Hulu Continues To Shoot Self In Foot: Blocks More Browsers

from the lemme-explain-how-the-internet-works... dept

Hulu, at the behest of its corporate masters, continues to shoot itself in the foot and make it an increasingly less useful platform. Last year, Hulu got a lot of attention for blocking Boxee, a specialized browser to show internet video on a computer-connected television. Hulu was apologetic about it, but admitted that it was pressured to do this by its owners (though, NBC boss Jeff Zucker appears to have lied to Congress about NBC’s role in this). However, it didn’t stop there. Hulu, it seems, is hellbent on trying to block any browser it doesn’t like from showing its content. It’s blocked the PS3’s browser and mobile browsers as well.

The latest is that it wasted almost no time before blocking the new Kylo browser from Hillcrest labs that, like Boxee, was designed to better format the content for television.

This is typical short-sighted thinking from the likes of NBC bosses who are bizarrely afraid that people might watch authorized television shows on their television. Of course, the real fear is that if people start doing this, the cable and satellite companies might start losing business, meaning that they’ll pay a lot less to NBC to carry their shows. This is such typical thinking from NBC execs, who seem to go out of their way to pretend that they can hold people back from doing what they want, because it doesn’t agree with NBC’s increasingly obsolete business model. So instead of letting people watch authorized content, with very high paying advertising, they’re instead driving people to get the content through unauthorized means. It’s bizarre that anyone could think this is a smart idea — but, then again, we’re talking about NBC management here. They think that downloading movies is hurting the American corn farmer… so logic has never really been a strong suit.

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Companies: boxee, hillcrest labs, hulu, nbc

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Comments on “Hulu Continues To Shoot Self In Foot: Blocks More Browsers”

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33 Comments
ECA (profile) says:

Hulu is dying by contract..

Until the TV execs, and the movie industry get their Corp HEADS out of the sand…

Hulu has problems..and the WORST that takes up TO MUCH TIME, is dealing with the idiots..
Everytime Hulu turns around, the CORPS are changing something to make it HARDER.
HULU should tell them to SHUT UP. They are there to HOST the shows with the Current TECH available..

RESTRICTING content, restricts ADVERTS, RESTRICTS purchasing..

Hulu problems..
SORTING videos..
ADVERTS that repeat and repeat the SAME ADVERT..
Using a STANDARDIZED video format that works for ALLL..
Corps are NOT giving HULU anything. They are trying to develope their OWN services. AND NBC SUCKS, and SIFI is following close behind.

The CORPS dont see what the NET could do for them. its like a Sack race with the SACK on your head. The Net could be used to TRIAL programs and see WHO LIKES a new show. Insted of just PUTTING CRAP ON TV..
The problem the CORP also has, is HOW MANY shows they wish to create..WHO remembers when there were 24-36 shows per season?? now its 12-16??

Alessar (profile) says:

TV on TV

“Of course, the real fear is that if people start doing this, the cable and satellite companies might start losing business, meaning that they’ll pay a lot less to NBC to carry their shows.”

Yeah I have a news flash for the corporate overlords. I get my high-def TV off the air. Yes. I use broadcast. Well except for Fox, the local affiliate did something odd and now I can’t get it at all. So I have to watch Fox shows online; but if they make it hard, then I just don’t bother. There’s lots of alternatives.

Realistically, if they’d let me play hulu on my ps3 again – and it wasn’t *great* before but it was watchable, pixelated SD quality – they’d gain the value of showing me ads. If they don’t, they’re just getting nothing. Meanwhile, I have Netflix and through them, Starz.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I wish hulu would start charging. It’s a hugely popular site whose only advantage is that it offers content that’s a hassle to get elsewhere. I’m not going to bother with a torrent when I can just watch 90 seconds of ads.

Price, convenience, and quality are all good for me, and I use the service regularly on a HTPC.

But I’d like to see them charge and then fail. Corps like GE/NBC need to learn that they can only hurt themselves by annoying customers. We need more Dr. Horribles so that cable and broadcast actually have some new competition.

Philipwisp says:

About to Tip

March Madness is online this year!! Between Netflix, Hulu, Youtube.com. I have more content then I can watch. We dropped cable several years ago. We have really noticed a change in what is available lately. I think, all it will take is a couple more options especially live action and local news outlets to get online and there really isn’t won’t be anyway to hold back the content. Now the only question is how to keep ISPs profitable while half of their subscribers streaming live TV all day?

