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Youtube-killer Hulu faces an uphill battle

News Corp. Fox and NBC Universal have teamed up to produce an online site that they hope will be able to challenge Youtube and other independent online video websites. (opens in new tab) is currently in testing mode, meaning that it is an invite-only service for now.

Bloggers who had seen to the content and behind-the-scene access have been impressed by the uncluttered interface and how smooth the beta version is.

Hulu (opens in new tab) will offer primetime shows like The office, Prison break, The bionic woman, House bones as well as TV classics like Miami Vice, Kojak and the Simpsons.

Video quality appears to be far better than Youtube one (at least on Hulu screen captures) It is is not known whether viewers outside the US will be allowed access to the website and whether adverts will be geo-targeted. represents a welcome break whereby content producers choose to go with the flow (allowing online viewers to watch movies for free and share them) rather than suing and alienating its potential customers. will be particularly attractive to advertisers who will find in this closed garden, an ideal platform for targeting audiences as it provides quality, controlled content that is slick and well produced, combined with all the other "social" advantages of a web 2.0 environment.

However, one can expect's release to be coupled with a more coercive approach to illegal content online as a bid to push viewers to try and adopt Hulu.

It will also prove to be a major competitor both to DVD vendors (think Amazon) and clip floggers like iTunes which still charge USD 1.99 per video.

Internetnews also understands (opens in new tab) that will offer paid downloads and DVD sales.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.