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Media Television Hardware

Hulu Again Removed From Boxee and Again Added Back 220

Posted by timothy
from the hope-you're-happy-now dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a mouse and cat game, Hulu the popular online content provider of shows, movies, and more has blocked Boxee yet again from accessing the Hulu content from the Boxee application. Just as Boxee added RSS feeds to include Hulu content, Hulu responded with blocking Boxee users from accessing the content via RSS feeds the very same day. RSS feeds are publicly available and it's really disappointing to hear that a site would block certain applications from accessing their content in such a manner. I would assume that the Boxee development team is currently working on disguising its browser to look like Firefox, Internet Explorer, or some other known browser in an attempt to fool Hulu."
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Hulu Again Removed From Boxee and Again Added Back

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:57PM (#27108293)

    I'd feel like a damn idiot for momentarily forgetting how the Internet works and for trying to have a lawyer solve an engineer's problem.

  • by Lord Byron II (671689) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @08:06PM (#27108375)
    This will result in us just losing the RSS openness of Hulu. Currently, their shows can be embedded in other webpages. They'll probably end up having to remove this too.
  • by physicsphairy (720718) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @08:13PM (#27108427) Homepage

    Seeing as hulu lets you embed their content [bustercollings.com] like youtube, it is strange if their objection is that in-site ads are being skipped. (And are we back to the AdBlock extension == theft argument?)

    Otherwise, I assume the ads embedded in the video are still be played.

    The only reasons I can imagine for Hulu to wat to block Boxee are (1) ignorance of their own profit model (2) planning to release their own hardware box, or else partner with someone else in order to get the same vertical monopoly going.

  • by Goaway (82658) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @08:35PM (#27108591) Homepage

    Now I'm not familiar with Boxee or with Hulu's RSS feed

    So... you have no idea what you're talking about, but you won't let that stop you?

  • by Spazmania (174582) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @08:37PM (#27108597) Homepage

    Probably like a person with a very broken business model, but that's just me.

    Then your solution is what? Hula should shut down completely instead of just excluding Boxee? How does that help anyone?

    If you park your car downtown with the windows rolled down and the keys in the ignition, you may be an idiot. But the guy who takes it is still a thief. And the quiet little towns where nobody will take it... those are treasures.

  • by wastedlife (1319259) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @08:42PM (#27108639) Homepage Journal

    There is a possible solution though: inject the ads into the video itself, so they can't be separated. Make the videos 'dynamic' flash videos, so the advertising can't really be removed without modifying a .SWF file.

    Hey, you just described exactly how it works. There is no copyright infringement going on here. Boxee is not a web site, it is a media center application. Hulu allows embedding of their videos. They have ads in the video stream. Boxee basically just embeds the video, ads and all, into the application so that it can be played on your computer screen or TV with a simple interface.

    If I recall correctly, Hulu originally provided code to help Boxee display Hulu content. So why the change of heart? I read some speculation somewhere that Hulu is actually being pressured by the content owners to stop Boxee because there is less advertising revenue from web streaming than there is for live TV. Since people use boxee to play videos on their TV and not a computer screen, the content owners feel they are losing out. What I don't think they understand is that you can watch Hulu's videos using your computer on your TV with or without Boxee.

  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @09:02PM (#27108781) Homepage

    You're quite welcome to miss the point, if you like. Who am I to stop you if such a thing makes you feel better?

    On the other hand... if you'd rather understand what it is I'm actually saying, you should take note of the fact that RSS is meant for content syndication and is meant to be interpreted as a set of individual items, while a web page is meant to be displayed as a whole. Unless Boxee is stripping the RSS content itself, its use is consistent with the purpose of an RSS feed. That's my point.

  • by Firehed (942385) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @09:43PM (#27109049) Homepage

    Now I'm not familiar with Boxee or with Hulu's RSS feed, so I cannot comment on the specifics, but, unless Boxee is actually modifying the contents of the RSS feed, it seems to me that Hulu are acting like jerks.

