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How Hulu, NBC, and Other Sites Block Google TV

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the user-agent-what dept.

Google 338

Shortly after the launch of Google TV, it became clear that several networks and services were blocking access. Reader padarjohn points out a blog post from Lauren Weinstein explaining the blocking mechanisms being used and wondering why it's being tolerated. "Imagine the protests that would ensue if Internet services arbitrarily blocked video only to Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers! Or if Hulu and the other networks decided they'd refuse to stream video to HP and Dell computers because those manufacturers hadn't made deals with the services to the latter's liking." Various workarounds are being used to get around the blocks.

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Google does the same (4, Informative)

devbox (1919724) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153416)

Imagine the protests that would ensue if Internet services arbitrarily blocked video only to Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers! Or if Hulu and the other networks decided they'd refuse to stream video to HP and Dell computers because those manufacturers hadn't made deals with the services to the latter's liking.

You mean like country restrictions?

It would be nice to side with Google here, but they do exactly the same on YouTube. Apply restrictions that content producers require. This time they're just on the other side of the game, and get restricted themself.

Re:Google does the same (1)

shoemilk (1008173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153480)

Being a USian living outside of the US, this is something that bothers me. It's the primary reason I've stopped buying DVDs. Why waste my money on something I can't use? Anyway, this is not similar to contry restrictions. Country restrictions come from copyright issues between companies and countries (Fox Japan buys the rights to almost every American show. On Fox Japan, I watch Burn Notice, Boston Legal, Scrubs, and many other very not-Fox produced shows). and whatnot. I don't see how that is similar to Google TV.

Re:Google does the same (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153596)

I thought region broken DVD players can be easily found in Japan. You might need to ask around.

Re:Google does the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153842)

You can either play the DVD with Linux which depends only on the hardware for region codes (and usually the hardware doesn't need it).
The other trick is to use an USB DVD drive that you set to region 1, allowing you to both read your region DVDs on the main drive and region 1 on the USB one.

If you don't want to use a computer for this, you can always buy a region 1 DVD reader from the US, it will still be compatible with your TV and only costs like $40.

When Web streaming has region restrictions you're mostly screwed, when it's DVDs it's really easier.

Re:Google does the same (1)

shoemilk (1008173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154306)

This is true and is very kind advice. I still prefer the cheaper and free road of saying "fuck you, I'll read a dead tree book."

Re:Google does the same (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153544)

You mean like country restrictions?

There's a huge difference between the two, though. The country restrictions are there due to copyright law. Distributers in other countries could bring legitimate lawsuits against YouTube/Google if they started offering videos everywhere (and the distros would likely win).* With the Hulu/Google issue, it's simply that the networks don't want to play nice -- there are no international laws (or even local ones) prohibiting content from being shown on GoogleTV devices.

*Now all this isn't to say that copyright laws need to change, but since the laws are written and in place, YouTube/Google needs to follow them.

Re:Google does the same (4, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154034)

The more I look into this kind of issues, the harder it becomes to not consider them like a bug in the capitalist/free trade system. I am not sure this makes me a communist but hey.. It is hard to think about copyright as something that helps spread and disseminate culture anymore. And this kind of greed-driven move just goes to the opposite of innovation, and possibilities. I thought this economical system was supposed to transform individual greed into overall progress, but the more I look into it, the more broken it appears to me...

Re:Google does the same (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154080)

Copyright as such is not compatible with free trade, but what ABC, NBC, and CBS do here is.

Re:Google does the same (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34154170)

Country restrictions are NOT due to copyright law; they're due to licensing deals/restrictions between regions.

Re:Google does the same (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154240)

And how exactly can they enforce those restrictions without copyright law?

Re:Google does the same (1)

schon (31600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154320)

Through contract law, just like every other contract ever written.

Re:Google does the same (4, Insightful)

RDW (41497) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153664)

'It would be nice to side with Google here, but they do exactly the same on YouTube. Apply restrictions that content producers require.'

Indeed. Playing around with the new Apple TV yesterday, I found that the full-length programmes on UK Channel 4's YouTube channels (e.g. http://www.youtube.com/4oDDocumentaries [youtube.com] ) aren't accessible with this device even from the UK (they're geographically blocked as well, of course). In this case (basically the same problem iPhone users have with these videos) it seems to be a combination of the usual short-sighted DRM policy from the provider (which fondly imagines serving their stuff only as flv via rtmp makes it 'secure' - presumably they haven't tried RTMPDump!), and Apple's well-known refusal to provide Flash support:

http://getsatisfaction.com/channel4/topics/create_a_iphone_app_for_4od [getsatisfaction.com]

With this sort of nonsense going on all the time, it seems like the only thing you can plug into a TV and make full use of all the (freely and legally!) available content is a media PC with a conventional browser.

Re:Google does the same (0)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153878)

TL;DR:

Google is just as bad. Some of the people using their service have bad policy. And Apple is retarded.

How is this Google's fault exactly?

Re:Google does the same (1)

kevorkian (142533) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153984)

Every time you use the acronym TL;DR ( Too long , Did not read. ) and then ask a question. The internet deity kills a kitten .. Why do you like killing kittens ??

