I had a long post a few months back ranting against the idea of Hulu going to a pay model. Now I've got a little bit of hat-eating to do. The reason is that the new service called Hulu Plus, which costs $9.99 a month and was announced today, does not replace the old service. Hulu.com remains free, with the same content system in place as ever (last 5 episodes are free). It does, however, stay confined to your desktop. The monthly Hulu Plus fee unlocks back catalogs, meaning that you could theoretically stream any episode of any Hulu series anywhere. I like that arrangement quite a bit, especially since the cornerstone of the system is a new app released for the iPhone and iPad, in addition to upcoming applications for the PS3 and Xbox 360.
The only hitch, I think, is that a lot of people aren't going to see why they should pay for Hulu Plus. This goes back to web entitlement issues - because everything has been free up until this point, people think they will always be free. I'm not sure how the service will fare, and the potential for a public backlash is there, but I'm more optimistic about it as its being implemented than I was a few months ago.
I'm ready to cancel my cable. Release this thing and let me justify it!