Hulu, the NBC-and-Fox-spearheaded free online video service, is out of beta, and it’s pretty sweet. The video quality is good, the selection is good, and the advertising is remarkably minimal — two mid-show ads of 15 or 30 seconds for a 22-minute show, for example. Individual skits from Saturday Night Live, like this one from Saturday’s show, are commercial-free. Real movies, like The Big Lebowski and The Usual Suspects have just two or three minutes of commercials — and are uncensored. They even have good URLs.

No download option, alas, so there’s no supported way to watch these things on your TV, but it’s pretty damn cool overall.

Update: Another downside: International copyright restrictions limit what’s available outside the U.S.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008