Just think about that for half a moment. Perhaps your question is answered already.

Re:Google does the same (2, Funny)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154014)

Every time you use the acronym TL;DR ( Too long , Did not read. ) and then ask a question. The internet deity kills a kitten .. Why do you like killing kittens ??

Just think about that for half a moment. Perhaps your question is answered already.

No, tl;dr = toodle loo, digital rights!

Re:Google does the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34154120)

In this case, you missed the colon.

"TL;DR:" indicates "here follows a summary for those who found it too long and didn't read", and is used both by the author who's just realized their "quick thought" is really a WOT, or (as seen here) by a replier who valiantly struggled through a couple paragraphs and wishes to spare others that agony.

Re:Google does the same (1)

Kizeh (71312) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153994)

Or when Ebay refused to show me a bunch of listings because my browser included German in the list of accepted content languages -- not even the preferred language, just in the list. Ebay tech support advised me to only allow US English and no other languages if I wanted to see all US listings.

Nobody gives a fuck. Really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153434)

Average Internet users don't give a fuck. They really don't. That's why there aren't any protests.

Re:Nobody gives a fuck. Really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153646)

Imagine the protests that would ensue if Internet services arbitrarily blocked video only to Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers!

I imagine they would be like all those protests that ensued when mozilla users encountered an internet explorer only website - non existant.

Re:Nobody gives a fuck. Really. (1)

headhot (137860) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153702)

Actually they do. I've had alot of people asking about google TV, as a replacement for cable. I've told them all so far don't bother yet. These restrictions create a consumer behavior, i.e. not buying shit.

Use a service which doesn't block you... (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153452)

The more onerous restrictions legitimate services impose, the more people will be drawn towards services that don't impose such restrictions, like thepiratebay.

Negative Scarceness. (5, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153712)

The more onerous restrictions legitimate services impose, the more people will be drawn towards services that don't impose such restrictions, like thepiratebay.

Yes, when will corporations realize that information services are not scarcity driven, but are plentitude driven? The more shows that you provide, the more customers you will attract.

Re:Use a service which doesn't block you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153750)

The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

Re:Use a service which doesn't block you... (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153908)

The more onerous restrictions legitimate services impose, the more people will be drawn towards services that don't impose such restrictions, like thepiratebay.

The Pirate Bay is nothing:

A few weeks ago, video delivery favorite Netflix made headlines with an amazing statistic: twenty percent of all downstream Internet traffic during peak home Internet usage hours in North America.
To put that amazing figure in perspective, that's more than what YouTube, iTunes, Hulu and even Bittorrent each individually manage.
Impressed? Now consider this: Netflix has managed to account for 20% of the North American internet's collective broadband without a streaming-only subscription service. Though one has just been introduced at a lower price, the 20% number was achieved without one...
Now consider this: that 20% of all internet traffic? It was accomplished by a mere 2% of Netflix's subscribers.
Netflix's streaming growth might be too much for the Internet to handle [geek.com]

Netflix has 15 million subscribers. 2% of 15 million is 300,000.

The Netflix client is in your HDTV, Blu-Ray player, video game console and set-top box.

The HD video stream is seconds away from launch.

Not without precedent... (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153454)

...the same thing happened with Boxee and Hulu after Boxee supposedly had Hulu's blessing to integrate Hulu into Boxee. A little while later, Hulu Desktop was released. I guess the networks want people using their TVs to watch their on the actual TV channels.

Re:Not without precedent... (2, Informative)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154288)

We cant blame them, at least from what I have read. From what I read a while back, Studios license their content to these sites with explisit conditions that it's for computer viewing only. When a setup box can leach the videos, the service providers (like Hulu) get in trouble with the content owners and are forced to take action to stop it.

To be able to stream to TVs they need to get special licenses, that is why Hulu Plus does not have the same content as regular PC Web Hulu.

Netflix sort of dodges that bullet by foresight. They jumped into video streaming early, and they also got license for console streaming before launching the XBox version (some may recall Sony pictures did not grant license right away and were restricted to only play in PCs.)

At the end of the day, they want different fees and licensing terms if the stuff is going to be streamed to TVs, and I bet viewership be tracked by device and reported back.

OTOH. Wait... What OH? (5, Interesting)

hhedeshian (1343143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153456)

From TFA: "Ironically, NBC -- one of the networks blocking Google TV -- offers a CNBC Google TV application for fans of its news channel."
This seems to clearly be a case of one hand not knowing the other hand is doing.

From T[o]FA: "Google TV isn’t totally a lost cause ... because of the generosity of Comcast ... streams just about everything to Google TV: ABC, NBC, Fox, all but CBS ... The ironic part is that the content seems to be provided by Hulu itself"
Wait... How many fucking hands do I have?

Sometimes I really wonder is these media companies are just run by pre-pubescent boys. Does someone have the invitee list to the CEOs' birthday parties?

