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No HTML5 Hulu Anytime Soon 202

Posted by Soulskill
from the give-the-people-what-you-want dept.
99BottlesOfBeerInMyF writes "The Hulu website briefly commented the other day about why they would not be implementing HTML5 video for their service: 'We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesn't yet meet all of our customers' needs. Our player doesn't just simply stream video, it must also secure the content, handle reporting for our advertisers, render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality, communicate back with the server to determine how long to buffer and what bitrate to stream, and dozens of other things that aren't necessarily visible to the end user.' They plan to release a dedicated application for the iPad and iPhone instead, likely a paid subscription service. Perhaps this is a good sign for Web-based television, as it will move more users away from the single, locked down channel from the networks and to more diverse options less interested in extracting subscription fees (like YouTube)."
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No HTML5 Hulu Anytime Soon

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  • by alen (225700) on Friday May 14, 2010 @01:49PM (#32210972)

    that flash sucks and HTML5 is bestest way to stream video

    • by Ilgaz (86384) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:05PM (#32211252) Homepage

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

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

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:54PM (#32212144) Journal

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

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

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

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

      • by Toonol (1057698)
        Quicktime is far worse than Flash. Since Realvideo died, Quicktime is the worst and most bloated video format in common use.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Yeah, I remember Steve Jobs saying he wasn't sick, right before he went into the hospital.
  • by sznupi (719324) on Friday May 14, 2010 @01:52PM (#32211026) Homepage

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

    • by causality (777677) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:08PM (#32211310)

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

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

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

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

      • by stokessd (89903)

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

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

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by causality (777677)

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

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

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

          You're absolutely right about the effect of piracy. It's a check against excessive industry control. It's a bit like civil disobedience, except of course that those who engaged in old-fashioned civil disobedience fully expected to do the time for the crime. Pirates, by contrast, tend to rely on the statistical unlikelihood of a

    • by oatworm (969674)
      Right. They're based on the same model as Facebook - the customers are the ones paying the bills and the users are the "product" they're selling to the customers.
  • Perhaps this is a good sign for Web-based television, as it will move more users away from the single, locked down channel from the networks and to more diverse options less interested in extracting subscription fees (like YouTube).

    Say what now?

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

    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:15PM (#32211452)

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

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

      Please do clarify, dear submitter.

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

      • by BobMcD (601576)

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

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

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

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

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

          Hulu failed to get buy in from CBS because CBS had already launched a competitor and was getting better advertising revenue than they wanted to offer. The o

          • by BobMcD (601576)

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

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

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              Broadcast TV is essentially dead, outside of local news and programming.

              Largely true, but this does not lessen the power of four companies that control anywhere from 35-70% of TV viewership collectively. The big networks on Cable are also the big networks for Web viewing.

              The description you're offering could be applied to any online business venture. Netflix is 'conspiring' to be the 'only' online movie rental outfit, too.

              You don't seem to understand the meaning of the word "conspiring" which you misuse, or the word "collusion" which I use. You don't conspire or collude with yourself. It's prefectly legal for Netflix to compete with Blockbuster in the market and attempt to gain control of the market. It's illegal for Netflix to

              • by BobMcD (601576)

                You're comparing Netflix/Blockbuster collusion when the apt comparison would be Netflix/Warner Brothers. Why?

                Did you fail to notice the bruhaha over release dates and the new Netflix-branded versions of the DVD's?

                • You're comparing Netflix/Blockbuster collusion when the apt comparison would be Netflix/Warner Brothers. Why?

                  Because that isn't an apt comparison. Fox, ABC, and NBC were colluding together and creating a joint venture called Hulu. Fox, NBC, and ABC are all competitors in the TV programming market. Similarly, Netflix and Blockbuster are competitors in the mail order movie rental business.

                  Did you fail to notice the bruhaha over release dates and the new Netflix-branded versions of the DVD's?

                  No, but I don't see how it is relevant. Netflix is a competitor in the TV programming business since they own Starz, but that's not really relevant to that particular deal. It's not collusion to come to an agreement with a provider

                  • by BobMcD (601576)

                    Your use of the word is rather strict. The original intent was always for Hulu to be a joint venture. The current partners didn't 'collude to create' Hulu any more than Warner Brothers did to create Netflix.

                    The Hulu venture was announced in March 2007 with AOL, MSN, Facebook, and Yahoo! planned as "initial distribution partners."

                    Their CEO isn't from any of the TV networks, but from Amazon.

                    They are, first and foremost, a 'web 2.0' company. Their ownership is clearly secondary to their idea, rather than being central to it.

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

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

    • While we're on the subject of locked down channels and Hulu, one thing they could certainly get away with charging a subscription for is a mobile version of Hulu. I'm hardly ever willing to pay a subscription fee for anything, but I would gladly pay it to watch Hulu on my phone. (I can already do this with YouTube for free but there's nothing I really want to watch on there)
      • by BobMcD (601576)

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

  • DRM strikes again (Score:4, Insightful)

    by QJimbo (779370) on Friday May 14, 2010 @01:53PM (#32211050)

    it must also secure the content

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by QuantumRiff (120817)

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

    • by Kethinov (636034)

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

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

    • by geekoid (135745)

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

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

  • Its odd ABC did it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by iccaros (811041)
    I was having this conversation just yesterday. ABC was able to release a IPad app that played the same video they have on Hulu.. the Advertising looks the same.. it looks like they just made hulu play a different format for the IPad. This also brings up a point, why has Adobe not made a player for flash like Apple did with YouTube? it may launch the video in its own player. This would not help for Flash games or it may work the same.. I don't know I do know that Adobe would get more support from me if the
    • by Bogtha (906264)

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

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

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

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

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dahamma (304068)

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

  • by fermion (181285) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:09PM (#32211332) Homepage Journal
    This proves once again that when the customers are advertisers the best solution is Flash. It will be some time before another technology becomes this ad friendly. As the article notes, HTML is great at delivering content, but not DRM or advertising.
  • "We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesn't yet meet all of our customers' needs."

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cowscows (103644)

      I'm curious why people keep repeating this, presenting it as some sort of insightful comment, and also implying that us viewers are somehow being wronged or tricked by it.

      Internet TV is no different from regular TV in that there's really only two established ways to make money with it. Either you go the HBO route and make people subscribe in order to view content, or you show the content for free and try to convince people to pay you for advertisements.

      There's nothing new about this, and there's nothing sne

  • by FranTaylor (164577) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:24PM (#32211572)

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

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

    • giving them an explicit goal to shoot for.

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

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

    • by cynyr (703126)
      like implement DRM?
  • Perhaps this is a good sign for Web-based television, as it will move more users away from the single, locked down channel from the networks and to more diverse options less interested in extracting subscription fees (like YouTube)."

    You misspelled "torrents"

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