Web television exists and isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. And links between the Internet and the living room are increasing as the options for watching online content on televisions grow. Unfortunately, not everyone seems comfortable with the revolution that is currently taking place.
Just a day after disappearing from TV.com, Hulu has announced its content will be disappearing from Boxee, the cross-platform media center that brings online video to living room televisions. But while Hulu itself may have been to blame for the TV.com debacle, it looks as though the cable companies could be to blame for the latest incident.
Boxee and Hulu
We took a look at Boxee in January after it added new content in the form of MTV, Joost, and the BBC iPlayer. The free, open-source application is mightily impressive, allowing its legions of fans to access tons of Web television in one central location. What’s more, it optimizes the clips for the device it’s being viewed on.
Hulu was one of the earliest additions to Boxee, with all its content being available through the app for some time, although it was obviously still limited to U.S. users only. But from Friday, Hulu will disappear from Boxee until further notice.
A Parting Of Ways
Both Boxee and Hulu blogged about the issues surrounding Hulu content streaming through Boxee.
Boxee expresses its support and admiration for Hulu. According to the blog post, Hulu asked for content to be removed two weeks ago, and there has since followed a spate of pleas for Hulu to change its mind. But those pleas have come to nothing.
Hulu puts the blame squarely on the content providers, stating they asked for access to be turned off. Hulu CEO, Jason Kilar, states that the company firmly believes in media convergence but that it has to bow to its content partners, without whom Hulu wouldn’t even exist.
Cable Companies To Blame?
It’s highly unlikely that content providers would have suddenly decided they didn’t like Boxee, at least without some external pressure which was then pushed down the line to Hulu. Which means the finger of blame for this situation has to be pointed at the cable companies.
Many people, especially in light of the economic crisis, are looking to online television and media convergence solutions as a way of being able to cancel their cable television subscriptions. After all, why pay for something when a broadband connection and a piece of free software can offer similar programming?
Cable companies are seeing declines in subscriber numbers, and the availability of premium content on the Web surely has something to do with that. So those companies are bound to have something to say to the content providers which they pay carriage fees to in order to have their programming on their service.
Time To Embrace
What they don’t seem to realize is that the world is changing, and stopping Hulu content being viewed through Boxee will not save them. After all, determined viewers can still watch Hulu content through their television using a browser.
This is clearly a kick in the teeth for Boxee, which has already stated how importan Hulu was to its line-up. But the big loser is likely to be Hulu, which may find viewer streaming figures down due to Boxee users eschewing the content altogether. And the cable companies? They will continue to fight a losing battle, and like Hollywood, only turn the corner when they embrace rather than seek to destroy.
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