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ABC/Disney Considering Hulu

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the step-in-the-right-direction dept.

Television 192

An anonymous reader writes "The Walt Disney Co and Hulu.com have restarted talks over offering shows from Disney's ABC television network on the online video distributor owned by NBC Universal and News Corp, paidContent.org reported on Friday, citing unnamed sources." The real question to me is when will they stop screwing around with Boxee users?

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The problem... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27386927)

The problem with an online model is that it may or may not be possible to block the ads. When watching television, you see what you see, unless you flip the channel. Online, though, maybe or maybe not, with some streaming sites, blocking certain sites will potentially block the ads.

But, that's what they get when they have separate files from the show, as opposed to merging it into one long video file.

Re:The problem... (4, Interesting)

flitty (981864) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387105)

You seem to be referring to ABC's horrific website streaming model, which often brings up a separate website to show you the ad, and then makes you click after a determined amount of time to start the show again. Not only that, it also resizes your fullscreen and the volume level is never consistant. Sounds like ABC needs to join up with Hulu to avoid the warnings you are giving them. I don't know of a way to block Hulu's ads, and frankly, I don't care to, considering most of the ads are under 30 seconds, and I WANT internet tv to succeed.

Given that 90% of the people I know still use IE, or Firefox without Adblock, I don't think that ad blocking in streaming videos is much of a concern yet.

Re:The problem... (4, Interesting)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387645)

I WANT internet tv to succeed.

I don't, I'd rather the internet superseded TV; these webTV websites like Hulu leave the same old content syndicates in charge of when you watch, what you watch, and what you watch with it (no Boxee or mobile devices for you! No content if you're not from country X). Note Hulu is owned and directed by media conglomerates, it's not some plucky independent.

Worse, it gives them leverage over device manufacturers to later on demand things like no ad-skipping, no recording, etc etc. in return for licensing access to their webTV channel. The only advance of this system over TV is it isn't scheduled. If this is the future of internet TV, count me out, I'll go back to youtube and reading.

I'd rather a simple purchase/rent model myself (as in Amazon or iTunes), and the minimum of middlemen between the content producer and the purchaser. After the purchase I do whatever I want with the item I have purchased, and don't have to be connected constantly to watch it, or ask permission to transfer it to a device (in this respect iTunes fails, they should lose the DRM).

The concepts of ad-supported viewing, control over viewing, no recording/skipping, and even channels themselves really deserve to die along with broadcast TV.

Re:The problem... (4, Insightful)

goltzc (1284524) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387997)

I dislike commercials during my shows as much as the next person but as a business model goes, I think hulu will be able to take it to the next level. As an advertiser you want to put your product in front of the eyes most likely to purchase your stuff.

Hulu should be able to put together a netflix style algorithm of users who like the shows you do and then match it up to a set of demographics you fall into and truly target ads to you. Advertisers should LOVE this model.

I don't even mind the ads on Hulu because they are 15-30 seconds instead of 2 minutes or more on regular TV. That's not even long enough to make it worth my while to skip past the commercials. By the time I could reach to my remote to skip passed it the commercial will be almost finished.

Now if Adobe would make a flash player for Linux that was able to play full screen 480p streaming from Hulu well, I would be all set to cancel my cable subscription.

Re:The problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27389703)

Well say good bye to your cable subscription. I've been doing this for as long as Hulu's been around on my ubuntu system. Adobe's 64bit flash beta is working miracles.

Re:The problem... (4, Interesting)

flitty (981864) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388095)

Note Hulu is owned and directed by media conglomerates, it's not some plucky independent.

Plucky Independants in media, especially films and TV, exist on the backs of the giant conglomerates. Look at Steam, just as an example. If you tried steam without mainstream games, and only put up games like The Path, or i-Fluid or World of Goo, Steam would have died a long time ago. The more mainstream content shoulders the cost, the more networks are able and willing to support smaller, more daring shows. I agree that letting media consolidation run rampant is never good, but because Hulu exists, i'd expect a smaller, independant version to pop up as a sister site, because frankly, YouTube doesn't cut it for content distribution.

I'd rather a simple purchase/rent model myself

And you still can, but i'll be damned if i ever pay $1.99 for 22 minutes of The Daily Show. However, we're talking about Free content here. For that, I'd rather the ability to watch when I want, where I want, with fewer commercials and no cable TV bill, the more networks sign on for this, the better.

Re:The problem... (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388545)

That is a bit of a chicken and egg thing, in that the content is mainstream because it is coming from mainsteam content providers.

Steam and Hulu and iTunes and similar services, can help to decentralize the system a bit so that the 'mainstream' is not tied to a given developer or studio or label. Of course that could just shift 'mainsteam' to a different entity, so ultimately it might not make much difference. It does shake things up a bit by getting away from the limited space that gives leverage to big content providers.

Re:The problem... (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389381)

See the problem though is that all of those antiquated old media "TV Stations" make all the shows worth watching. Granted they make a lot of crap too, and very occasionally something like "Dr Horrible" comes along outside the structure, but in general the "stations" fund the studios and the studios make the content that is worth watching (along with lots of content that isn't). You-tube has proved that while there are a few creative individuals out there who can make amusing shorts and cute videoettes on little or no budget, you mostly need a lot of money and a big staff to do more. Even in the "amusing shorts and cute videoettes" department You-tube is so full of noise that finding the signal can be a real pain.

