Hulu Admits: Content Companies Boxee'd The PS3 Too

from the not-making-people-happy dept

Earlier this year, there was an uproar when Hulu and Boxee got into a back and forth "blocking" of Hulu content on Boxee (with Boxee posting workarounds for every Hulu block) at the request of Hulu's content partners, who were worried about pissing off cable companies. The whole thing was silly. Boxee wasn't doing anything illegal or wrong. It just provides a specialized video web browser. Today, already, anyone who can hook up a computer to a TV can access Hulu on their TV using a regular browser. The only difference with Boxee was that it was a better browser for the TV. It's hard to see why that should be blocked. Then, a few weeks ago, the same thing happened with the PS3 suddenly being blocked from displaying Hulu content as well. Not surprisingly, Hulu has now admitted basically the same thing: it came under pressure from content partners. Hulu is (again) reasonably apologetic and open and honest about the situation, but again it raises questions about whether or not Hulu can really survive as it serves two masters, one of whom is so backwards looking it thinks that pissing off consumers who are doing something completely legal is a good business strategy.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 5:25pm

    Hulu should NOT comply with the evil cable company providers who have spent so many years lobbying congress to destroy competition. WHO DO THESE PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE pressuring everyone to destroy competition to benefit themselves and ONLY themselves. The cable companies should go be severely punished for anti - trust violations for trying to pressure Hulu into limiting its content and services. But of course politicians are payed off to prevent this kind of thing.

     

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    mjb5406 (profile), Jul 17th, 2009 @ 5:47pm

    It won't stop until...

    ...all Hulu content is only available if you pay for it, either directly or by subscribing to Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Cablevision, etc. The cable companies, whether they will admit it or not, indirectly exert great influence on content providers because the providers feel they need the cable companies to distribute their content. So, if, for example, Comcast tells a provider to jump, they jump, and now that more content providers are in bed with Comcast with the OnDemand Anywhere experiment, it's only going t get worse.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 5:47pm

    "Hulu has now admitted ... it came under pressure from content partners."

    Who do these content partners think they are that they can control the masses like this? Who do they think they are? We shouldn't stand for this.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 5:53pm

    Re:

    "who were worried about pissing off cable companies."

    and who do these cable companies think they are?

     

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    Jason Buberel (profile), Jul 17th, 2009 @ 6:26pm

    Re:

    They are for-profit entities acting in their own self interest, which is what their executives are legally obligated to do.

     

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  6.  
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    Jason Buberel (profile), Jul 17th, 2009 @ 6:28pm

    Re:

    The content partners are the people who signed the contracts that made Hulu possible. Get over it. Someone owns the content, Hulu just broadcasts it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 6:30pm

    Bye bye

    Hulu is (again) reasonably apologetic and open and honest about the situation, but again it raises questions about whether or not Hulu can really survive as it serves two masters, one of whom is so backwards looking it thinks that pissing off consumers who are doing something completely legal is a good business strategy.

    If Hulu doesn't grow a pair, maybe it doesn't deserve to survive.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 6:35pm

    Re:

    um... they're the guys who own the content. if you don't like it, stop paying for it.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 6:35pm

    Re: Re:

    First of all I don't think they have a legal obligation to break anti - trust laws.

    Secondly, if what you're saying means that they must lobby the government for laws that benefit them and only them and to lobby the government to restrict competition at the expense of everyone else then the laws need to change.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 6:39pm

    Re: Re:

    So we should just allow these corporations to lobby the government to limit competition under the pretext that no one is forcing us to buy it? That's no excuse for us as a society to enforce the lack of competition or to allow some corrupt government to do so.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 6:43pm

    Re: Bye bye

    The people shouldn't allow the cable companies to have so much influence over the market just because they can lobby the government to restrict competition. Hulu should stand up for its own rights, sure, but it's not Hulu's job to stand up for our rights (well, it is the job of the citizens that work for Hulu as citizens but not for Hulu as a corporation), it's OUR job as citizens to stand up for what's right. It's not right for us to allow this huge powerful entity to bully everyone like this. It's not right to allow them to control the masses like this. It's everyone's job as citizens to stop them as citizens, not just Hulu's job.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 6:50pm

    Re: Re:

    "The content partners are the people who signed the contracts that made Hulu possible."

    The content providers signed the contract giving Hulu permission to broadcast stuff. So if they agreed that Hulu can broadcast then why try to limit them after the fact? They can't turn on their contract.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Re:

    Content partners are the ones who own the content.

     

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    Doctor Strange, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 7:21pm

    The only difference with Boxee was that it was a better browser for the TV.

    The difference was that Boxee is a browser that gives Hulu's product more control, and gives Hulu's customers less control.

    See, when you watch content on Hulu, you are Hulu's product, not their customer. The advertisers are their customer. You are what they are selling to the advertisers. In the transaction between the farmer and the milkman, you're the cow. At best, you're some sort of supplier.

    Hulu has two suppliers, really: the content companies (from whom it buys bait, to pay you) and people who watch their stuff. It's probably more important for them to keep the content companies happy, because they are organized. It's not like there's a Hulu Watcher's Union to negotiate with, you're all independent contractors. The content companies are sole-source suppliers, watchers are largely interchangeable parts.

