Hulu Embedability Test: The Theme to Benson
I’m testing the ease of embedding Hulu videos into WordPress with the theme to my favorite sitcom of all time: Benson. (Also included: the show intro fade-in.)
Non-fun fact: the opening theme is precisely one minute in length. Paul Junger Witt ran a tight ship.
Conclusion: Mostly Success, Partial Fail. Embedding video into WordPress isn’t as easy as it should be. Though Hulu cooperatively offers pretty open embed code intended to be easily copied and pasted into a blog, and a simple clip editing tool that lets you isolate your chosen clip, WordPress will ignore the code entirely. Instead, you must figure out your own wizardry or use a service called Vodpod (which requires you to enter your WordPress username and password on a third party site, ick) to post your chosen clip. Three services to post one clip to one site, not exactly a paragon of usability.
More importantly, since I’m not sure how Vodpod wedges the video into WordPress, I have little faith that the video in this post will continue to function in the future. Does it link directly to Hulu, or does it work through Vodpod? Fortunately, there is not a single clip on the web that is actually important enough to worry about in this fashion, and the nature of Hulu is such that skittish studio execs can pull their precious IP at any time, so embeddable video should be seen as temporary anyway.
As a bright and cheerful aside, however, the first two seasons of Benson can be seen freely on Hulu, until Sony (who now owns the series rights, if the watermark is to be believed) gets their britches in a bunch about their content ownership rights, which is almost inevitable. So see it now.
Seriously, though, if I could queue up an episode of Benson, followed by It’s A Living (the waitress-cleavage show), and Small Wonder, interspersing it with extinct “KOFY TV 20 San Francisco” service breaks featuring station owner James Gabbert, it would flash me back so far into boring Saturday nights in the 80′s, I would up-end a box of off-brand Legos and Micro Machines onto the floor. There you would find me, gazing wistfully at the pages of Nintendo Power and a Radio Shack catalog.