Even Dr. Horrible (which I enjoyed, though I didn't think it was quite the level of awesome that the Internet as a whole seemed too) required a few hundred grand in production costs and the free time of some normally very expensive actors, directors, and technicians. Had it not been for the writers strike leaving a bunch of fairly wealthy, fairly talented people with nothing better to do it would never have happened.

If you could convince the studios that a Pay to Play model, where essentially everything is released to DVD (or the Internet equivalent) without airing via advertising support first would be as profitable as the current model they might be willing to play. I just don't see it. The current model for non-cinematic content works like this:

  1) AIR the show on the TV! Make A LOT of money on advertising, especially for popular shows.
  2) Put the show on the Internet. Stream it with advertising. Make a little money, mostly just enough to cover costs. But it builds and maintains the fan base for (1) above. The people who watch online probably are potential new viewers, or fans that missed an episode for some reason.
  3) Put it on iTunes (or similar service). Make very little money, but it's cheap to do, so what the Hell. It's a few bucks and makes some people from the (2) demographic even happier. Probably makes more than it costs, but either way lost in the noise.
  4) Sell DVDs of the show. Make pretty decent money, but nothing like (1). Sales are largely to people who are already fans and want to be able to rewatch episodes, or new fans trying to catch up on old seasons. Very rarely does someone go into the "TV shows" section and just buy a season of some random show sight unseen.

So to make things work the way you want you're in a position where you either have to somehow cut out the people that currently make almost everything worth watching, or convincing those same people to abandon their primary revenue stream in favor of currently much smaller secondary and tertiary revenue streams. Hell your most preferred distribution method (3), is probably the one that currently makes the lest money for them.

Re:The problem... (1)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389569)

when you watch

you can watch any content on hulu at any time.

what you watch

you're correct about this. you can't watch content on hulu that is not on hulu.

and what you watch with it

you can run hulu full screen on any computer with a web browser and flash. doesn't seem very limiting to me.

I'd rather a simple purchase/rent model myself

would you really be willing to pay for every tv show you might want to watch? i certainly wouldn't pay to keep up with half the stuff i have subscribed on hulu.

one of the things i like most about hulu is finding new shows and being able to watch an episode right away to see if i like it. all it costs me is a minute or two of commercials, during which i'm not likely to pay attention anyway.

ad-supported viewing is still viable, though it's not going to fail because of individuals like you. it's only going to fail when people tune it out well enough that these typse of ads no longer generate a good ROI. in the meantime, try to enjoy the free video streaming while we have it.

if hulu disappears, we're unlikely to get anything better in it's place.

Re:The problem... (3, Insightful)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388207)

I agree with what you say. The ads on Hulu really don't bother me. They are almost all under 30 seconds (with that latest Fedex one being around 8 seconds) and none are very annoying or intrusive. And, as you say, I want online TV to succeed.

The problem is, though, if this is truly successful, won't we start seeing longer, more obnoxious commercial spans in Hulu? At that point, it becomes just as bothersome as watching the show on broadcast TV. Also, how do you account for local advertising?

Re:The problem... (4, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387141)

And the other problem is the ads themselves. They keep limiting their audience to the USA, as if they can't figure out that ads don't have to be limited to one market.

Just get the Coke, Nestlé, Kraft, Apple, Toyota of this world (i.e. the big international companies) for your commercials. It doesn't matter where you are on the planet, some products are available everywhere.

Re:The problem... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387319)

Since nearly all of these services only stream to the USA that's kind of expected.

If they were someday to become international targeting ads by using IP geolocation is pretty easy.. so it's a non-issue.

Re:The problem... (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387433)

Since nearly all of these services only stream to the USA that's kind of expected.

If they were someday to become international targeting ads by using IP geolocation is pretty easy.. so it's a non-issue.


All I know is, if they keep making it harder and harder to keep their propaganda away from my kid, it's going to become more of an issue than it is now...

Re:The problem... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388041)

I know they only stream to the USA, that was my point. It's the internet, there is no point in doing that.

Re:The problem... (2, Insightful)

Rutefoot (1338385) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388069)

Since nearly all of these services only stream to the USA that's kind of expected.

If they were someday to become international targeting ads by using IP geolocation is pretty easy.. so it's a non-issue.

Most of those services stream to the USA -and- Canada.

We get CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox and TBS here in Canada but we're not allowed to watch those networks online. Some Canadian stations have great online viewers (such as CTV), however their content is limited as a good half of their content is American programming which they aren't allowed to air.

Re:The problem... (2, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387357)

That is true, however, large infrastructure would have to be put into place in the other areas of the world also. Hulu uses some very large content distribution networks to cut down on traffic costs.

But on the whole, your right. There is no reason they can't show an Opel Commercial to an EU viewer, a Ford commercial to a US one, and show a TATA ad to a viewer in India.

Re:The problem... (3, Insightful)

dq5 studios (682179) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388153)

The problem is the reverse actually. Whoever has the rights in your country won't let Hulu run the shows in it because it cuts into their advertising.