    Well, you might want to look into that. Hulu's RSS just links to the hulu.com page where you can watch and provides a little information about the show (rating, run-time, etc.). Boxee is (presumably) following that link and then page-scraping the video into their own interface. I hear that there are significant performance improvements by using Boxee's player over Hulu's so they may be scraping the video stream directly rather than just embedding the player in a different interface, but in either case the video definitely isn't coming in directly through the feed.

    Just so I don't have to respond to your other response: yes, RSS is meant for content syndication. Hulu (and/or its corporate sponsors) have decided to syndicate the link to watch the show as well as some metadata, and are not syndicating the show itself. It's very much akin to a TV Guide - it tells you where to go and how to watch, but you can't watch the show from the little booklet.

  • Re:xbmcboxee (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Saturday March 07, 2009 @09:46PM (#27109071) Homepage
    Oh wow, I didn't know about Fancast. It has a lot more of the shows that I usually just download, since hulu doesn't have them.. Why haven't I heard of it before?
  • by Miseph (979059) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @09:50PM (#27109099) Journal

    Interesting theory. Please, let me know when you develop a means to pay the bills with your lofty ideals, it sounds much more fulfilling than selling out the way everyone else does.

  • by Toe, The (545098) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @10:12PM (#27109233)

    Conventional wisdom tells us that the best conspiracies are completely in the open. People never suspect because they figure a real conspiracy would try to hide itself.

    So if the owners of Hulu are in fact aliens, this is exactly the sort of ad campaign they would run.

    Hm. Guess we're screwed.

    (So let's just hope they're abundantly stupid like the aliens in Signs [wikipedia.org] and never take into account the fact that if water kills you on contact, maybe you shouldn't invade a planet covered in mostly water, inhabited by beings made of mostly water. HTF did that movie ever get past the script stage?)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 07, 2009 @10:25PM (#27109317)

    YOU CANT STEAL WHAT IS FREELY GIVEN TO YOU.

    Why cant you people get that through your heads??

    Boxee did nothing but showed the EXACT SAME CONTENT in a better UI. Commercials all were there.

    Just because some low IQ moron says something is not to his liking, it does not make it illegal or wrong. Whomever said that Boxee was stealing anything is a complete and utter moron that really needs to be killed so that he does not cause the rest of us to become dumber simply from his existence.

    This is the Crux. Hulu said , "no more boxee" because some really really REALLY stupid executive at some content provider that Hulu does nto have the balls to name said they did not like it.

    Only the incredibly low IQ people think that boxee was stealing anything. These same people think that Best buy employees are highly educated and know what they are talking about.

  • by kent_eh (543303) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @10:46PM (#27109429)

    content owners demanded that Boxee stop displaying Hulu content

    *shrug*
    If they don't want me to watch their content, I have no problem obliging them.

    And since Hulu is only available in one country in the world (not the one where I live) I guess there's a lot of their precious content that I won't be watching. Doesn't bother me, I've managed to survive this long without it.

  • by coolsnowmen (695297) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @10:51PM (#27109467)

    -Did the Parent say that?! no. It is an analogy.

    -I'm not sure what part of hulu you arn't getting. They provide a service but are at the mercy of the content providers. They have no business without them, but they do have one without boxee. So when content providers say "don't let boxee use hulu", hulu listenes, whether they want to or not.

  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @10:55PM (#27109477) Homepage

    I see. So rather than a straight presentation of the RSS feed, Boxee is taking the RSS feed and using that to figure out which videos to embed?

    I can see how such use of the RSS feed might be seen as questionable, but aren't they still embedding the videos according to Hulu's own embed code? The original poster complained about missing ads, but if Boxee is embedding videos according to Hulu's own standards for third-party embedding then I still can't see much wrong with what they're doing.

  • by batkiwi (137781) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @10:56PM (#27109483)

    How do you explain that hulu lets you embed their videos on any web page you choose, just like youtube does?

  • by kimvette (919543) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @11:08PM (#27109533) Homepage Journal

    It's still a retarded move though; hulu and similar services have been drawing people away from "pirated"[sic] content and back to revenue-generating content, and now that it is hitting critical mass the content owners are shooting themselves in the foot. The folks at Hulu seem caught in the middle. Who are the losers? Both consumers and Hulu.

