Can I Watch Hulu on My iPad?


You can't play videos directly from the Hulu website on your iPad, but Hulu does offer an iPad-specific app for Hulu Plus, its extended subscription service. There are several reasons you can't use the website, including the way videos are encoded for online playing. You can use a few legal cheats to view standard Web-based Hulu on your iPad, but they require a computer working in tandem with the iPad and possibly advanced networking skills.

Encoding Issues

  • Hulu's website and online video player is based on Flash video encoding technology. In an April 2010 letter from Apple CEO Steve Jobs posted on the Apple website, Jobs explains why the iPad doesn't support Flash, saying it introduces security risks, battery drain, and has no touch-friendly interface. However, the iPad can handle several other types of video encoding, including the H.264 Web standard, which is what the Hulu Plus app uses.

Hulu Plus

  • Hulu Plus is a subscription-based service that requires a monthly fee but allows you access to more videos than the website offers to non-members. Videos also feature fewer ads than the free version, but are generally not ad-free. You can download the Hulu Plus app onto your iPad for free, but you can't use it until you've signed up for the service. Your Hulu Plus account allows you access to the extended video library both on your iPad and from the website, using the same login and password. However, there are some videos that are Web-only, most likely due to their encoding.

Hulu Cheats

  • Several iPad Web browsers claim you can use them to play Flash video on the iPad. However, these apps aren't guaranteed to work on all sites, and many fail on Hulu. Another way to view Hulu Web videos on your iPad is to download a remote desktop app from the App Store. Through additional software downloaded onto your computer, you can play Hulu on your desktop's browser but view and hear it on your iPad. Read the specifications on remote desktop software carefully, as some types transfer only screen images without sound, and others require you to be on the same network as your computer unless you reconfigure your router. This also requires a high-speed Internet connection with excellent strength for successful viewing.


  • If remote Hulu viewing is the primary reason you need a mobile computer, consider getting a laptop instead of an iPad. However, if it's merely one aspect of your mobile device needs, you can use Hulu Plus or find a different source for your videos.

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  • Photo Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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