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ABC/Disney Considering Hulu 192

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

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  • The problem... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:00AM (#27386927)

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

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

    • Re:The problem... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by flitty (981864) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:17AM (#27387105)
      You seem to be referring to ABC's horrific website streaming model, which often brings up a separate website to show you the ad, and then makes you click after a determined amount of time to start the show again. Not only that, it also resizes your fullscreen and the volume level is never consistant. Sounds like ABC needs to join up with Hulu to avoid the warnings you are giving them. I don't know of a way to block Hulu's ads, and frankly, I don't care to, considering most of the ads are under 30 seconds, and I WANT internet tv to succeed.

      Given that 90% of the people I know still use IE, or Firefox without Adblock, I don't think that ad blocking in streaming videos is much of a concern yet.
      • Re:The problem... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Monday March 30, 2009 @10:03AM (#27387645)

        I WANT internet tv to succeed.

        I don't, I'd rather the internet superseded TV; these webTV websites like Hulu leave the same old content syndicates in charge of when you watch, what you watch, and what you watch with it (no Boxee or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

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

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

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

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

          by goltzc (1284524) on Monday March 30, 2009 @10:29AM (#27387997)
          I dislike commercials during my shows as much as the next person but as a business model goes, I think hulu will be able to take it to the next level. As an advertiser you want to put your product in front of the eyes most likely to purchase your stuff.

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

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

          Now if Adobe would make a flash player for Linux that was able to play full screen 480p streaming from Hulu well, I would be all set to cancel my cable subscription.
          • Hulu seems to average ~2 minutes of advertising per show. Sometimes less.

            TV averages ~18 minutes.

            TV has roughly 10x the advertising. I'd take Hulu over that any day. Sadly, they don't allow Canadians to watch.

          • by mattack2 (1165421)

            I don't even mind the ads on Hulu because they are 15-30 seconds instead of 2 minutes or more on regular TV. That's not even long enough to make it worth my while to skip past the commercials.

            I don't think I've watched a full show online yet (I have a few times caught the very end of a show I missed due to not padding enough on Tivo or not being able to pad due to conflicting shows in the next time slot).

            I certainly jump to MUTE the online commercials (which also show up on news video stories). So, while I

          • by Eil (82413)

            I don't even mind the ads on Hulu because they are 15-30 seconds instead of 2 minutes or more on regular TV.

            This will change, mark my words.

            When hulu started, there were no ads. Then they started putting "this program brought to you by so-and-so" in the beginning. Then they started inserting one or two very short ads per show. Now they're up to just as many commercial breaks as "regular" TV. (More, actually, on some older shows.) Next we'll start seeing 2 or more ads per break and it'll be the same as regul

        • Re:The problem... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by flitty (981864) on Monday March 30, 2009 @10:36AM (#27388095)

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

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

          I'd rather a simple purchase/rent model myself

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

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

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

        • See the problem though is that all of those antiquated old media "TV Stations" make all the shows worth watching. Granted they make a lot of crap too, and very occasionally something like "Dr Horrible" comes along outside the structure, but in general the "stations" fund the studios and the studios make the content that is worth watching (along with lots of content that isn't). You-tube has proved that while there are a few creative individuals out there who can make amusing shorts and cute videoettes on

        • by j1mmy (43634)

          when you watch

          you can watch any content on hulu at any time.

          what you watch

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

          and what you watch with it

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

          I'd rather a simple purchase/rent model myself

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

          one of the things i

          • you can watch any content on hulu at any time.

            Well, first of all, I can't, because I don't live in the United States. However I have the same problem with similar services in the UK like the BBC iPlayer, which carries yet more content restricted to just one country, and has even more ridiculous restrictions on content (7 day rule).

            Even if I did live in the states, I wouldn't be able to watch it when I want, because I don't sit chained to my desk waiting for TV to stream over an internet connection - this was a reference to it not being available on my

        • by fm6 (162816)

          You seem to be referring to ABC's horrific website streaming model, which often brings up a separate website to show you the ad, and then makes you click after a determined amount of time to start the show again.

          Yeah, cause clicking a "resume" button every 10 minutes is so much work.

          What you see as horrific, I see as a step in the right direction. Most advertising, especially TV advertising, is audio/visual spam. They shoot it out to as many eyeballs and ears as they can, and hope that some if it goes to their target audience. So you end up watching a lot of commercials that are lame, repetitive, and trying to sell you stuff you would never, ever buy.

          ABC has tried a more creative approach, and I think it's too thei

        • by es330td (964170)
          I think you need to broaden your vision a little and see how close hulu is to what you want. First of all, the only real limit on "watch when you want to watch" is the actual production of the content. The only show my wife and I watch as a real time broadcast is "Lost"; everything else is Netflix, Hulu or DVD. The rest of this content we've watched at our convenience. With a site like hulu when content is in the can it can be loaded to the site and people can watch it whenever. Concerning your desire f
      • Re:The problem... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Oxy the moron (770724) on Monday March 30, 2009 @10:43AM (#27388207)

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

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

      • by hal2814 (725639)

        That damn click is the most annoying part of ABC's streaming service. I hate sitting down to watch a show only to have to get up EVERY commercial break to click the damn Continue button. Yeah, I could get a wireless keyboard and mouse but I'd rather just use a service like Hulu that sanely integrates commercials.

