One of the seemingly perfect applications for the iPad is as an Internet TV.  Apple is down with this, but they’d like you to buy those TV shows from iTunes, albeit at half the $2/show rate they are currently charging.  But just about everyone else in the US is enjoying their TV for free from Hulu with *gasp* advertising thrown in at regular intervals.  These “commercials”, as we’ll call them, seem to have made Hulu a success while at the same time, funding the people who make the TV shows to continue making great shows.  Where did they come up with this model?!

So, it is with great wonder that we read that Hulu wants to go to a pay-per-view model on the iPad.  Not only because the built-in, Apple iTunes is already sitting there waiting with a pay-per-view model that would kill it before it was even born, but also because Hulu makes money as a commercial-based service on computers. Now.  Why mess with a good thing?

If Hulu wanted to, they could have an HTML 5 version of their site, ready to go on the iPad on day one.  There are no shortage of smart people working there and they’ve built a great site.

You browse the video selection in Safari and play the videos (with commercials) in Quicktime using the same H.264 codec videos that the current site wraps in Flash.  They would sell a boatload of commercials and have an instant success to the iPad audience plus the 50 million or so iPod and iPhone users who’d also have access to the site.

Or, they could also submit an app to the App Store for more interactive functionality, if Apple’d let them.

It is literally a no-brainer.

But instead, if you want to watch the Daily Show on your iPad you’ll have to pay $2 (maybe $1 if Apple gets its way) to watch it or head to the torrent sites and jump through a bunch of hoops and skip any commercials.

Clearly, the networks haven’t a clue.

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