyroll has simulcast. It basically means new episodes become available right after it airs on TV.

Despite that, Netflix is still the Steaming King. Why? It’s movie library alone is bigger than everything Hulu has to offer combined.

Even so, I’m going to activate Hulu Plus on my account this Friday. I go where the Anime’s at plain and simple. That’s why I got Crunchyroll and Neon Alley earlier this year. I will cancel my premium service on Crunchyroll at the end of the week as well since I only really watch Naruto Shippuden on the CR anyway. I also prefer my Anime Dubbed so the decision should be obvious. The changeover will cut my monthly Streaming bill to $14 between Netflix and Hulu Plus.

This is just speaking for me of course.

If you prefer strictly Subbed, Crunchyroll alone is right up your alley. If you don’t mind Dubbed, just Hulu Plus or Netflix will keep your occupied for a while. If you want to catch up on the last 24 years’ worth of Anime, just Hulu Plus will do it.

The reason I’m getting both is because again, Netflix is the Streaming King where movies are concerned. I am also very curious to see what Netflix’s answer, if any to Neon Alley merging with Hulu may be.

 

Neon Alley Going “Free”, Extending Content to Hulu Plus Users

I opened my Inbox to find this email from Neon Alley:

In case you missed it . . . 

We wanted to email our members directly about our exciting announcement from earlier today:
On April 1st, we are taking a BOLD new step into the future of Neon Alley!

 

From day one, our mission has been to bring you, the fans of dubbed anime, an awesome and legal way to get the best and latest dubs while exposing you to great series you may never have seen before.  From the latest episodes of Naruto Shippuden to new series that have debuted on Neon Alley, like Tiger & Bunny and Zetman, we’ve worked hard to get you the latest and greatest.  

 
 
       
And now, that mission will continue with one major change  

IT WILL BE FREE!

U.S. fans will be able to catch a wide variety of brand new subtitled, simulcast, and premiere dubbed anime, as well as classic content distributed and/or licensed by VIZ Media, for FREE at www.NeonAlley.com. The site will also become the new home for all FREE streaming anime content previously available on VIZAnime.com, including first-run subtitled simulcasts for hit series such as Naruto Shippuden.

 
 
       
But wait. . . there’s more!

The number one request we have had from you, our members, is to expand Neon Alley’s availability to even more devices.  Now, with a subscription to Hulu Plus, you will be able to access  Neon Alley across the widest array of devices EVER including PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii, Roku, Chromecast, and a multitude of additional mobile devices that already support the Hulu Plus App.  (Canadian members- just sit tight! We will release additional news on Neon Alley availability for Canadian users in the near future.)

 

Members who have already pre-paid for subscriptions extending beyond March 31, 2014, you will be contacted during the month of February so that we can issue you a refund for the portion of your membership which would occur after we make the transition to being free!  We have also updated our FAQ section on NeonAlley.com to answer some refund and transition related questions.  

 
       
As a BONUS to our loyal customers 

… currently paying members will be receiving 2 FREE MONTHS of Hulu Plus so you can try the service and see how awesome it will be to have access to Neon Alley virtually EVERYWHERE.  Details of how to get the free 2 month trial will be sent to you prior to April 1st.    

 

Keep an eye out for more from Neon Alley right here in your in-box because our weekly newsletter will remain the place for all the latest news for both the remainder of the current season (with GREAT new episodes of your favorite series still debuting every week!)

 

From,

Your Pals At Neon Alley

Sounds great and all, right? Well I had some questions that were not answered in the email so I took a look at the Transiton FAQ referenced in the email. This was the one that caught my attention:

 

Will NeonAlley.com be the ONLY way to watch now? What about gaming consoles?

Actually, now you will be able to access Neon Alley content not only on the PS3 and XBOX 360 gaming consoles, but on PS4, XBOX One, Wii, Roku, Chromecast, and a number of mobile phones and tablets by using the Hulu Plus App! Starting April 1, anyone in the U.S. who comes to NeonAlley.com to sign up for their free Hulu Plus trial will get 2 free weeks instead of the standard 7 day Hulu Plus trial! (See “So now I can watch Neon Alley on more than just my PS3, XBOX 360 and computer?” below for more details.).
I saw this for what it really was Neon Alley inked a deal with Hulu to host content via their streaming service Hulu Plus. It’s a business move, I get it but as I said in the very pointed email I sent to Neon Alley a few minutes ago (see below), this is a slap in the face for those who only wanted to be able to legally watch and stream dubbed Anim using a dedicated provider.
Don’t think so? Here’s the other part referenced above:

So now I can watch Neon Alley on more than just my PS3, XBOX 360 and computer?

YES! Starting April 1, 2014, a membership to Hulu Plus will enable you to watch all of the Neon Alley content anywhere the Hulu Plus app is available including PS4, XBOX One, Wii, Roku, Chromecast, and on many iOS and Android devices! While NeonAlley.com will remain your central hub for all things Neon Alley, including access to all of the videos, Hulu Plus will allow you to watch from virtually anywhere. For a complete list of platforms currently supporting Hulu Plus please visit http://www.hulu.com/plus/devices. Once inside the Hulu Plus app, just search for your favorite Neon Alley series! Starting April 1, anyone in the U.S. who comes to NeonAlley.com to sign up for their free Hulu Plus trial will get 2 free weeks instead of the standard 7 day Hulu Plus trial!
Translation: If you want to access Neon Alley content on a PS3/Xbox 360 or other device you’ll need to get Hulu Plus. Since Viz Media owns the rights to some of the Anime still being offered via Netflix their streaming library will shrink even more come April 1 (hence the deadline). Even though I have an active Netflix account myself I don’t really care about that detail at this point.
What I don’t like is prettymuch being forced to get Hulu Plus if I wanna continue  to stream dubbed Anime on Demand outside Netflix. I’ve bought Anime on my PS3 and Xbox 360 of course but those are mostly Anime I already saw for the first time either on Adult Swim/Toonami/Cartoon Network, Netflix or more recently Neon Alley and Crunchyroll. This is the email I sent to Neon Alley a short time ago:
I feel like I’m being forced to switch to Hulu Plus with today’s announcement.

The way it was worded in the Transition FAQ, Hulu Plus will take over streaming everything handled by the Neon Alley App for the Xbox 360/PS3 through the announced Neon Alley Channel. That’s not “free”, it costs more than Neon Alley Premium and for those of us who decided to use Neon Alley becayse we considererd it a better, legal Anime focused streaming service compared to Hulu Plus and Netflix, this is slap in the face.

I know I’m not the only one who is very angry about this detail (or will be when they find out) being glossed over and I hope I’m not the only one who tells you about it. I’ve used Hulu Plus in the past and it’s been the worst when it comes to Anime-related content. I want to say Netflix is worse but at least with Netflix you get full seasons and not trailers or video clips for upcoming/aired episodes veiled as full episodes.

I would prefer continuing to pay the existing subscription fee to continue using the Neon Alley App on my Xbox 360 and PS3 vs. “free” NA on a PAID service you’re subcontracting to host content. It would also be cool if you make an App for the Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Vita.

 

I took a peek at Neon Alley’s Facebook page just now and as I thought, ALOT of people are very angry about the news. It’s probably in vain but I can only hope Neon Alley takes the negative feedback to heart and at the very least continues support of the Neon Alley App.