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No HTML5 Hulu Anytime Soon

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the give-the-people-what-you-want dept.

Media 202

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF writes "The Hulu website briefly commented the other day about why they would not be implementing HTML5 video for their service: 'We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesn't yet meet all of our customers' needs. Our player doesn't just simply stream video, it must also secure the content, handle reporting for our advertisers, render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality, communicate back with the server to determine how long to buffer and what bitrate to stream, and dozens of other things that aren't necessarily visible to the end user.' They plan to release a dedicated application for the iPad and iPhone instead, likely a paid subscription service. Perhaps this is a good sign for Web-based television, as it will move more users away from the single, locked down channel from the networks and to more diverse options less interested in extracting subscription fees (like YouTube)."

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OK ... (1, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32210854)

... so Flash isn't completely dead for video on the web. I wonder if Hulu and Adobe are in cahoots?

Re:OK ... (2, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32210962)

Besides the fact that HTML5 isn't really finished yet nor implemented in the most used browsers (and not fully in others), they mentioned where HTML5 video fails too, like securing the content. Now slashdot crowd probably says this is a good thing, but theres not much to do if TV networks require it. Another case in point is determining how long to buffer and what bitrate to use (change dynamically). Does HTML5 video offer these options?

Re:OK ... (0, Offtopic)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211142)

Another case in point is determining how long to buffer and what bitrate to use (change dynamically). Does HTML5 video offer these options?

Aren't those things that are dependent on the codec and container that is used? Right now, depending on the format, I believe that HTML5 Video [wikipedia.org] using Ogg [wikipedia.org] Theora [wikipedia.org] does provide variable bitrate.

I'm not sure where to address the buffering problem but you would think that it would be dependent on the user's latency and determined by the container or a combination of container and browser.

So what you asked would depend on the format used inside the HTML5 tag and if your browser supports that format yet.

Re:OK ... (4, Informative)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211402)

That's not the right kind of "variable bit rate". The kind of VBR you're describing is merely varying the bit rate within a stream for compression efficiency. Hulu dynamically switches between streams at different bit rates, depending on the speed of your connection.

Re:OK ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211412)

Basically every codec supports variable bitrate and the buffering problem is codec independent. This article [multimedia.cx] among other things talks about missing features in HTML5.

On buffering:

1. Missing features. Developers who haven’t worked with Flash often underestimate its capabilities and assume that displaying video is as simple as displaying images. But there are many things that are useful to control. Flash lets you tell the client how long to buffer before playing a stream (critical for reliable playback of any live video). It provides signalling back to the server of packet loss rates, so that the server can throttle bandwidth accordingly.

Re:OK ... (4, Informative)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211540)

You don't understand. By variable bitrate, they mean changing the bitrate on a per-viewer basis. So, if someone has a particularly bad connection, it gives them a lower quality picture so that they can keep up. And if they're connection improves (they turn off their torrents, for example) then the bitrate they are being provided would improve.

As far as I know, the object in HTML5 does not allow swapping out the referenced video while it's playing with another one encoded at a different bitrate. Silverlight does this for you with its streaming engine, with Flash it's at least possible to synchronize all the components, but it's rarely done. (You need to synchronize audio and video to a high degree of precision to avoid the user noticing.)

This is a valid complaint, and actually one of Microsoft's major selling points on Silverlight, and it's why Netflix adopted it for their online viewer. The variable bitrate per viewer playback that adjusts itself according to your connection is extremely important to providing at least a basic experience. Netflix's implementation is a little bad (it does pause the video if your connection quality goes down, but there are other Silverlight players that do it seamlessly.)

Re:OK ... (3, Informative)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211432)

Go to archive.org, find a video you'd like to see, copy the link address for the file, then open that in mplayer. Works with absolutely no drama for me, whether I choose avi, mpg, ogv, etc. IOW, Hulu's explanation is mostly bullshit. They have exactly one reason, and that is "securing the content" -- which is pretty much nonsense. It isn't like your average "consumer" bothers with unauthorized copying/downloading. The hysteria on the "piracy" issue is completely absurd.

Re:OK ... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211568)

YOU can do everything they listed use HTML5.
The issue at this time is wide spread adoption of HTML 5... It could be their programmer don't know what they are doing..but I doubt that.

The demo I say did similar things, as well as a bunch of other really cool stuff.

I would be surprised if that's still their stance in 2 years.

Re:OK ... (2, Interesting)

spongman (182339) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211778)

wait, HTML5 supports a DRM-enabled video codec?

you're not going to see premium content (ie movies, TV) on the web without it.

i used to do web video hosting for a major movie studio. their web distribution policy explicitly required all their content to be protected with DRM wherever it's shown on the web (iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, wherever).

a DRM-free web is a (movie|tv)-free web. at least for now.

Performance is another issue (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211622)

While people love to hate on Flash, it actually performs quite will for video on most systems. It can chat with the video card and use it to accelerate decoding. This is important for HD content because you start to discover that HD can hit even a modern dual core hard if there's no acceleration. Well Flash accelerates nicely on Windows, and is supposed to be getting the ability to do so on the Mac (not sure on the status, I don't have a Mac).

Now I'm sure HTML5 can have this done, but it has to be done in the browsers people use before it would be a real contender. Saying "Well it could in theory accelerate video," does you fuck-all good if the web browsers out there don't do it. The net effect would be people would find HTML5 video choppy and it would bog their system down whereas Flash wouldn't. They wouldn't care about the reasons, they'd just say "This sucks."