    So given the choice, if you're Hulu, who do you keep happy first? Your customer? An organized sole-source supplier who can put a serious dent in your business? Or a bunch of unorganized interchangeable independent contractors?

     

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    Well Said, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 7:42pm

    Re:

    Doctor Strange is awesome.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 8:32pm

    Re: Re: Bye bye

    It's everyone's job as citizens to stop them as citizens, not just Hulu's job.

    Hulu has to do their part as well, and so far they aren't.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 8:39pm

    Re:

    See, when you watch content on Hulu, you are Hulu's product, not their customer.

    Umm, no, Hulu didn't produce me. I may be a supplier to them, but that's not the same.

    The content companies are sole-source suppliers, watchers are largely interchangeable parts.

    Let's see how they do without a lot of those "parts" then. I think they may find the viewers were a little more valuable than they thought.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 9:20pm

    Re:

    "So given the choice, if you're Hulu, who do you keep happy first? ... An organized sole-source supplier who can put a serious dent in your business?"

    This is my point, such entities should NOT be given so much control over the masses. Society shouldn't have to jump through hoops at the cost of aggregate output and innovation just to make these rich and powerful special interest groups richer and more powerful just because these special interest groups have the power to lobby the government to hold there hand every time they create an inferior product at a higher price.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 9:24pm

    Re:

    "The content companies are sole-source suppliers, watchers are largely interchangeable parts."

    So at least you admit to monopoly. Again, it's the government that provides for this monopoly in the cable industry by restraining competition. This should not be tolerated. Monopolies that such monopoly power to the detriment of society should not be tolerated.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Re:

    sp/Monopolies that such monopoly power to the detriment of society should not be tolerated./Monopolies that use such monopoly power to the detriment of society should not be tolerated.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 9:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Bye bye

    I don't expect Hulu to go out of business trying to combat the current status quo. I blame the citizens for this mess for not standing up against the status quo and for tolerating the evil tyranny that special interest groups have bestowed upon us. From the FDA to the FCC the government has become a corrupt organization that's in favor of special interest groups at the expense of everyone else and it's citizens that allow it. The fact is that if we don't stand up for our rights they will be taken away from us. Americans got their freedoms because people in the past were willing to stand up for their rights but if people stop standing up for their rights those freedoms will be taken away from us. Government, corporations, and entities are inherently corrupt (generally). They act in their own best interest. The founding fathers knew this which is why we have checks and balances. Yet, ultimately, the people have to keep the system in check (the founding fathers knew this which is why we have elections and they encouraged the people to participate in government which is why they adopted a structure of individual freedom and then one where local government has independent control more than the states so that citizens can participate and then states have more control over the fed so that citizens can participate, etc...). Our history is plagued with our freedoms being threatened but we have a history of standing together against corruption and standing for what's right. That's how we keep the government in check. But if we stop then corruption will inherently abound.

     

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  22.  
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    Doctor Strange, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 9:54pm

    Re: Re:

    The content companies have a monopoly over certain content only in the sense that Toyota has a "monopoly" over Camrys and Ford has a "monopoly" over Tauruses. Just because NBC Universal has a "monopoly" over The Tonight Show doesn't mean they have anything like a monopoly over late night shows, talk shows, or TV shows in general.

    As is repeatedly pointed out, in the age of the Internet nearly anyone can create and distribute their own content, and anyone can sell the rights to that content to the highest bidder, give it away, or do whatever they want with it. As many people and companies have done.

    Hulu has built a business based on content from certain "big content" suppliers. Why? Well, likely because those companies produce, buy, own, and license content that people actually want to watch. There is no shortage of alternative suppliers; just look at YouTube if you need an example.

    Would Hulu be able to gather nearly as many eyeballs to sell to advertisers with alternative content? Likely no. Just take a look at any number of workalike competitors (Joost, for example), who did not strike licensing deals with popular content and are floundering. (On point: Joost got started earlier, has far lower infrastructure costs, and Joost's original client looked exactly like a TV settop box user interface - even when run on the computer. Hulu still won.)

    Any antitrust/anti-monopoly arguments here are really thin. Nobody is preventing you or anyone else from producing and distributing content, and selling advertising on it. The barriers to entry are lower than ever.

    What you seem to be miffed about is that Hulu has demonstrated that even in an age where anyone can create and distribute content, in a democratic medium (the Internet) with more competition than there has ever been, media from big content companies is still extremely popular and still makes them a market leader.

     

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  23.  
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    Doctor Strange, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 10:05pm

    Re: Re:

    This is my point, such entities should NOT be given so much control over the masses.

    But you have it exactly backwards. The reason that content providers have control over the masses is because the masses have willingly given themselves over. Nobody forced you to watch Two and a Half Men. Nobody gave CBS the exclusive right to produce bad but extremely popular reality shows. The masses are the ones in control, they have spoken, and they chose to give fealty the content creators here.

    The Internet has democratized content creation and distribution, remember? Still, the masses gave themselves over willingly.

    Society shouldn't have to jump through hoops at the cost of aggregate output and innovation just to make these rich and powerful special interest groups richer and more powerful just because these special interest groups have the power to lobby the government to hold there hand every time they create an inferior product at a higher price.

    How is the government interfering here? To whom has it given a monopoly? Again you have it backwards: the Internet has helped free you from monopolies. Any idiot can set up a website, and any other idiot can visit it. If you want to distribute high-definition video, just put it up there. Woot.com was selling a 720p solid-state camcorder for $80 today.

