Hulu Plus on the PS3: Less Content Than on the Web

Sony (s SNE) started to roll out a limited test of Hulu Plus on the PlayStation 3 yesterday, and first user feedback reveals a troubling shortcoming: Apparently, PlayStation users won’t be able to access some of the content that’s available to them through the free web version of despite paying $9.95 per month for Hulu Plus and $50 per year for their PlayStation Plus membership.

Hulu and Sony have started to grant a select number of users access to the new premium service as part of their PlayStation Plus subscription. PlayStation Plus subscribers interested in the service can download the Hulu Plus app for free and then apply for access to Hulu Plus right within the app. The application also offers immediate access to some limited amount of content — mostly trailers and previews — for free, just like the Hulu Plus iPad app does.

Users invited to take part in the limited preview have to subscribe to Hulu Plus. Some have posted their first impressions online, and one issue that keeps coming up is the lack of content. Here’s a comment posted on the Hulu forums today:

“I’m not sure why it is this way, but as a paying plus subscriber, shouldn’t we at least have the ability to watch Hulu content that we can watch online? With plus, there is no HGTV content at all. I have shows/clips in my queue that will not show up in Plus. That’s HIGHLY disappointing. And that alone is a deal killer at least for me :(“

Another user agrees:

“I was excited to be invited for the preview, but much of the content I would like to see on my PS3 is available only when I use it on the web. I was looking forward to viewing The Outer Limits on my PS3. Right now it will only play on my mac. If I can’t watch the same amount of shows as I was when It was free, I might cancel my subscription after this month.”

We were able to confirm that the same issue exists on the iPad, with some content that’s available on the web not being available on the device. However, PlayStation users seem to be more irritated about this shortcoming since they’re already paying a premium through their PlayStation Plus membership to even access the service. Sony has said that Hulu Plus will eventually be available to every PlayStation 3 user “in the coming months.”

The reason for these discrepancies is that Hulu doesn’t have the licensing rights to include some of the shows that are available via the free web version as part of its premium offering.  This distinction is irrelevant to users of the web version of Hulu Plus, as they can access both free and premium service, but it becomes more relevant as Hulu is extending its premium service to other connected devices. It also goes to show that the company still has some behind-the-scenes arm-wrestling to do to make Hulu Plus a compelling service.

A Sony spokesperson told us that it’s up to Hulu what content they’re making available on the service. A Hulu spokesperson pointed us to a list of content available on Hulu Plus.

Related content on GigaOm Pro: Three Reasons Hulu Plus is No Threat to Netflix (subscription required)