Hulu Gives Boxee the Boot. Thanks, Hollywood!

By  |  Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Life Without ComcastOkay, now this just stinks: Boxee, the cool software that lets you pipe Internet TV and other digital media onto a TV set, is doing away with its support for Hulu, the most significant purveyor of streaming versions of broadcast TV programming. I take the move personally, since I recently bought an Apple TV in large part to run Boxee on it, and in particular to watch Hulu.

But I’m not mad at Boxee (who’s in a tough spot, and whose support for Hulu was unofficial rather than based on a partnership), and I don’t think I’m irked with Hulu, either. The latter company’s blog is explaining that its content providers were ticked off over their stuff being available on Hulu and therefore forced the issue. Minor kudos to Hulu for addressing what’s happening on the blog rather than pretending that it’s not a big deal for Boxee fans.

(Side note: I don’t know whether there’s any connection between this and the news that Ed Oswald reported on earlier today involving Hulu programming disappearing from

The instinctive response, of course, is to start slamming those content providers as clueless Hollywood types who don’t get the Internet and hate their TV-consuming customers. And it is a shame that they’re depriving Boxee users of their stuff: If the whole business model of Hulu involves monetizing TV by supporting it with ads, you’d think that Boxee eyeballs would be just as valuable as any others that watch those ads. Maybe more so, given that anybody who’s an early adopter of Boxee is likely a particularly hardcore TV fan.

Neither Boxee’s nor Hulu’s commentary on this development explains why content owners don’t want their shows on Boxee. My guess is that A) they’re uneasy with having stuff show up in an environment they don’t control; and B) they’re still not comfortable with Internet TV showing up on TV, where it competes more directly with the old-fashioned broadcast incarnations of the same programs. As well-done as Hulu is, I suspect that it’s still a pretty lousy advertising medium compared to prime time. (The Hulu shows I catch, at least, are often supported by public-service messages rather than big-name sponsors.)

Spo short-term, I’m disgruntled over not being able to watch Hulu on Boxee; long-term, my question is this: Do Hulu’s content providers have a problem with Boxee in particular or Hulu-on-a-TV in general? My hope is that Hulu is actively working on other means of bringing its nifty service to the living room; if Hollywood is short-sighted enough to nix that, then by all means let the name-calling begin.

And hey, does anyone want to buy a slightly-used Apple TV?


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8 Comments For This Post

  1. smith jones Says:

    So the media company wants me to download TV shows. OK, I will comply

  2. goatman90210 Says:

    NBC Universal, News Corp, and the three Baldwin brothers all ********. This is just more of the same media consolidation and control tactics. What’s the point of clinging onto their silly little 1980’s episodes of TJ Hooker with all their might? Alec was right — it really is an evil plot to destroy the world. It’s time to organize a boycott of all advertisers on Hulu.

  3. Matt Says:

    Lame. Don’t give up on the ATV yet Harry! Perhaps there will be an official plugin sometime in the future. If content providers take time to think, they will realize they should leverage Hulu by developing official plugins for as many devices as possible (ATV, WD HD, TiVo, Windows MC, etc). Until then, TVShows+Transmission+Handbrake is how my ATV will be fed.

  4. Relyt Says:

    I’ll take your Apple TV

  5. Filmtvbiz Says:

    The consumer will always figurebout a way to NOT watch commercials. Thanks everyone. Now we will see more pirated material. When will these executives ever grow up. Geesh.

  6. Menace Says:

    Another tv show site with dual language releases:

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  8. Karl Says:

    Let's just break it down to what really matters here. Someone feel they are not getting paid and if they can work out the money thing everyone will be happy. Both companies have something people want.

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