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Hulu Testing Client App; Boxee Dispute Explained

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the my-way-or-the-i-way dept.

Television 166

N!NJA sends in word of Hulu's new beta section, Hulu Labs, which is now showcasing Hulu Desktop, a client that runs on both Windows and Mac. The author believes that Hulu Desktop explains why Hulu has been so touchy about Boxee. "This clearly explains why Hulu has been so persistent in blocking Boxee — an open-source media-center application for Macs, Apple TVs, and other devices — from including its content. Since Hulu provides free, ad-based mainstream content from the largest studios and networks in the business, they are under tight constraints imposed by these major players. We have already seen good examples of where Hulu is heading with integrated advertising inside the browser. A desktop client produced in-house will be much more conducive to monetizing Hulu using these kinds of campaigns."

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166 comments

Why Hulu has been so touchy? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28139731)

I thought it was the tentacles they used to liquify your brain.

Re:Why Hulu has been so touchy? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28140005)

Since when does Hulu have hentai videos?

Re:Why Hulu has been so touchy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28140839)

am i the only one who read this as "they use testicles to liquify your brain"?

Boxee? (0, Troll)

neoform (551705) | more than 5 years ago | (#28139733)

What's this Boxee business? Did Boxxy create a company without me knowing?

Re:Boxee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28139747)

She is our Queen.

Re:Boxee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28139783)

Sooooo...hi! My name is Baaawxy, and...

Re:Boxee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28140709)

Boxee Lady!!!1

Re:Boxee? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28139775)

Fuck you

Re:Boxee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28139857)

Seconded

Re:Boxee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28139903)

Actually, I have to take that "seconded back". I just remembered it's poor form to reply to one's own self.

Re:Boxee? (3, Funny)

neoform (551705) | more than 5 years ago | (#28139939)

So wait, every post by "Anonymous Coward" is actually just one person? You?

Re:Boxee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28140199)

Yup.

Re:Boxee? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28140553)

I also suck my own cock.

Re:Boxee? (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140299)

Hehe, I remember back when I started reading slashdot in ... 97? 98? ... I thought Anonymous Coward was just another user. An exceptionally stupid user.

Re:Boxee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28140047)

Fuck you!

Re:Boxee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28140217)

No, sir, Fuck YOU!

No love for the Penguin? (4, Interesting)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 5 years ago | (#28139761)

This has been asked before, but... where's the Linux version? And will we need a liquid cooled Phenom x4 processor to render the Adobe video in full screen?

Re:No love for the Penguin? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28139791)

1. There are more windows 95 users than Linux desktop users. Desktop linux is dead. Get over it.

2. They use streaming h264. No adobe shit required

Re:No love for the Penguin? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28139835)

1. There are more windows 95 users than Linux desktop users. Desktop linux is dead. Get over it.

Wouldn't it have to have been alive at one point in order to die?

Re:No love for the Penguin? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28139891)

"2. They use streaming h264. No adobe shit required"

FTFA: "You'll also need Adobe Flash 9.0.124"

Re:No love for the Penguin? (5, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140015)

They use streaming H264 in an Adobe FLV container, streamed using Adobe's proprietary RTMPE (RTMP Encrypted) protocol.

While RTMP is pretty well documented and RTMP dumpers/rippers exist, RTMPE is a whole other ballgame.

In addition, Hulu does some funky stuff with their flash app to obfuscate the actual RTMPE stream URL.

In short, without either Hulu's official client or Adobe Flash Player and Hulu's site, you're not going to be watching Hulu video. It may be h264 video, but it is streamed using a proprietary streaming protocol.

In short - Adobe shit IS required, and is notorious for having far higher system requirements than the same video played back with a player that doesn't suck. (i.e. it really IS shit) For example, Hulu video won't play smoothly on my living room desktop, while streams ripped prior to them moving from RTMP to RTMPE playback smoothly with less than 50% CPU usage in MPlayer.

Re:No love for the Penguin? (4, Informative)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140121)

I'll give another example: Hulu streams (full screen) are choppy on my HTPC while 1080p videos will barely peg the CPU (thanks VDPAU!) and 720p will play just fine w/o VDPAU enabled (30-70% CPU usage).

Also add to this that MythVodka (MythTV Hulu app which no longer works due to changes at Hulu) could play Hulu videos smoothly. Keep in mind that MythVodka had to first download the video using a script, convert it on the fly to some other format, and *then* play it and fullscreen it! All of that consumed less CPU cycles than simply trying to fullscreen Hulu videos using flash!

Re:No love for the Penguin? (2, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140361)

My previous approach was basically the same as MythVodka except more manual. Both depended on rtmpdump IIRC.

rtmpdump came with a get_hulu Perl script that worked until they moved to RTMPE.