For that matter, all the dynamic HTML5 type stuff itself may need new browser architectures. An interesting test to look at it Microsoft's IE9 platform preview (http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/). They've got a whole bunch of different demos of various types. Now the interesting thing is to look at them in Firefox, and in the IE9 preview. IE9 kills it speed wise, and function wise. Most things run twice as fast or more, and things like text scaling is smooth and fluid as you'd see in Flash, not jumpy.

So to truly have a good HTML5 experience, we may need a new generation of browser that makes good use of the video card to accelerate everything. As far as I know, there's nothing that does that right now, since IE9 is just a preview (and not really usable as a general web browser) and none of the rest are doing it. We may have to wait awhile before browsers can perform up to the level people would want with HTML5.

Re:Performance is another issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32212076)

While people love to hate on Flash, it actually performs quite will for video on most systems. It can chat with the video card and use it to accelerate decoding. This is important for HD content because you start to discover that HD can hit even a modern dual core hard if there's no acceleration. Well Flash accelerates nicely on Windows, and is supposed to be getting the ability to do so on the Mac (not sure on the status, I don't have a Mac).

Now I'm sure HTML5 can have this done, but it has to be done in the browsers people use before it would be a real contender. Saying "Well it could in theory accelerate video," does you fuck-all good if the web browsers out there don't do it. The net effect would be people would find HTML5 video choppy and it would bog their system down whereas Flash wouldn't. They wouldn't care about the reasons, they'd just say "This sucks."

For that matter, all the dynamic HTML5 type stuff itself may need new browser architectures. An interesting test to look at it Microsoft's IE9 platform preview (http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/). They've got a whole bunch of different demos of various types. Now the interesting thing is to look at them in Firefox, and in the IE9 preview. IE9 kills it speed wise, and function wise. Most things run twice as fast or more, and things like text scaling is smooth and fluid as you'd see in Flash, not jumpy.

So to truly have a good HTML5 experience, we may need a new generation of browser that makes good use of the video card to accelerate everything. As far as I know, there's nothing that does that right now, since IE9 is just a preview (and not really usable as a general web browser) and none of the rest are doing it. We may have to wait awhile before browsers can perform up to the level people would want with HTML5.

Why do people hate flash?

One example:

My ipad vs. my Windows home built box (an old x2 64 system) vs my i7 Macbook Pro. Hp Mini 1000 running windows 7. (ha)

The test, open a browser window and go to youtube. (so the html5 version ends up on the ipad)

open a youtube video in each of them, play it.

now scroll quickly in either direction.

Yeah, so if flash video is so efficient, why can my ipad which has the slowest processor of any of these scroll through the pages the easiest, with no slow downs or lag?

just a real world usage question.

Re:OK ... (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 4 years ago | (#32212132)

If TV networks require it, we'll happily ignore them until their ears bleed. It's not like there aren't other means to watch video online, most of which do not entail draconian DRM.

Re:OK ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32210990)

HTML5 could do the things they want, it would just not be very processor efficient (if HTML5 can run quake 2, then it can be used as DRM too). Even if Flash suddenly died, Hulu would probably just use a Java applet instead.

Re:OK ... (3, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211336)

HTML5 could do the things they want, it would just not be very processor efficient

Hulu's new flash player that launched yesterday is also not processor efficient. Two days ago Hulu videos played at a reasonable frame rate on my old Mac laptop. Today it's impossible to watch. If it were in HTML5 it would run perfectly.

Re:OK ... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211698)

Use the desktop player, they have not changed that. The new interface also does not do mouse hide, tested on Ubuntu 10.04.

Re:OK ... (5, Insightful)

jaryd (1702090) | more than 4 years ago | (#32210994)

It's probably more along the lines that Hulu isn't interested in rushing out an HTML5 app that will cost X to develop while their current client works perfectly well for the majority of their customers.

Rather than retooling their website it is more logical to do what they are actually doing and code a standalone app that will probably get rejected from the app store.

Re:OK ... (3, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211254)

It's probably more along the lines that Hulu isn't interested in rushing out an HTML5 app that will cost X to develop while their current client works perfectly well for the majority of their customers.

This is probably true. It will be more cost effective in the short term, but you're missing the big motivation. Hulu does not want to provide open video. They want to provide subscription services, which they're moving to on the Web right now for a portion of content. They can make more money by only providing content to Apple devices that pay a subscription fee via an app, especially since those users won't be able to just use a Web browser for some content. Remember, Hulu is run by the networks.

Rather than retooling their website it is more logical to do what they are actually doing and code a standalone app that will probably get rejected from the app store.

Why would it get rejected from the app store? It will be trivial to provide the same content in different containers in a simple Web app using almost completely code provided in Apple's toolkits. Netflix has done it and they use Silverlight on the Web. Your assertion that it will probably be rejected is just your bias showing.

Re:OK ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211656)

Would "Always Sunny in Philadelphia" pass app store scrutiny?

Re:OK ... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32212176)

Why would it get rejected from the app store?

Most likely for competing with Apple's own video purchase options. I believe they typically cite "Redundant Functionality" reasons.