Re:OTOH. Wait... What OH? (2, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153630)

The networks are trying to protect their money. To them, letting people watch their shows on computers broadens their market. Letting people watch their shows on GoogleTV or similar set top devices on a TV undermines their higher paying conventional TV market, they generally get a lot more money from ads on TV and carriage agreements than they do with Hulu.

Re:OTOH. Wait... What OH? (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154056)

And for someone like me who doesn't have cable, blocking Google TV (and similar) ensures they get zero ad money. I hate watching shows on a computer monitor.

Re:OTOH. Wait... What OH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34154182)

Hook your computer to your television.

If your computer or television lacks necessary hardware, and was purchased in the last decade, GTFO /. (GTFO my lawn, too; I remember when most personal computers only had some flavor of tv-out for display, and now that computers can finally provide all your visual entertainment, and lossless digital cabling is the norm, everyone's internalized that late-'90s notion that a computer only hooks to a computer monitor.

Re:OTOH. Wait... What OH? (1)

Elbart (1233584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153668)

So TV and online-streams get the horrible and unneccesary app-treatment, too?

Re:OTOH. Wait... What OH? (2, Informative)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154250)

This seems to clearly be a case of one hand not knowing the other hand is doing.

Im going to go with its a case of CNBC and NBC having different internal rules as a result of the planned diversification that GE/NBC has been doing for over 25 years now.

Or in other words;
This parent comment seems to clearly be a case of someone not having the slightest idea of the organizational elements of a large corporation, and instead distilling it down to an incorrectly simplified idea.

Re:OTOH. Wait... What OH? (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154338)

From TFA: "Ironically, NBC -- one of the networks blocking Google TV -- offers a CNBC Google TV application for fans of its news channel."

This seems to clearly be a case of one hand not knowing the other hand is doing.

Not really. The thing is, news streaming and show streaming are not the same thing. When was the last time you saw "The NBC Night Time News 2010 Season Complete DVD Box Set" for sale at Best Buy? Networks don't fear as much to put news streaming online because they live off current news (unlike print-to-web news that now wants to live on yesterday's news.) They do sell Chuck and other Shows on DVD, and they license it to Netflix and Hulu Plus for hard cash, so they reuse that content a lot. Allowing anyone to leach it off is not something they will do without heavy considerations on how this will impact their other licensing deals.

When you think about it, it just makes sense that they will treat News and Entertainment content in different ways.

who's website is it anyway? (5, Insightful)

burne (686114) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153468)

I've been blocking certain sites and services for certain groups like forever. If you live in a specific Asian country you haven't been able to send email to me or any of my users for like ten years.

It's my website, and I allow or disallow you to see my content. Just like I allow or disallow people to enter my house. Why should things be different when you are Hulu, NBC or anybody/anything else? Within the bounds of law anybody has a right to discriminate.

Re:who's website is it anyway? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153478)

I hate asians too!

Re:who's website is it anyway? (3, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153482)

My immediate thought was, isn't this more like blocking hot linking of images? Plenty of sites do that, it's not a bad thing at all.

Re:who's website is it anyway? (1)

hhedeshian (1343143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153506)

"blocking hot linking of images" is primarily done to save bandwidth and to force people to view your page for whatever reason (most likely ad money). I would presume that the same Hulu ads would be streamed to you if you used Google TV so why care? It's the same bandwidth whether or not I use the website or Google TV. It's not like Hulu shows external ads on the pages its self.

Re:who's website is it anyway? (2, Interesting)

burne (686114) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153572)

'saving bandwidth' is not the term I would use. I call it 'stealing bandwidth and services'.

Hulu has every right to dictate how you may use their content. Being liberal in what they allow would be smart, since more viewers means more eyeballs for their advertisers, but at the end of the day it is their right and no-one else's.

Re:who's website is it anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153926)

I'm willing to bet it isn't Hulu's choice to do this at all. Their content providers are afraid of people switching to internet tv because their business model doesn't make as much money there. They are afraid of losing more eyeballs from broadcast tv to internet tv, that's all.

Re:who's website is it anyway? (1)

astar (203020) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154202)

Perhaps like hot-linking. But I think the real thread is as to a motivation that also generates such concepts as "electricity as a luxury items" and opposition to its general availability. This is historical, say pre- 1960's and not some more recent greenie thing. Hmm, well I could make the relationship, but the concepts are more subtle. At least in my area of the US, the defense of scarcity for electricity got really pretty nasty, up the point that the Bonneville Power Administration was online and the creepy-crawlers had lost that particular battle.

But the simple idea of scarcity goes back to "the hatred of goods". The usual cite is to how merchants who had inventory, scarce and sold dearly, hated it when new stock came in on the sailing ships of the day.

Hmm, looking around for my source (probably Smith or Ricardo or someone like that), and having pushed back all the way to B.C., I came across this:

http://samvak.tripod.com/scarcity.html [tripod.com]

which was not too bad.

I was particularly amused to find that I had heard of him with respect to his psych publications.