If I rtmpdumped a stream and played it on my old machine (Athlon XP 2800+), it would play fine. Hulu would be choppy as hell.

The same machine can also playback rtmpdumped 720p streams from CBS smoothly, while standard def 480p streams from CBS effectively slideshow when using Flash Player.

Re:No love for the Penguin? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28139907)

There's no Linux version because no one gives a shit about Linux,

Re:No love for the Penguin? (3, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#28139931)

where's the Linux version?

Currently the web-based Hulu works great on Linux. This is why I use Hulu, because they built it in a platform-agnostic way. I can understand them not putting effort into a Linux application... but I just hope they don't get rid of the Hulu web interface totally in favor of a desktop app. That would be a mistake, since in addition to alienating the (small) Linux userbase, they will also exclude the (somewhat larger) group of people leery of installing third-party software, and the (positively huge) group of people who are too lazy to install some silly application just to watch videos on their computer.

In any case, the Hulu web experience is pretty good, and runs fine full-screen, so I have trouble seeing what this new application can really bring to the table from the user's perspective.

Re:No love for the Penguin? (3, Informative)

Neeperando (1270890) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140349)

Support for remote controls. With MythTV I can control everything from the remote, but when I go to Hulu suddenly I have to use the mouse. It's kind of annoying.

Re:No love for the Penguin? (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140585)

And that's where this app doesn't get it. The whole point of Boxee is to integrate the experience with a ten foot interface. The standalone app breaks that. If they really wanted to make their app successful, it would come with an SDK from which they can control how it's delivered, but allow developers control how it's presented. This way they get their ad revenue, whilst consumers get the integration with their preferred viewing mechanism.

Re:No love for the Penguin? (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140861)

You're under the assumption that the content companies (Disney, NBC, Fox et. al.) want Hulu to be successful. As it is now, the networks get far more revenues from ads played during TV broadcast than they do over Hulu.

Re:No love for the Penguin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28141207)

Do what I did. Write a program which reads from LIRC and outputs X mouse events. (XTEST extension comes in handy here, since GTK+ will ignore inter-process XSendEvent() for mouse and keyboard. That's a security feature.) Or, there are probably apps out there written by others, if you are not so adept.

If you say, "it can't be controlled by a remote", clearly you aren't being creative enough. :-)

Re:No love for the Penguin? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140481)

In any case, the Hulu web experience is pretty good,

For Americans. The rest of the world can fuck off.

Wouldn't be a real problem, except that sites that used to have world-wide compatible embedded video, such as using Youtube, have replaced it with US-only Hulu. It's very annoying to see all those video preview boxes with "Piss off foreigner" messages on them when I'm reading some media related article.

Re:No love for the Penguin? (3, Insightful)

croddy (659025) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140521)

and we get the same thing when we try to watch stuff on the BBC website. it's not an american thing, it's just a copyright proprietarian thing.

Re:No love for the Penguin? (3, Interesting)

phrend (690126) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140733)

I would think that it has more to do with the markets that the advertisers are paying to reach... if the advertisers are marketing a product that only exists in the USA, then allowing other countries access to the video doesn't make financial sense. I suspect that the technology will mature over time, and it will reach a point where they can insert local advertisements in to the video streams on the fly, and allow access to every geographic location they receive advertising dollars from... but, what do I know - I'm just an outsider guessing here. :)

Re:No love for the Penguin? (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140925)

Given that Hulu can detect where you're coming from (at least on a country by country basis, they probably could get closer than that if they really wanted to), they could show the same shows, and switch out the ads based on your detected location. So they could sell ad packages based on worldwide views, or views only in Elbonia.

Of course, the real reason why Hulu doesn't work worldwide is that the broadcasters won't let them. If FOX sells some network over in France the exclusive right to show The Simpsons in France, trouble might arise should they start showing it on Le Hulu (French Hulu).

Re:No love for the Penguin? (2, Insightful)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140969)

I would think that it has more to do with the markets that the advertisers are paying to reach...

Not exactly. TV shows have been traditionally licensed out by region, sometimes with exclusive licenses granted for particular regions... So if Hulu wants to license a show to play on its web service, they either need to restrict access to the regions for which they've obtained licenses, or else pay more to get a worldwide license - any other solution would make the other licensees very unhappy (as in, "why am I paying $X for this 'exclusive license' to this show in the European market when Hulu pays approximately $X and gets to show the show in my market?" Or "Why if we're paying about the same does Hulu get to show the show worldwide?") and thus possibly disrupt the licensor's business...