    Cable companies control a distribution channel of diminishing value. How did the government strongarm Hulu into showing only popular content from big content companies? What exclusive access did the government give to Hulu or any of its content suppliers? Which of Hulu's competitors did they legislate out of business? Who in the Hulu world got a cut-rate deal on bandwidth?

    The alternative is in your hands: if you are tired of inferior products at higher prices, create a superior product at a lower price, if you can.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 10:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "The Internet has democratized content creation and distribution, remember?"

    Except a lot of lobbying efforts are underway to restrict the Internet and much of the point that we are making is if we allow these lobbying efforts to succeed they will turn the Internet into the mess that our cable system has turned into. Not to mention that bandwidth has been restricted in the U.S. due to lobbying efforts.

    "How is the government interfering here? To whom has it given a monopoly?"

    Broadband providers by limiting bandwidth for one. Cable companies shouldn't have so much control that Hulu feels compelled to restrict its service just to make them happy. They got that control through their lobbying efforts.

    "If you want to distribute high-definition video, just put it up there."

    But the lack of competition has made bandwidth more expensive.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 10:47pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "The alternative is in your hands: if you are tired of inferior products at higher prices, create a superior product at a lower price, if you can."

    The government should allow anyone to use the existing infrastructure (ie: cable and phone lines, much of which was funded by government grants even) to provide bandwidth and to provide cable television and phone service.

    by Doctor Strange

    "The content companies have a monopoly over certain content only in the sense that Toyota has a "monopoly" over Camrys and Ford has a "monopoly" over Tauruses."

    They have a monopoly over the distribution lines and the government grants it.

    "As is repeatedly pointed out, in the age of the Internet nearly anyone can create and distribute their own content, and anyone can sell the rights to that content to the highest bidder, give it away, or do whatever they want with it. As many people and companies have done."

    And as has been repeatedly pointed out, many entities are lobbying to create laws that will restrict this and we shouldn't allow for this. Bandwidth is already being restricted because of the monopolies in place and other countries have passed us up as a result. Webhosting, especially videos, requires bandwidth so we need to ensure a competitive market with the existing infrastructure that allows people to upload and download content that they create.

    "What you seem to be miffed about is that Hulu has demonstrated that even in an age where anyone can create and distribute content, in a democratic medium (the Internet) with more competition than there has ever been, media from big content companies is still extremely popular and still makes them a market leader."

    Some of that is because they have a (government granted) monopoly on existing infrastructure which gives them an unfair advantage in terms of being able to distribute their content and get their content well known. It's the unlevel playing field that gives them an advantage and now they're trying to exploit the Internet with that unlevel playing field. They should be forced to compete just like everyone else, the government shouldn't grant them a monopoly on the existing infrastructure.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 10:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The fact that they have this unlevel playing field means that people have to pay THEM to use the Internet or to watch cable T.V. or use phone service. So of course they have an unfair advantage in terms of being able to fund and produce content. Again, anyone should be able to provide bandwidth, phone service, and cable service on the existing infrastructure or the government should allow anyone to build new infrastructure.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 11:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "The Internet has democratized content creation and distribution, remember? Still, the masses gave themselves over willingly.

    The alternative is in your hands: if you are tired of inferior products at higher prices, create a superior product at a lower price, if you can."

    Yeah, but who does everyone have to pay to get an Internet connection? They have to pay the existing status quo which means the existing status quo (a government sanctioned monopoly) has an unfair advantage over me in terms of being able to own and provide content.

     

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  28.  
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    Doctor Strange, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 11:31pm

    Guess what, guys...lobbying is not going to go away. The United States, if you didn't notice, has a really centralized federal government. Also, humans have a tendency to act in their own best interest. So some of those humans are inevitably going to go to the centers of power to try to convince them to do what they want.

    With respect to bandwidth restrictions, the U.S. may lag other countries in broadband penetration and price, but let's be practical for a minute. Where I sit, I could get Cable, DSL, Satellite, 3G, or even a leased line as broadband options. Technologically I could also get WiMax, fiber to the door (e.g., FiOS), or some sort of municipal or co-op WiFi, but those haven't been rolled out here yet. I currently get several megabits of bandwidth for something like $30 a month, which I know isn't the $2 a month you pay for gigabit in South Korea or whatever, but it's only quantitatively - not qualitatively - different. I imagine in several more years I will have even more broadband options.

    Conversely, I have one available provider for water, one for gas, and one for electricity. I used to have more than one for electricity and we all know how well that turned out.

    For years I have had literally dozens or hundreds of options for long-distance providers, and you know what? They all basically charged the same rate until the Internet and cellphones came along. Now AT&T sells me unlimited long distance anywhere in the country for $40 a month, with every call-feature the 5ESS supports. I could literally sit here and call Bangor, Maine and leave the line open 24/7 and it would not cost me a nickel.

    The monopolies of the past are worth less than ever, deregulation doesn't always seem to have the effect you think it does, and the chains of reasoning you need to blame your own inability to change the status quo on "big content," the cable companies and the government are growing ever longer.

    You're short on bandwidth to share your creations with the world because of government-granted monopolies? Give me a break. Tell you what, I'll point you at a site where you can host your awesome content with nearly infinite bandwidth for free, in HD, and a company will LOSE MONEY on the deal for the privilege.