Re:The problem... (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389203)

I disagree. Consider the Hulu instrutional and promotional videos. They would be owned by Hulu themselves, yet Hulu blocks them.

Re:The problem... (1)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389445)

If you consider that 99% of Hulu's content is only available to viewers in the US because of licensing issues, and 99% of Hulu's ads are targeted at US markets, there's little incentive for Hulu to support any form of regional access at this time. When they have more content and ads that can be shared outside the states, certainly.

Re:The problem... (4, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387185)

Well they better make it bloody convenient because like it or not, they are competing with torrents.

I'm willing to pay for convenience, seems most people are, so get rid of the unskippable shit, files that self destruct or can't be saved at all. Then let me choose a media player instead of the ugly branded junk. If not, then sorry but then you are competing on price alone.

Re:The problem... (5, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387367)

How so? 90% of users wouldn't know what a torrent was, and of the remainder how many would know how to configure their router so they could use it? Use WinRAR, VLC etc.? Even know how to install them?

And even then you've done that mess it's not streaming.. you've got to download first. Screw that. Open browser, goto www.hulu.com, watch show. Torrent just can't compete with that.

Re:The problem... (-1, Troll)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387719)

Screw that. Open browser, goto www.hulu.com, watch show. Torrent just can't compete with that.

If you take your Ritalin then you will be able to handle waiting for it to download. My entire family can wait patiently for a day or so.. Nobody sits there looking like a coke addict trying to clean out waiting...

"OMG OMG OMG.... Family guy was on 30 minutes ago and I still have not seen it... OMG.... I'm gonna crack.... Oh crap... I cant take it.... I NEED MY FAMILY GUY!!!! GIVE IT NOW!!!! DAMMIT!!!!!! ALL OF YOU HATE ME!!! I HATE YOU! GIVE ME MY FAMILY GUY!!!!"

That may be your world, but everyone I know is happier than hell to wait a day or so to get it from a download and all of them despise the streaming and the lack of control that comes with it. Try rewinding a stream or fast forewarding 10 minutes in.

Re:The problem... (1)

agnosticanarch (105861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387863)

I just wait for the whole season to come out on DVD so I can NetFlix'em. *shrugs* I'm not in a hurry. And I can spend a day watching several episodes or just watch half of one while doing something else. I think I just finished Season 4 of CSI, and I haven't even started watching Battlestar Galactica yet. I'll get to it when I get to it... and if I don't, well darn. I guess I just don't understand the need to see something right away. Unless it's a Star Wars movie, it'll be the same shit whether you watch it at air time or two years later!

~AA

Re:The problem... (1)

N!NJA (1437175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387747)

Open browser, goto www.hulu.com, watch show. Torrent just can't compete with that.

Torrents cant compete because Hulu takes 100% of the CPU cycles.

Re:The problem... (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389395)

Bullshit. I play EVE Online, several small aps and have two other Firefox sessions running with Hulu on hi-def. No problems.

Re:The problem... (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387833)

Except for a lot of people (even with some currently-sold systems like Intel Atom netbooks), it's:
Open browser
Go to hulu.com
Attempt to watch show, decide that watching TV as a slideshow sucks
Go to TPB or mininova
Download show
Watch show with smooth video instead of tearing and/or slideshowing.

I have a number of PCs in my house. My Aspire One is too slow for Hulu. My HTPC is too slow for Hulu (despite only needing 40-50% CPU for the exact same content played in a different player - I know this from before Hulu switched to encrypted RTMP, as "ripped" shows play fine in SMPlayer even though they slideshow when watched as intended). My desktop/gaming machine is the the only one fast enough for Hulu, and is subject to constant tearing during video playback because the player is a piece of junk.

Re:The problem... (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388141)

I'm not sure what your issue with Hulu is hardware wise. I've run the service on a 4-5 year old laptop, running XP (and god knows what other malware) that I loaned to my parents. It's on its last legs, but doesn't appear to have any issues with Hulu.

Granted, I'm not sure if it would run much else in the meantime, but even on a 1mpbs connection, Hulu seems ok if you give it a moment or two to fill the buffer before you start.

Re:The problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27388733)

Actually, you'd be misleading people to say 5 year old hardware isn't likely to have any issues.
I just upgraded from my 5 yr old iBook to the lowest MacBook and it's made a huge difference. I had thought that I was being limited by my so-so DSL connection (700-800 kbps), but found that with the new hardware I can now stream the 480p feed off of Hulu and it looks pretty darn good and doesn't usually stutter. If I do let it buffer at the beginning, there's no problem at all.
My biggest complaint (which is common to all the streamers) is that they really need come up with some better codecs for stuff that isn't lit like a soap opera. As a science fiction fan, a lot of stuff I watch has very dark settings, and black levels are chronically poorly encoded --- though I expect it's still worlds better than the rips on torrents.

Re:The problem... (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389163)

Actually, you'd be misleading people to say 5 year old hardware isn't likely to have any issues.

