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Well, it happened again: My scheduled recording of Heroes got messed up. Without pointing any fingers, the TV tuner connected to my media-center PC is slightly FUBAR. Grumble, grumble.

Hulu offers free viewing of thousands of TV shows and movies.
Fortunately, we live in an age when a missed show is not the end of the world it once was. I can head to Fancast, Hulu, Joost, or any number of video-streaming services that offer free viewing of TV shows (and, in some cases, movies).

My favorite is Hulu, home to full-length episodes of shows like The Simpsons, The Office, and Firefly (one of my personal favorites). The selection is really impressive, and even includes movies like Master and Commander and The Great Train Robbery.

There are caveats, of course: You have to sit through the occasional commercial (though nowhere near as many as broadcast TV), and you're stuck watching at your Internet-connected PC (unless you take advantage of Replay Media Catcher, the streaming-video recorder I discussed a few weeks ago).

Want even more choices? In addition to Fancast and Joost, check out AOL TV, Prime Time Rewind, and Veoh. And don't forget the individual networks' sites (,, etc.), some of which offer streaming in high-def. ABC even lets you download some shows for offline viewing, a nice option for travelers who want to watch on the run.

The only problem with all this on-demand TV goodness? I think I'm turning into a mouse potato.

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