A big Hulu-baloo | EW.com

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A big Hulu-baloo

Hey, what’s that down below? Is that…the pilot for Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The whole friggin’ thing?

Why, yes it is. Welcome to Hulu.com, the reason why NBC/Universal pulled out of their deal with iTunes. This new video hub is owned by NBC/Universal and News Corp and offers content from those companies’ outlets (Fox, FX, NBC, USA, Sci-Fi, etc.) Even though it’s still in beta, while the tech-wizards work out the kinks, Hulu is what we call a game-changer for two reasons:

1) The quality is phenomenal. No more sketchy, viewed-through-gauze YouTube clips. While it’s not quite HD, the image looks far better than the iTunes equivalent. (And it’s a lot smoother than NBC.com’s episode hub.)
2) You can embed the videos. Whole episodes. Near as I can tell, if you wanted to put the whole first season of 30 Rock (or Bionic Woman or Hill Street Blues) on your blog, you could. No charge, no repercussions. It reminds me of the moment when e-mail — which the veterans among us can remember was something you paid for — became free: suddenly, the information axis shifted.

What will this mean in the long run? It’s a little too early to tell. But, for now, it’s a shiny new toy that those of us in the PopWatch HQ will be playing with all month.