-1, not getting it (-1, Troll)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153566)

You block asia? Fine, be a racist asshole but you are NOT blocking emails from pine are you? So how is this comparable to what Hulu is doing. They are BOTH blocking on region AND device. That copyright means the world wide web isn't, is bad enough. But now they are also determining what hardware/software you can use. What if it becomes IE only? You still will be saying the same? So MS only has to buy up enough content to turn the web IE only?

Take take corporate dick out of your mouth for long enough to think clearly for a while.

You have opened the door to: Petrol stations only selling to Ford trucks. Busses only accepting gold platinum credit cards and therefor not picking up poor people == black people. Discrimiation of services is a very slippery slope. And you got corporate dick so far up your mouth you can't see anything but pubic hair.

Re:-1, not getting it (1)

burne (686114) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153666)

Since when is blocking one specific Asian country being a racist asshole? You don't even know which country, or why.

If Hulu would block anything but IE that's fine by me. They have the right to do so. I for one wouldn't let a shortshigted biggot like you in my house and I have every right to do so.

If they did they would lose a lot of subscribers. And all those former subscribers would find another way to view the same content. Who is losing what?

Let's assume that Shell would only sell petrol to Ford trucks. Exactly how long would it take for them to go bust? Most petrol stations are francises. If you force the fancisee to lose two-thirds of his turnover he would gladly change sides and go with another brand. Exit market-share, and a couple of months later exit Shell America.

Should Goverment step in and force Shell to sell to all brands? Would you like to live in a nanny-state where goverment dictates who to sell to, or who not to sell to? And since your goverment dictates who to admit to websites and shops, it's a small step for that goverment to dictate who may enter your house.

Slippery slope indeed.

Re:-1, not getting it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153808)

Uh, guy? This is Slashdot.

We know you're blocking China, and we know it's under the guise of spam. Which is hilarious, given that the US produces so much more spam than China. :p

Re:-1, not getting it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153882)

Since when is blocking one specific Asian country being a racist asshole? You don't even know which country, or why.

Enlighten us, then? I'm tending towards the GP's appraisal of your specific blocking as a racist action (if not a sign of racism as such), but I'm willing to be educated. (That said: only blocking "one specific country" is actually not an argument in your favor, IMO, quite the opposite.)

Would you like to live in a nanny-state where goverment dictates who to sell to, or who not to sell to? And since your goverment dictates who to admit to websites and shops, it's a small step for that goverment to dictate who may enter your house.

You know, any merit that your points may have is really going out the window as soon as you start throwing around terms like "nanny-state" (a meaningless term used by right-wingers when they run out of actual arguments) and constructing ridiculously unrealistic slippery slopes. Yeah, it's a small step for the government to dictate who may enter your house, indeed! It's also a small step for the government to clone Adolf Hitler, have him gay-marry Lenin's zombie corpse, and create a pinko commie fascist dictatorship.

I'm not sure if you're just yakking on because you enjoy listening to yourself (or reading your own comments) or whether you're genuinely trying to convince people who read your comments of your position, but if it's the latter, you really need to try a different approach.

Re:-1, not getting it (1)

defaria (741527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153906)

If Hulu would block anything but IE that's fine by me. They have the right to do so. I for one wouldn't let a shortshigted biggot like you in my house and I have every right to do so.

It's not about rights - it's about intelligence and shooting yourself in the foot.

Let's assume that Shell would only sell petrol to Ford trucks. Exactly how long would it take for them to go bust? Most petrol stations are francises. If you force the fancisee to lose two-thirds of his turnover he would gladly change sides and go with another brand. Exit market-share, and a couple of months later exit Shell America.

Demonstrably false. There are plenty of after market resellers for Ford products. They don't sell stuff for Chevy or Chrysler, yet the managed to stay in business. Can Shell switch to be a gas company that only sells to Fords. Sure they can. It'd be a much less profitable business through.

Should Goverment step in and force Shell to sell to all brands? Would you like to live in a nanny-state where goverment dictates who to sell to, or who not to sell to? And since your goverment dictates who to admit to websites and shops, it's a small step for that goverment to dictate who may enter your house.

Slippery slope indeed.

Hey, HEY! This is 'merica here! We're already socialist to a large degree. The government dictates to us all the time. I highly doubt that Shell could say "We're selling to only Ford cars" and get away with it here. Try opening a shop that sells to only whites or only men or only smokers or only blondes. You can't! The government is already involved.

Oh I fully believe you should be able to and you should suffer what you may in the free market place for choosing that business model but alas my "free society" government disagrees with me and should I attempt to exercise my rights to discriminate I will be tossed into jail at the point of a gun.

Re:-1, not getting it (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154160)

Demonstrably false. There are plenty of after market resellers for Ford products. They don't sell stuff for Chevy or Chrysler, yet the managed to stay in business. Can Shell switch to be a gas company that only sells to Fords. Sure they can. It'd be a much less profitable business through.

No, the GP is correct. Shell stations sell something that is useful in any brand of vehicle whereas the aftermarket resellers sell things which are designed for use specifically in Ford products as in they could sell them to owners of other makes of vehicle, but they wouldn't fit.

