Created: 2011-07-12 02:07
Updated: 2016-04-22 16:33


Hulu Automuter

Hulu Automuter automatically mutes your computer while a commercial is playing at



  • You won't have to manually toggle your sound to mute those awesome commercials
  • When ads are finished, the sound comes back on right on cue
  • Hulu ads are often miscalibrated and way too loud -- but not with the Automuter
  • If you see an ad that looks interesting, just unmute your volume
  • Hulu still gets their ad impressions registered: it's as if you paid attention to them


  • Ruby 1.8.6 or higher (developed on Ruby 1.9.2)
  • OS X, or Linux with amixer installed
  • a web browser you can configure to use an HTTP proxy (e.g. Chrome, Firefox)


Open a terminal, and type the following:

gem install hulu-automuter

Confirm that the installation succeeded by typing hulu-automuter -h. If you get an error message saying that hulu-automuter is missing, then you probably have a PATH issue. Try one of these workarounds:

  • Put the directory where Rubygems installs executables on your PATH
  • Try installing with sudo gem install hulu-automuter

To upgrade Hulu Automuter to a newer version, just repeat the installation procedure.

Mac Wrapper App: Some people have requested a Mac OS X wrapper app for this, for users who are intimidated by the Unix command line. This wrapper app should be available by the end of this week, and it will be free.


hulu-automuter [ -p port ]


    -p [port]   proxy port to use (default: 8123)
    -v          print version number

To use hulu-automuter, you need to configure the web browser you want to use for watching Hulu to use hulu-automuter as its HTTP proxy.

Configure the HTTP proxy setting in your web browser's network proxy preferences to localhost:proxy-port.

For example, if you want to use the default, you should set your browser to use a HTTP proxy at localhost:8123.

Then you can start hulu-automuter and go to in your configured web browser.

Press CTRL-c to stop hulu-automuter.

For Linux Audio

On Linux, the default amixer mute command is

amixer set Master mute

This will probbaly work if you use your computer's speakers or headphone jack. If you use USB speakers, you may need to change this default by setting the AUTOMUTE_COMMAND environment variable.

export AUTOMUTE_COMMAND="amixer -c 1 set PCM mute"


If you don't want to keep changing your web browser proxy settings manually when you want to use Hulu Automuter and then return to normal web browsing, try one of these tips:

  • See if your browser or your OS has a "Create Location" feature that lets you save your HTTP proxy configurations as "Locations" that you can choose from a drop-down.
  • Use one web browser program for general web browsing, and another web browser for HTTP proxying. Hulu Automuter is not the only proxy program you may want to use. Polipo, Tor, and Privoxy are others.

There are scripts and extensions out there that let you change your HTTP proxy settings more easily.

If you know of more, feel free to let me know, or add it to the wiki.

Is it unfair to Hulu?

A good question.

Let me point you to a blog post by Doc Searls on the topic.

Being forced to watch ads you aren't interested in degrades the whole experience of watching a good TV show or movie. It's an wasteful use of everyone's time and mental bandwith.

We need a new system. I would rather pay per view or donate money directly to the shows I enjoy, if Hulu gave that option.

Bug reports and feature requests

Please submit these at either of these places:

About the developer

My name is Daniel Choi. I specialize in Ruby, Rails, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and iOS development. I am based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and the little software company I run with Hoony Youn is called Kaja Software.

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