    How many broadband options do I need to be able to select from before it's fair? I have 5 now, should it be 10? 20? 300? How many megabits do I need to get to my door before it's no longer the cable company's fault that you can't create and monetize content that people want to watch?

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 11:44pm

    Re:

    "Satellite, 3G"

    These two options aren't good platforms for providing bandwidth.

    "I could get Cable, DSL"

    Wow, two competitors. Again, the government should allow anyone to use this infrastructure.

    "or even a leased line as broadband options"

    Leased line ... provided by whom? The existing status quo? and leased line is not an internet connection and is very expensive.

    Open up the existing infrastructure to anyone who wants to compete.

    "How many broadband options do I need to be able to select from before it's fair? I have 5 now, should it be 10? 20? 300?"

    No, there are TWO, not five. Leased line isn't broadband and satellite and 3G aren't suitable platforms that can provide reasonable bandwidth with decent latency. The problem here is a lack of competition and it's because these telcos keep lobbying the government to restrict competition. How many should be allowed? ANYONE WHO WANTS TO ENTER THE MARKETPLACE!!! Anyone should be allowed to either build new infrastructure or use the existing infrastructure.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 11:48pm

    Re: Re:

    Not to mention that DSL over copper wiring has limitations of like 10 Mb/sec (MAX) so even that's not a good platform for providing high speed Internet. These limiting factors can be overcome if anyone was allowed to build new infrastructure but of course, with existing corporations having government granted monopolies over the infrastructure what incentive do they have to do any such thing? Cable can provide faster service so in terms of anything that can go above 10 Mb/sec there are NO competitors. We have to pay them to provide bandwidth and hence they have an unfair advantage in terms of being able to provide content as well. Open it up to everyone, why should the government restrict competition just because these people can lobby the government?

    "Guess what, guys...lobbying is not going to go away. The United States, if you didn't notice, has a really centralized federal government. Also, humans have a tendency to act in their own best interest. So some of those humans are inevitably going to go to the centers of power to try to convince them to do what they want."

    and it is our jobs as citizens to compel the government to act in the public interest despite these lobbying efforts.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 11:56pm

    Re:

    "Satellite, 3G"

    The problem is that there are inherent limitations as to the bandwidth and latency that these can possible provide. Infrastructure like DSL and Cable can overcome some of these limitations but even DSL has limitations of about 10 or so Mb/sec (max and the most I've ever seen was 6 at that) due to the fact that the phone line can only handle so much. Leased lines aren't an internet connection so that doesn't count either. So you really have two competitors and if you want to go above about 6 Mb/sec you really have zero competition (at least in my area and many others at techdirt report the same thing). So this entity that can provide more than 6 Mb/sec has zero competition so anyone that wants such speeds are forced to pay IT for such speeds which meaning of course it has an unfair advantage in terms of what content it can provide. The government should not grant such monopolies.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 12:05am

    Re:

    "but let's be practical for a minute."

    I am being practical, Leased lines don't provide bradband, 3G and satellite have infrastructure limitations that provide far less bandwidth (with very high latency) than even DSL and even DSL has infrastructure limitations (the phone lines can't exceed 10 Mb/sec both directions plus the spectrum that goes into talking on the phone and caller ID and the line loss to get to the server so the practical max is like 6 Mb/sec DL at like 768 upseed and I KNOW in many areas the max DSL bandwidth that one can get is even 1.6 or so Mb/sec even where I live) meaning that there is very little competition in terms of being able to get decent bandwidth for a decent price.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 12:06am

    Re: Re:

    768 Kb/sec upseed (sorry for not putting that in there).

     

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  34.  
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    Doctor Strange, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 12:18am

    Do you really need to post four (plus one) separately-composed responses to a single post, all with the same content? You realize that you're not talented enough to differentiate your writing styles or content such that it really looks like there are more than one of you, right? Alternatively: how many of you are in there?

    Your reasoning is down to quibbling over megabits of bandwidth and milliseconds of latency. It just isn't that compelling. What major transformation do you imagine would happen if bandwidth suddenly got twice as fast or cost half as much?

    Though your argument for deregulation feels good, I'm not sure history has borne it out. Take a government-granted monopoly on infrastructure and let anyone sell on it...what will happen? It has to be good for everyone, right? In at least two historical cases, it doesn't seem so clear-cut. Basically you have a lot of people "competing" to sell an inherently undifferentiated and undifferentiatable commodity. So what happens?

    Well, with electricity, a little upstart company called Enron looked really, really promising, until it figured out the best way to differentiate itself was to scam and arbitrage the system right into the ground.

    With long distance telephone deregulation, phone calls got cheaper but their cost then more or less stabilized. I remember signing up for phone service in the mid-1990s and the operator offered me a choice of something like 78 different long distance providers. Again, all charged more-or-less the same rate. That market became a confusopoly, where companies competed by setting up the pricing structure in such a way that they extracted profits from consumers' inability to predict their own future usage patterns. Cellphones also became a confusopoly and remain so.

    The point is that even in the "bad" state things are now, several megabits of bandwidth to my home for less than $50 a month is still dirt cheap. Additionally, it is more than enough bandwidth upon which to build many new content delivery services, as we have seen time and again on the Internet. If government-granted monopolies on infrastructure were holding back the development of new content delivery services, they are no longer.

