Note: Sorry about the newsletter snafu yesterday! Still working out the kinks, so stay tuned.
Ah, Hulu. For anyone looking to cut the cable-TV cord, the service is pretty indispensable. Unlike Netflix, it lets you watch many, if not most, current TV shows the day after they air.
But here's the thing: If you want access on your Roku box, game console, Android phone/tablet, iOS device, or whatever, you need to subscribe to Hulu Plus.
Normally that costs $7.99 per month, but right now you can get Hulu Plus free for three months. (Note that if you're already a subscriber, you're not eligible. And if you already have a non-Plus account, you may need to sign out to see the offer.)
Updated, 8:52 a.m. PT: Shoot! Looks like Hulu pulled the plug on this already. Anyone manage to get the trial? At least the newsletter went out early today!
That's a mighty fine freebie, IMHO. Hulu Plus may not be perfect, but it's still a great way to watch shows you might have missed or revisit classic series (of which Hulu has a ton).
On the other hand, you're stuck watching commercials (brief ones, but still). That seems particularly egregious when you consider that Netflix runs commercial-free--for the same $7.99 per month. What you're paying for here is the convenience of watching, say, last night's episode of "Community."
Also, Hulu's movie library really blows. Seriously, there's almost nothing in there worth watching. It makes Netflix's movie catalog look like the AFI Top 100.
But enough about the downsides. With three free months, you have more than ample opportunity to try Hulu Plus for yourself and see if it enhances your TV-watching life. Just make sure to mark your calendar so you remember to cancel (if you decide to do so); otherwise you'll start getting billed come mid-March.
If you've already tried Hulu Plus, hit the comments and let me know what you think of it!
Bonus deal: If you have young kids, you'll appreciate this: iTunes has 17 full-length episodes of the TV show "Learn Along with Sesame" absolutely free. You can view them on your PC or an iPad, iPhone, and so on.
Bonus deal No. 2: Here's a sweet CNET exclusive: the Roku LT for $42.49 shipped! That's the lowest price anywhere, meaning this is likely to sell out quickly. I think this is the hot gift item of 2011.