Well I didn't mean it that way. What I meant was that *my* 5 yr old hardware isn't seeing any issues. It's a Dell Inspiron 8600 (http://www.tomsguide.com/us/a-new-notebook-hosts-the-athlon64,review-209-9.html) But the post implied that you needed something like a gaming PC to run Hulu, which hasn't been the case for any PC that I've used which is sufficiently de-malwared.

It is probably true that 5 yrs old is about the edge for where Hulu will work, but a very cheap but modern machine shouldn't have much trouble with the service.

Re:The problem... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389599)

How so? 90% of users wouldn't know what a torrent was, and of the remainder how many would know how to configure their router so they could use it? Use WinRAR, VLC etc.? Even know how to install them?

I think the downside of being a geek is that we always assume that other people aren't willing or just mentally unable to do what we do.

I was surprised after overhearing a conversation about someone's elderly father wanted to get bit torrent setup even though he didn't completely understand the concept other than movies == free.

Re:The problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387413)

I honestly find it much more convienient than torrents. With torrents, you have to wait till the whole damn thing downloads to start playing. A 30 min episode might take an hour or two to download. You also have to let the number of seeds increase. Hulu has puts up many episodes the very next day (depending on that companies rules that Hulu has to follow)..

Basically, I get home from work on Tuesday, I can turn on the laptop, and start watching Monday's episode of 24.

With torrents, I have to find it online, hope there is a decent seeder/leacher ratio, and download the whole episode, then watch it.

Re:The problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387911)

Getting your torrents from RSS solves most of your cited problems easily. The download starts when it's uploaded and you watch it when it's done. I've never had a seed problem using that method.

Re:The problem... (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388061)

Torrents are only needed if your distribution network sucks. You can do so much more with multicast & caching servers if you set it up right.

Re:The problem... (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387519)

The problem with the online model is that no one, no one is going to pay to watch films or TV shows online. Anyone who is doing this knows full well that there are free alternatives and they are simply not going to pay one cent. The buyer has awesome power here, and the seller virtually none.

The fundamental problem here, is that TV shows and films, like music tracks before them are worth almost nothing. The average TV series, is only a few gigabytes to download. The average show, streamed is probably no more than 50 megabytes, if that.

If your product is digital and of modest size, it is effectively worthless. Trying to assert artificial copyright restrictions is not going to cut it. Reality has caught up with this model and all content creators are going to feel the pain in the coming years. Downloading is mainstream and data is being sold by the terabyte. There is no compromise and no going back. Music, TV shows, films and more, have become fundamentally worthless and there is no point trying to make money from a resource more plentiful than water.

I'm not trying to be some kind of idealogue here, but I do believe that there had been a fundamental shift in the worth of these commodities. It's like there was a land in which evaporation did not happen, and the owners of a reservoir used to ship water uphill to those that needed it. Now, evaporation has occurred and rain is falling everywhere. A scare resource has become, in the case of digital media, a virtually limitless one. The price should, if economics is to be believed, suffer a drastic drop. And that is what I think has happended over the last four years.

Re:The problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27389359)

I think one example that is hopefully not a random blip that goes against this is netflix's streaming offers. You can't get it standalone... yet. And it doesn't immediately have the total library available. And it doesn't work on linux.

I'm kinda 50/50 on if I think it will ever get linux support, since that is always passed off as saying it is dependent on getting moonlight to implement the SL 2.0 features. Which it is, and I don't expect them to see enough marketshare from linux users to warrant them throwing corporate resources to getting things working on linux.

I think their are two main reasons people would pay for something like this now and in the future. It just works for one. You don't have to know where to go, or what programs to use to enable you to get the content for free. Additionally, you don't have to worry about the damage you can do to your machine by not knowing about issues with browser hacks, viruses that can be downloaded, etc. The other thing is that you don't have to worry about maintaining a library of media. They take care of all the storage and upkeep. With an ever increasing amount of high quality digital media, I think that will be important.

I don't think these services are worthless, but I do agree that in general they are currently overvalued a bit and that prevents seeing wider use.

Re:The problem... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387655)

When watching television, you see what you see, unless you flip the channel.

Unless you are one of us EVIL people that built a mythtv box or other non-crippled DVR that allows you to do commercial skipping.

but then people like me are evil, the cause of the economic downfall and by skipping commercials are probably helping the terrorists.

Re:The problem... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389363)

Or own an old-fashioned VCR (mine has a "skip 30 seconds" button), a mute button, or the simple ability to tune out the repetitive crap.

Re:The problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387843)

The problem with an online model is that it may or may not be possible to block the ads.

You mean like tivo?

The commercial said it all... (-1, Offtopic)

TheLeopardsAreComing (1206632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387021)

Didn't you see the commercial.... Alec Baldiwn is an alien, ALEC BALDWIN!

You mean the volume button will finally work? (2, Funny)

bombastinator (812664) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387023)

ABC can't seem to keep their stuff together with their video client. the volume button is autistic, and the continue feature in which you are forced to hit a button to acknowledge that you watched their ad is recognized as a clickjack by modern browsers.
They don't need HULU they need decent software.

Re:You mean the volume button will finally work? (1)

Camann (1486759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387253)

I don't really care that each station comes up with unique solution XYZ that's decent. I'd rather they join up with Hulu, which so far has worked fine for me. My first thought at the headline was, "Finally". I really hate using ABC's site to watch Lost. I really hope they go through with this.

