Boxee Routes Around Hulu Ban

from the this-ought-to-be-fun dept

We were among those surprised and confused by content providers trying to prevent Boxee from accessing Hulu content. If you don't know, Boxee is basically an interface for watching video content from the internet on your TV. You hook up a computer to your television and effectively use Boxee as a more TV friendly browser. As part of the list of internet content you could view, Hulu was a popular option, but Hulu's content partners protested -- perhaps because they're negotiating with cable companies on exclusive internet rights. But, there seemed to be absolutely no legal reason to stop Boxee from offering the content. After all, Boxee was just a browser for the content, like Firefox or IE or Safari.

Well, now it looks like Boxee is trying to push the matter a bit. It hasn't re-enabled access to Hulu exactly, but it has launched an RSS reader that will handle video, including Hulu's own RSS feeds. It's not a perfect solution, but effectively Boxee is pointing out to Hulu and its content partners, that they've made the content available for consuming, and all Boxee users are doing is consuming it as offered. It will certainly be interesting to see how Hulu responds...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:49pm

    How will they respond?

    I think we all know how they'll respond: They'll want money. They'll want enough money that Boxee will be effectively crippled, and will eventually die.

     

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  2.  
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    Joe, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:50pm

    The tug of war

    Hulu put the content out there for free and is scrambling like made to monetize it. I feel for hulu ... but I'd also like to boxee or some similar service to succeed because I hate my cable company (charter). They might just push me over the edge and I'll cancel them then resort to watching reruns of all of my shows on the tv through an internet hookup. This is going to happen eventually. If I were Hulu, I'd go all in and be part of a boxee solution rather than fight it.

     

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  3.  
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    hegemon13, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 1:19pm

    Re: How will they respond?

    Boxee offers a lot more than Hulu. It's not going to die just because they can't use Hulu. At worst, they'll have to disable the feature again.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    "We were among those surprised and confused by ..."
    "....perhaps because they're negotiating with cable companies ..."
    "But, there seemed to be absolutely no legal reason to..."

    So why exactly are the Masnicks so confused - are you under the impression that because something might be legal you are obliged to include it in your business model ? !!!

     

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  5.  
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    David T, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

    More than meets the eye, or...

    I don't understand this.

    I have a Samsung HD TV with really nice input port for my computer so I can watch Hulu and Netflix over that line quite nicely. Boxee sounds like the exact same thing, only with a bit more polish so the non-geek can use it.

    How could the studios tell them they can't feed on Hulu content any more than they could tell me not to output to my TV? And if the device just pulls content over the standard web interface, how did they shut Boxee out?

     

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  6.  
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    elduderino, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

    please read, but also COMPREHEND the blog, thanks!

    >>"But, there seemed to be absolutely no legal reason to..."

    >>are you under the impression that because something might be legal you are obliged to >>include it in your business model ? !!!

    I believe that he's referring to the legality of monopolized content being discriminately offered.

    That is to say it raises the legal issue of whether or not this content IS monopolized to the point that CERTAIN "viewing options" are discriminated against arbitrarily (or worse).

     

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  7.  
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    Dan, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 3:23pm

    UPDATE: They blocked Boxee's workaround too

    I'm so sick of these idiot media companies.

     

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  8.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 6th, 2009 @ 3:43pm

    Re:


    So why exactly are the Masnicks so confused - are you under the impression that because something might be legal you are obliged to include it in your business model ? !!!


    Well, I never said, nor implied that. I'm not sure how anyone could read the post above and interpret it that way unless they were a bit behind on their reading comprehension skills... or they were paid to be willfully ignorant.

    Which is it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Willton, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 4:46pm

    No legal reason?

    But, there seemed to be absolutely no legal reason to stop Boxee from offering the content.

    Actually, there is: freedom of contract. If Hulu does not want to deal with Boxee, it does not have to do so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    daviduf, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 6:46pm

    Workaround

    What’s up with Hulu? Anyways, you can use Yahoo Pipes or Feedity - http://feedity.com to create a custom RSS feed for a Hulu page and it should work just fine.. for now at least!

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 8:38pm

    SO WHAT! I connect my PC to my TV via DVI/HDMI and I watch ALL HULU and anything else from my PC on my 50in TV. SO WHATS THE BIG DEAL! WHO NEEDS ANOTHER BOX ANYWAY!

    GOOD GRIEF! f

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 8:53pm

    Re: More than meets the eye, or...

    The blocked its browser version string, presumably. And Boxee, for whatever reason, doesn't want to change it (or allow users to change it, like some browsers do).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 7th, 2009 @ 1:03am

    XBMC?

    I gather that Boxee is a proprietary fork of XBMC. So can’t XBMC do much of the same stuff? Or is nobody paying attention to XBMC because it’s Free software?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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