'Course, I too, am an "outsider" and to some extent "guessing"... :D

Re:No love for the Penguin? (2, Interesting)

Sparks23 (412116) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140829)

The BBC iPlayer does the same thing to American users, with a 'Not available in your territory' overlay message for, well, almost everything on their site save BBC News clips. This includes all the little embedded flash clips scattered across the Beeb's website and embedded in articles on other sites. Which is annoying, since trailers, cast interviews and video diaries for BBC-produced series which used to be put on YouTube are now on region-restricted iPlayer. (I suppose I can understand this when dealing with full episodes, but cast interviews, trailers or video diaries from on the set? Really, that seems excessive.)

The brand new SkyOne streaming media extravaganza for Xbox 360 will be only in the UK, too, though at least that's not an embedded thing you're likely to run across in a random web article.

There's plenty of annoying region lockouts going on there, not just in America. I suspect this comes down to licensing ('why should we license your show for our territory when people are already watching it online?'), advertising ('why should I buy advertising on this show when people watching it could be anywhere in the world? I want to target my ad buys to people who can actually use my service/product.') and other funding (BBC productions being funded by UK license fees, for instance).

Re:No love for the Penguin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28141229)

In any case, the Hulu web experience is pretty good,

For Americans. The rest of the world can fuck off.

Wouldn't be a real problem, except that sites that used to have world-wide compatible embedded video, such as using Youtube, have replaced it with US-only Hulu. It's very annoying to see all those video preview boxes with "Piss off foreigner" messages on them when I'm reading some media related article.

Sort of like the BBC's online offerings are only available to Brits?

Oops. Sorry.....

WTB HULU outside of the US (1)

Twyst3d (1359973) | more than 5 years ago | (#28139785)

Title says it all.

Re:WTB HULU outside of the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28140231)

Get a proxy program like Hotspot Shield.

I don't think ads were the sticky issue with Boxee (4, Interesting)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28139803)

As I run Boxee on Ubuntu and I get all the ads from Hulu. Currently using the latest Boxee build, which uses the Hulu public feeds.

Re:I don't think ads were the sticky issue with Bo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28140021)

Link to that Boxee build plox! I've been trying to find it for ages! Extra credit if it's a deb or a repo!

Re:I don't think ads were the sticky issue with Bo (3, Informative)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140129)

Link to that Boxee build plox! I've been trying to find it for ages! Extra credit if it's a deb or a repo!

Uh... have you not poked around boxee's site AT ALL? They give you VERY clear instructions on how to add the repository (Ubuntu is supported).

Re:I don't think ads were the sticky issue with Bo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28140533)

Uh... have you not poked around boxee's site AT ALL? They give you VERY clear instructions on how to add the repository (Ubuntu is supported).

And this is why Linux will continue fail. Its user base are impolite and know no other response than, "RTFM!!!".

Re:I don't think ads were the sticky issue with Bo (1)

cl0s (1322587) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140889)

Your on slashdot, not ubuntu or boxee.com

Re:I don't think ads were the sticky issue with Bo (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140945)

When the official site shows clear instructions on how to do something, its easier to point a user to that site rather than list the instructions again. Now should that user run into problems while following the instructions, they should come back with the problem they're running into

Re:I don't think ads were the sticky issue with Bo (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28141129)

Sorry, I don't think something like that is necessary in this case.

If you go to Boxee's site, then click download, you are given VERY clear instructions on what needs to be done.

The poster's "I've been trying to find it for ages" translates as "I'm too lazy to even bother going to the site". Seriously.

If someone is interested in an application (particularly an app that's still in alpha), the first thing they should do is visit their website.

Re:I don't think ads were the sticky issue with Bo (1)

Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140949)

Someone sure is insightful today.

Re:I don't think ads were the sticky issue with Bo (4, Insightful)

timster (32400) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140605)

Ads? No, it doesn't have anything to do with ads. Advertising on Hulu is little more than a shell game for the networks (dba Hulu).

Consider the history of the music industry on the Internet. The technology for purchasing music online was entirely in place by 1995 when people started to use Netscape Navigator in large numbers. Napster didn't come into play until 1999, iTunes in 2001.

The general (and correct) opinion is that the music industry wasted several years of opportunity to establish themselves as the major purveyor of online music content on their own terms. When Napster came around people got used to trading music for free, and with iTunes the industry accidentally ceded major amounts of mindshare and control to Apple. I've seen interviews explaining that the reason for the wasted opportunity was that they had no clue what to do, even who they should work with.

The TV studios today are not nearly as clueless as the music industry was in 1995, and they are determined not to repeat the same mistakes. They are aware that they have an opportunity to dictate terms and lengthen the survival of their traditional broadcast delivery model if they play things right.

Enter Hulu -- Hulu is not a for-profit corporation in reality. Hulu is a (perhaps illegal) collusion among NBC, FOX, and ABC (via their respective owners) to provide a "just right" level of service via the Internet -- enough that people are not (as) tempted by BitTorrent/iTunes, but not enough to make for a better experience than that available on a TV.