Re:You mean the volume button will finally work? (1)

drquoz (1199407) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388937)

I, for one, welcome our new volume-adjusting overlords, because it means I'll finally be able to watch Hannah Montana for free! Yee-hah!

Re:You mean the volume button will finally work? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389311)

he volume button is autistic, and the continue feature in which you are forced to hit a button to acknowledge that you watched their ad is recognized as a clickjack by modern browsers.

Hmm, I use the volume control on my speakers and IE6 to use their player. No wonder I haven't had any problems watching Scrubs and Better Of Ted.

What they really need to do (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387059)

Is have a company/service like Hulu partner with any one (or more) of the current carriers to provide a monthly subscription to all the Hulu content, free of ads.

The future is streaming, fat-trimmed, on-demand and à la carte. There is no room for the current bloated model of "everything and the kitchen sink" cable/satellite tv.

Who suffers: local access, religious channels and basically everything that barely got watched anyway. But they can move to a cheaper online broadcast for their current audiences anyway, or be part of the à la carte.

Who benefits: The consumer and ground-floor investors in this paradigm shift.

Re:What they really need to do (5, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387213)

Not only that, but with an online "on-demand" system, you can really see which shows are successful, you don't have to rely on brain-dead network executives and "surveys". Pay checks can also be directed at shows which are actually watched and not garbage that keeps sucking money until they are cancelled.

Also, said brain-dead network executives can't try to kill shows by shuffling them around anymore.

Re:What they really need to do (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387217)

Who suffers: local access, religious channels and basically everything that barely got watched anyway. But they can move to a cheaper online broadcast for their current audiences anyway, or be part of the à la carte.

Actually, a lot of those channels do better online than they did on TV. The costs of production are mostly the same, but they then just need to come up with the cost of bandwidth, which while expensive is just related to the bandwidth needed. Whereas on TV they needed to bid against more popular programming whether or not people watched.

And they can also do crazy things like distribute programming via torrents and include time shifting right out of the box.

Stop screwing with Boxee users? Never... (1, Informative)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387063)

Hulu is about turning your brain into a rich mush for the benefit of aliens, err, advertisers.

Boxee bypasses much of the advertisement and branding structure, so its not in Hulu's incentive to play nice with Boxee.

Especially since Boxee is just the mac users (10% of the market) and linux (1%).

Re:Stop screwing with Boxee users? Never... (3, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387245)

Wait, you mean a commercial enterprise that pays a fee to host programming is purposely trying to make it difficult on free riders. Oh the shock, oh the outrage.

How can we possibly allow that to happen.

Seriously though, Hulu is working on adding device support to their service, I believe Roku is on the list, but they still have to pay their fees to use the media, and any service that zaps the ads isn't going to be considered for partnership.

I'm not really sure how people can be shocked or outraged about that. Hulu can only be free as long as the copyright owners allow their media to be used. And that requires some sort of payment, either a fee or watching the ads. And really, it only comes out to about a minute and a half per half hour, it's really not that much.

Re:Stop screwing with Boxee users? Never... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387763)

Not to mention some of the ads are pretty good, like the FedEx one that they are 'fast-forwarding' through so you can 'get to your video faster.' I found that one clever.

It's not that much.... (1)

professorguy (1108737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388827)

When I was a kid, I remember the first commercial break that contained 2 30-second commercials back-to-back instead of the normal 1 30-second commercial. People were outraged. How could they do it? Why were they trying to make us stop watching?

But I'm sure you would have told me "Don't worry, 2 commercials isn't that much." Fast forward a few decades and you now can't find the show for the advertising.

Re:Stop screwing with Boxee users? Never... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387463)

Boxee works on windows as well, I've seen the torrent floating around.

Re:Stop screwing with Boxee users? Never... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27388979)

the source is available on their site. go sign up and in the section you would download the mac or linux binary.. download the source of 9.9.5324 and build the release for windows. it's not that hard. I had to do it to remove their opengl check that shouldn't be in there anymore.

Re:Stop screwing with Boxee users? Never... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387545)

Considering that most of the ads are IN the video stream, why would you think Boxee bypasses much of their advertisement/branding structure? Ads are in the video, their branding is largely kept intact (i.e. You KNOW that it's coming from Hulu when you play the content...)- so that's not the reason.

What's the reason, then?

It's that internet ads garner LESS revenue than TV ones and putting it on a TV "takes money away from them" and it "takes control from them".

They're greedy and their complete control freaks (Witness all the crap with RIAA and MPAA going on- these are the same people making that stuff happen...)- that's why.

Still USA-only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387089)

So I still don't care what they do or not.

Boxee (4, Interesting)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387101)

I don't think it's any mystery why Hulu is "screwing around with" Boxee users: Hulu's content providers don't want Hulu to be viewable on a TV and, thus (in their sad confused minds) compete with their television programming. Yes, it's stupid, but I don't see how this is Hulu's fault. They're getting jerked around by the content providers just like the rest of us.

Re:Boxee (3, Interesting)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387921)

The PlayOn media server lets me stream Hulu and other content providers to my TV via upnp/DLNA. It's a $40 product (ie commercial product) and as far as I know, Hulu has not raised a stink about them.

