Among film aficionados, the Criterion Collection can be a bittersweet product line: their releases represent the finest selection of international cinema of both yesteryear and today and boast immaculate transfers and packaging to boot, but our wallets are often too sparse to keep up with their vast library and steep prices. If you’ve sobbed yourself to sleep over such dilemmas as I have, the good folks at Criterion and Hulu Plus seem to have heard our cries.
Via a blog announcement on their official site earlier today, Criterion’s Peter Becker revealed that the entirety of the Criterion Collection would become available for streaming to Hulu Plus members–starting now in limited fashion, and expand in a tiered release plan throughout coming months. Members with streaming-compatible devices such as iPhones, iPads and Playstations will also be able to access the collection through those modes. While 150 titles are available at present, Criterion assures that number will quickly swell to 800. Hulu Plus sets its members back $7.99/month and an average Criterion DVD/Blu-Ray is in the vicinity of $30-40. While you won’t get any of the special features, that math still works out to a bargain. [Update: We should also mention that all of Criterion’s films available for “Instant Stream” on Netflix will be phased out by the end of the year. The physical discs will still be offered via the service, though.]