Cablevision Offers Hulu on Set-Top Boxes

Launch comes almost a year after distribution deal was announced
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Almost a year after the deal was announced, Cablevision Systems said it has begun to distribute Hulu, the over-the-top subscription-based video service, to the MSO's Optimum TV customers. 

Under the integration, subs can access Hulu via the Optimum TV interactive program guide on channel 605 via "all current-generation set top boxes." 

Cablevision is distributing Hulu to the set-top using ActiveVideo’s CloudTV StreamCast, which that converts user interfaces, video and other content from Web formats to formats that can be rendered and displayed by non-IP or incompatible IP set-tops. UPC Hungary, for example, is also using StreamCast to offer YouTube and other apps on set-tops. ActiveVideo is now part of a joint venture of Arris and Charter Communications formed last year.

Cablevision subs with Hulu subscriptions can access it on the set-top using their credentials. Those without a Hulu account are in line with a free trial and can also subscribe to it via channel 605 or by logging in to optimum.net (a Web page dedicated to the offering is here). Hulu offers two services – one with limited commercials for $7.99 per month and a commercial-free option for $11.99 per month, but the Cablevision-Hulu site currently references only the $7.99 tier. 

Financial terms of the Cablevision-Hulu distribution deal were not announced, including how much of a cut Cablevision will get from Hulu subscriptions it helps to generate. 

The Hulu addition comes amid Cablevision's distribution deal for HBO Now, the premium programmer’s $14.99 per month standalone OTT service that launched a year ago today, and the MSO’s  introduction of service packages tailored for cord-cutters.

Cablevision is the first MVPD to integrate Hulu at the set-top level. Hulu has also announced distribution deals with several other MVPDs and ISPs,  including AT&T, Armstrong, Atlantic Broadband, Mediacom Communications, Midcontinent Communications and WideOpenWest (WOW!).

“As Hulu’s first cable distribution partner, Optimum is pleased to also be the first provider to offer the unique ability to access Hulu directly from the program guide,” said Tom Montemagno, Cablevision’s executive vice president of programming, in a statement. “This new delivery of Hulu, facilitated by ActiveVideo cloud technology, provides Optimum customers with a truly unparalleled experience when accessing their cable and Hulu subscriptions from their television.”

“We are thrilled that Optimum customers can now access Hulu’s content library without having to leave their cable TV environment” addedTim Connolly, SVP of distribution and strategic partnerships at Hulu. “We are pleased to partner with Cablevision and ActiveVideo to bring Hulu’s breadth and depth of content and experience to Optimum TV customers.” 

“Today’s announcement of the integration of Hulu into the Cablevision Optimum TV experience shows how both online services and pay-TV are continuing to sharpen the user experience to provide the most inviting environment available,” ActiveVideo’s chief marketing officer Murali Nemani explained in this blog post that provides a bit more background on the integration, its use of cloud virtualization, and how it bridges Hulu’s digital rights management format and Cablevision’s conditional access system.

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