Re:OK ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211002)

Yes, if a corporation dares to choose a widely-used product with a large install base, which fits their use requirements, as opposed to a relatively new, only moderate install base with different features available (no Firefox/Opera with H.264, no Safari/iPhone with Theora, no Internet Explorer period), which does not fit their use requirements on even one browser, then they must be 'in cahoots' with the company who makes that product.

I know you were going for a better-than-average first post without too much thought, but really, stop listening to Apple. Adobe is not a conspiracy.

Re:OK ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211482)

Adobe is not a conspiracy.

You're right, it's a train wreck. Poor Mac & Linux product performance, development and support. Public crying. Threats of a law suit if they can't have their way. Running ads claiming they "love Apple" even if Apple is being mean to them. Even an Adobe Lightroom developer who's "afraid" any apps Adobe develops for the iPlatform "from scratch" would just be rejected by the app store. That's not a corporation, it's a kindergarden class that's late for its nap.

Re:OK ... (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211684)

Yes, if a corporation dares to choose a widely-used product with a large install base, which fits their use requirements, as opposed to a relatively new, only moderate install base with different features available (no Firefox/Opera with H.264, no Safari/iPhone with Theora, no Internet Explorer period), which does not fit their use requirements on even one browser, then they must be 'in cahoots' with the company who makes that product.

I know you were going for a better-than-average first post without too much thought, but really, stop listening to Apple. Adobe is not a conspiracy.

Note: here, I am ignoring the specifics of Hulu like their need to track advertising and enforce "content protection" etc. in an effort to describe a bigger picture.

What we have here might be a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem. HTML5 would have a larger installed base if there were more content available. In turn, there'd be more content available if HTML5 had a larger, more established installed base. Adoption by major players is one way of solving this. Incorporation as a standard feature into mainstream browsers is another approach. Both approaches are complimentary and assuming HTML5 is a good standard, should be used in tandem.

Adobe is not a conspiracy.

For that matter, Adobe does not manufacture automobiles. Stating the obvious of what Adobe isn't does not really advance the discussion. The point is, if Adobe could wave a magic wand and get anything it wanted, it would have a lot more control over Internet content because that's how they make money. That and the proprietary standards used to achieve it are in their interests but are not in my interests. I just described not only Adobe but practically every for-profit corporation in existence.

All of them would love to have total dominance of the markets in which they participate and none of them would benefit many others by succeeding. They are limited by what they can and cannot do, not so much by what they will and will not do. What they can do includes becoming adopted as a de facto "gold standard" by companies like Hulu as part of their overall strategy of becoming entrenched and raising the barrier to entry for new competing standards. In fact, many would say that they are not shrewd and lack business acumen if they did not attempt such things.

Re:OK ... (5, Insightful)

Deadplant (212273) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211028)

This is not a surprise, I work with online video professionally and html5 is not yet a serious option.
RealPlayer, Windows Media Player and Flash are the only players that have the suite of features that are required to stream live and on-demand video properly.

I am looking forward to the day when html5 is ready but it looks like it is a long way off.

The "Flash is dead!" people have no idea what they're talking about.
I mean just look at the API for windows media player or realplayer and then go look at html5... they're not in the same league.

Serious ideological problem too (2, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211364)

Lets say HTML5 becomes the perfect tool to a point that even Adobe starts to depreciate their own stuff for it... What will be done about the needs of professional content creators? DRM? Anti-rip? Today's media logic says "There has to be some sort of inconvenience and responsibility creating thing in a media framework". For example, everyone knows DVD CSS is dead,easily cracked but it is still implemented on movies especially to create a situation that user has to run "illegal software" to rip the commercial DVD.

How do you implement DRM "openly"? Remember Real Networks CEO suggested Linux/BSD guys should really think about a DRM standard and everyone (rightfully) laughed at him? HTML5 now has the same issue, globally.

Re:Serious ideological problem too (4, Insightful)

Deadplant (212273) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211532)

DRM is an unsolved problem. I tell my customers not to bother with it. Most take my advice.

There can be no solution to DRM. All you can do is spend piles of money to make it more difficult for people to save/copy things. Then you have to do it all over again a few years later because everyone has the cracking tools installed.

Re:Serious ideological problem too (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211960)

You put it in the container.

Re:Serious ideological problem too (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 4 years ago | (#32212222)

Lets say HTML5 becomes the perfect tool to a point that even Adobe starts to depreciate their own stuff for it... What will be done about the needs of professional content creators? DRM? Anti-rip? Today's media logic says "There has to be some sort of inconvenience and responsibility creating thing in a media framework". For example, everyone knows DVD CSS is dead,easily cracked but it is still implemented on movies especially to create a situation that user has to run "illegal software" to rip the commercial DVD.

How do you implement DRM "openly"? Remember Real Networks CEO suggested Linux/BSD guys should really think about a DRM standard and everyone (rightfully) laughed at him? HTML5 now has the same issue, globally.

The same way you do with images, a simple javascript no-right-click function! In all seriousness people are always going to find a way to copy digital content. For basic YouTube stuff there's a plethora of Firefox plugins that will pull video and even convert it for you. Could you stop someone from using screencap software to simply snag the video? How about from outputting the signal to a stand-alone DVD recorder? The law of diminishing returns takes effect, but the studios are so paranoid about maintaining their stranglehold on content they're perfectly willing to cut off their nose to spite their face.

Why is it supposedly illegal to download a show that is freely broadcast over public airwaves?