That's the reason for all the jacking around with availability schedules and the reason Hulu will never allow itself to be repackaged into a convenient format. The inconvenience is the entire purpose of the service.

Re:I don't think ads were the sticky issue with Bo (2, Funny)

BabyDuckHat (1503839) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140723)

You may be on to something there. Much TOO on, in fact. Please stay where you are and some entertainment industry representatives will arrive shortly to assist you.

Re:I don't think ads were the sticky issue with Bo (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28141021)

You may be on to something there. Much TOO on, in fact. Please stay where you are and some entertainment industry representatives will arrive shortly to assist you...

...Permanently!

(wait, that doesn't really make any sense...)

Re:I don't think ads were the sticky issue with Bo (0, Offtopic)

defaria (741527) | more than 5 years ago | (#28141031)

Ads? No, it doesn't have anything to do with ads. Advertising on Hulu is little more than a shell game for the networks (dba Hulu).

What the hell are you talking about? Hulu exists to make money - they are not a non-profit venture. If you believe they are then show evidence of that. Ads make Hulu money. They are not doing this for free.

Consider the history of the music industry on the Internet. The technology for purchasing music online was entirely in place by 1995 when people started to use Netscape Navigator in large numbers. Napster didn't come into play until 1999, iTunes in 2001. The general (and correct) opinion is that the music industry wasted several years of opportunity to establish themselves as the major purveyor of online music content on their own terms. When Napster came around people got used to trading music for free, and with iTunes the industry accidentally ceded major amounts of mindshare and control to Apple. I've seen interviews explaining that the reason for the wasted opportunity was that they had no clue what to do, even who they should work with. The TV studios today are not nearly as clueless as the music industry was in 1995, and they are determined not to repeat the same mistakes. They are aware that they have an opportunity to dictate terms and lengthen the survival of their traditional broadcast delivery model if they play things right.

What are you saying or trying to imply here? Online music sharing is totally different than TV shows. When you get an MP3 file from some online music sharing site it's not like in the 3rd verse you hear "and now a word from our sponser...". With TV you do. The broadcast model for at least 70 years now have been advertiser supported. Hulu videos have ads in them. They are advertising supported. This is totally different than music. What you say above makes no sense.

Enter Hulu -- Hulu is not a for-profit corporation in reality. Hulu is a (perhaps illegal) collusion among NBC, FOX, and ABC (via their respective owners) to provide a "just right" level of service via the Internet -- enough that people are not (as) tempted by BitTorrent/iTunes, but not enough to make for a better experience than that available on a TV.

Again, what are you saying here. Hulu is a for profit corporation. That is their legal structure and their aim - period. Stop spreading lies. And there's nothing illegal with the networks getting together - last I checked this was still a free country although I suspect you secretly wish it wasn't.

That's the reason for all the jacking around with availability schedules and the reason Hulu will never allow itself to be repackaged into a convenient format. The inconvenience is the entire purpose of the service.

You have failed to show that and it doesn't even make any sense. Hulu makes money on ads. It really doesn't matter what vehicle you use to view the ads. Hulu's concern is that open source pirates might be able to break the encryption and serve up content without ads thus no money for Hulu. There's no need to invent conspiracy theories...

Adobe Flash. It Hurts. (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28139829)

From the article:

As Hulu's popularity has skyrocketed over the past year, users have been clamoring for a way to get it out of the browser and into the living room. Hulu Desktop looks like quite a major effort towards answering this call, so we'll have to see how users respond.

Hulu Desktop is a free download and requires a Mac with a 2.4GHz Intel Core Duo or comparable processor, 2GB of RAM, and Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger or later. You'll also need Adobe Flash 9.0.124 and a 2Mbps Internet connection.

Great, something about to explode in the consumer market passing up on open source and instead locking everyone and all their hardware in to the requirement of Adobe Flash. You want to discuss why you need a core duo to run this!?

*massages his forehead* I see in the future ... people having to pay again ... for their hardware and ... software and ... codecs and ... media licenses and ... internet connection and ... no one will have enough money to afford it anyway.

There's free (and I mean actually free) alternatives out there that could make it so that hardware manufacturers and mobile companies don't have to get Adobe Flash on their devices. I'm not sure why Hulu isn't beefing up other open source software, containers and codecs to meet these needs. It would certainly make it easier for them to satisfy the media licenses with ad revenue. Oh well, enjoy your setback.

