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Media Television Entertainment Hardware

Boxee Hack Restores Hulu Support (Sort Of) 79

DeviceGuru writes "Boxee has restored support for Hulu, along with several other enhancements, to its free media center platform for PCs and Macs. The modification, a hack to Boxee's RSS feed functionality, involves having Boxee users enable the support themselves by cutting/pasting URLs from Hulu's RSS feed page into their account on Boxee's website. It works, but one can't help wondering how it's really different from Boxee's original — superior — Hulu support. Oh, the games media companies play!"
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Boxee Hack Restores Hulu Support (Sort Of)

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  • This is great... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:49PM (#27094607)

    Until the networks use this as an excuse to force Hulu to shut down its RSS feeds.

    • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <> on Friday March 06, 2009 @05:25PM (#27097645)

      Really, Hulu was doomed from the start. They are competing against their owners, never a situation which resolves with a happy ending.

      Hulu is owned by FOX and NBC, it gets it's content from the big networks, the only reason any of them are willing to join this venture is because they see Hulu as the way to capture that last 'small' group of people who watch TV on their computer rather than at a 'TV'.

      They don't want Hulu to be competing directly with themselves on a TV, because the ad revenue they can get from getting your ass in a couch and watching TV vs. you watching it via Hulu is orders of magnitude greater. And unfortunately, that's not a tech thing, that's a "sponsers aren't willing to pay" thing.

      What these folk (though I think Hulu understands it perfectly) don't get is that the division line between TV and PC is growing fainter and dimmer every day and eventually, the distinction is going to be meaningless.

      The networks, more than likely, are going to keep turning the screws on Hulu. They'll be trying to ensure it can only be watched 'from a computer' rather than 'from a TV'. And each time they do, the more successful they are, the more irrevelant Hulu will become.

      Hulu can't escape from this, not while Hulu is owned and run by the networks, because there is no incentive for them to allow Hulu to be anything more and every incentive to keep it from being anything more.

      If I were a Hulu employee, I might not be jumping ship, but I certainly would not be sitting back toasting myself over the nice secure job I had.

      • by beguyld ( 732494 )

        They don't want Hulu to be competing directly with themselves on a TV, because the ad revenue they can get from getting your ass in a couch and watching TV vs. you watching it via Hulu is orders of magnitude greater. And unfortunately, that's not a tech thing, that's a "sponsers aren't willing to pay" thing.

        Obviously you have never watched shows on Hulu, which often have even more commercials than on TV!

        Yes, there are a few sponsored movies or shows with only one commercial at the start, but many have numerous commercials, which seem to get more and more frequent as the show gets closer to the end. I guess they figure they have you captive wanting to see how it ends, so they turn the screws. It's so bad it actually drives me _away_ from Hulu!

        • by Chyeld ( 713439 )

          Ever look up how much 30 second spot during the Superbowl costs? The determining factor in ad revenue isn't "how many ads" it's "how valuable is the slot". Ad companies are willing to pay far more for the traditional Nielsen rated block of time on broadcast/cable TV then they are for an 'unproven' block of time on Hulu/"Teh Internets".

          If the ratio were one to one, then Hulu wouldn't have any issues and the networks would be pushing it on everyone. After all, traditional TV also has the problem of FCC regula

        • More commercials?

          It has always looked to me like hulu inserts one 30-second commercial in whenever there is a natural commercial break (where a network station would fit several commercials to make up the 8 minute total in every hour-long show).

          The fact that there are more and more commercials near the end is something you notice because hulu tells you when the commercials are ahead of time. Networks always do this with shows since they want to hook you on the show before switching to a commercial which

  • Good will? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qoncept ( 599709 ) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:50PM (#27094647) Homepage
    The Boxee guys claimed they were removing Hulu support in an act of good will toward Hulu (I'd guess hoping to maintain good relations with a content provider they wanted to get back). Now they're completely negating the good-will-effect by helping users work around it while still making it more of a pain for their users. Genius.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hansamurai ( 907719 )

      Well, maybe they decided that any goodwill received would just be wasted at this point and there would be no hope in getting Hulu back without bending over. Just a complete guess though given the circumstances I know.