Re:OK ... (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211516)

RealPlayer, Windows Media Player and Flash are the only players that have the suite of features that are required to stream live and on-demand video properly.

Have you heard of YouTube? I think providing HTML5 and Flash content side by side, depending on the device entered the mainstream when they implemented that option.

The "Flash is dead!" people have no idea what they're talking about.

Clearly Flash is not dead, but it is stillborn for a large set of mobile users. As such any professional offering video on the Web has to be looking at it as one of the very few options they have going forward.

Re:OK ... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211736)

Youtube doesn't stream video and they don't provide live feeds either. I'm sure progressive downloads can be done just as well in HTML5 as they can be done in flash, but that's totally different from what Hulu does.

Re:OK ... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211760)

Have you heard of YouTube? I think providing HTML5 and Flash content side by side, depending on the device entered the mainstream when they implemented that option.

Of course he has, and to his point, YouTube does not support any reasonable trickplay (FF/RW/chapters/etc), seamless bitrate switching or DRM with HTML5. Trickplay and bitrate switching are required features once people start paying for content (they expect it to *just work*). DRM is a required feature to get content owners to offer their content in the first place.

Re:OK ... (2, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211728)

You could just post a link to the mp4 stream, lots of players handle that just fine.

Re:OK ... (0, Flamebait)

EdtheFox (959194) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211048)

I predict flash will be around for quite sometime... so long as it doesn't bloat like the rest of adobe's products.

Re:OK ... (2, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211082)

for flash there is a huge development environment with all kinds of knowledge on the internet to make it faster and cheaper. other than the fact that HTML5 isn't even a standard yet how do the dev tools compare? no one wants to code the website in assembly

Re:OK ... (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211156)

Flash isn't completely dead for video on the web. I wonder if Hulu and Adobe are in cahoots?

Perhaps but I really don't think so....

Flash will not die until all of those web developers that use it finally die off..

Well, other options exist (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211186)

Speaking of content security and HTML5 doesn't have it _yet_, as an extension... Options are:
1) Real Networks architecture
2) Quicktime DRM (yes, it exists, media keys)
3) WMedia DRM
4) Silverlight DRM

They got options and yet, I don't think they are less hated or feasible (Real Networks bad image, quicktime being gigantic windows app) than Adobe Flash.

IMHO they will even code an Adobe Air dedicated application in the future, Air already got actual direct TCP/UDP connection capability in V2+. HTML5 advocates should really give an option for content security aka DRM, that is how real World works for now... Unfortunately that is.

 

Re:Well, other options exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211282)

Also look at HTTP Live Streaming; [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_Live_Streaming ] which Apple has submitted as an Internet Draft and is currently supported in Apple products.

Re:Well, other options exist (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211606)

HTML5 advocates should really give an option for content security aka DRM, that is how real World works for now...

Even if they wanted to, how would you propose that they do that? It would be trivial enough to add a "donotallowworthlesspirateusertocopyonpainofdeath" option to the video tag; but that would only be as useful as the various browser's enforcement of it. You might get some vendors on board(though that would hardly be a given. The FOSS guys hate DRM on principle, and the corporates already have their own DRM systems, and it isn't clear that they want the competition); but you would have absolutely no way to go after the ones that refused, or the fly-by-night redistribution of copies of firefox compiled with the -ignore_DRM_flags option set.

If you observe real world DRM systems, they are all either single-party(WMDRM, Fairplay, etc.) or multi-vendor standards controlled by IP cartels bristling with patents that you must license in order to implement whatever the attached spec is(CSS, HDCP, AACS). HTML5 is in neither position. There would be absolutely no way to stop the proliferation of implementations compliant enough to receive the video; but noncompliant with respect to denying it to the user(good luck, for instance, having your site distinguish between a good-faith/best-effort DRM implementing webkit build, and a slightly tweaked build that reports exactly the same ID strings but "accidentally" lets the precious premium content sit in a snoopable memory location...

On closed platforms, where undesired binaries can simply be excluded, it'd be trivial enough; but there would be Just No Way on PCs generally.

Re:OK ... (1)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211836)

How could you draw that inference? Is there something more that you know about that we don't?

A company indicates that they are unhappy with the state of affairs of HTML5 as it is currently implemented, because it doesn't do what they need, nor as easily as they can get it done with another development tool, and you indicate that you feel there's a conspiracy?

Re:OK ... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211838)

Yeah, if you want high quality DRM, Flash seems to be the best.

Re:OK ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32212108)

yeah must be a conspiracy eh! well spotted dude!

either that or you're a stupid little cunt who doesn't know shit from shinola?

but Steve Jobs said (3, Funny)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32210972)

that flash sucks and HTML5 is bestest way to stream video

Re:but Steve Jobs said (1, Troll)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211168)

That's because Steve Jobs touches you at night^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H rips your dick off with his devil horns

Before Flash, there was Quicktime (3, Funny)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211252)

As Apple is in perfect shape now, I would be questioning "Why on earth our own Quicktime, even with DRM since V5 not even considered as an option?"

Someone should really start asking these questions now, that great framework is really being wasted. They didn't even bother to ship Quicktime X for Windows. Before attacking other companies frameworks/players/plugins, he should check the shape and missed opportunities of Quicktime department in Apple.

Re:Before Flash, there was Quicktime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211314)

Just as Flash runs like crap on any system that is not Windows, Quicktime is a total shitfest on any OS that is not made by Apple.