      • by Korin43 (881732)
        Hulu also doesn't work if you block the ads. I'm sure there's a way to get around it, but if you just block the ads, Hulu never gets the signal to start the show again.
    • Re:The problem... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:19AM (#27387141) Homepage Journal

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

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

      • by Tony Hoyle (11698) *

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

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

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

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


          All I know is, if they keep making it harder and harder to keep their propaganda away from my kid, it's going to become more of an issue than it is now...
        • by Yvan256 (722131)

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

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

            They don't have the rights to the content they are streaming outside of the US. They can't legally stream content to Australia without ABC (or whichever Australian broadcast network has the rights to your favorite Hulu show) suing them.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Rutefoot (1338385)

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

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

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

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by QuantumRiff (120817)

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

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

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by powerlord (28156)

          ... and show a TATA ad to a viewer in India.

          Darn puritanical American standards. I want OUR ads to have TATAs in them! ;)

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

        by dq5 studios (682179) on Monday March 30, 2009 @10:39AM (#27388153) Homepage
        The problem is the reverse actually. Whoever has the rights in your country won't let Hulu run the shows in it because it cuts into their advertising.
        • I disagree. Consider the Hulu instrutional and promotional videos. They would be owned by Hulu themselves, yet Hulu blocks them.
          • by j1mmy (43634)

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

        • by TheSync (5291)

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

          As Hulu says:

          "Hulu is committed to making its content available worldwide. To do so, we must work through a number of legal and business issues, including obtaining international streaming rights. Know that we are working to make this happen and will continue to do so. Given the international background of the Hulu team, we have both a professional and personal interest in bringing Hulu to a glob

      • by iamhassi (659463)
        "They keep limiting their audience to the USA, as if they can't figure out that ads don't have to be limited to one market."

        give it time, it's still a relatively new idea. It'll get to the point where you'll fill out a brief survey to subscribe to the service (DOB, sex, children, address, pets, etc) and they'll deliver custom content specifically designed for you.

        Internet TV is a MUCH better advertising stream than TV will ever be. Imagine filling out a survey saying you have a dog and a new baby and
    • Re:The problem... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sakdoctor (1087155) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:22AM (#27387185) Homepage

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

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

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

        by Tony Hoyle (11698) * <tmh@nodomain.org> on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:39AM (#27387367) Homepage

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

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

        • by Andy Dodd (701)

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

          I have a number of PCs in my house. My Aspire One is too slow for Hulu. My HTPC is too slow for Hulu (despite only needing 40-50% CPU for the exact same content played in a different player - I know this from before H

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

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

        • by vertinox (846076)

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

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

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

        • I've got a little box where I once put in a list of shows I want to watch. As soon those as shows get posted to Usenet, it leeches them, and whenever I switch it on I can see if something new is on there.

          I get all the latest shows in HD where available, practically as soon as they've aired, been encoded and posted. Oh, and I live in the Netherlands, so even if I *wanted* to watch Hulu, I can't.
        • Sometimes torrents can't even compete with Hulu's quality. I don't know if they're poorly encoded or what, but it seems that Hulu 480p has superior image quality to 720p mkv, much of the time.

          That paired with instant-streaming makes it very attractive, even if I have to watch a minute and a half of advertisements.

          But some people torrent just to torrent.

          I figure, you waste more time torrenting than just sitting through the ads.

        • by GF678 (1453005)

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

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

          Laziness is never rewarded. Learning a minimal set of details such as what programs to use to unpack torrented shows and setting up

      • by Joe U (443617)

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

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

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

      • There's a serious problem here then. TV shows cost money to make. Good ones cost a fairly large amount of money to make. Even crappy reality TV costs a pretty fair amount. In our brave new "content is worth nothing" world, who is going to make content.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

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

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

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

      • by fm6 (162816)

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

  • by bombastinator (812664) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:08AM (#27387023)
    ABC can't seem to keep their stuff together with their video client. the volume button is autistic, and the continue feature in which you are forced to hit a button to acknowledge that you watched their ad is recognized as a clickjack by modern browsers.
    They don't need HULU they need decent software.
    • by kalirion (728907)

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

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

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

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

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

    • by hedwards (940851) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:28AM (#27387245)

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

      How can we possibly allow that to happen.

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

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

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

        But I'm sure you would have told me "Don't worry, 2 commercials isn't that much." Fast forward a few decades and you now can't find the show for the advertising.
  • Boxee (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pdabbadabba (720526) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:16AM (#27387101) Homepage

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rude Turnip (49495)

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

      • Well...they played nice with Boxee for awhile too...sigh.

      • by powerlord (28156)

        True. PlayOn has a two week free trial.

        It was good enough that it got me to spring for a license (usually I just wait for a free alternative to appear). This combined with better reception once the Digital TV transition happens means a lot more people can cut their cable bill drastically.