    • Re:Good will? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <> on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:17PM (#27095143)

      They aren't adding it back so much as pointing out that their existing feature now supports Hulu without needing a dedicated plugin.

      Thus, if Hulu's "partners" still have a problem with it, they need to kill RSS feeds rather than play games trying to block apps.

      • Re:Good will? (Score:4, Informative)

        by qoncept ( 599709 ) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:23PM (#27095265) Homepage
        They weren't playing games. They said "we want this to stop going on."
        Hulu went to Boxee and said "They want this to stop going on,"
        Boxee said "ok," and removed the good plugin.
        Boxee told you a crappier way you could do it.

        They made their software crappier and put on a front in looking like they were cooperating while they really weren't.
        • Re:Good will? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:46PM (#27095725)

          They said we want this plugin gone, boxee agreed and never fixed the plugin when hulu broke it. Then the boxee folks said "go ahead and just use the rss feed that works too.".

          Slightly different.

        • Re:Good will? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <> on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:48PM (#27095759)

          It was 'reasonable' for Hulu to ask Boxee to remove a feature that tied solely into Hulu.

          It is not reasonable for Hulu to ask Boxee to remove a feature that ties into a number of services and just happens to work with a service that Hulu provides.

          Expecting Boxee not to point out how to do it, given it hardly even an open secret at this point, is absurd.

          If Hulu's partners don't want people watching their content from outside of the website, why do they provide an RSS feed? Either they are ignorant or they are playing games.

          To be honest, given the situation, I don't know which. But it's definately one of the two.

          • by Hatta ( 162192 )

            What are the Terms of Service? Even with a public RSS feed, the Terms of Service may not allow certain types of access.

            • by Sparr0 ( 451780 )

              There is no such thing as "certain types of access". Every single application that pulls Hulu videos using the RSS feed does it the exact same way. The same request, using the same protocol, sent to the same server.

              • by Hatta ( 162192 )

                Sure there is, there's interactive access, and non-interactive access. The fact that the underlying mechanism is the same is irrelevant.

                • by Sparr0 ( 451780 )

                  They are both equally interactive. You open your RSS reader (which could be firefox, google reader, or any number of other pieces of software) and click a video entry to watch it. I open my RSS reader (which is the hulu gui) and click a video entry to watch it.

                  • by Hatta ( 162192 )

                    They are both equally interactive

                    Agreed. That statement was merely to provide a counter example to your statement that "There is no such thing as 'certain types of access'." If people can ban 'wget' via their TOS, they can certainly ban Boxee.

            • Re:Good will? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by russotto ( 537200 ) on Friday March 06, 2009 @06:13PM (#27098547) Journal

              What are the Terms of Service? Even with a public RSS feed, the Terms of Service may not allow certain types of access.

              Putting such Terms of Service on a public RSS feed is like putting a message on a billboard indicating Toyota drivers aren't permitted to read it.

        • by mrraven ( 129238 )

          Yeah how dare they use a publicly availible RSS feed, what is this world coming to? The nerve!

          SIGH, just when you think corporate apologists couldn't get any more disingenuous they somehow find a way. :(

      • Hulu look more incompetent every day. First they decided to break international distribution, now they've got this mess with Boxee. How hard is it to provide working content and leave everything else alone?
      • by Firehed ( 942385 )

        If they kill RSS, then shows stop showing up in my Google Reader and I go back to TBP.

        They're welcome to do so - TBP tends to have the shows online an hour of two earlier, which is a good thing for me (though by the time most shows are finished downloading off a torrent, they're on Hulu anyways). If their corporate parters are so stupid as to kill off the only way they'll make money off me, that's their problem.

        I don't mind the 5-to-30 second ads on Hulu. I haven't sat down and watched a TV in years, but

  • by Gizzmonic ( 412910 ) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:51PM (#27094661) Homepage Journal

    But does plimplinkplonkplinkplonko support bwabbabingbang?

    See, I can make up goofy, uninspired Web 2.0 names too. Slashdotters, I invite you to join me in my new startup: Jizzogle!

    • by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:24PM (#27095279)

      I'd mod you up if I had points ;-) Maybe it is just advancing age (I'm 38, for crying out loud), but sometimes tech discussion do sound like that to me.

