Friday, February 20, 2009

The Day TV Died

Earlier this week, February 17th was supposed to be the end of analog TV broadcasting. But, that's all gotten pushed back until at least March 14th.

But today, February 20th, is the day that "TV of the future" died for me. Moving from analog broadcasting to digital is nice and good, but for the last 2 1/2 months I've been watching TV a different way - using software called Boxee to watch the shows provided by Hulu all on my AppleTV.

So, I've been watching TV streamed over the internet from the comfort of my couch. It has been fantastic. For the most part it's been everything I could have hoped. A broad selection of shows, all on-demand, with pauseable playback and "limited commercial interruption."

A few weeks ago I was home sick all week and I plowed through all three seasons of The Practice that Hulu has available. It was a huge improvement over the old days of avoiding boredom by suffering through whatever broadcast TV was showing (I'll take The Practice over Judge Judy any day).

But, that's all changed today. By demand of their content providers, Hulu has stopped allowing streaming to Boxee. You can still watch Hulu via your web browser, but no longer via Boxee.

This is a really bone-headed move by content providers. As another blogger puts it:

What will these Boxee users do instead of watching on Hulu? My guesses are:

1) Tivo/DVR the shows. Result: Ads are skipped altogether. No cable viewing.
2) BitTorrent. Result: Ads are non-existant. No cable viewing.
3) Doesn’t watch the show. Result: This hurts the media companies in several ways. Ads are not seen and no cable love because the show is not seen. The show ultimately becomes less popular, ad space is less valuable, less DVD box sets are sold, less syndication monies, etc., etc.

If you're a fellow Boxee+Hulu user (or, now, perhaps an ex-Boxee+Hulu user like me), I'd really encourage you to lodge a ranty complaint over on Hulu's blog. I'd really like to show Hulu and their content providers that this is no way to treat their users, and this is a big mistake.

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