Hulu, the popular Web site for streaming TV shows with limited commercials, has famously blocked mobile phones from accessing its free content. This is an odd move in the face of the growing number of companies offering on-demand downloads for a price. Bitbop is the latest mobile app taking a stab at filling Hulu's void.
On Wednesday morning, Bitbop, previously in closed beta testing, becomes available for all BlackBerry phones in the U.S., with Android and other mobile platforms to follow.
Now, before you get too excited about the prospect of Hulu on your BlackBerry smartphone, we've got to level with you. Bitbop isn't exactly Hulu, and it definitely isn't free. However, it brings Hulu-like elements to the mobile platform that could catch on like wildfire if the winds are right.
In Bitbop, you'll choose from the content you can search or browse--mostly TV shows at this point--and add it to your queue, Netflix-style. There they'll sit until you're ready to either stream or download them. You can do both over either Wi-Fi or 3G data speeds.
TV shows downloaded quickly and take up about 50MB per 30 minute episode. They played smoothly and with fairly high quality on our BlackBerry Bold 9700. Quality and bitrate will vary depending on your phone's bandwidth, but Bitbop quoted us a bitrate range of 120-500KB.
TV shows come to Bitbop's catalog from over 30 broadcast partners and include shows like "American Dad," "Glee," "CSI," "30 Rock," and "Chopped." A $9.99 monthly subscription gets you unlimited video streams and downloads, and in addition the shows play back to you commercial-free. Movies are planned for down the line.… Read more