Access Hulu From the Couch

I continue to search for ways to keep my Windows Media Center alive and kicking. As you may recall from some recent posts, my analog tuners are now useless (owing to the recent digital switchover), which severely limits my TV-watching options.

One substitute I've been checking out is Boxee, a free Media Center-like application that provides a stylish gateway to much of the Web's streaming video.

However, I've found Boxee's interface a little awkward, and video quality leaves something to be desired--especially on my older media centers.

This week I'm spending some time with Hulu Desktop, which provides a couch-friendly, remote-controllable Hulu interface. The only problem is that it doesn't integrate with Windows Media Center, which is still my preferred TV/DVR interface.

That's where Hulu Desktop Integration comes in. It performs three simple functions: 1) It adds a Hulu Desktop icon to Windows Media Center. 2) When clicked, it closes WMC and opens Hulu Desktop (maximized). 3) When you close Hulu Desktop, it restarts WMC.

Ideal? No. Better than having to perform those steps manually? Definitely. And with the arrival of Hulu Plus, Hulu is now looking like a mighty compelling alternative to, well, cable.

What I'd really like to see is Hulu integration with WMC that's on par with what Netflix currently offers. The latter is just plain awesome.

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