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October 13, 2023

Fixing the "Hulu Requires Flash Player" Error

If you see the error message "hulu requires flash player" when trying to watch videos on the site, you can fix it by installing a different browser or by getting Adobe's Flash plug-in. If you use Linux, you'll also need a package to enable Hulu's old DRM software to work. This software is called HAL and it depends on an older version of the Flash library than the newer PPAPI library used by Firefox and Google Chrome. The software can be found in your Linux distribution's software repositories, or from a third-party repository like the one at Ubuntu Software Center.

Founded in 2008, Hulu was initially backed by NBCUniversal (which was owned at the time by General Electric) and News Corp. A year later, Disney bought a majority stake. Today, Hulu consists of the programming from both major networks and independent producers, including original content such as "The Handmaid's Tale."

Aside from being available on every device with a Web browser, another reason for a Hulu app is that iPhone and iPad users can't access its videos because the devices don't support Adobe's Flash technology. Apple hasn't explained why, but John Gruber suggested before the iPad's launch that it was because of licensing issues and concerns about the ability to stream HD video over a mobile data connection.

Hulu could solve this problem by building a dedicated iOS app or by rewriting its site in Javascript to use Apple's Quicktime player instead of the old Flash-based one. However, the latter option would still leave tens of millions of iPhone and iPod Touch owners out in the cold for now.