Eugene Wei, vice president of product with Hulu, said that his company's contractual requirements make the transition to HTML5 too difficult. The current player on the website, built with Adobe Flash, does a great deal more than stream video.
"We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesnât yet meet all of our customers' needs," Wei wrote. "Our player doesnât just simply stream video, it must also secure the content, handle reporting for our advertisers, render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality, communicate back with the server to determine how long to buffer and what bitrate to stream, and dozens of other things that aren't necessarily visible to the end user."
The statement would seem to finally put to rest lingering rumors that Hulu might convert to HTML5 for an iPad-friendly site. But it does not mean that iPad users will not be able to access Hulu.
The company is still expected to bring its service to the iPad eventually, through software in the App Store much like the ABC and Netflix streaming players. It is believed Hulu on the iPad will be a pay-only service that would require a monthly subscription.
But the existing, popular ABC application shows programs like "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" for free, with ad support. And that free product has apparently caused concern for Hulu, which is rumored to introduce a $9.95-per-month subscription plan later this month, on May 24.
It is believed that Hulu will incentivize its subscription plan with Apple's iPad, and also offer a "window" where content is available to subscribers, both on computers and the iPad, before it can be seen for free by the general public. Rumors have suggested Hulu's business partners — the site is owned by the parent companies of Fox, NBC and ABC — have pressured the service into subscription plans to "train" viewers that they should pay for online access to content.