Hulu Soon Saying Farewell to Free TV

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Starting college is a rough transition because you suddenly find yourself rid of the countless comforts of home: Mom’s home cooking, Dad’s cheesy jokes, high school friends — and the familiar characters of our favorite TV shows.

Thank god for Hulu.

No, I definitely can’t make it through the school year without the online TV streaming service. With the bulk of midterm review sessions, sorority meetings and on-campus events happening while Blair and Dan coupled up on Gossip Girl and while Andy became the new manager of The Office, it was tough staying on top of it all. That is, until Hulu made it possible for us college kids to keep up with the shows that kept us company throughout high school. Plus, we can now watch Christina Aguilera* make bad fashion and elimination decisions on The Voice and James Van Der Beek play himself on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt 23, all on demand. So really, whenever we want to procrastinate, and whenever we need a study break.

And honestly, the only thing better than Hulu is Hulu Plus! I gladly hand over $7.99 a month to host random marathons of Smash while I study, or to watch Glee and New Girl the day after it airs. One skipped meal per month for all the Grey’s Anatomy I want? Hulu Plus is the school supply I use all year long.

However, the glory days of free television are numbered, as Hulu may soon require all television addicts to login with their cable or satellite TV account number, according to the New York Post. Which means you’ll have to be a paying television subscriber in order to watch all the shows you missed on television. And they’re not the only ones moving toward cable authentication — Fox is also looking into a model with Comcast via a TV Everywhere deal.

Sure, this new model will benefit cable providers and television networks, and subscribers will get more bang for their buck that they’re already paying each month. But who gets screwed over the most?

College students — from the excited freshmen who live on campus and don’t have a cable/satellite login to themselves, to the scrappy seniors who live off-campus and may not be ordering cable services at all, let alone buying a television. And most of us would rather risk flooding our laptops with viruses before bringing home a TV and signing a contract with Time Warner Cable.

The television industry says they’re contemplating this move as a response to customers’ buying habits — the ones that pushed video rental companies like Blockbuster into bankruptcy and plunged Netflix’s stock after Quikster was momentarily on the horizon. However, the idea of cable authentication shuts out the collegiate demographic by default, and also ignores the lifestyle of Millennials altogether. Our generation is the first to not have a TV in every household, and we like it that way. We don’t see the need for them — we like to watch things on demand, without commercials, on our computers, iPads and smartphones. We’re willing to pay for them and support our shows at a reasonable price, but we’ll download them illegally, if necessary.

Hopefully, this doesn’t kick in until we’re all out of college. But to those who will still be students by the time cable authentication is a standard across the board, good luck procrastinating efficiently in 30-minute blocks.

*No hate on Christina Aguilera, I’m actually a huge, devout fan. I’m just holding a grudge because she eliminated Jesse Campbell and has found a job in which she doesn’t have to wear pants anymore.

Ashley is a UC San Diego grad who is holding on way too tightly to a potential career in magazines and goes to Vegas all too often. She’s fascinated with celebrities and strawberry beer and doubles as a pathological texter/emailer/blogger. Feed the addiction with tweets @cashleelee. Thanks in advance.

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