Re:Before Flash, there was Quicktime (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32212144)

"Why on earth our own Quicktime, even with DRM since V5 not even considered as an option?"

QuickTime does not have DRM in any meaningful sense in this context. It can decode Apple's DRM'd media, but it does not provide a mechanism for other people to add DRM to their media that is then playable with QuickTime.

They didn't even bother to ship Quicktime X for Windows

They also don't ship it for OS X 10.5. It's a complete rewrite with hooks into the display subsystem for things like GPU acceleration and some superficial similarities to QuickTime. Porting it to Windows would be a lot of effort, for a negligible benefit.

Re:but Steve Jobs said (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211494)

Yeah, I remember Steve Jobs saying he wasn't sick, right before he went into the hospital.

Hulu, has high quality content? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211018)

Of all of the streaming services I use, they are by far the worst. Full screen mode makes their content skip frames consistently.

Secure Flash platform (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211020)

It always seems like the websites that insist on all these extras suck compared to the smooth easy playback of sites like You tube. Some sites are just unwatchable (Frequent "Video Buffering", stream drops bypassing 5-10 mins going to the next commercial break), whereas I never have trouble with You tube.

And we're not on any rinky-dink connection either, We have business class internet service through Covad for our webservers.

At least they are honest... (4, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211026)

Honesty in this case - admitting that "our customers" (plus their needs) and their users aren't the same thing...

Re:At least they are honest... (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211310)

Honesty in this case - admitting that "our customers" (plus their needs) and their users aren't the same thing...

Indeed. For any sort of no-cost-to-view "broadcaster" the actual customers are the advertisers. The correct use of the term "consumer" describes those who watch the programs for free in exchange for having to view advertisements. Customers as individual entities and small groups have barganing power while consumers only matter in very large numbers and thus the "broadcaster" relates to them in more of a "take it or leave it" fashion by comparison. Customers can take their business elsewhere; consumers must go to particular providers (i.e. copyright holders of shows) if they want a particular product.

I have always regarded it as a form of Newspeak that a term indicative of diminished power and significance in the marketplace that comes from the jargon of one particular industry suddenly became applied to all customers in all economic transactions. One day about five to seven years ago it became in vogue to use "customer" and "consumer" interchangably as though they were the same thing. In conformance to the usual pattern, all the talking heads in the media suddenly adopted this usage and parroted each other as though they had always spoken this way. Always such Newspeak is in the form of using the degrading term to cover both cases and never in the form of using the elevating term to cover both cases.

Observe this pattern once and understand it and you will then see it everywhere.

Re:At least they are honest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211746)

Wow. Talk about over-complicating things.

It's quite simple. Customers are the ones who pay. If you're not paying anything, you're not a customer.

Re:At least they are honest... (2, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32212010)

Wow. Talk about over-complicating things.

It's quite simple. Customers are the ones who pay. If you're not paying anything, you're not a customer.

I agree. That's exactly why I dispute the use of "consumer" to describe paying customers as though the terms were interchangable. This discussion where the distinction between customer and consumer is relevant is what brought up this subject.

This is overly complex for whom? You and your ability to handle a small amount of complexity? You and your unwillingness to see that these developments are not random but are in fact carefully engineered and deployed? Your inability to find the slightest fascination in this because you long ago gave up your natural curiosity and desire to understand the world around you? Your need to berate me because you would have given this a more superficial treatment? I take it I am supposed to believe that you have found a flaw with me rather than showing me a flaw in you.

Re:At least they are honest... (1)

stokessd (89903) | more than 4 years ago | (#32212062)

Customers can take their business elsewhere; consumers must go to particular providers (i.e. copyright holders of shows) if they want a particular product.

That was true until the time of significant broadband penetration and the rise of peer-to-peer sharing. Even if the "pirates" are an insignificant percentage of "consumers", they are the wolves at the door that are a force to keep the bastards in check somewhat.

Re:At least they are honest... (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32212200)

Customers can take their business elsewhere; consumers must go to particular providers (i.e. copyright holders of shows) if they want a particular product.

That was true until the time of significant broadband penetration and the rise of peer-to-peer sharing. Even if the "pirates" are an insignificant percentage of "consumers", they are the wolves at the door that are a force to keep the bastards in check somewhat.

That is a really interesting statement because I have a reason to agree with it and I have a reason to disagree with it. I will withhold judgment as to which one is more valid.

You're absolutely right about the effect of piracy. It's a check against excessive industry control. It's a bit like civil disobedience, except of course that those who engaged in old-fashioned civil disobedience fully expected to do the time for the crime. Pirates, by contrast, tend to rely on the statistical unlikelihood of any one of them getting caught. Other than this level of commitment, the effect against a controlling force is the same. The industry knows, even it it doesn't want to admit it, that they more they piss off their customers the more piracy will happen.

My reason for disagreement may sound cynical. With apologies to Voltaire, if there were no pirates I wonder if it would be necessary for the copyright holders to create them. It would be hard to justify much recent copyright legislation and proposals if there were not the big scary phantom pirates behind every corner greedily disrupting those poor hardworking content creators who enjoy 100+ year monopolies on each work. Without the emotional knee-jerk of "PIRACY ZOMG!!" and the fuzzy accounting practices it excuses (every download = a lost sale? really?!) then they might be forced to resort to providing logical reasons for new legislation. I don't believe that would be nearly so effective at getting them what they want.