Re:-1, not getting it (1)

burne (686114) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154176)

In generic legal terms an agreement is formed when one party makes an offer and the other party accepts the offer. (IANAL and do not live in America, but to the best of my knowledge this part of law is fairly generic). If Shell doesn't offer to sell gas to Chrysler-owners there's no way to complete on any agreement. Which is a good thing. Otherwise you could walk into your neighborhood grocery and demand them to sell you a pound of beef. If it's not on offer you cannot buy it, period. If an offer is conditional and you do not accept and fulfill the conditions you cannot buy it, another period.

Same goes for Hulu.

But, vote with your wallet and take your business elsewhere. If sufficient numbers do, they will see the light. (or more acurately, miss the stink of money..)

Re:-1, not getting it (2, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153730)

You block asia?

No, he said that he is blocking "a specific Asian country".

Fine, be a racist asshole

How do you know he was doing it to be racist? Perhaps there were significant problems almost exclusively associated with usage/abuse from a particular country that would justify blocking it.

Bottom line is that I don't even know if I'm playing Devil's advocate here, because there isn't really enough info in the original to determine if he's being a racist dick or not. And nor is there enough info to point the finger and yell "racist!"- every time someone does so on Slashdot when there is a hint of by-area blocking just makes them sound like the boy that cried wolf.

Re:-1, not getting it (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154190)

Probably because he is racist. People with issues related to bigotry like to couch it in ways like the GGP does in order to legitimize it. But he's blocking emails on a blanket basis for his users and I doubt very much that the country in question is really spamming any more than other countries.

This is the sort of thinking which leads Latinos in the US to be arrested more often following traffic stops than white folks. Despite similar rates of compliance with police instructions.

Re:who's website is it anyway? (1)

lazuli42 (219080) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153586)

I completely agree with you.

Blocking content from people using certain browsers might be bad business, but I don't see any reason why the law should deign to notice. Your property, your equipment, your configuration, your rights.

Re:who's website is it anyway? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154148)

Because we effectively had that for years and all that happened was stagnation in the browser market. I remember when I first moved over to Firefox back before it was Firefox and it was a challenge at times getting things done because so many sites were hardwired to only work with IE. Sure they didn't formally block other browsers, but they might as well have given that they'd use tricks which were wholly unusable on other browsers and they'd use plug ins which weren't available beyond Windows.

Re:who's website is it anyway? (4, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153604)

They have the right but that doesn't mean that we have to like it.
The reality is that TV used to be free. You put up an antenna and got TV for free. The networks made money by showing commercials. What consumers want is a return to that type of system. We do not want to pay $100 plus dollars for two hundred channels of which we watch 5. This is going to be the new reality and the Networks need to get a grip on it. The Cable TV model is passing. My mother in law lives near Dallas and gets all her TV OVA again. She gets like 30 channels and all the networks for free.
Where I live that isn't an option which is too bad so my wife and I are probably just going to drop Cable and watch Hulu. The one channel we really want is CBS for Big Bang Theory but we are willing to stop watching that to save a thousand plus dollars a year.
If the other networks want to not have us watch that is their business or lack of.
 

Re:who's website is it anyway? (5, Interesting)

burne (686114) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153720)

They have the right but that doesn't mean that we have to like it. The reality is that TV used to be free. You put up an antenna and got TV for free. The networks made money by showing commercials.

If they block you they are not showing their commercials to you, and they are losing money. That is what you should be telling them. Companies need money, rejecting customers is losing money, or at the very least leaving money (that they could earn) to a competitor.

You don't want goverment stepping in, you want corporate greed winning from stupid RIAA/MPAA-inspired blocks.

Within the bounds of law... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153804)

But not within normal business sense, unless you are the RIAA and like pissing on potential customers.

Re:Within the bounds of law... (1)

burne (686114) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153864)

RIAA/MPAA-customers like to be pissed on, otherwise they would leave. Right?

(think about it, next time you are waiting for that FBI-warning to disappear..)

Re:who's website is it anyway? (1)

defaria (741527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153856)

Nobody gives a rat's ass about you! Whereas people care about Hulu. Sure Hulu, can discriminate if they want - NYTimes does, for example. It's within their rights and go for it. However don't be surprised when people start ignoring you.

Re:who's website is it anyway? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154062)

I've been blocking certain sites and services for certain groups like forever. If you live in a specific Asian country you haven't been able to send email to me or any of my users for like ten years.

And we see that this is the second part of the Great Firewall; making sysadmins around the world block China. And all they had to do was spam and hack a little. It was a win/win scenario.

Re:who's website is it anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34154126)

Just as much as anybody has a right to criticize and express an opinion.

You can choose to ignore them, but those are your clients you are ignoring.

Re:who's website is it anyway? (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154194)

It's my website, and I allow or disallow you to see my content. Just like I allow or disallow people to enter my house. Why should things be different when you are Hulu, NBC or anybody/anything else? Within the bounds of law anybody has a right to discriminate.