Anonymous Coward says:

Agreed...

I moved to the Philippines and would love to be able to watch Hulu on my PC, or better yet, on my WDTV live… However, they don’t allow viewing in this country… So, I can either watch shows that are weeks to months behind the US schedule or find alternate sources of the shows online. Of course, these alternate sources do not have any advertisements. (Which, I would not mind FFing through, like I did at home with my Tivo…)

They just don’t get it…

Jim L (profile) says:

re: TV on TV

I still get Hulu, Netflix and more streamed to my TV. You can use ps3, Wii, xbox or almost any dlna box with PlayOn.tv which runs on a windows machine on your network.

If they try to stop that it also runs scripts that it will get almost anything including video sharing sites and things like StreamTorrent and Sopcast.

I’ve dropped cable and don’t miss it much. NBC shouldn’t get used to those big cable bucks.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Suprise Comcast now will own NBC

Lyle … CableVision bought Newsday, not a smart move. Comcast is buying NBC, this is also not a smart move. Buying any media company at this point in history is a losing proposition. Newspapers, record labels, TV studios, and movie studios are all either failing or going to fail over the next 10-15 years. They all show the same precursors to failure, the inability to adapt, dropping profits, reduction in quantity of produced goods, lack of cost saving measures, greatly increased external competition, efficiencies being adapted by external competitors and not them, new technologies making what they do widely and cheaply available to anyone, competition from other sources, etc. Any single one of these has historically caused the collapse of an entire market. Now you have all of these causes of market collapse happening in the media distribution industries … it doesnt bode well for them.

“This is a synergy of the merger.” I think you meant “the” not “a”

For a short period perhaps there will be a synergy, until NBC’s profits begin dropping. Then they will become a company Comcast will try very hard to sell off.

This reminds me of the EMI purchase a couple years ago. I think we know how that is working out …

ECA (profile) says:

Its not the idea.

The idea is to GET YOUR PROGRAMS INFRONT of the customer.
If the corps dont want the service, WHO CARES.
Those that USE it will figure things out.
They will find ways, BETTER WAYS to make things work.

What is funny, is that CBS and NBC are pulling ALL content off Other sites..
TRYING to use their OWN systems.
There OWN PROPRIETARY FORMATS, to gain ADVERT dollars.

Funny thing,
The Big corps are NOT supposed to make money from adverts.
They SELL the programs to OTHERS to show. The adverts are to the RENTERS of the program. who them PAY to broadcast them.
They are NOT supposed to make money on adverts. but OTHER companies CAN. such as the NET site, being setup by OTHER THEN the corp.
Fun isnt it..
NOW think of the OLD programs that are sitting in VAULTS, ROTTING. Thank GOD for the net.

Jim (user link) says:

You've got a lot of this all wrong, Mike

Hulu will block any “browser” that can run as a set-top interface. That is, except for the Hulu Desktop. They’re not blocking because of pressure from their parents. They’re blocking because Boxee and other set-top browsers are strategic competitors. When Hulu said they were blocking due to pressure from its parents, that was pure BS masquerading as candor.

The recent fight with Viacom shows how week Hulu’s current position is (i.e. Viacom could walk away so easily). Hulu needs to increase switching costs for consumers and content providers. They can do that by making the Hulu Desktop the over-the-top platform (OTT) for accessing Hulu. If they could make that happen, then you wouldn’t see Viacom walking so easily.

If Hulu’s parents didn’t like OTT, then they wouldn’t have let Hulu develop the Hulu Desktop, which does pretty much the same thing that Boxee does. And if NBC can cut out cable networks, they would. With Hulu, all ad revenue, subscriptions and PPV will not be shared with the cable companies. With Hulu, all the money goes to the content providers. Long term, it’s much better for Hulu’s parents not to have a middle man. Short-term, they’d probably prefer not to piss them off too much. It’s probably a good PR move right now to make it look like Hulu is looking out for the cable companies. That is, until they’re ready to cut them out completely.

ECA (profile) says:

Open target

HULU
is an open target.
THEY WANT THE SHOWS.
They know the market and what can be done.
The corps dont give a DAM. They have a CLOSED LOOP, where all the money ends up in the TOP pockets.
From commercials, and all the rental of the shows. THEY GIVE NOTHING. and have closed eyes.
They saw HULU starting to do good, and pulled the rug. either to CONTROL HULU or to make their OWN sites and control ADVERTS and sales.

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