I really don't know which of those reasons is the stronger. The only thing I can safely say is that piracy is a double-edged sword.

Re:At least they are honest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211384)

If more network TV viewers understood that they are not customers maybe they would stop shaking their fists at networks for canceling shows their real customers (advertisers) didn't want to pay for.

Re:At least they are honest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211868)

I wonder how viewers would react to the realization that they are the products the TV networks are actually selling.

Re:At least they are honest... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211404)

I love hulu, so suck it.

Summary says what? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211044)

Perhaps this is a good sign for Web-based television, as it will move more users away from the single, locked down channel from the networks and to more diverse options less interested in extracting subscription fees (like YouTube).

Say what now?

What 'single locked down channel' are we discussing here? There is presently more than Hulu alive on the web now, is there not? Please do clarify, dear submitter.

Re:Summary says what? (4, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211452)

What 'single locked down channel' are we discussing here? There is presently more than Hulu alive on the web now, is there not?

Hulu is a joint venture of Fox, NBC, and ABC (now pulling out). The idea was they could maintain a singe front for providing mainstream TV, even as users moved way from cable and towards the internet for entertainment video. They were scared by YouTube and the like and wanted to make sure they could be the gatekeepers controlling the content as a cartel (like the RIAA has done with radio). That way they could extract more money in subscription fees going forward and at the same time reduce the threat of independent TV programming from being a more democratized source of content. Fox (for example) doesn't want to have to sell programs to users. They want to be able to sell subscriptions to all their content at once and so get paid just as much by people who think 90% of their content is crap.

Please do clarify, dear submitter.

Does that clarify my somewhat vague submission? I sort of assumed Slashdotters knew the history behind Hulu and the network's strategy with it.

Re:Summary says what? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211586)

Thanks for the reply. It is as I assumed, then. You're making a huge generalization, and have left out at least one major television network, if not several, in your 'single' descriptor.

Re:Summary says what? (2, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211784)

Thanks for the reply. It is as I assumed, then. You're making a huge generalization

There is an attempt, somewhat stalled, to use Hulu to control Web TV to a large extend by consolidating the efforts of the major networks and allowing them to (probably illegally) collude on mainstream TV's display on the Web. That's not really a generalization as a rather ubiquitous analysis of the market by many many different news and industry groups.

ave left out at least one major television network, if not several, in your 'single' descriptor.

Hulu failed to get buy in from CBS because CBS had already launched a competitor and was getting better advertising revenue than they wanted to offer. The others hoped the success of Hulu would pressure CBS to get on board, but it has failed so far and with ABC bailing out the venture might be a lost cause (Note that Steve Jobs sits on the board and is the biggest shareholder of Disney which owns ABC). That covers all of the "big four" of broadcast TV. There are smaller players, of course, many of which Hulu had signed on but which are not really very important in terms of the industry, which is remarkably consolidated right now.

Re:Summary says what? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211988)

Broadcast TV is essentially dead, outside of local news and programming. That limit seems arbitrary to me.

The description you're offering could be applied to any online business venture. Netflix is 'conspiring' to be the 'only' online movie rental outfit, too. Ford 'conspired' to be the only US-owned automaker to not receive a bailout. Etc, etc, etc.

Re:Summary says what? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32212184)

Does that clarify my somewhat vague submission? I sort of assumed Slashdotters knew the history behind Hulu and the network's strategy with it.

At the last count, 49% of Slashdot readers are not resident in the USA. Given that Hulu doesn't work for these people, you shouldn't be surprised that a lot of people don't know more about Hulu other than 'it's some kind of streaming video thing that I can't use'.

speaking of locked down channels...mobile hulu? (1)

snooo53 (663796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32212032)

While we're on the subject of locked down channels and Hulu, one thing they could certainly get away with charging a subscription for is a mobile version of Hulu. I'm hardly ever willing to pay a subscription fee for anything, but I would gladly pay it to watch Hulu on my phone. (I can already do this with YouTube for free but there's nothing I really want to watch on there)

Re:speaking of locked down channels...mobile hulu? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32212152)

If they opened the catalog to contain lots of back-content (ala Netflix), I'd gladly pay for that as well.

DRM strikes again (3, Insightful)

QJimbo (779370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211050)

it must also secure the content

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason it won't happen. HTML5 is just too open for them. With Flash there are still various tricks to secure the stream (I believe the BBC iPlayer used to XOR it or something like that...)

Re:DRM strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211296)

Give Hulu credit for coming out and saying what most people already suspected -- it's all about DRM.

Re:DRM strikes again (2, Insightful)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211340)

No, HTML5 is too open for their Customers (IE, the big TV companies that they partner with, and the Advertisers that PAY THEM). we are viewers, a product that Hulu sells their customers, the advertisers. If their customers are not interested in HTML5 (or are very much against it) then they should do what their customers want.

Re:DRM strikes again (1)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211762)

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason it won't happen. HTML5 is just too open for them. With Flash there are still various tricks to secure the stream (I believe the BBC iPlayer used to XOR it or something like that...)

Perhaps the clearest example yet of how copyfight literally holds back the progress of technology. The content industry quite literally wants to roll back the technological clock so they don't have to innovate their business models to keep up with the progress of technology. They'd rather legislate against technological progress itself.

