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Media Television

Boxee Drops Hulu Support 375

frdmfghtr writes "According to a boxee blog entry, Hulu will no longer be supported. From the post: 'two weeks ago Hulu called and told us their content partners were asking them to remove Hulu from boxee. we tried (many times) to plead the case for keeping Hulu on boxee, but on Friday of this week, in good faith, we will be removing it. you can see their blog post about the issues they are facing.' Reading the hulu blog post, the only 'issue' I see facing Hulu is that content providers have (once again) shot themselves in the foot, switching off a media conduit they should have been promoting." Update: 02/19 14:31 GMT by T : Jamie points out this interesting (speculative) piece at O'Reilly Radar about the thought process that may have driven the decision.
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Boxee Drops Hulu Support

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  • Re:No Ads (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:39AM (#26916241) Journal

    Reading the comments on the blog entry linked in the summary seems to show that there are ads on Hulu streams through Boxee. I can see absolutely no good reason whatsoever for the content providers forcing Hulu to do this.

  • by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:53AM (#26916435) Journal

    Hulu seem to be quite resistant to naming them, which is a shame. It's clear that they're walking a fine line between pleasing customers and pleasing providers, and you can see very clearly from the tone of their blog post that they're not happy about blocking Boxee - I'm surprised that they aren't pushing back a little by simply telling their customers who's pressed them into it.

    I honestly cannot see a single good reason to allow the content through a browser but not through a plugin. I assume the thinking of the content providers is that most people aren't going to hook up a 'normal' computer to a TV, and thus Hulu doesn't really compete with cable/satellite without services like Boxee. This is short-sighted and stupid - when there is a huge surplus of free (illegal) media out there for the taking, the last thing they should be doing is placing limitations on the legal media. Same goes for HDCP, CSS, UOPs, region lockouts and any other scheme that reduces the value of legitimate content in comparison to 'pirated' content.

    It's not precisely the same thing (due to the complexity of international broadcasting rights), but the fact you can only get Hulu in the US is a symptom of the same line of thinking. I want to watch House, for example - if I could get it through Hulu I'd do so, and be happy enough to watch the ads. Back when the region lockout was easy to bypass I used the service and was pleasantly surprised; picture quality is much better than BBC iPlayer and the ads are less intrusive than commercial broadcast TV. As it stands now I'll just wait until the DVD boxsets are cheap enough second hand and get them instead - partly to save money, partly as a matter of principle: if they won't give me half decent access to the product I want, I'll do my best to ensure they don't get any of my money when I do pay for it.

  • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {cornell.edu}> on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:59AM (#26916499) Homepage

    Or Mininova.

    As Hulu has moved to RTMPE (shutting down rtmpdump), I have moved back to Mininova.

    My HTPC in the living room simply isn't fast enough for Hulu because their player is so broken, despite being able to easily play back rtmpdumped FLVs of Hulu content with SMPlayer.

  • Re:What's Hulu? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by foniksonik ( 573572 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:03AM (#26916545) Homepage Journal

    You insensitive clod, I watch Hulu on my TV via Boxee... that's the whole point.

    Fringe, Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, Psych, Monk, Burn Notice, Damages, Lie to Me.. all on Hulu - plus Nova, Nasa TV, the Daily Show, SNL - all on Hulu.

    I don't have to pay an extra $50 / month for cable/sat - just my internet connection.

  • by crmarvin42 ( 652893 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:03AM (#26916553)
    You're probably right, but there are those like me that canceled their cable before they'd ever heard of Boxee. I knew about Hulu and had watched exactly 1 tv episode on it prior to Boxee. Last night alone I watched 4 programs.

    I'm a gradstudent and my wife is pregnant. We need every penny we can save, and cable was not worth the money at $60/mo for basic service and a DVR to make it remotely worthwhile. Now I'll just go back to reading books, watching my DVD's, listening to music, playing video games, and using Boxee to watch content from the other websites outside of Hulu (CBS still works AFAIK, and an ABC plugin is in the works).
  • by jcern ( 247616 ) * on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:04AM (#26916573)

    After reading that speculative piece over at O'Reilly, I really have to wonder exactly how their business model works. I know the networks hate DVR, but they have more or less come to accept it as long as you watch the commercials. What I fail to see is why they would be against watching a lower quality version at a later point with current commercials as opposed to watching a DVR'd version at a later point with potentially outdated commercials.

