Nintendo recently announced that the Wii and 3DS consoles will soon offer Hulu Plus streaming services. Nintendo is the last of the major gaming console companies to include Hulu's premium streaming service. The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 have always been ahead of Nintendo's Wii in streaming and other internet features.
The PS3 and 360 both offered Netflix streaming well before the Wii, but the Wii is catching up. Soon, the Wii will offer the same streaming features as all the other major consoles, and Nintendo is taking the lead in streaming services for portable consoles, with the 3DS.
Hulu Plus is among the leading streaming services online, including Netflix and Amazon. Hulu also provides streaming of many TV shows and movies for free online. However, much of the content including the most recent episodes of popular shows, are reserved for the premium service, called Hulu Plus. Featured films vary from month to month, and many popular TV shows from networks like ABC, Fox, NBC, MTV and Comedy Central are available to stream with the premium service.
The company has received criticism for its limited content, and for including advertising in their premium service, but it remains one of the best and least expensive ways to keep up with your favorite TV shows, without having to pay for cable each month.
Hulu Plus costs $7.99 per month, and can be accessed on your home computer, laptop, and soon, all major gaming consoles. This is a very popular feature for all of the consoles, as it allows users to watch streaming TV shows on their TV screens, as opposed to on their computer monitors. As more and more people opt out of their cable bills, and turn to online streaming for their TV fix, the more appealing these gaming consoles become, even to non-gamers.
Netflix streaming was already announced for the Nintendo 3DS, their most recent portable console. In a surprising twist of events, Nintendo is actually in the lead for offering streaming services with a portable console. The PS Vita does not currently offer any streaming service, and no streaming has been announced for Sony's next generation portable console.
Many smartphones already include streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, for their hand held devices, so offering streaming with a portable gaming console may or may not be a huge draw for consumers. It could be that there were no plans to include 3rd party streaming for Sony or Microsoft portable consoles. Time will tell if including streaming with the 3DS will set a trend for the other consoles.
Nintendo's announcement shortly follows another big announcement from the company, regarding its next generation gaming console, the Wii U. An official release date has not been announced for the Wii U nor the streaming services, but it's fair to assume that we'll be seeing streaming for the Wii before we can get ahold of the Wii U. It is likely that the streaming services were announced for the Wii at this time, so Nintendo can sell more Wii units before launching their next generation console.