Re:DRM strikes again (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32212022)

I can get a copy of any video or stream put in anything adobe makes. Or ANY tool where at the end a wide base of viewers need to watch it.

Please explain to me why you can't secure content in HTML 5? any more or less 'secure' then it is now.

Somebody call the whaaaambulance (1)

Georules (655379) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211060)

"It's a lot of work, and we don't want to do it unless we have to." would have been more honest.

Re:Somebody call the whaaaambulance (4, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211158)

Are you referring to Hulu or the HTML5 spec writers.

Re:Somebody call the whaaaambulance (1)

Georules (655379) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211442)

:) I wish I could mod up your response.

Re:Somebody call the whaaaambulance (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211360)

Except that are doing more work (both upfront and in maintenance) in the form of a dedicated iPhone/iPad application. So I'm inclined to believe them.

Re:Somebody call the whaaaambulance (1)

bob5972 (693297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211600)

I dunno, they have trouble keeping 64-bit Linux clients working, (despite the fact that they were working fine 6 months ago). I'm beginning to doubt their technical expertise.

"secure the content" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211098)

> Our player doesn't just simply stream video, it must also secure the content

in other words: "oh noes, people will notice that it's actually quite easy to download the files that they should only stream and we don't want them to realize that there is nothing we can do about this".

Case closed. (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211174)

... handle reporting for our advertisers, ...

There's the real issue.

But what, pray tell, are the advertisers looking for? And what is it that HTML5 can't do that Flash can?

I mean, they interrupt the show with the ads so it's not like you can get around it easily, so what's the big deal?

Re:Case closed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211418)

But what, pray tell, are the advertisers looking for?

Probably something that can meet or help meet IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) Guidelines:
http://www.iab.net/

Although I don't see how they can't accomplish that with HTML5, other than eith their proprietary player bots probably can't use it or there's not any demand to use bots to use the Hulu player to either bypass their ads or generate false clicks/impressions to make advertisers pay more.

I find Hulu misses my ad revenue generation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211184)

"Sorry, we are unable to stream this video. Please check your Internet connection and try again."

Funny....I can immediately fire up a WinXP VM client on the same Linux host, and Hulu plays fine.

Good thing there are other streaming sites and, uh, methods, that work.

Re:I find Hulu misses my ad revenue generation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211636)

I've gotten that error on XP, never seen it on Ubuntu. I think the OS specific jerk-streamer you are looking for is called "Netflix"

stop it already (0)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211198)

Adobe Flash is an open, fully implemented cross-platform and fairly simple de facto standard. Adobe's player is not great, but it works, and you could always write a better one.

The canvas element is a nowhere-fully-implemented convoluted mess on top of the mess that is HTML 5, ostensibly an "open standard" but really nothing more than Apple's troll into the increasingly corporation-dominated W3C to squeeze Flash out so anything worth using on their new legion of devices will have to be written using yet more proprietary Cocoa.

Neither Flash nor canvas are in the spirit of HTML, in that they basically provide a blank sheet outside the DOM. If you believe that modular plug-ins fit for purpose are good, Flash is a reasonable approach; if you believe that a heavy monolithic design is appropriate what with the superpower of modern CPUs, HTML5 with canvas is cool. If you actually like HTML, use SVG and build on that standard.

Re:stop it already (2, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211470)

"and you could always write a better one."

Please show me a link to an RTMPE specification.

Reverse engineered ones are not allowed.

"Adobe's player is not great, but it works"
Depends on how you define "working". I define "working" as "can play H.264 video with at most a 50% CPU resource penalty compared to other implementations".

By this definition, it isn't working - a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom has no problem playing Hulu-resolution H.264 video smoothly. (Actually, thanks to rtmpdump, I have tested actual Hulu content), while a 2 GHz Athlon XP slideshows, and an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 + Nvidia 8800GT still has visible framerate stuttering on a regular basis.

Re:stop it already (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211610)

Please show me a link to an RTMPE specification.

Fail, and hard. That's an optional DRM tech (DRM is evil, etc.) which can be used with the Flash VM. You might as well say that Linux is closed because some Linux apps are closed source, or that HTML5 is closed because it's possible to obscure Javascript so much that reverse engineering is required to reimplement some Javascript-based utility.

I define "working" as "can play H.264 video with at most a 50% CPU resource penalty compared to other implementations". By this definition, it isn't working.

By defining Jesus as the appendix, Jesus is in (almost) all of us. Your definition is specious, and your conclusion requires published evidence.

while a 2 GHz Athlon XP slideshows, and an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 + Nvidia 8800GT still has visible framerate stuttering on a regular basis.

You have something broken with your setup. If it were that bad, no-one would actually use Hulu. To wag my little tail, 1.83GHz Intel C2D with a GMA950 running Hulu fine for years, and that's on OS X where Flash is known to be more sucky.

Re:stop it already (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211850)

To add my anecdotal evidence: dual core (before Core 2 came out) Intel laptop with an ATI X1400 mobile machine works just fine with Hulu ... if using Windows anyways. Haven't tried Linux on that one lately, but last time I did, drivers + flash player made stuttery video.

I also have a Q6600 + nVidia 8800 setup and it runs completely smoothly, no problems whatsoever.

Re:stop it already (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211864)

I see tearing on a Q8300 running linux. Flash videos that pan quickly tear even on windows.

Re:stop it already (1)

MistrBlank (1183469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211594)

It is not a standard, and no you can not write a better one or it would have been done.

