We're getting back to that old saying, "there's no such thing as a free lunch" with news today of Hulu's possible plans to charge for at least some of their content. So one of the biggest advantages (and reasons for putting up with poorer quality than broadcast/cable) just might be going away.
According to an article in dailyfinance.com, News Corp's chief digital officer said
"he envisions a future where at least some of the TV shows and movies on Hulu, the premium video site co-owned by News Corp., NBC Universal and Disney, are available only to subscribers."
If this is in fact the direction Hulu is going, it definitely would put a dent on the number of people interested in Hulu. The exception to this might be if they really are considering putting Hulu on a set-top box or other CE devices. Dave Zatz at ZatzNotFunny noticed an article that said Vudu might be getting Hulu on their media player and there have been several rumors about XBox Live getting Hulu on the XBox 360. I can see a paid model being more palatable to the owners of Hulu than the current free for all model.
I kind of hope this isn't true, but it probably is the future. Newspapers, TV and other media online is very likely moving towards more paid or at least subscription models going forward and this goes along with that trend. Put Hulu in HDTV or at least much closer-to-HDTV quality, put it on as many CE boxes as possible like Netflix has been doing and I think it just might work.