    When Internet bandwidth is even cheaper and more plentiful than it is now, and you're still unable to compete with "big content," what will you blame it on then?

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 12:24am

    Re:

    "Do you really need to post four (plus one) separately-composed responses to a single post, all with the same content? You realize that you're not talented enough to differentiate your writing styles or content such that it really looks like there are more than one of you, right?"

    I'm not trying to.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 12:36am

    Re:

    "When Internet bandwidth is even cheaper and more plentiful than it is now, and you're still unable to compete with "big content," what will you blame it on then?"

    It's not the bandwidth in and of itself it's that we have no choice but to pay these monopolies for bandwidth so of course they have an unlevel playing field.

    "Well, with electricity, a little upstart company called Enron looked really, really promising, until it figured out the best way to differentiate itself was to scam and arbitrage the system right into the ground."

    It is the governments job to prevent fraud but it's not their job to grant monopolies.

    "With long distance telephone deregulation, phone calls got cheaper but their cost then more or less stabilized. "

    So you admit they got cheaper, so the free market did help things. Sure, after limiting factors are met costs will eventually stabilize but at least aggregate output is increased. I know that when all the cable companies started merging (even in my area) costs increased substantially shortly thereafter and so did commercials.

    "Cellphones also became a confusopoly and remain so."

    Cellphones are a good example of what competition (at one time) brought. Many people have ditched lan lines in favor of cell phones because they offer good service.

    "That market became a confusopoly, where companies competed by setting up the pricing structure in such a way that they extracted profits from consumers' inability to predict their own future usage patterns."

    The same thing is true now, if you can't predict your own future usage patterns you will pay higher prices. As far as a confusopoly, it's not my fault you are so easily confused but we shouldn't restrain competition just because less competition brings less choice and hence it's less overwhelming to your brain.

    "Basically you have a lot of people "competing" to sell an inherently undifferentiated and undifferentiatable commodity. So what happens?"

    Aggregate output increases and price goes down.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 12:41am

    Re:

    "The point is that even in the "bad" state things are now, several megabits of bandwidth to my home for less than $50 a month is still dirt cheap"

    That's not cheap, that's expensive (and other countries are beating us because they allow more competition) and competition will push that rate down and push the bandwidth up.

    "Your reasoning is down to quibbling over megabits of bandwidth and milliseconds of latency. "

    Satellite and 3G are known to have low latency.

    "It just isn't that compelling."

    Maybe not to you but I'll let other readers decide what they believe to be compelling.

    "What major transformation do you imagine would happen if bandwidth suddenly got twice as fast or cost half as much?"

    So you admit competition would make bandwidth twice as fast and cost half as much with more competition?

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 12:43am

    Re: Re:

    sp/Satellite and 3G are known to have low latency./Satellite and 3G are known to have high latency.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 12:47am

    Re:

    "That market became a confusopoly, where companies competed by setting up the pricing structure in such a way that they extracted profits from consumer"

    and in fact, even right now, when people make unpredicted (ie: long distance) calls they use cell phones because they can more accurately predict the price and it's cheaper where as with lan lines, thanks to a lack of competition, you have that unpredictability factor to deal with.

     

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  40.  
    icon
    ChrisB (profile), Jul 18th, 2009 @ 12:56am

    Re: Re:

    >> See, when you watch content on Hulu, you are Hulu's
    >> product, not their customer.

    > Umm, no, Hulu didn't produce me. I may be a supplier
    > to them, but that's not the same.

    In almost all media (newspapers, TV, radio), YOU are the product. That is why it is free. The content is the bait, you are the fish, the media creator is the fisherman, and the advertisers are the fish-buyer. The problem is the advertisers aren't buying anymore, so now the fisherman is trying to charge the fish for bait. Unfortunately for the fisherman, the bait can be replicated infinitely for almost zero cost so why would the fish pay for it (... okay, this analogy is stretched almost to the limit so I'll stop).

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 12:59am

    Re:

    (same person, not trying to trick you, it's obvious and I'm not trying to make it unobvious).

    "Your reasoning is down to quibbling over megabits of bandwidth and milliseconds of latency."

    Ok, lets look at the speeds of satellite.

    "Note the average bit rate per end user PC is only about 10 - 20kbit/s."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_internet

    3G

    "For example, GSM (the current most popular cellular phone standard) could deliver not only voice, but also circuit-switched data at download speeds up to 14.4 kbps."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3G

    You're telling me to be practical, it is you that is not being practical. It's not my arguments that aren't compelling, it's your arguments that aren't compelling. Then you bring up a leased line, which isn't broadband (so is even off topic) and you claim my arguments aren't compelling?

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Doctor Strange, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 1:09am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The problem is the advertisers aren't buying anymore, so now the fisherman is trying to charge the fish for bait.

    Actually that's not the problem at all in this article or this discussion, although this seems to come up in about every third or fifth article around here so I'm sure if you wait this comment will be relevant again in one of those discussions.

    Unfortunately for the fisherman, the bait can be replicated infinitely for almost zero cost so why would the fish pay for it

    What's happening in the Hulu case here is that the fisherman is still giving away the bait and selling the fish quite profitably, but now the fish are complaining that the bait doesn't taste good enough, there's not enough of it, there's this really nasty hook inside, they don't want to be sold to the fishmonger, the fishmonger is conspiring with his friends to lower the quality of the bait, and so on.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 1:13am

    Re:

    "Your reasoning is down to quibbling over megabits of bandwidth and milliseconds of latency. It just isn't that compelling."