Stop thinking you know what you're talking about. Until you come back with an IEEE or RFC# where it states that adobe is a standard your input in the matter is useless.

Re:stop it already (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211674)

and no you can not write a better one or it would have been done.

Obvious fallacy. 2/10.

Until you come back with an IEEE or RFC# where it states that adobe is a standard

Until you can come back with a Commandment from God stating that the IEEE or IETF approval are necessary and sufficient before something is labelled "standard", etc etc.

In Other News: No Stop To Gulf Oil Leak (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32211236)

PERIOD !

Yours In Astrakhan,
Kilgore T.

P.S.: N.P.R. IS Commercial Radio ! Simply Listen to the list of sponsors every 15 minutes after 5 minutes for a local station pause followed by 15 minutes of "music" at any_hour:45 a.m. or p.m.

The NPR Website [npr.org] looks as if it was designed by someone from F.ear
O.ppression X.enophobia News, C.N.N., or C.B.S.

 

Its odd ABC did it (2, Insightful)

iccaros (811041) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211286)

I was having this conversation just yesterday. ABC was able to release a IPad app that played the same video they have on Hulu.. the Advertising looks the same.. it looks like they just made hulu play a different format for the IPad. This also brings up a point, why has Adobe not made a player for flash like Apple did with YouTube? it may launch the video in its own player. This would not help for Flash games or it may work the same.. I don't know I do know that Adobe would get more support from me if they created a real app and was denied than just crying about how Apple did not let them. and for Hulu, they have proven to me that they are not really interested in going outside of what they already offer, so its no real surprise that they have not made an app or worked on making the site more compatible with other devices. for me it matters little as Comcast is either filtering and giving less bandwidth to Hulu to make everything I watch pause 3 or 4 times during a show, and Verizon DSL.. Forget it .. not worth the bother if its not the internet than I would go with Hulu can not keep up with streaming video.. but people on FIOS do not have the same issues. so I am sticking with its the fault of the internet provider. I am of the opinion, That content providers talk about streaming media, but still do not see the market.

Re:Its odd ABC did it (1)

flanaganid (900938) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211554)

With the upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 release (warning: potential NDA breakage), app developers can notify the system which file types their app can open. Adobe could conceivably create an app that can open FLV files, and it would work almost exactly like the YouTube app does. When a user comes to a page with a FLV video, they can view it in the FLV player app. And since FLV is mostly just a wrapper for H.264 as it is, all the app would have to do is unwrap it and play it using the built-in video controls.

Now that I think about it, since Adobe is insisting on how "open" FLash is because they've published the file format specs, it's conceivable that almost any dev could implement this.

Re:Its odd ABC did it (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211982)

"Now that I think about it, since Adobe is insisting on how "open" FLash is because they've published the file format specs, it's conceivable that almost any dev could implement this."

Yeah, you'd think, hey? Except there seems to be only one third party Flash player in the wild and that one doesn't work so well.

I've heard the reason is that although Adobe has "published the file format specs" they did it in such a way that it's not exactly easy to implement a proper player. Kind of like MS did with their XML document format.

Adobe wants us all to use their "open" format with their player, on platforms they choose to support. And they always have.

Re:Its odd ABC did it (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211588)

why has Adobe not made a player for flash like Apple did with YouTube?

Because Apple won't allow it. Embedding an interpreter in an app that can load content dynamically is forbidden. For instance, Opera for the iPhone doesn't contain a JavaScript interpreter, the JavaScript is executed on Opera's servers and the end result is compressed and sent to the iPhone. Emulators face the same problem.

Re:Its odd ABC did it (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#32212000)

They could play videos. Flash games, probably not. Videos, no problem.

There are lots of other video player apps for the iPhone.

Re:Its odd ABC did it (2, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211916)

The ABC player is not HTML5, it's a native app.

Customers=advertisers (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211332)

This proves once again that when the customers are advertisers the best solution is Flash. It will be some time before another technology becomes this ad friendly. As the article notes, HTML is great at delivering content, but not DRM or advertising.

I hate Hulu! They're fracturing the internet (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211416)

The proxies don't always work..

Can't we put them out of business? Or at least reduce their clout?

Customer Needs (1)

MistrBlank (1183469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211566)

"We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesn't yet meet all of our customers' needs."

In case you EVER wondered, unless you are an advertiser or owner of content, you are not the customer for Hulu.

hulu has written an HTML5 mission statement (4, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211572)

The HTML5 spec authors would do well to read that hulu blog. If they really want HTML5 to win, they need to provide the support necessary so sites like hulu can do what they want to do.

Really hulu has made it very easy for them, giving them an explicit goal to shoot for.

Re:hulu has written an HTML5 mission statement (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211866)

giving them an explicit goal to shoot for.

Come on now, what standards organization wants to have goals set for them? Seems to be most standards orgs like setting the goals themselves and forcing everyone else to comply.

(which I think is silly, but that does seem to be the way HTML5 standards are being written?)

Everybody wins! (1)

Trufagus (1803250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32211882)

This way everyone wins. Hulu doesn't have to redesign their whole site, and iUsers access the site via an app instead of a website so Steve Jobs gets to maintain his control over his platform. One potential problem would arise if any Hulu content said anything bad about Apple. Remember that apps have been kicked off for mentioning competitors, so surely content that criticized Apple would result in an app getting rejected?
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