Hulu Plus, that anomaly among video streaming services that charges a monthly subscription and plays commercials, has a freebie browser-based version called Hulu.com. The cool thing about Hulu.com is that it offers a fair amount of movies and TV shows for free – but only if you’re dialed in on a desktop or laptop browser. Try the same on your Android and you’ll find yourself redirected to the Hulu Plus mobile app, which limits you to watching only clips and trailers (LAME!). Lucky for you, we found a workaround that’ll let you bypass those restrictions so you can watch Hulu on Android for free.
To do that, you’re going to need the intervention of a remote desktop application. If you’re not familiar with what that is, a remote desktop application enables you to access and operate your home computer from another location, using a smartphone or tablet or another computer. Among the veritable glut of available remote desktop applications, many of them – like Chrome Remote Desktop and Remote Desktop for Windows – are video only, and they fail to deliver the all-necessary audio element that’s integral to watching any video content aside from silent movies. Fortunately, some there are some apps that succeed where others fail.
Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop is one such app. A free download through Google Play, Splashtop lets you connect to your home computer, get online, navigate to Hulu.com, and watch to your heart’s content via remote connection. The only catch with the free version of the app is that you have to be connected to your computer via a local network, which limits your mobility. An in-app yearly subscription of $17 lets you connect to your computer from any location.
If you’re still in, the first step is to download the app to your smartphone. When you do, you have to create a unique user ID and password, after which you’ll be prompted to install the Splashtop Streamer software to your PC. This is the dashboard you’ll use to grant permissions to mobile devices and establish the settings you’ll need to make your rig run right. After install is complete, log in with the credentials you created on the app. This is what enables the connection between devices.
Next, you’ll need to generate a security code that you’ll have to key in on your Android in order to connect. You can make it whatever you want, as long as it’s alphanumeric and between 8 and 20 characters.
Since your computer has to remain logged in and connected to Splashtop Streamer to facilitate remote connections, you’ll want to keep the software running at all times. Checking the box labeled “Enable auto launch” in Settings ensures the program launches automatically if your computer experiences an automatic reboot.
Also in Settings is where you’ll find that aforementioned audio setting that will send accompanying sound from your host computer to your Android device. As we mentioned before, there are lots of remote desktop connection apps but many of them have issues delivering audio. With Splashtop, setting up audio is easy. You have three options: “Output sound only to mobile device” delivers audio to your smartphone but doesn’t pipe the sound through your home computer speakers; “Output sound only to this computer” will prevent your Android from picking up the audio from any streaming video, so avoid this setting at all cost; “Output sound to both this computer and mobile device” will play audio on both ends, if you should want that.
Signing in to your host computer from your Android device is simple. Just launch the app, key in your login credentials, tap the computer icon, and you’re in. You can also adjust resolution to match the computer’s native display or you can choose between 1024×600, 1024×768, 1280×720, 1280×800, 1366×768, or 1920×1080 resolutions.
Once the session is started your smartphone screen will display your computer desktop. Here, you can tap, drag, and pinch and zoom your way through your host computer from your smartphone screen. From this point, watching Hulu.com programming on your Android is as easy as accessing the site via your host computer browser and hitting Play. You can even tap the full-screen button on the bottom right of the player to fill your entire smartphone screen.
Granted, watching Hulu on Android via remote connection isn’t what anyone would call the greatest experience in the world. For one, it’s totally cumbersome to search the Hulu.com database of movies on a tiny smartphone screen. You may also experience a bit of lag in the audio. But it certainly beats having to pay a monthly subscription to Hulu Plus if all you want is the occasional diversion to keep you away from Facebook and Angry Birds.
Besides that, Splashtop is a premier virtualization app that has uses well beyond the Hulu workaround. Combine it with the Splashtop Remote PC Gaming THD app, for $9.99, and you can stream, play, and control via touchscreen just about any major PC game running on your home computer. It’s that’s seamless, provided you have a decent wireless connection. Splashtop also provides a great workaround for getting iTunes on your Android device.