Re:Adobe Flash. It Hurts. (2, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140035)

One three letter acronym: DRM

Re:Adobe Flash. It Hurts. (1)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140711)

Two three letter acronyms: DRM FML

Re:Adobe Flash. It Hurts. (4, Insightful)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140041)

The problem is time and adoption. Flash (as much as I hate it) is available now. Hulu is growing at the rate that needs to run on technology available, not invest in under-developed OSS alternatives that could take a long time to reach a critical mass of adoption. There edge is that they are faster and more available than bit-torrent and a bit easier to use. If you add esoteric plugins to the mix you're going to adjitate the users, and you're going to rely on whatever viewer the client happens to use to process/view the video (VLC, WMP, QT, etc...) which introduces another issue in configurability for the masses. Unfortunately, Flash is the path of least-resistance that works for the vast majority of their customers (even though it runs poorly on non-Windows platforms.)

They are not a technology company... and operate more like a cable/satellite provider that just so happens to use HTTP and a browser to show the lineup rather than a set-top box/media center on game console (though that may change), and probably will.

Re:Adobe Flash. It Hurts. (0, Offtopic)

whiledo (1515553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140183)

Have to agree with this. To boil it down:

  • The easiest way to get a project approved: "We'll need to code very little new stuff and just wrap software already being used by millions of people up in a nice interface. We'll have it out in three months."
  • The easiest way to get a project rejected: "We're not only going to have to build an interface, but put a decent amount of work into the underlying framework which isn't one you've ever heard of before and has a much smaller userbase. We're expecting a next year Q3 release."

Re:Adobe Flash. It Hurts. (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 5 years ago | (#28141023)

If it allows me to do an end-run around paying for cable in the long run it's probably worth it.

Now just dump Flash (4, Insightful)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 5 years ago | (#28139833)

Now Hulu just has to dump Flash and pick an HD format that can get some hardware accelerating love, and this will make every owner of a Netbook extremely happy.

Re:Now just dump Flash (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28141049)

Now Hulu just has to dump Flash and pick an HD format that can get some hardware accelerating love, and this will make every owner of a Netbook extremely happy.

...Except the folks who own Netbooks that don't have any hardware for accelerating video playback... ...Which is pretty much all of them at the moment...

so it will be tagged Adware ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28139875)

any client based application that displays adverts is usually classified as Adware, i presume the Hulu team are ok about that label on their software ?, also if it has any "user analytics" (a bullshit term made up by marketeers to avoid using the correct terminology for its covert functionality )
it will be classified to a more serious Spyware category due to the fact it is "spying" on the users behaviour
at least if its browser based the browser has (thank goodness) a security model to prevent the more serious nefarious behaviours (thats why advertising based companies are so keen for you to install a binary so they can avoid the browsers protection and collect data that they wouldn't otherwise be able to obtain)

Its a slippery road when you merge advertising based businesses and a binary application running natively on a client and for security companies there is no middle ground (no such thing as good adware/spyware)
so i trust that AV/AS companies will be marking it as such

Why does there need to be a desktop app? (2, Insightful)

sohmc (595388) | more than 5 years ago | (#28139883)

Right now, hulu works on any browser that has flash. What does the desktop app give you that the web site doesn't? It seems like this is a step BACKWARD, not forward. I'd be more impressed if it was on XBOX live like Netflix is right now.

Re:Why does there need to be a desktop app? (3, Insightful)

BabyDuckHat (1503839) | more than 5 years ago | (#28139965)

It's not about what it gives you, it's what it gives them: control. You're right of course, why would anyone use the application?

Obviously the plan has backfired (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140101)

You're right of course, why would anyone use the application?

The plan seems to have backfired; instead of liquefying our brains, they have instead created a gooey mess in their own noggin. Otherwise no-one would seriously think there was a good reason to have a desktop app with no more ability...

Let me RTFA that for you (2, Informative)

whiledo (1515553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140055)

Hulu Desktop is wrapped with a media-center-like bow, with a customized "lean-back" UI that can run full screen and even respond to Apple Remotes and Windows Media Center remotes.

Re:Let me RTFA that for you (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140611)

> Hulu Desktop is wrapped with a media-center-like bow, with a customized "lean-back" UI that can run full screen and even respond to Apple Remotes and Windows Media Center remotes.

IOW, it's just Boxee.

Now there really isn't any good reason that their standard embedded player couldn't use remotes or be more "remote friendly".

Re:Let me RTFA that for you (0, Offtopic)

whiledo (1515553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28141189)

I don't know about on the Mac, but I do not believe the most browser windows capture remote keypresses like Play/Pause media keys without using something like LM Remote Keymap to reprogram your remote to use regular keypresses rather than the windows. IE might, considering it's an MS product. But being a bit of a flash programmer, I don't recall anything that would let me see any of those mediacenter buttons from within a flash app, either. So you'd have to write a translation layer, and then you'd be stuck with it only working in IE.