Re:Boxee (2, Informative)

Cobain (104632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389029)

Good thing no one manufactures DVI to HDMI adapters. Oh wait..

Re:Boxee (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389597)

Right. And we both know that, if the content providers had anything to say about it, you wouldn't be able to use those either, or they'd be useless because your DVI-out would be wrapped in DRM (sound familiar? [wikipedia.org] ).

Hulu is mess and unusable! (1)

gothamboy (699451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387109)

Am I the only one who thinks that Hulu is such a disorganized mess? If you don't know exactly what you are looking for, forget it!

Completely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387193)

What they need is a method whereby you can enter what what you want and a list of matching entries shows up automatically.

I call it... the locator rectangle.

Re:Hulu is mess and unusable! (2, Informative)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387909)

I know, I start typing "Dam..." into the search box and "Damages" shows right up, it's the worst... I wanted to get a random TV show, not exactly what I was looking for.

Re:Hulu is mess and unusable! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27388749)

There are multiple ways to search for content on the Hulu site. You can list all the shows by network, by genre, and alphabetically.

Why not broadcast more quality content? (1)

debus (751449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387129)

This is only marginally related (and maybe not even that). I get over the air digital content on my HD tv. I refuse to pay the monthly fees to get cable or satellite. I remember people complaining that the broadcast networks got huge chunks of air space when they started broadcasting in digital. Our PBS station broadcasts 5 different channels. Why don't the commercial networks broadcast some quality programming on their excess capacity? ABC could broadcast ESPN over the air - but they don't. It seems like you would pick up additional viewers at not much cost if you already own the broadcast frequencies. Does anyone know why they don't do this?

This would be great if it happened. (4, Interesting)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387173)

I have a box hooked up to my TV and have recently gotten rid of my cable. Using Ubuntu/Boxee, except for the NBC shows I want to watch (because of the whole Hulu-Boxee thing). For those shows, I just created a prism app that goes directly to Hulu, at least for now, until they get everything sorted out.

The problem has always been the ABC shows I like, such as Lost. They won't work under Linux, so I have a VirtualBox image that I use for those shows. It's a crappy workaround. Adding ABC to Hulu would allow me to completely get rid of that VirtualBox image.

Regardless of the current situation between Hulu and Boxee, Hulu has allowed me to get rid of my $100-plus a month cable bill, so adding any major network is a good thing.

Re:This would be great if it happened. (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388321)

The problem has always been the ABC shows I like, such as Lost. They won't work under Linux . . .

They barely work under Windows. Every few weeks a Windows or Firefox update or a streaming change at ABC causes ABC's player to break in new ways. Which means I've gotta google the latest problem to fix my wife's computer so she can see her stories again. It's the 21st century version of fiddling with the rabbit ears, adjusting the fine-tuning knob and pounding on the TV set.

mmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387271)

mmm boxxy

So? (1)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387291)

Honestly, why should any of this matter to me. Hulu is yet another middleman between content and consumer. They're here solely to hustle a buck in exchange for burning my retina with adverts that I honestly don't want to see. They're going to be a flash in the pan. Sooner or later, someone is going to come up with a better model to get me content I WANT to see without forcing me to wade through shit I've made it clear I don't want to be bothered with.

Re:So? (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387343)

Sooner or later, someone is going to come up with a better model to get me content I WANT to see without forcing me to wade through shit I've made it clear I don't want to be bothered with.

The problem with that is this model will either require
1) Direct payment from you
or
2) You to be a free-rider on a system supported by others
or
3) People willing to pay to get you to watch what you want to watch.

1) is tough because nobody wants to pay for TV. 2) is not sustainable. 3) is a pipe dream.

Re:So? (1)

timster (32400) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387493)

"1" please.

Let's all give up on TV for free. It's been a myth for ages anyway, with the costs either buried on your (mysteriously expensive) cable bill or in your purchase of mountains of stuff you don't need (and if you believe you're invulnerable to advertising you are the perfect mark).

Consumers have fought for years to be able to choose to pay for only the cable channels they want. Let's just go one better and pay for the specific shows we want.

Clearly culture is going to cost us something; no reason to fight that. Let's just try to get an itemized invoice.

Re:So? (1)

zblack_eagle (971870) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387653)

I remember ad-free pay-for-TV. It was good, but then they added ads and kept the pay-for.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387787)

Me too, it was called cable.

Re:So? (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388023)

iTunes does this now... it's $0.99 a show. Enjoy.

Personally that's too pricey for me. 365 days a year x 2 hours a day = $730 / year. Yes Cable TV is about $600 / year and you get (as long as it's on standard Cable) all you can eat.

Re:So? (1)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389519)

I select "2"

Miro + tvrss.net works fine for me. (rss feeds pointing to torrents of whatever shows)

If not offered there, I can just search for things like "60 minutes eklob" on mininova, and grab that feed, so I can get it right when the content is uploaded.

If I had the option to pay for a feed that had quicker turnaround, or for a search engine that would give me better feeds, I would. Option number 1 is good for the future, but until this whole content distribution clusterfuck calms down, I am fine with my current setup.

