If Google TV Has To Pay To Make Hulu Available To Viewers, Will Mozilla Have To Pay To Access Hulu Via Firefox?
from the yeah,-that'll-work dept
Ah, Hulu. The online TV streaming service has been leading a life of contradiction from day one. It’s been trying to build a service that can successfully “compete with free,” while being owned by the TV companies, who are scared to death of cannibalizing their own business. We’ve discussed in the past how this puts Hulu in an impossible position. The fact that it regularly has to have its engineers block access to any device or software that surfs the web over a TV is just one ridiculous example. Danny Sullivan perhaps sums it up best in his review of Google TV, after discovering that Hulu is (of course) blocking access to anyone using Google TV:
Hey Hulu — you kind of suck. I’m not trying to access you from Google TV. I’m trying to access you using a web browser, which just happens to run through Google TV. Explain to me again why if I hook my computer up to my TV, and navigate to Hulu to watch the shows you offer for free, that’s OK. But if I use my Google TV computer, that same free content is verboten — and the only way for me to get to it is if in the future, you decide to make the free content available through your not-so-free $10 per month Hulu Plus service that’s not even available beyond special invites on your own site.
Here’s a thought. Enough of blocking Google TV and apparently other services like Boxee. Either block EVERYONE on the web or block no one, because in the end, you turn people who love you when they reach you on their computers (like me) into people who hate you when they’re blocked in other places (like me).
Admittedly, Hulu is apparently getting pressure from the TV companies to do these blocks, but it still makes no sense. All things like Boxee and Google TV are doing is providing a browser. As Danny notes, if I just hooked up my laptop to the same TV, I could watch Hulu just fine. Why is it a problem if it’s using a different piece of hardware? It makes no sense.
Of course, Google is now negotiating with the networks to “allow” their content to be viewed on Google TV. Is it just me or is this extremely troubling? How would people react if, say, the New York Times suddenly announced that it would not be viewable on Dell computers or in Firefox, unless Dell or Mozilla paid up? People would go nuts. Yet, that’s exactly what is happening here.
In the meantime, we’ve already covered Hulu’s ridiculous paywall plans, which even the company admits completely suck. Rumors are now spreading that so few people are interested in getting pretty much nothing for $10/month, that Hulu is now planning to cut the fee in half. Of course, if they’re blocking access to random browsers for whatever ridiculous reason (and still not going ad free), then why would anyone pay?