Hulu Blocks Boxee Browser, Users Shut Out Again

Well, that was quick. On the very same day that boxee proudly introduced 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 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?
Tags:  Hulu, TV, media, Boxee