Re:So? (1)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389535)

*ekolb

Re:So? (1)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387811)

Sooner or later, someone is going to come up with a better model to get me content I WANT to see without forcing me to wade through shit I've made it clear I don't want to be bothered with.

The Pirate Bay [thepiratebay.org] .

"The real question"? (3, Insightful)

Dolohov (114209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387295)

Why is Boxee the real question? I'd never even heard of it until they got blocked by Hulu, I don't know anyone who has one, and nobody I know is even thinking of getting one. Sure it was a lousy decision, but is it really so world-changingly lousy that Slashdot CANNOT EVER post about Hulu without bringing Boxee up?

Re:"The real question"? (1)

Dolohov (114209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387337)

(Er, that should have been "has *it*" and "getting *it*". Serves me right for posting before I've had my coffee. The point stands, though - I don't think Boxee is nearly as popular or important as the Slashdot editors seem to think.)

Re:"The real question"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387685)

yeah imagine that, a site that actually has a ton of linux users can't post about hulu without bringing up boxee...

Re:"The real question"? (1)

Dolohov (114209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387805)

But even the Linux users I know don't use Boxee. A quick survey of the office just now resulted in zero Linux users who had even heard of Boxee, where everyone here uses either Linux or Mac at home.

Re:"The real question"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387831)

Let me guess, you've didn't understand what the big deal about this firefox web browser was either, IE worked just fine. Why is it so world-changingly great that people need to test their web sites on other browsers?

Just because you're ignorant doesn't mean everybody else is.

Re:"The real question"? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388339)

When Slashdot first began referring to Hulu blocking Boxee, I thought that this was some kind of set top box that would allow you to easily (using your remote) play online or locally stored content. Since this is exactly what I'm in the market for, I looked it up and was a bit disappointed to find out that it's just a software offering. (No knock against Boxee intended. It just wasn't what I was seeking.) I wonder when someone will make a decent, relatively inexpensive ($150 or less) set top box that can play movies stored on your network and can browse the web/play online videos.

Re:"The real question"? (1)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388659)

You can put Boxee (and XBMC) on an Apple TV with relative ease. So, $230 instead of $150, but it's something I'm considering doing myself.

Re:"The real question"? (1)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389621)

it's called an xbox 360

they're not quite down to $150 yet, but close

ABC And Linux (1)

Prototerm (762512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387353)

I for one would applaud ABC moving their shows to Hulu, as their current system (haven't bothered to check what they're using) doesn't work in Linux. Hulu does.

As a matter of fact, I've sent feedback on their video site telling them that, since they won't support my computer, I'm going to watch shows from someone who does.

Hulu commercials == Cable in the early 80s (5, Insightful)

fprintf (82740) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387363)

Hulu is funded through advertising. On the radio a few weeks ago, I think on NPR's marketplace, http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/03/12/hulu/ [publicradio.org] they had an interview with Eric Feng, founder of Hulu. In it, he said that advertising is where the money is and that it is likely that the amount of commercials/ads shown per episode is likely to increase. It was either him or someone else on the program (I can't listen to the program right now) that said Hulu is likely to follow the same path as cable did - starting with very little commercials, and using that as a selling point, and then eventually transitioning to 7+ minutes of advertising per half hour as Hulu became indispensable.

I like Hulu, but I do not believe they operate under some "do our work for the benefit of the users" mantra. At some point they will do the analysis on ads vs. user dissatisfaction and will settle at a balance point.

Re:Hulu commercials == Cable in the early 80s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387657)

Part of the reason I think Hulu's ads are so appealing is that they are short. Realistically, if I'm sitting down to watch a TV show, a 15 second ad does not phase me, by the time I think about doing something else, the show is back. A 30 second ad is slightly more annoying, but it is still short enough that I don't completely ignore it. I may ctrl+tab to check e-mail or whatever, but I don't mute the ad, I still consume it.

So, every single ad that's been played for me on Hulu, I've paid attention to - as opposed to shows I DVR (fast forward through breaks) or watch "live" (commercials long enough to divert attention from watching them). I think any analysis on the ads will show that everything is pretty much perfect right now, I doubt much will change.

Re:Hulu commercials == Cable in the early 80s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387755)

The commercials already ARE longer, and I am not suprised that this trend will continue.

I remember when there were just two 15 second commercial slots, not this whole Ad at the beginning, plus sponsorship, plus two or more 30-60 seconds of ads in the middle.

Anyway, I don't think it is much to worry about, because unlike Cable, which only had one competitor in the 80's (antenna), Hulu is on the Internet, and there will be PLENTY of other streaming television providers once the idea catches on.

So I expect the commercials will not get too out of hand over time.

I hate Hulu (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387567)

Simple reason: I can't use it, [(World Population)-(US population)] people can't either.

Hulu would be the easier solution (2, Interesting)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387571)

Hulu is starting to get a pretty good mass now. Hulu is my preferred player (ease of use, intrusiveness of ads, etc.). NBCs is better in some ways (higher resolution) but worse in others (less able to handle connection bumps). CBS' player is decent, and ABC's player is probably the least user friendly of the bunch.