    I think Hulu is great for when I miss a show but if I am around I'd prefer to watch the HD version on TV. I am probably not your typical customer as I maybe watch an hour or two of TV a week - but those are shows I truely enjoy. I know this move will make a lot of people return to downloading the commercial-free torrent to watch on their TV, but for me I am just apt to not watch if I miss something. Torrents are not complicated, but take more forethought and time than I am usually willing to invest in finding a TV show. Hopefully someday they'll realize that there are many different types of consumers and markets out there that they could be attracting instead of repelling them.

  • by Roxton ( 73137 ) <roxton@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:11AM (#26916663) Homepage Journal

    Ugh, this reminds me of how the networks pressured NetFlix into killing their Red Envelope independent publishing division. Every time I see something like this, I lose some of the hope that new, more open distribution models will win out over industry inertia.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:17AM (#26916769)

    Totally agreed. I have many options for downloading higher quality ad-free shows. I used hulu through boxee and put up with the ads because it was easier. If I have to mess around with a keyboard/mouse to watch a show- its going to be to download the high quality ad-free version.

  • by sesshomaru ( 173381 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:23AM (#26916845) Journal

    Hmm... there's a mistake in the radar.oreilly article. It was pretty jarring to read it, it concerns Divx. The author has confused Divx Discs with Self-Destruct DVDs that rot when exposed to air. I mean they are both bad technologies, and arguably are intended to acheive the same goal, but they are still different.

    Divx was a complicated technology that was designed to lock out Divx discs from playing in certain circumstances. For instance, you "buy" a Divx DVD for the cheapest price available, and then you are locked out of watching it again until you "buy" it again. Or you get the "Gold Divx" subscription (not available for all Divx Discs), and you can theoretically watch the disk an unlimited number of times... on the particular Divx player you had the Gold subscription for that particular Divx disk on.

    As Penny Arcade thoughtfully pointed out, Divx disks were hewn cold from the bones of the stillborn. [penny-arcade.com] They were thought up by Satan, Disney, some entertainment industry lawyers, and Circuit City where service is state of the art. (Rot in Hell, Circuit City!)

    The concept behind Divx hasn't gone away, but nowadays it's more likely to be applied to video games. This is because just as Divx was supposed to eliminate the very concept of first sale and used DVDs, you now hear video game companies whining about the used video game market. (They'll get a wakeup call soon though, their industry isn't as recession proof as they thought and the used video game market will soon be the least of their worries.)

  • by Mysticalfruit ( 533341 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:23AM (#26916861) Homepage Journal
    Basically I see these people cutting their nose off to spite their face.

    Firstly, if the person is watching the show on a Boxee or Hulu, you can partly figure they're not watching it on some traditional medium such as cable TV.

    So following that logic, basically they're forgoing 5-10% additional revenue they'd get because now the person is going to go to mininova and download the same show sans their ads instead of watching it on hulu or a boxee.

    Though it should be noted this industry has had a long and protracted history of doing things that make utterly no sense because instead of embracing technology and getting ahead of the curve they're being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

    What's odder is that, while flawed in a several ways Hulu was actually a step in the right direction...
  • by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:39AM (#26917111)
    The nice thing about Hulu is that it has multiple networks signed on. I would love a site that could get every network to sign on with them distributing content, but the only site I've seen so far with full episodes for free from multiple networks is Hulu. I agree with the statement that fragmentation is bad, but the studios are refusing to work together on this and blaming Hulu when they're the closest so far doesn't make much sense to me.
  • by wernst ( 536414 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:56AM (#26917429) Homepage

    I guess I am missing something, but Boxee is ultimately software, right?

    So why can't the Boxee people program their software to look like a regular web browser on a regular computer to Hulu's servers, making Boxee indistinguishable to those providers who would care?

    Sort of like a User Agent Switcher for a media player? It seems to me that would be a big "FU" to the content providers, a big win for viewers, and Hulu is left out of the loop altogether so they're not to blame.

  • Re:No Ads (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <slas45dxsvadiv...vadiv@@@neverbox...com> on Thursday February 19, 2009 @01:22PM (#26918629) Homepage

    What's the rack-rate per minute for advertising via illegal torrents?

I have ways of making money that you know nothing of. -- John D. Rockefeller