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Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
Try Hulu Plus free for a month. If you like TV like I like TV, you might just like it.
Try Hulu Plus free for a month. If you like TV like I like TV, you might just like it. Hulu

Recently my media-center PC died (well, the hard drive -- when you start seeing boot-screen messages about "imminent hard drive failure," believe them!). All those episodes of "Community" and "Once Upon a Time" I'd DVR'd for later viewing -- gone.

Hulu Plus to the rescue! Yeah, you have to sit through commercial breaks (albeit way shorter ones than during regular broadcasts), but it's still the best (and cheapest) way to watch first-run TV shows.

A typical Hulu Plus trial lasts just seven days, but for a limited time, StackSocial is offering a free Hulu Plus trial for one month. The big caveat: It's for new subscribers only.

The other caveat, if you can call it that, is the need to provide a credit card. You won't be charged until the start of the second month, though obviously you can cancel before that happens (and to its credit, Hulu makes canceling a breeze).

I'll admit that I used to consider Hulu Plus a bad deal, largely because of those insipid commercials. (Netflix and DVRs have totally spoiled me.) But now I regard it as a must-have addition to any cord-cutter's arsenal, especially if you want to watch, on demand, the aforementioned first-run shows. Last night's "Community," for example? You can stream it (in HD) right now. On Amazon or iTunes, it would cost you $2.99. For that one episode.

Hulu Plus costs $7.99 per month for unlimited episodes. Of everything. (Well, not everything, but plenty of good stuff, IMHO.) There are gaps in the collection, sure, but that's true of Netflix as well. Eight bucks -- tell me you don't spend that on a day's lunch.

Anyway, don't take my word. Give it a try for a month and see what you think. No like? No harm done (and no money spent). Note that unless you have a particularly smart smart TV, you'll need some kind of box if you want to enjoy Hulu on your big screen: Apple TV, game console, Roku box, etc. It works on most tablets and smartphones, too.

Your weekend is all set. Time for some binge-watching!

Bonus deal: Now here's something interesting. Lenovo has the refurbished IdeaPad N585 15.6-inch laptop for $161.07 shipped when you apply coupon code DOORBUSTERS. (You may have to scroll down or even click through to a second page to find one in stock.) These are "scratch & dent" items, meaning they may have, well scratches and/or dents, but you still get a one-year warranty! The N585 is probably a little slow for Windows 8 (included), but slap on Linux and you're golden. Update: All the $161 IdeaPads appear to be gone. Unsurprisingly.

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