Hulu and Netflix recently promised that each streaming video service would work on notebooks running Google Chrome OS. Since I happen to have one of the first Chromebooks sitting on my desk at the moment, I figured I’d take each site for a test drive to see how they perform.
The good news is that Hulu is already up and running. The bad news is that the video quality isn’t stellar. The worse news is that Netflix doesn’t currently work at all yet. When you attempt to play a Netflix video you get a friendly message letting you know that the company will have more details “in the coming months” and that you’re welcome to manage your queue from Chrome OS.
It’s still possible that Netflix could be up and running by the time Acer and Samsung start shipping Chromebooks to the public on June 15th, but right now Netflix Watch Instantly videos are a no-show.
Hulu videos actually look pretty good until you try blowing them up to full screen mode. In a small window, videos look good at and play smoothly at 360p or 480p resolutions. But when I tried opening an episode of Firefly to watch on the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook’s 1280 x 800 pixel display, video playback started to look choppy.
The reduced frame rate was barely noticeable when watching a 360p video, but higher resolution 480p videos were much more slideshow-like in full screen mode.