Fresh off the settlement of a long-haul patent lawsuit against DISH Network (Nasdaq: DISH) and EchoStar Communications (Nasdaq: SATS), TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO) is still in a deal-making mood.

This weekend, the pioneer of time-shifted entertainment technologies signed up for an on-demand TV streamer Hulu Plus license. Buy a TiVo Premiere box today, and you'll get six months of Hulu Plus service thrown in for free.

That's not a bad deal: At a value of $48, this add-on alone is worth about half of the basic Premiere's $99 price tag. Already the proud owner of a TiVo Premiere? You'll have to settle for a single month of free Hulu Plus programming, which is the same deal you'd get as a curious college student. Most people get just a measly week of free Hulu Plus access.

The new service fills in some holes in TiVo's content catalog. The thing already streams Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) movies and does an admirable job recording and cataloging shows off your cable feed, but Hulu Plus lets you enjoy current shows that you never recorded. You might not even have access to the channels the service covers, such as Viacom properties Comedy Central and MTV, NBC affiliates Syfy and Oxygen, or Walt Disney's (NYSE: DIS) ABC Family.

In all honesty, Hulu Plus access is becoming such a standard feature on modern media machines that I sort of assumed that the TiVo boxes already had it covered, just as everyone must offer Netflix streams. I guess I'm just spoiled by my Roku box, which offered Hulu Plus right from that service's launch.

As an early cord-cutter with no plans on going back, I'm still not interested in the TiVo Premiere. The low price tag is firmly attached to a one-year service agreement that more than doubles the cost of the hardware but does nothing for us all-digital media chasers.

But if I still had TV signals flowing in, it would be a tremendous deal and fully comparable to pricier options -- or better. For example, you can use the ad-supported Hulu service on an Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) TV box, but only after hacking the box in a warranty-voiding way. I'm not aware of any such hack that would let you watch any type of Hulu on a Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) TV device, as Hulu shuns that product line quite explicitly.

Will digital entertainment ever be as easy and effortless as it should, or will licensing issues always trip up eager consumers and gadget builders alike? The only way to know for sure is to stay informed. Our My Watchlist feature is designed to do exactly that. Get started with some important entertainment tickers right now:

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Netflix, Google, and TiVo, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. What, you don't think that's enough? The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Netflix, Walt Disney, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple, as well as buying puts on Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.