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Hulu (), which continues to see strong growth, has been a web-based video site since day one. As more and more premium content has made its way to the site, now with Disney even in the mix, more and more users have turned to Boxee () for consuming that content in a desktop application or via an AppleTV hack.
Now Hulu seems to be throwing down the gauntlet, and today they’ve launched their own shiny new desktop application, Hulu Desktop, that brings all the joys of Hulu to your PC or Mac and works with Apple and Windows Media Center remotes. In fact, they’re even touting it as the “lean-back” way to view Hulu video.
As a whole the application is top notch. You can expect a slick user interface centered around video watching. In fact, it’s hard not to notice that there are elements of Boxee’s sophisticated UI and navigation elements in the new offering. Suffice to say, though, if you’re a Hulu lover, you won’t be disappointed.
Hulu Desktop can be downloaded and used with or without an account, but if you do login you’ll get access to your video queue, subscriptions, and viewing history. You can also customize playback quality and tweak additional custom settings in the preferences menu.
Hulu’s play for your desktop is a pretty interesting and newsworthy move, especially given their contentious relationship with Boxee (who’s only fault was enabling you to engage with the same content in a similar fashion) and the recent demise of Joost’s desktop app.
Also interesting to note is that Hulu seems to have designed the desktop app not to play well with the Boxee app. If you have Boxee running, you might even see the “conflict” message above (though if Boxee’s not running, everything should work smoothly).