IOW, it's just Boxee

True, but only in that my SageTV is just Boxee, and someone else's Vista MediaCenter is just Boxee.

Re:Why does there need to be a desktop app? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28140159)

Remote control...um...control, the only thing boxee gave me over navigating on the net. With my HTPC this makes loads of difference. Sure I can whip out the keyboard and mouse, but I am a lazy, lazy, man and Hulu, thankfully, knows this

Re:Why does there need to be a desktop app? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140219)

You can run Hulu on Xbox 360, PS3 or any other dlna client with the PlayOn server for Windows. I run it on my XP box and Hulu works just fine on my 360. It's $40, but well worth it. This is also why this whole Boxee situation is funny...PlayOn is designed to stream content from your computer to your TV and there has not been one peep whatsoever about any difficulties with Hulu. No one has been able to provide an honest answer as to why PlayOn has no problems with the Hulu folks while Boxee does.

Re:Why does there need to be a desktop app? (1)

jdbausch (1419981) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140629)

I just paid for playon yesterday. I have an old PC hooked up to the HDTV, but hulu played full screen videos like crap (no shock right?), even though ITunes, and ABC.com play fine. I got playon because hulu streaming from playon from that PC to XBox360 played full screen fine. It is on sale for the rest of the month at $30, which is why I got it. But if I find that this Hulu app performs full screen on that PC, then I will be a bit bummed. Also, if you go through the playon forums, you will find that they have had their share of Hulu issues from time to time. but in the end they work it out...

Re:Why does there need to be a desktop app? (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28141087)

You can run Hulu on Xbox 360, PS3 or any other dlna client with the PlayOn server for Windows.

Or you can just play Hulu via the PS3 web browser...

The Hulu site will give you a fake "video not available" message if your browser's client ID string tells them you're on a PS3, though... A little web proxy fixes the problem nicely.

Hulu / Boxee (1)

barcrawler (913684) | more than 5 years ago | (#28139979)

Why would I need Boxee or a Hulu app when I have Plex on my Mac..

Re:Hulu / Boxee (2, Funny)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140243)

I have a powerpc mac for my media center computer you insensitive clod.

We got both kinds of music here (2, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140039)

a client that runs on both Windows and Mac.

Ride 'em in, rawhide.

Re:We got both kinds of music here (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140551)

Good analogy, if the Internet is analogous to Pine Knot, Kentucky.

In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28140053)

Slashdot testing web code; website failure explained.

I mean seriously, do you guys actually test your code before releasing it?

"Fuck it; we'll do it live!"

An exclusive club (5, Funny)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140081)

I'm excited about the exclusion of game consoles, assorted media boxes, Linux machines, and all users outside the US. Still, this is a little too open for my tastes. Couldn't they have made it Vista-only?

Re:An exclusive club (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28140347)

Hmmm... or better yet... VISTA 32 Home Basic ONLY ?

Why not just work with Boxee (1)

docbrody (1159409) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140091)

Call me naive, but I wonder why Hulu would not just embrace Boxee and try to work with them. It would save them all the development time and expense, and still allow them to stream their ads. Why should Hulu care how their content is distributed AS LONG AS they get the ad revenue. And they can still develop their own app if they like.

Re:Why not just work with Boxee (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140225)

Call me suspicious, but Boxee have always made it clear that they eventually plan to sell a set top box.

My bet is that Hulu would do the same, although they've made no announcement of that intention. They are, after all, currently the number one site to go to for network shows. It would be nice branding for an "internet TV receiver".

Re:Why not just work with Boxee (2, Interesting)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140681)

Or, what the rest of us call a "Cable Box"

Re:Why not just work with Boxee (1)

defaria (741527) | more than 5 years ago | (#28141071)

Again, why would it matter? Why would Hulu care if you watched a TV show on a Boxee set top box, watched the ads and Hulu got paid as opposed to watched the TV show on a Hulu set top box, watched the ads and Hulu got paid?!?

Revenues Reduced (1)

Bryan Gividen (739949) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140257)

I can see your point, but I think the only circumstances that it would happen is not Hulu "work[ing] with" Boxee, but instead buying them out or co-opting them. Hulu wants the ability to exclude people or devices from their service at will. Having that type of power allows them to use proprietary formats or hardware to deliver content. If Boxee exists, Hulu would have a much tougher time creating revenue off of new devices which do exactly the same thing as Boxee.

Hulu would love to support Boxee (1)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140431)

According to the Hulu CEO [nytimes.com] , the issue is the cable channels. They get a large chunk of their funding from cable subscriptions, and they feel very threatened by any project that attempts to replace the cable box in your living room.