This is missing the point. Who cares what they have a legal right to do? A billionaire has the legal right to buy up all the farmland in Africa and salt the ground so nothing will grow. That doesn't mean people can't express their displeasure, refrain from doing business with that person or advocate changing the law so that they don't have that legal right anymore.

Re:who's website is it anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34154222)

Sure, you have the right to do that, but you're still an asshole for doing it. Just because you have a right to do something doesn't mean that you're free from criticism.

I bet google regrets not adding bittorrent client (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153550)

BitTorrent technology is legal & open to all, then they wouldn`t have to worry about corporate a holes with little you know what syndrome blocking them.

Allow users to set user-agent/etc themselves (2, Interesting)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153562)

Google should just make an advanced configuration settings page, and let users set whatever user-agent/etc they want there.

If users can edit all of the http request headers, then there will be no way for providers to filter by browser/etc. They just need to put in the headers for IE9 or whatever and they're done.

Google of course should not distribute anything with those settings to stay in the clear.

Don't worry - the average consumer is pretty smart and they'll get their smart next-door-neighbor's kid to set them up.

About the only way studios could block this would be to put keys/certificates on boxes that they want to provide content to. That will last about as long as HDCP...

Re:Allow users to set user-agent/etc themselves (5, Informative)

corby (56462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153642)

Google should just make an advanced configuration settings page, and let users set whatever user-agent/etc they want there.

As the linked article states, Google does allow users to set their user-agent. The video content sites are blocking on the Flash Version ID, and Adobe does not provide a mechanism for changing that.

CNBC is a default app (for now) on GoogleTV (1)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153578)

Seems odd that CNBC would be an "early adopter" and NBC would be actively sandbagging the same project.

http://www.multichannel.com/article/458030-Google_TV_Tunes_To_Turner_HBO_CNBC_Netflix_And_Others.php [multichannel.com]

Re:CNBC is a default app (for now) on GoogleTV (1)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154212)

Not odd at all.

NBC is the parent company, which has subsidiary companies below it; like CNBC and MSNBC.

Each of those smaller companies is designed to have a degree of independence from the main corporation(NBC). This allows them to each chose what sets of rules to live by, which in effect gives NBC a pool of running experiments. Some will have desirable outcomes, and some will have undesirable outcomes.

MSNBC has different rules than CNBC, and for current evidence of that all you need to do is look at the suspension of Kieth Olberman from MSNBC. He was suspended for making donations against company policy to political groups. If CNBC had a similar rule, well Larry Kudlow would have been gone long ago for exactly the same thing.

What you see if the end result of the diversification inside NBC, from the customer side. And from that side, its probably annoying.

USER-AGENT (1)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153582)

When I first heard hulu (and others) were blocking GoogleTV, I immediately imagined they were going off the user-agent string. Of course, what else could they really use? But I'm told they began blocking GoogleTV even though people were changing their user-agent string to MSIE strings. How the hell do they do it?

Your typical GoogleTV appliance will be behind a NAT gateway, and it will make relatively ordinary web requests. It's not like they're using os fingerprinting or something. The networks can't come back and scan your device. That doesn't make sense. So how would they that? Is it something in the streaming protocol (flash)? It's mysterious to me.

Re:USER-AGENT (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153632)

Flash can report back the os it is using with no way to spoof it right now they been using this method to block android phones from hulu now for awhile.

Re:USER-AGENT (1)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153716)

Seems like you could modify whatever flash reads or modify flash itself...

Re:USER-AGENT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153752)

You could but you would need google to do that or to root your tv and build an custom rom.

Re:USER-AGENT (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153988)

Proxy

Re:USER-AGENT (4, Informative)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153640)

Read the articles and you will be enlightened.

No problem ... don't index (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153590)

If there's no content there to see, I guess Google can leave NBC, ABC, CBS, and other networks out of their search index. I'm sure the networks' advertisers will understand.

Re:No problem ... don't index (2, Interesting)

MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153814)

theres backlash with that too though. If Google excluded them from search they'd be defeating them selves by providing inferior service. Customers would soon notice. If they did something like that i'd start buying shares in MSFT, Bing would hit a whole new level of acceptability.

Re:No problem ... don't index (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153830)

+1

Always Alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153598)

There's always FilmOn.com, and plenty of other sites that allow "free tv" with recording capabilities.

It's their channel... (2, Informative)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153602)

Owners of a content distribution channel for content are attempting to exercise their right to control how that channel is accessed, albeit in a stupid and pointless way! Horror!

What about by brower? (2, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153934)

You say that facetiously, like it's not a big deal, but as the article points out, how long before this spreads to differentiating between what browser you're using?

I can easily imagine a scenario where a company like Hulu might start making exclusive distribution deals with someone like Microsoft. If you're not using Internet Explorer, you'll get a message that says something like, "We're sorry, but this program is only available to users using Internet Explorer 10. Click here to download the latest version..." Sure, you can edit the User Agent string, but most people won't bother. Users using Linux, Macs, etc. can outright be blocked based on the Adobe ID just as GoogleTV users are being blocked now from the shows as the article points out.