    Ok, I was mistaken about the speed of 3G. It gets up to 2Mb/sec max.

    http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/tutorials/article.php/1577551

    Still very slow and it shows how out of touch with reality your arguments are. But I suppose if you just re - define the market to be whatever you want it to be you can argue that there is plenty of competition.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 2:23am

    Fuck'em ALL!

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 10:04am

    Re:

    "With long distance telephone deregulation, phone calls got cheaper but their cost then more or less stabilized. I remember signing up for phone service in the mid-1990s and the operator offered me a choice of something like 78 different long distance providers." Not to mention our ranking in the world used to be very high on things like broadband and telephone service 10 years ago due to more competition but now that there is less competition our rankings have dropped substantially and everyone is passing us up. So I don't see how your example shows that more competition is a bad thing. http://www.networkperformancedaily.com/2008/05/broadband_rankings_out_us_drop.html

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re:

    Then you admit they are just acting in their own best interest. So when cable companies lobby the government for laws that benefit only them they are doing so because it's in their own best interest, not because it's somehow in the best interest of society. In other words the government should not cater to the lobbying efforts of special interest groups because those special interest groups are only acting in their own best interest.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Doctor Strange, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You go ahead and work on stopping all lobbying, then. Because all lobbying is someone acting in their own interests. All of it. It may be direct or indirect. A compelling argument could be made that all human action is done in service of one's own perceived best interest.

    This argumentation is all just whining about how you can't get all the content you want, in the way that you want, when you want it, for free.

    Old arguments about government-granted monopolies over the only distribution channels no longer hold water, but you still can't get all that content in the way you want it. Why?

    Well, it certainly can't be that maybe those content companies know something about what people want and how to market it. They're idiots! It certainly couldn't be that society has independently decided that they like the content those companies produce. It's crap! It certainly couldn't be that zillions of amateurs are less talented at creating high-value content than a small number of professionals, because there's so many of them, and the professionals are so dumb!

    No, it has to be some inherent unfairness in the system, created by the government and their partners in crime, the content & cable cabal! It just has to be! What could it be...

    Maybe it's that nobody can get enough bandwidth because of a conspiracy! Except, well, you can. Maybe it's that the bandwidth is unaffordable! Except, well, it is affordable. But it could be cheaper and more plentiful...so that must be it! The conspiracy to limit our bandwidth is what's keeping the content cabal in charge!

    Or wait, maybe it's all the money they made when they DID have government-granted monopolies. After all, with all that money, of COURSE they will be able to create lots of content. Who can compete with that! Nobody could start a business when there are established competitors with much bigger cash reserves...well, except, say, every new restaurant in existence.

    Or you know what...it's the copyright system itself! Yeah, that's it...if nobody actually owns any content, then nobody will be able to keep me from getting at all of it! That's the solution! That will certainly result in a net benefit for society and incentivize the creation of new content!

    The playing field is more level than it ever has been. It will never totally be level, in any competitive field of endeavor. Every new restaurant that starts up has to deal with the fact that McDonald's has more cash on hand, more brand recognition, a bigger marketing department, and a more efficient supply chain. Should it be the government's responsibility to make sure that every restaurant in America can get beef at the same price as McDonalds from the same vendors?

    If these content companies are as neolithic as people here claim, it should be very easy to overcome any remaining "inequities" with innovation. If you can do better than the content companies, do it.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "This argumentation is all just whining about how you can't get all the content you want, in the way that you want, when you want it, for free. "

    Strawman much?

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Doctor Strange, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Strawman much?

    Not really, when the only thing at issue here is whether you can view Hulu content through a particular piece of software or not, or how convenient it should be to watch Hulu content on your TV. People are getting content they want, when they want it, nearly for free, but they can't get it in the precise way that they want it and still, complaining.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Every new restaurant that starts up has to deal with the fact that McDonald's has more cash on hand, more brand recognition, a bigger marketing department, and a more efficient supply chain."

    and there is nothing wrong with that, but they shouldn't have to deal with the fact that McDonals have a government granted monopoly (they don't but in the case of cable and telco people do). That's nonsense.

    "The playing field is more level than it ever has been. "

    and the increase in competition has increased aggregate output disproving your point that the lack of competition is bad. Now lets remove the artificial lack of competition that exists within telco and cable corporations. If they can't compete in the free market then they should die. But lobbying the government because they can't compete in the free market is not a business model we should tolerate.

    "Old arguments about government-granted monopolies over the only distribution channels no longer hold water"

    Yes they do hold water, it's wrong that they get a government granted monopoly just because they can either bribe politicians in the background or lobby the government for such restrictions on competition. This isn't necessarily an issue of how much content one can get it's an issue about the government regulating things in the best interest of special interest groups at the expense of everyone else. The action of the government granting them a monopoly is wrong in and of itself, we as a society owe them no such thing.

    "Again, all charged more-or-less the same rate. That market became a confusopoly"

    They all charged the same rate yet you were confused. If they all charged the same rate how is that confusing?

    "You go ahead and work on stopping all lobbying, then. Because all lobbying is someone acting in their own interests. All of it."