Hulu is the future; content providers who don't offer online streaming will be left behind. It's really a win-win. Consumers get an easy and free option to catch up with their shows if they miss them. The content provider gets to manage the time it's up and gets ad revenue, and likely can use web metrics software to get a better idea of viewership/demographics (NetRatings, Quantcast, Google Analytics, etc.) since very few households influence the Nielsen Ratings.

Re:Hulu would be the easier solution (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389323)

ABC's player automatically adjusts resolution depending on your connection. I've almost never had to pause and let it buffer, and I don't have to select a crappy resolution to ensure I don't have bumps and pauses. Typically the resolution is much better than other services. I had problems getting their player to work on FF, but it runs on IE just fine and I like it much better than Hulu. Another nice thing is you can pause the commercials on ABC's player- you can continue the show after 30 seconds whether or not you watch the commercial. Maybe people just give up after the first problem, but I've found ABC gets it right more often than most. The biggest glitch I've noticed is some episodes were doubled up, so if you let the video keep going you'd watch the episode again, but the commercials where only on the first viewing, so I was able to skip to the second run-though and watch the whole episode ad-free. I don't know how ABC is as far as letting international viewers access the videos.

Not interested until... (1)

delirium28 (641609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387589)

They start making things available outside of the US. Until then, I'll find other means...

Choppy playback (3, Interesting)

N!NJA (1437175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387615)

the real question to me is what the heck has happened to Hulu's service for the last month? i used to have great playback even on my Celeron 800Mhz Tablet, but now all i get is dropped frames -- even on my Athlon XP 3000+!

last year i watched all the episodes of "Arrested Development" and was surprised by both the quality of the series (it was new to me) and the quality of the streaming. it only took me the first 60sec of AD's episode 1 to turn me into a big Hulu fan! i even got into the habit of watching movies there afterwards.

the chopped playback doesnt seem to be a bandwidth issue because the audio and video never stop and they dont get out of synch either. when you think Flash playback cant become any heavier, Adobe and Hulu show you otherwise. it makes me wonder if the use of Silverlight could make this less worse?

Hulu.com outside USA? (1)

stm2 (141831) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387665)

Can see anything in Hulu because I am blocked by the site since I am not in the US.
I have a virtual server located in the UD, may I use that slice to see Hulu? Not using VNC or remote visualization, but using it as a proxy. Any tip on how to do it?

Re:Hulu.com outside USA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27388573)

http://www.hotspotshield.com/

use this to watch outside of the US...

TBS & TNT (1)

N!NJA (1437175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387691)

i wish TBS and TNT made their streaming service less bureaucratic. last time i checked they required the installation of a Windows Media Player plugin that worked less than perfect on Firefox.

If you have a Hawaiian dictionary handy... (1)

nani popoki (594111) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388855)

I wonder if ABC/Disney would be considering Hulu if they knew it means "body hair" in Hawaiian?

No, the real question is geography... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27388897)

of "When will they stop screwing Canada."

As has been pointed out by dozens of people above.

I wouldn't download shows if I could watch them on Hulu...absent an alternative....what's my alternative?

Plus Hulu has every episode of Alf
http://www.hulu.com/alf

Hulu contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27389463)

I suspect the real issue has little to do with Hulu and has more to do with a new non-cable provider. I'd hope that the cable companies had some "non-compete" language in their contract with content providers.

Hulu is slightly more convenient than missing a show on my TiVo. Sadly, Torrents via RSS feed are still much more convenient and remove the commercials and the show is 720p resolution. Add that I can keep the content locally, display it on almost any media player that supports xvid and I'm sold with RSS instead of any web site.

For that content that is only available via Hulu, like old TV shows, when they broke hulu_download, I stopped bothering with that site.

Someone said something about Firefox plugin AdBlock - from what I can see, that doesn't matter for blocking in-show ads. You just have to find the correct stream and grab it. Seems that some settings in Squid should be able to cache the streams.

FLV sucks.

A Hidden Reason for Hulu's Success (3, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389549)

I used to watch a lot of TV via the network web sites. It was great: didn't have to remember to set a recorder, didn't have to remember to go to the TV at a particular time, got shows that aren't available in my area without cable or a rooftop antenna (refuse to pay for one, landlord doesn't provide the other). Plus ABC shows were in a fancy widescreen mode that I can't get on my klunky old analog TV.

Then all the networks started switching to an evil software stack from Move Networks. Don't know the motivation (DRM? Outsourcing streaming infrastructure?) but it effectively cut me off from the sites that use it. The Move player requires more CPU bandwidth than my wimpy little tablet can handle. (So no more watching "Lost" in bed.) And even if I switch to my more powerful desktop machine, I get endless network. These might go away if I upgraded my DSL, but that's just not worth it.

Fortunately, a lot of the shows that I watch are also available on Hulu. And they still use a simple flash-based player. The rest I watch the old-fashioned way or do without.

Gotta wonder how much business Hulu has picked up this way.

The real question... (1)

rec9140 (732463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389615)

>The real question to me is when will they stop screwing around with Boxee users?

Till Boxee and any other device or software works with out them intentionally breaking it, I am boycotting hulu and will continue to do so till they get their heads out of the posteriors.

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