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RCN, Grande Hook In Hulu

RCN and Grande Communications are the latest U.S. MVPDs to offer access to Hulu’s SVOD service on the set-top box.

RCN and Grande are offering Hulu as a “channel” on leased set-tops that run TiVo’s software, search and interface, a move that follows earlier integrations with other OTT services such as Netflix, YouTube and HBO Go, the premium programmer’s authenticated TV Everywhere app.

Hulu can be found on channel 398 for Grande customers and on channel 449 for RCN subs in Boston; Chicago; New York City; Philadelphia; and Washington, D.C.; and channel 749 for RCN customers in Lehigh Valley, Pa.

"In the last year alone, we've seen a 23 percent increase in activation of streaming services such as Netflix, HBO GO and YouTube through our TiVo set-top boxes and that number continues to rise," said Chris Fenger, COO of RCN and Grande, in a statement. "On average customers consume 15 – 17 hours of content on just one of these services. These rising numbers consistently remind us that integrating popular streaming services into our suite of products allows instant access, convenience through one device, and a superior customer experience. We will continue to innovate in this arena to deliver what our customers want most."

Suddenlink, GCI and Cablevision Systems have also integrated Hulu. Suddenlink and GCI are also offering it on its TiVo-based platform, Cablevision Systems is enabling it with ActiveVideo’s CloudTV StreamCast, a technology that converts user interfaces, video and other content from Web formats to formats that can be rendered and displayed by non-IP or incompatible IP set-tops.

Notably, content from CW and Univision isn’t available on those integration due to streaming right limitations on certain devices.  However, those customers who sign on for Hulu can still access content from those programmers through other Hulu-supported platforms.

Hulu has also announced integrated distribution deals with AT&T, Armstrong, Atlantic Broadband, Mediacom Communications, Midcontinent Communications and WideOpenWest (WOW!), which this week announced that it is rolling out eBOX, a hybrid QAM/IP box from Evolution Digital that runs the TiVo platform and will also support a selection of OTT video services and apps.

Hulu is also developing an OTT-TV skinny-bundle service that would presumably compete with some of its new MVPD partners.