    So you're arguing that corruption exists and we shouldn't resist it whatsoever? We can't stop it completely so we should just stop trying. Is that the attitude you've adopted? We shouldn't even bother standing up for what's right because things will never be perfect regardless. That sounds very anti American, I'm sure our founding fathers would be proud.

    "Nobody could start a business when there are established competitors with much bigger cash reserves...well, except, say, every new restaurant in existence."

    The difference here is it's the GOVERNMENT that's artificially restricting competition by disallowing competitors to compete. So your analogy does not hold water.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    sp/and the increase in competition has increased aggregate output disproving your point that the lack of competition is bad./and the increase in competition has increased aggregate output disproving your point that the lack of competition is good.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't watch Hulu and I haven't watched music on youtube ever since I learned that Google pays the RIAA for every time I watch. I don't need to watch Hulu to point out the fact that the government restricting competition in the best interest of special interest groups is wrong and that society owes them no such restrictions.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

    Re: It won't stop until...

    > It won't stop until all Hulu content is only available if you pay for it

    ... at which point I will stop watching Hulu. :-b

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > You go ahead and work on stopping all lobbying, then.
    > Because all lobbying is someone acting in their own interests

    Or, rather, because lobbying is a legalized bribery.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 5:18pm

    I only used my PS3 on Hulu...

    Oh, well, I guess they don't want me to watch any of their stuff.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 7:32pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    How is the government interfering here? To whom has it given a monopoly?

    So you've never heard of copyright or utility right-of-way easements or municipal franchise agreements or telco subsidies or... (I could go on)? Are you *really* that ignorant of the situation? If so, then pleas go read up on some of those things before spouting off in public about how the gov't isn't involved in establishing monopolies when it comes to the Internet and content on it.

    If not, then you must be trolling so STFU.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Bye bye

    I don't expect Hulu to go out of business trying to combat the current status quo.

    And if they go out of business by not being willing to stand up when they should, then that's fine by me because every time someone gives in to tyranny it becomes stronger, and that's bad for all the rest of us. So, if Hulu stood up to them, then I might subscribe just to show my support. But if they don't, I'd drop my subscription just to show my displeasure with them. Their choice.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 7:46pm

    Re:

    Where I sit, I could get Cable, DSL, Satellite, 3G, or even a leased line as broadband options. Technologically I could also get WiMax, fiber to the door (e.g., FiOS), or some sort of municipal or co-op WiFi, but those haven't been rolled out here yet.
    Oh, oh, oh! You left out carrier pigeons or a station wagon full of backup tapes!! Freaking shill.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 7:50pm

    Re:

    Your reasoning is down to quibbling over megabits of bandwidth and milliseconds of latency. It just isn't that compelling.

    Heh, it seems to me that his "quibbling" demonstrated how ridiculous your argument was. No wonder you didn't like it.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 8:17pm

    Re: Re:

    "Oh, oh, oh! You left out carrier pigeons or a station wagon full of backup tapes!! Freaking shill. "

    I suppose we can mail CD's and DVD's back and fourth, via snail mail, and call it bandwidth. There is competition after all!!

     

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  61.  
    icon
    Matt (profile), Jul 18th, 2009 @ 8:28pm

    Not just PS3

    The mobile browser Skyfire has also been blocked. I used that browser mainly for hulu videos since it was the only one I could find that could play videos from the site. I tried it last week and found it was blocked as well.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Doctor Strange, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 9:19pm

    What does Internet bandwidth or monopolies on it have to do with this issue? Nothing.

    The issue is that hulu has blocked a third party program to remain in good graces with their primary supplier, who is trying to stay on good graces with a big customer, who has a monopoly on a completely different infrastructure.

    Instead of worrying about the influence of twice-removed monopolies of waning importance, why don't you innovate your way out of the problem instead of blaming the government for all your problems?

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 9:25pm

    Re:

    It's partly their government granted monopoly power that gives them so much influence to compel Hulu to restrict their service.

     

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

  64.  
    identicon
    Doctor Strange, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Re:

    And it's partially the cable companies' size and it's partially their otherwise perfectly legal business relationships with content companies and it's partially advertising relationships and structures that have existed for years or decades and it's partially content companies' overall strategies for licensing their content.

    Go ahead and fix the government monopoly issue and when you find out it didn't really change that much, you can start whining about these things. Or you can take advantage of the tremendous opportunity created by the Internet and develop a new system without these problems.

    But I know that's a lot harder than the whining. Innovate or die indeed.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 10:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "And it's partially the cable companies' size"

    Which has to do with their government granted monopoly (and their market share has to do with their government granted monopoly and their market share is partly why they're so influential).

    "Go ahead and fix the government monopoly issue and when you find out it didn't really change that much, you can start whining about these things."

    If I find out it didn't change much then I can stop complaining about these things. If it doesn't change things that's fine. If that's what the free market provides then I'm fine with it. But what we have now is not even close to a free market. It's the principle of the matter. It's a market where the government caters to special interest groups and the public owes these special interest groups no such privileges. We've created a monster that has a lot of influence to intimidate others to act in the best interest of the special interest groups to the detriment of the public by allowing such government sanctioned monopolies. We owe them no such right and they're abusing the influence the government gave them in a way that harms innovation.

