Man, has Hulu nailed online TV viewing or what? First off, they have a huge library of content that people actually want (e.g. SNL, Family Guy, Daily Show, Colbert, Kitchen Nightmares, etc.). And then they really execute on having a usable, effective UI.
You do have to watch ads with Hulu. But just one at a time. The timeline lets you fast forward to anywhere in the show and also displays where the commercial breaks are located. That means you can go to any part of the show you want as long as you watch one ad first.
A timer lets you know exactly how long you’ve got to go when ads are displayed. Watching the single ads Hulu shows takes the same amount of time as fast forwarding through a whole normal commercial break on DVR. Result: You actually wind up watching more ads on Hulu than you do on a DVR but it takes the same amount of time.
And there’s more typical UI stuff you expect from a video site but it’s all executed nicely…
Sort through episodes by date, popularity, etc.
Search snaps right to likely results.
Go full screen, raise/lower the “lights” of surrounding area, etc.