Hulu would much rather have shows like Battlestar Galactica and the users it draws than have the handful of hobbyists who currently have a Boxee or XBMC setup. Of course they'd rather have both, but this is similar to the games Apple has to play with RIAA, etc.

Re:Why not just work with Boxee (1)

Neeperando (1270890) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140477)

I don't think Hulu does care. It's the people that provide them with content that seem to think because it's a website that it can only be run on a computer and only nerds and people slacking off from work will use it. Once they realized that Boxee was designed for running on a TV, the situation changes. Once your computer is hooked up to your TV, the only reason to watch TV over Hulu is if you can't wait until the next day.

Now, consider how many ads run on TV vs on Hulu. One 30-second ad 6 times during a show? Half of which are for charities? How much money can they really be making off of Hulu? Of course the folks running Hulu just want to get their site used, but the content providers, as has been discussed time and time again, have no clue about anything, for example, that it's been possible, even easy, to hook your computer up to your TV for years. And since Hulu relies on the providers for their very existence, I think it's fair that they do just about everything the providers ask.

Re:Why not just work with Boxee (1)

phrend (690126) | more than 5 years ago | (#28141027)

...but the content providers, as has been discussed time and time again, have no clue about anything, for example, that it's been possible, even easy, to hook your computer up to your TV for years.

I think that content providers know that it's possible to hook your computer up to your TV. I think that they also know that most people do not have their computer hooked up to their TV. They are targeting the infrastructure of today. Once having your computer hooked up to your TV is the norm, the folks at Hulu (and the rest) will change course to address the changing market (though not nearly as quickly as we'd like them to).

Re:Why not just work with Boxee (1)

phrend (690126) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140895)

I suspect that part of the reason is that Boxee doesn't support Windows yet... and I suspect that the majority of Hulu users are Windows users. Additionally, Hulu most likely wants (possibly needs, based on contracts) total control of their distribution channel.

High Bandwidth requirements (1)

netruner (588721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140141)

The biggest problem I have with Hulu is its bandwidth requirements. TFA states that you need a 2Mbit connection. I just don't have that available to me. On a good day I get .5Mbit out of my Sprint wireless card and I have the best connection in my neighborhood. If I could set a buffer high enough, or if I could set it to download overnight, I could watch it later. Does anyone know of a way to do this with Hulu or any other such service for that matter?

Conclusion: Slower than bathtub gin in Canadia (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140203)

My conclusions: They get a star sticker for making a universal binary and not locking out the many mac users that still love and use their PowerPC based Macs. Beyond that though, it is crap. The menus are EXTREMELY slow to respond (even on a 2.4 Ghz core 2 duo with 2 GB ram) and unpredictable. The main interface isn't full screen and doesn't even have a full screen option. The shows seem to revert to clips even when you specifically go though seasons to the latest season, and the whole thing feels clunky. I really don't understand the motivation for this. I was just remarking to my girlfriend the other day how I don't mind the commercials, I just want to watch on my own schedule. Why doesn't hulu just embrace boxee and understudy or even make their own frontrow plugin? This would be far more useful than this crapola desktop app... I understand this is still beta, but it acts more like alpha since performance-wise it is jumpy and unwatchable.

Re:Conclusion: Slower than bathtub gin in Canadia (4, Funny)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140557)

Bill Gates doesn't care about Mac people.

Do you think Bill Gates cares about Windows people?

Wine Support for Desktop App in Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28140323)

Has anyone tried running the desktop app in Linux with Wine? Is there any possibility of this working?

from the who-didn't-know-that dept (1)

doronbc (1434117) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140513)

It may not have been laid out before, but this has been the issue all along.

The real reason for blocking Media Centers (2, Informative)

colin_young (902826) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140525)

This post (Q's 7 & 8) I think explains why Hulu has been forced to block media center apps: http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/13/your-hulu-questions-answered/ [nytimes.com] To be fair, Hulu needs to satisfy the desires of their content-providing overlords, and whether or not the people at Hulu agree with blocking media centers, they need to at least make it appear they are making a good-faith effort to do so (it does seem that every block they've thrown up has been easily worked-around). That said, I suspect the thinking is the full-screen app isn't going to be used by technically sophisticated users who are capable of setting up and running one of the Hulu-supporting media centers, and therefore anyone who is using the full-screen app isn't going to be the type that has their PC hooked up to their TV.

Re:The real reason for blocking Media Centers (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140687)

Im just a little confused by your post. "I think explains why Hulu has been forced to block media center apps:" But then you say "I suspect the thinking is the full-screen app isn't going to be used by technically sophisticated users who are capable of setting up and running one of the Hulu-supporting media centers"

Which is it that you are referring to? If Hulu blocks media center apps, but wont allow media centers...or are you thinking eventually Hulu will designate certain apps to be "hulu supported"? Personally I will be miffed at Hulu until I can control my entire media center with one remote. I am more than happy to use their application but I need to be able to link to it from my existing media center without whipping out a mouse to open the second app. MyMovies does this very well, Now if I can have a Hulu plugin that launches the other software within media center I will be happy.