    What content producers, software producers, and so forth are STILL failing to realize is that they are making the "pirated"[sic]/counterfeit product MORE valuable than the real thing because the "pirated"[sic] content is invariably not crippled by DRM.

  • by kimvette (919543) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @11:16PM (#27109567) Homepage Journal

    However, you CAN bypass DRM for the purpose of interoperability. Want to watch media on Boxee? You now fall under the requirements for the clause which allows defeating/bypassing the DRM.

  • Re:Who-lu? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nhtshot (198470) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @11:26PM (#27109603) Homepage

    More like..

    When Hulu is ALLOWED to discover the rest of the planet.

    Several people have said this, but it needs to be pointed out. Hulu is a corporation with a LEGAL licensing agreement for their content. They have to bow to the whims of the MPAA, etc.

    While the ideologues among you will say that they should just tell the media companies to screw themselves, we all know that isn't going to happen.

    Both the issue at bar here and the one you present are directly the fault of the content providers. They'll continue to learn their lessons the hard way, just like they always have.

    Did you expect them to show any more knowledge of the internet world working with Hulu then they do with anyone else?

  • by Antimatter3009 (886953) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @11:41PM (#27109679)

    What content producers, software producers, and so forth are STILL failing to realize is that they are making the "pirated"[sic]/counterfeit product MORE valuable than the real thing because the "pirated"[sic] content is invariably not crippled by DRM.

    I think they realize what they're doing, and I think they know the consequences. Right now they have content that generates different revenue in different forms. TV is the highest, the internet is lower, and pirated is zero. They were losing some viewers to piracy before, so they countered with Hulu. Now they're losing more viewers from TV to the other two. By limiting Hulu, some portion of the people affected will resort to piracy, but I think they're betting on some portion resorting to plain old TV.

    How the various content owners think is much easier to understand if you view it from their perspective. They want to make as much money as possible. They only care about how many viewers they have so far as it makes them more money. I'd bet that they think they're increasing revenue with this move, even if they decrease legal viewership. If we're lucky, they're wrong. Otherwise, this will continue.

  • by saiha (665337) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @12:08AM (#27109833)

    I never had heard about Boxee and this type of thing (I had used Hulu before however) until Hulu/content producers got all crazy.

    /goes to check out boxee

  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @01:46AM (#27110207) Journal
    You make a grand assumption that most people have some creative contribution to add to this world. Sorry, but most don't. Creative types have a hard time believing this could be true, but it is. Many people have functional contributions that cannot be subsidized by the whims of the internet's paying customers. In fact, it is the case for the vast majority of people. I wish it weren't true, but *that* is the reality of the world, not the one you describe for your talented girlfriend. I wish her well but your scenario doesn't work for the general population.

    We're not talking about most people. We're talking about professional creators. If you don't have a creative contribution to add to this world, you sure as hell shouldn't be getting paid to sit around all day publishing.
  • If you park your car downtown with the windows rolled down and the keys in the ignition, you may be an idiot. But the guy who takes it is still a thief. And the quiet little towns where nobody will take it... those are treasures.

    The problem with your car analogy is that Hulu is explicitly making available their content. If there's no authentication, and they just cough up the data when you ask for it, then you're clearly not stealing - to stretch the analogy a bit more to try to actually make it fit the situation, it's more like the RSS is a flyer telling you where to get the car, and when you get there you're permitted to take it. Of course, this is a stupid analogy and you are a stupid person for trying to make it in the first place because after you take a car, the car is gone, but after you download TV from Hulu, you've watched an ad and made some money for Hulu, and someone else can do it too.

    You are hereby no longer allowed to make automotive analogies on the internet. kthxbye.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08, 2009 @11:16AM (#27112419)

    The movie itself is a total day-spoiler. Watching it will just piss you off. OP did you a favor.

    Also, the stupid movie is seven years old. I think there's a statute of limitations on spoilers.

  • by shadwstalkr (111149) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:05PM (#27114971) Homepage

    HTF did that movie ever get past the script stage?

    That was the real Shyamalan Twist(tm) of the movie. "I got Mel Gibson and Joaquin Pheonix to star in this steamer, and then I got you to pay me so you could watch it! Surprise!"

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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