I've been cable-TV-free for the better part of a year and a half. First, the idea was to save money. Second, the idea of watching TV via the Internet and on my assorted devices--iPad, iPhone, PS3, laptop--is an appealing and, honestly, preferable way of dealing with content at this point, especially since the TV is usually out of bounds in our household, since our sleeping child dictates silence. Though I feel like my idea was personally motivated, it's increasingly becoming part of a cable-cutting trend that many are adopting. (For more advice, see Maggie Reardon's tips on cutting cable for online video.)
Admittedly, we're not really off-grid at all. We still use the cable provider's Internet service. We also subscribe to Netflix, a virtual necessity when off-grid. Hulu has always offered a good selection of current shows on many networks, acting as a decent stand-in for a DVR.
Hulu Plus, with its promise of a larger library and an ability to work on the iPad, iPhone, and game consoles, got my attention when it was launched. Its price--$9.99 a month--did, too, for all the wrong reasons. Still, when I received my e-mail inviting me to sign up for the "preview," I ponied up my credit card. Is it worth it? And can it really help fulfill my wishes to watch TV off the grid without spending a fortune in iTunes? Well, that depends.
Content surprises Hulu Plus offers no free trial period other than a few free shows on its app, unlike Netflix which gives new users 30 days to try the service. Users have to discover for themselves what Hulu Plus' library actually consists of, which at the moment has its ups and downs. Some people on forums I've read seem confused as to whether the "Hulu Plus Preview" is currently free, or costs money. Hulu doesn't make the distinction clear of what a "preview" really even means, since this looks like a final product. And, yes, it costs money right now.… Read more