Re:The real reason for blocking Media Centers (2, Insightful)

colin_young (902826) | more than 5 years ago | (#28141145)

If you know how to set up Boxee/XBMC/Plex/whatever, you've probably got your PC hooked up to your TV and probably aren't too excited about running an app outside of your media center (extra clicks and whatnot). You might even consider canceling your cable subscription. If you don't know how to set up one of those apps, you probably don't have your PC hooked up to your TV (at least not permanently), so you're going to (as Hulu apparently imagines it) lean back in your chair at your desk and watch Hulu on your PC. More importantly, you aren't going to cancel your cable subscription, which is where the content producers get the lion's share of their revenue.

Re:The real reason for blocking Media Centers (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140745)

Instead, they are clicking the "full screen" button and are watching the content -- and embedded advertisements -- just like the more tech-savvy users. Either way, you see the same ads, so I fail to understand the media producers' complaint(s).

Re:The real reason for blocking Media Centers (1)

colin_young (902826) | more than 5 years ago | (#28141185)

But they aren't watching it on their TV, so they aren't going to cancel their cable subscription. Read the Freakonomics post (which, I should have mentioned, is from the CEO of Hulu).

Re:The real reason for blocking Media Centers (1)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140855)

>This post (Q's 7 & 8) I think explains why Hulu has been forced to block media center apps

They're doing such a bang up job of it that I've been watching Hulu on my Boxee box for the past couple of weeks. :)

Already virtually stopped watching HULU (1)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 5 years ago | (#28140913)

Early on with few ads and with little delay in streaming and without the aggressive anti-boxee actions I watched Hulu (albeit not on boxee). The occasional ads of 15 to 30 seconds weren't bad. But watching anything now you have to put up with ads quite frequently, at least for the popular shows.

Forget about movies, they always sucked and probably always will. They relist the same movie web page after web page to make them look more complete, but they aren't, they are just relisting.

And now with them giving this farce of a client and expecting us to make the connection to it as to why they dumped boxee is just about enough. I'm not going to buy into their client, I'm not going to use their client, I'm not going to restrict myself to Windows or the Mac to watch this content as I am a Linux user.

Enough is enough, this is the end of Hulu for me.

complainers (1)

Triv (181010) | more than 5 years ago | (#28141043)

I'm usually the first person on the "closed SW sucks, screw the man" bandwagon, especially when it comes to the TV networks and media distribution / DRM, but I gotta steer clear of the /. party line on this one.

Hulu is actually pretty awesome - it streams shows on-demand with non-obtrusive ads, ads that are actually much better than the ads on OTA TV these days in that they're a bit (I hate this word, but) edgier and, more importantly, far less repetitive. You can vote on ads you don't like. The content available is from a diverse range of sources from the big 4 US networks and their subsidiaries and affiliates to subtitled (not dubbed) contemporary anime from Funimation and the like. It fixes MOST of the problems I have with traditional TV distribution, and it's legal.

So it requires Flash. BFD. It's a shame, but I understand why - Hulu needs room to breathe and focusing on the linux population when everybody else has Flash isn't good business.

As a corollary: my girlfriend runs Ubuntu 95% of the time but still boots into Windows to play WoW. It's a 30 second inconvenience for her, but it's an acceptable one balanced with what she gets out of it. Dem's tha breaks. It doesn't keep her up at night, and Hulu's content control won't keep me up at night, either, because it is much, MUCH better than paying Comcast an uncomfortably large amount of month for the more annoying alternative.

Re:complainers (1)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 5 years ago | (#28141193)

It had non intrusive ads. There used to be a few ads per show about 15-30 seconds at the most, but now, just watching a show like Stargate and every few minutes it seems like there's an ad. And they are getting longer.

And as far as movies go they were pretty much non-existent.

The issue is that they weren't blocking other ways to view Hulu such as alternative browsers and they weren't limiting the viewing to just Mac and Windows. They limited boxee and of course XBMC, then they claim a client run locally (the way Joost did it to start) and that client won't operate on the second largest OS on the market.

Personally it doesn't matter to me whether it is flash based or not. I'd rather have it flash based than tied into a criminal monopolist's products. And, frankly I'm impressed with flash as it supports many OSes rather than just a couple.

Bah - who cares (0, Redundant)

colinnwn (677715) | more than 5 years ago | (#28141253)

Until Hulu releases a Linux version of their app, or Boxee releases a 64 bit Linux version with the Hulu hack, I don't care.
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