    Also you claiming that fixing the monopoly won't change much is not compelling. It will increase aggregate output and decrease price. It will also create more jobs because the increased aggregate output is partly a result of more jobs (more people work = more aggregate output). This is basic economics and the fact that other countries with more competition are offering better service at a cheaper price also demonstrates this as well.

    "Or you can take advantage of the tremendous opportunity created by the Internet and develop a new system without these problems."

    Even if people can do this this is no excuse for us to allow the government to grant monopolies. It's wrong for the government to grant such monopolies regardless of these opportunities. The existing monopolies will continue to lobby the government for more laws that favor only them and to prevent further innovation by others because we have given them the resources to do so by granting them monopolies.

    "But I know that's a lot harder than the whining."

    So you want us not to stand up for what's right? You want us to give in to you, to allow the cable companies to continue on lobbying the government for monopolies until they turn the Internet into what cable is today. The monopoly that the government already grants is unjustified in and of itself and we should stand up against social injustices. But you just want to silence the masses and prevent them from standing up against social injustices.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Peanut Gallery, Jul 19th, 2009 @ 5:24am

    okay stick a fork in the discussion it is done.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    AnonCow, Jul 19th, 2009 @ 10:15am

    Since Hulu is owned by the content creators, I think it is very disingenuous for Hulu to throw the blame over on content providers since they are really one and the same.

    It is equivalent of blaming AIG stockholders for its financial collapse...

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    TPBer, Jul 19th, 2009 @ 10:16am

    @ DR Strange

    I get all of the content I want for free, even before some providers and distributors :p

     

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  69.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 19th, 2009 @ 9:27pm

    Re:

    So given the choice, if you're Hulu, who do you keep happy first? Your customer? An organized sole-source supplier who can put a serious dent in your business? Or a bunch of unorganized interchangeable independent contractors?

    Well, you were right initially that it's the community that's the real product -- but you really ought to recognize that if you don't keep the community happy, they go elsewhere and Hulu has no product to sell at all.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Nasch, Jul 20th, 2009 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why do you think healthy competition in the broadband market would have any effect on what NBC et al will allow Hulu to do with their TV shows?

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    yozoo, Jul 21st, 2009 @ 12:11pm

    something doesnt smell quite right here?

    the PS3 web browser doesnt support FLASH - so how could it ever show HULU movies?

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    Spironic, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 11:39pm

    Don't they realize that by putting customers through all this corporate interest bullshit that they're encouraging more and more customers to resort to piracy?

    Most people are willing to pay if you provide them with quality content at a reasonable price. But in this day and age, it's pretty ridiculous to try to force viewers to wait for a show's live cable airing to watch their favorite shows, or pay a monthly fee for a DVR.

    God I hate cable companies. I hope they all go out. Web-based TV is the wave of the future.

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Spironic, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 3:31am

    Re:

    Umm, they're the owners of the content that is being distributed? What do you mean "control the masses"? They're not "controlling" anyone. They have every right to distribute their content however they see fit.

    The cable companies are the evil ones, not the content providers...

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Dave, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 1:04pm

    Oh, go read a book.

     

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

  75.  
    identicon
    cmykdms, Feb 8th, 2010 @ 8:22pm

    only thing that works

    The only thing that will really work is to just stop watching TV.

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    Desmond Dukes, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 8:59pm

    NO HULU FOR PS3!!!???

    That is the craziest thing I have ever heard. OK Hulu here is what you do not understand. Alot of my favorite shows comes on before I get out of work so I miss the episode or movie. My Comcast on Demand does not have them, I can not afford Tivo. my VHS sucks. I use Hulu on my PS3 just to catch up on all my favorite shows. Cable Co. want people to watch their shows, Because their ratings are down. What these Co. do not understand is that people work ALL THE TIME. they want to watch their favorite shows, but they have to work or do this and that. things get in the way so we miss them. Their rating system sucks anyway. Just because only one tv in the house is on does not mean 10 people are not in the same room watching it. Their system is a joke. Every time I get into a new show the next week it's gone. I'm like "WTF" I was just getting into that. My point is Hulu you had all the consumers you could ever wanted even on PS3. And now you lost them just because a few cable Co./networks want to cry like little babies cuase not everyone is able to watching from their stations.

     

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

  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2010 @ 3:59am

    Re: It won't stop until...

    I don't pay for commercials. Hulu has commercials and therefore should be free

     

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  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2010 @ 4:08am

    Re:

    you say "You are what they are selling to the advertisers"

    so then sell me to the advertisers through my PS3? They should get more money for more commercials shown and PS3 viewers mean more commercials shown.If what you say is true, they should want PS3 viewers so they have more viewers and make more money through advertising.

    Seems more like exclusive rights deals going on behind the scenes than your unlikely logic.

     

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

  79.  
    identicon
    sol, Dec 8th, 2010 @ 1:51am

    content providers

    comcast does not own the product! the networks own the product! comcast is a "provider", a middle man. that would be like saying at&t owns the internet! if you noticed you have no trouble watching shows from NBC on boxee. if you are going to lobby, lobby the networks. write letters to every network that has shows you care about and tell them "hey i am a boxee user and i want to watch (insert show here) on boxee. if you provide your content to boxee i will watch the ads along with the show and you will make money." or something to that effect, maybe a bit less cheesy.

     

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


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