Hulu Inbound for iPad, Xbox

For months, rumors have swirled around Hulu’s much-anticipated but never-confirmed arrival on the iPad.

News reports this week, however, cite credible sources in-the-know who are saying that Hulu will soon expand its content offerings to Apple’s revolutionary tablet computer.

The powers that be at Hulu – a website optimized for viewing archived television programming owned by News Corp, General Electric’s NBC Universal and Walt Disney Co. – are said to be finalizing a plan to introduce a subscription-based service that will push Hulu to new platforms. In addition to the iPad, Hulu is widely expected to also debut for Microsoft’s Xbox, where Netflix Inc’s movie streaming service has already become enormously popular.

While the formal announcement could come at any time, it isn’t yet know when the service may be available to subscribers. The mad dash to promote Hulu on new platforms has clearly begun. And by no means is Hulu alone in the increasingly competitive online video market, which, according to ABI Research, may reach $16.1 billion through both subscription-based and ad-supported services by 2012.

Mike Vorhaus, a media consultant, tells Reuters that “Many viewers are not going home to watch TV anymore. They’ve already been trained to believe TV is coming to them and demand is growing for this content in different forms and different business models.”