Well, that was quick. On the very same day that boxee proudly
the newest, greatest and most feature-packed version of its media browsing software, Hulu has shot down what was arguably the best
addition. This morning, Boxee told its users that the new version
enabled access to public RSS feeds, and yes, Hulu's feeds were included
in that mix. Now, out of nowhere, Hulu has straight-up blocked the
Boxee browser from accessing its material.
You see, Boxee and Hulu have been going back and forth with one another
for months now. First, Boxee added Hulu and received generous praise
from excited users. Then, Hulu requested (er, demanded
) that it kindly
be removed from the service, and Boxee complied. Today, Boxee thought
it had the perfect workaround all figured out, and apparently the
higher-ups at Hulu are having none of it.
In a recent posting titled "The Trials and Tribulations of Innovation"
on Boxee's blog, the company makes crystal clear that its browser, while customized for a "10 foot" TV experience, is "no different in how
it accesses this content than Internet Explorer,
Firefox, Flock, Opera or any of the other browsers out there." In other
words, Hulu has intentionally blocked access specifically to Boxee's
browser for one reason. Trouble is, we're not so sure what that reason
is. Some behind the scenes licensing quibbles? A reactionary move from
feeling threatened or infringed upon in some way? At this point, the
public is generally in the dark on what's going on between these two.
Boxee goes on to say this to its users: "If you choose to use Boxee as
your media browser to view legal and publicly available content on the
Internet, we will do everything we can to ensure that you can access
it, no matter what the source. We'll keep you updated as things happen,
and while some of the best things in life are free, sometimes you have
to work hard to get them...
The statement leaves us hopeful that Boxee is still very interested in
working with Hulu to bang out some sort of compromise, and given that
Boxee already provides access to ABC.com content along with other big
name material, we're certain there's some middle ground that everyone
can meet on. The question now is, how long will it take for this
meeting of the minds to occur, if
it occurs at all?