        Besides just creating a new "On Demand" service, Hulu is a great way to get access to some Cable shows, without needing cable anymore.

        (I hear HBO is pissed and trying to figure out how to let only subscribers have access

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Cobain (104632)

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

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

  • by IANAAC (692242) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:21AM (#27387173)
    I have a box hooked up to my TV and have recently gotten rid of my cable. Using Ubuntu/Boxee, except for the NBC shows I want to watch (because of the whole Hulu-Boxee thing). For those shows, I just created a prism app that goes directly to Hulu, at least for now, until they get everything sorted out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Too bad Torrentocracy [slashdot.org] shut down. If you didn't mind the grey legal area for torrents, it grabs beautifully encoded copies of television shows without DRM, hokey flash players, or any hoop jumping at all.

    • Why don't you just throw a tuner or two into your computer, install MythTV and be done with it? Why use Boxee at all? It seemed to me most of their content, other than the network television programming, was just crap.

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

    • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by russotto (537200) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:36AM (#27387343) Journal

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

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

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

      • by timster (32400)

        "1" please.

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

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

        Clearly culture is going to cost us something; no reason

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

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

          • by ivan256 (17499)

            See, that's the problem.

            Pay-per-view is a great model for this stuff, but there's too much "pay" per unit of "view".

            Would I be willing to part with $1 to watch a bit of TV in the evening. Sure. $2? Maybe... $5? Starting to push it... But what's a bit of TV? If I watch a couple times a week, a bit of TV is probably 2-3 hours.

            Would I be willing to pay $1 for a 20 minute show, and rack up $6-10 for watching for an evening? Certainly not. $0.99/show for one-time is way over priced. Get it down to $0.25 and we'l

      • I select "2"

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

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

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

    • by skeeto (1138903)

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

      The Pirate Bay [thepiratebay.org].

  • by Dolohov (114209) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:32AM (#27387295)

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

    • by Dolohov (114209)

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

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

      • by j1mmy (43634)

        it's called an xbox 360

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

        • In my searches, I've seen a couple of different offerings that promise close to the functionality that I'm looking for. It makes me think that this type of set top box is right on the cusp of being available to the non-hobbyist.

      • by curunir (98273) *

        Another "not quite down to $150" option is the Apple TV. It's even one of Boxee's supported platforms. Cheapest model is currently $229, but that's not too far off from your number. Still, they're small, silent, have an HDMI out for hi-def and can play content bought from iTunes too. And there's a pretty active community for hacking them to do more than Apple intends for them.

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

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

  • by fprintf (82740) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:39AM (#27387363) Journal

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

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

    • by RyoShin (610051)

      I read an article in Wired (the bastion of reporting it is) from before Hulu was launched that discussed the troubles it was having for starting up and how it turned into a "crowned prince" almost overnight (hey, I'm catching up on back-issues). From the way the story is written, it sounds like the creators of Hulu bent over backwards to meet the common demands of video on the internet and get executives to, as well: things like user queues, allowing users to embed the video, etc.

      When I started using Hulu,

  • Simple reason: I can't use it, [(World Population)-(US population)] people can't either.
  • by Coopjust (872796) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:57AM (#27387571)
    Hulu is starting to get a pretty good mass now. Hulu is my preferred player (ease of use, intrusiveness of ads, etc.). NBCs is better in some ways (higher resolution) but worse in others (less able to handle connection bumps). CBS' player is decent, and ABC's player is probably the least user friendly of the bunch.

    Hulu is the future; content providers who don't offer online streaming will be left behind. It's really a win-win. Consumers get an easy and free option to catch up with their shows if they miss them. The content provider gets to manage the time it's up and gets ad revenue, and likely can use web metrics software to get a better idea of viewership/demographics (NetRatings, Quantcast, Google Analytics, etc.) since very few households influence the Nielsen Ratings.
  • They start making things available outside of the US. Until then, I'll find other means...
  • Choppy playback (Score:3, Interesting)

    by N!NJA (1437175) on Monday March 30, 2009 @10:00AM (#27387615)
    the real question to me is what the heck has happened to Hulu's service for the last month? i used to have great playback even on my Celeron 800Mhz Tablet, but now all i get is dropped frames -- even on my Athlon XP 3000+!

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

    the chopped playback doesnt seem to be a bandwidth issue because the audio and video never stop and they dont get out of synch either. when you think Flash playback cant become any heavier, Adobe and Hulu show you otherwise. it makes me wonder if the use of Silverlight could make this less worse?
  • Can see anything in Hulu because I am blocked by the site since I am not in the US.
    I have a virtual server located in the UD, may I use that slice to see Hulu? Not using VNC or remote visualization, but using it as a proxy. Any tip on how to do it?

  • by fm6 (162816) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:12PM (#27389549) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

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

  • I tried watching Lost on ABC's site and the experience was pretty bad. They had an annoying animated background with lightning going off while I was trying to watch the show. Even more annoying was the commercials they chose to air. I was watching season 2 and they showed commercials for the new season. I don't want too see ads for the new season which may contain spoilers for the season I'm currently watching!

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