I agree with the the article. Some new legal framework needs to be set up so that discrimination based on platform like this is not legal. I know that it sounds harsh, but as long as it's legal and companies are willing and able to extort other companies for lucrative exclusive contracts, this is going to be extremely ugly.

Feeling forgetful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34154058)

I can easily imagine the past, when any number of websites decided that they needed to detect your browser, and then essentially tell you to fuck off if you weren't using internet explorer.

Or did you think that was abolished when version 2.0 of the Web was rolled out?

Re:Feeling forgetful? (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154286)

The difference is that idiots who did that in the past did it because they were technically ignorant and did so because they were trying to shoehorn people onto a known platform that they knew their stuff would work on. Now that the standards are established so that real technical limitations of the past are irrelevant, I don't know of any site that does that.

Now, instead, it will be not because of any technical reason their stuff will or won't work; they'll be doing it because of licensing deals and exclusive contracts. It's purely an administrative decision based on revenue.

Re:What about by brower? (2, Informative)

grumling (94709) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154150)

You mean like what happened when I tried to watch a program that was posted here [frbatlanta.org] yesterday and couldn't because the FED uses Microsoft codecs to stream their content?

Re:It's their channel... (1)

danherbert (1848332) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154284)

Would you feel the same way if stations blocked specific brands of televisions from viewing their broadcasts?

Google blocking is a 2-way street (4, Interesting)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153650)

Google can't complain about this until they stop the ridculous blocking of YouTube content on certain devices. I have an Android phone and around 1 in 3 videos I try to view on YouTube have a "not available on mobiles" error message.

I would guess that this is a 'security' option given to video uploaders. But why? Why allow someone to watch a video on their desktop or laptop, but not on their mobile? Much is made of having YouTube "built in" to mobiles, so why hold back progress by making the mobile world off-limits for certain content?

Re:Google blocking is a 2-way street (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153686)

It's hard to say without doing research on the subject, but I'm thinking it has more to do with the physical constraints of mobiles than any kind of IP / DRM shenanigans.

One of my current phone's selling points was that it was "internet capable," but I have not once seen anything other than the upper-right corner of any site including ones that said they were suitable for mobile devices. If 2 out of 3 videos work fine for you then I'd say you've got a really good device.

Re:Google blocking is a 2-way street (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153758)

Sounds dubious. How about backing that up with links to videos you claim are blocked? Many people here can then trying them on a lot of different platforms.

Re:Google blocking is a 2-way street (1)

Taedirk (870181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153858)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRuNxHqwazs [youtube.com] (Powerthirst). Top result on youtube when searching for "powerthirst", but doesn't show up when searching via youtube app on my android. Direct link shows "Not available on Mobile" error.

Re:Google blocking is a 2-way street (5, Informative)

whong09 (1307849) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153880)

www.droidforums.net/forum/droid-general-discussions/57157-youtube-blocking-moble-devices.html

It's legitimate. And it's also happening to me.

I own a CM6 rooted Froyo android phone and I've had this problem with some youtube videos being inaccessible ever since I've had the phone. That this isn't common knowledge is just surprising.

Re:Google blocking is a 2-way street (4, Informative)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154166)

Google isn't your problem there man. Those videos aren't allowed due to the content creator. Right now the mobile devices don't support Google's advertising system on YouTube. So if you can't see the ads that overlay the video, you can't see the video.

Re:Google blocking is a 2-way street (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154206)

You could also ask: Why allow someone to watch video in US of A and not in Europe?

I guess it is about what is goal of your video. Is it viral ad? Virals over PC are resent, Virals on mobile are shown in person (depriving watchers a link he could resend). Is it straight ad? Maybe mobile users are not part of your intended audience. It is traffic souce? You do not want some sites to be visited by mobile user (eshops for example).

Re:Google blocking is a 2-way street (2, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154360)

It's probably because they aren't delivering the content via Flash and the HTML5 version doesn't yet support ads. Meaning that those were probably videos where the person uploaded it requiring ads and they can't presently show ads with HTML5. I'm not sure why all mobile devices are blocked, but I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that most Android phones don't support flash properly or at all.

Not saying that's necessarily the case, but it's not necessarily them being mean and short sighted.

Leverage (1, Funny)

entotre (1929174) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153674)

Google would have a better case to make if they had not threatened to block their content for facebook just yesterday. http://goo.gl/WyBJM [goo.gl] (slashdot.org)

Take a lesson out of Google's/Facebook playback (5, Insightful)

gru3hunt3r (782984) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153774)

Hmm.. well Google ultimately (at the moment) has the most control.

What they did with the Facebook address book is interesting - they said "you either play nice, or we won't" - and that's a VERY interesting corporate precedent they've established.
It basically translates into a simple "quid pro quo" - or perhaps even better "we only have to play nice, when others do".

What I'd like to see Google announce tomorrow --
Okay NBC, Hulu, etc. our new policy: we won't index sites which decide to arbitrarily support devices due to "incompatible business models" ..

and poof - from one moment to the next there will be a big black smoking crater where those websites once were in the google index.