      By the way, your new startup sounds like a slightly dirty cross between a social site and a search engine... I would like to throw money at you for some reason.

    • by gooman ( 709147 )

      Hey, stop that!

      Hulu and Boxee are perfectly cromulent product names.

      Nuff said.

    • Jizzogle!

      I'm afraid I can't get excited about your fantasy, your meteoric rise. You're going to have a hard time penetrating the already-saturated "jizz ogle" market.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    XBMC now offerers VDPAU hardware acceleration in one of their more stable branches under Linux. you can now watch Hi-Def video using a dual core ATOM CPU with one of these. CPU requirements fell off a cliff with this and it was mostly all done by ONE GUY who deserves much credit. But no one makes a big deal out of it? Is Hulu's SD content really that exciting?

    Boxee and PLEX are BOTH XBMC at their core, why not more credit for the Open Sourced project that spawned them?

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      They seem to break stuff all the time, their live disc absolutely sucks.

        Right now I am using miro and an old laptop as a media center. It only has a 1.8 pentium M and an ATI 7500M. From what I have heard XBMC is a no go for me.

      • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
        I'm running an old Dell c640 w/ 512mb of RAM.
        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          Is it usuable or wretchedly slow?
          Will it use rss feeds to get torrents?

          • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

            To get this laptop to use my tv's full resolution I have to use xrandr, will that be an issue?

            • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
              That's exactly what I'm doing. The processor is 1.8ghz, mem 512, I use xrandr to pipe it out to my TV. The fan does rev up sometimes, but it works ok.

              I have Ubuntu 8.10 on there, with the ubuntu XBMC package.
    • by qoncept ( 599709 )
      WHAT HD content? (I say this as a person who didn't build an HTPC because I didn't want to spend what it woulc cost to build a fast enough box to decode 1080p and this sounds awesome to me, BUT..) Hulu has a ton of tv shows, available for free, on demand, and legally, and there's a lot to be said for that, even if it is SD.
      • Hauppauge card and antenna bud!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jcostantino ( 585892 )
        I bought a GeForce 8400 video card for a HTPC I made running MediaPortal on XP. The card I bought was $50 and has VGA, DVI, component, S-video, and composite output. The CPU (a 2.8HT P4) literally idles at about 3% when displaying 1080P.
        • Similarly, Radeon 4350 cards are in the $50 or less category, and have hardware decoding for MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 HD.

          They don't play games real well (although older games work great), but for video watching, they are more than enough.

          • I tried the 4350 first but it was PCI-E 2.0 and the Dell I used would only take original PCI-E cards; which the NVidia is. The ATI card has a passive fan which I had preferred.

            It is amazing that a tiny corner of the chip is dedicated to decoding H264 and without that, the CPU is pegged at 100% with out of sync audio and jerky video.

            • I tried the 4350 first but it was PCI-E 2.0 and the Dell I used would only take original PCI-E cards; which the NVidia is.

              PCI Express 2.0 cards are supposed to be backward compatible so that on a PCIe 1.1 bus, they fall back to the slower speeds. Since the PCIe 1.1 bus can't possibly know about PCIe 2.0 cards, it's the responsibility of the card—not the motherboard—to adjust.

              So, I'd suspect that whatever company made the 4350 you bought didn't quite follow the spec.

  • the xbmc guys wrote a plugin which fixes the broken hulu support for xbmc - it uses adobe's (linux available) air sdk and works without a hitch.

    too bad for boxee users. xbmc seems to be more mature as a project.

  • Compiling Boxee (Score:3, Informative)

    by SlashdotOgre ( 739181 ) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:31PM (#27095415) Journal

    For those Linux users who want to brave compiling Boxee from source, I was able to get the previous release ( working in Gentoo using this thread: []

    I plan to give the new release ( a go this weekend rather than waiting for Boxee to come out with their Ubuntu version later this month. If I can get it to work, I'll post back to that thread.

  • Oh, the games media companies play!"

    What was that about the games media companies? Huh?

    Oh, you mean the games that media companies play. Wow, you guys really know how to turn a phrase.

  • Does the xbox version of xbmc support this again?

    It did for about a week and was great! I would even take the ads as long as it all worked.
  • Boxxy is our queen
    Boxxy is our queen
    Boxxy is our queen

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears