Last I checked, Netflix was not free.
Hulu can be had for free -- on PCs and through what amounts to hacks like PlayOn (I am a licensed PlayOn customer, it's a hack, period) and what some see as the Boxee Box's attempted hack.
Hulu, like Netflix, can be had for money via HuluPlus which works just fine on PS3, iPad, and, apparently, soon on Roku. You seem to think if you pay for it, you need to jump through hoops, but you don't on PS3. (Note: HuluPlus on PS3 may still be in beta, I have not checked, but it's a full blown app, not a kludge like PlayOn, and it's totally "integrated".)
There is no difference in HDMI cables. If you can see the picture without visible dropouts or sparklies, the cable is working at 100%. No other cable will display a better version of that picture. You're simply wrong if you think there is a better digital cable than one that is already working.