I don't see why Google.com should be expected to maintain a compatibility database for sites, and return different results so they don't accidentally send Google TV viewers to NBC, Hulu, etc. it's probably easier for them to just drop those offending sites until they "work out their technical difficulties".

Alternatively Google can just put up big red warning messages adjacent to search results that basically say "this site is broken, it may not work correctly" as sort of a warning that "you either fix it, or we'll drop you in 30 days" or something like that.

"I will shit on the towel of anybody who pee's in the pool."

Re:Take a lesson out of Google's/Facebook playback (1)

entotre (1929174) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153894)

I think that would quckly bring the argument of "I can find XYZ on google but not 60 minutes" into play. XYZ being something indelicate. .

Re:Take a lesson out of Google's/Facebook playback (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34153972)

Dammit, my mod points expired yesterday. That's actually quite a good idea. I hate corporate pissing matches, but the fact is that I suspect that these network need Google a hell of a lot more than Google needs these networks.

everyone is clueless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34153872)

The reason people don't want google stripping video from their sties, is because they provide the videos for free so people go to their sites. Google TV is basically just hijacking content. Content is not free. No one is entitled to snatch content from sites, unless they are allowing download of the content. And let me tell you, nobody is doing that. While Google TV is banned, it gives people a reason to visit these sites.

UA sniffing (2)

General Wesc (59919) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154000)

Imagine the protests that would ensue if Internet services arbitrarily blocked video only to Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers!

Is that meant to be ironic? This was standard practice until a few years ago and I still come across it from time to time.

Why Isn't this a Net Neutrality Issue? (1)

anorlunda (311253) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154052)

It makes little sense to me to waste so much hot air and lobbying effort to regulate what ISPs can and cannot do if non-ISP parties can accomplish the same evil means.

Hulu, Apple, Google Android, TV networks, Microsoft. It's hard to think of a player in the net market who is not trying to restrict unfettered access to any and all apps and uses. I don't understand why people get so worked up if an ISP wants to throttle competitor's video, but they easily accept that Apple's Itunes store wants to refuse competing apps from getting to the Iphone. Aren't they nearly identical issues?

In many cases, the vendors are using fights against malware to get their toe in the door to regulate content. We must remember that neutrality is like free speech. Popular speech doesn't need protection, the most hated speech does.

Since language is all important in today's politics, I suggest that Network Neutrality is a misnomer. It suggests that it is an issue only for network providers. A more appropriate term would be Freedom of Internet and in the purest form it would forbid any party from inhibiting what anybody else does on the Internet, good or evil. I'm pretty sure that non of us want total Freedom of Internet any more than we want total Free Speech. But the debate would be best served by starting with total freedom as a starting point, then carefully carving out the exceptions we want to make.
   

Re:Why Isn't this a Net Neutrality Issue? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154352)

It makes little sense to me to waste so much hot air and lobbying effort to regulate what ISPs can and cannot do if non-ISP parties can accomplish the same evil means.

Clearly, you have little understanding of what Net Neutrality is and why it is important. Without net neutrality, real competition on the Internet won't exist -- because the cost of entry will be too high. Without net neutrality, there will not be real free speech -- free speech needs outlets and if money can not only gain prominence for its own speech but also block the outlets for others, free speech dies.

If websites don't want to serve some potential consumers, this is completely different. If a newspaper doesn't want to sell its papers in a certain area, who has lost? Free speech has not lost because alternative sources are still available.

If a wedsite doesn't want to serve all comers, that may be cause for concern, but don't confuse it with net neutrality.

Not for anything but (3, Interesting)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154136)

Google's Market Cap is currently at $199.88 Billion dollars. ABC is $86.45 Billion, CBS is $39.7 Million, and NBC is for all practical purposes a part of GE so they're not a target.

You could well see a Google takeover of ABC and CBS. That would be interesting.

Hulu Hypocrisy (1)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154280)

I see. Hulu says you can't play their content on Google TV... nor an iPhone... UNLESS you pay them for it. Hulu Plus. But the very same content can be had for free if I happen to have my laptop with me. So, is their plan to slowly pick and choose who they want to have to pay? I predict Hulu Plus for Google TV any day now.

God, I hate Flash.

Subject (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34154322)

"Imagine the protests that would ensue if Internet services arbitrarily blocked video only to Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers!"

Er, I can probably name half a dozen sites that do just that, and a lot worse. Anyone remember the Olympics where only Silverlight (and hence Windows) could be used to view the online streaming video? Or ITV Player which only worked on Silverlight (and was later changed to Flash because they were losing viewers left, right and center)? Or BBC iPlayer that can't download to Linux machines without hacks (and can't play online without Flash)?

This happens all day, every day. The difference is that nobody bothers to notice - it's a self-fulfilling prophecy - if you only want people with IE to watch your streams, only people with IE will watch your streams. If that fits into your business model, it's good, if it doesn't, that's bad. But, hell, that's happened since the first day that there was more than one option to display content.

For a generic video site, it's an incredibly stupid business decision to limit yourself to one possible type of viewing apparatus. For some particular content providers, that's *exactly* what you want. It's nothing new at all.

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