Booting Up: No HBO on Hulu for You and Other Letdowns Edition

Akihabara seemed relevant. (Photo:

Good news! HBO is now on Hulu. Bad news: It’s only in Japan. [GigaOm]

While everyone was distracted by the health care ruling, the Supreme Court decided not to rule on another case, concerning whether you can sue a company for breaking a federal law, even if you can’t prove damages. Forbes explains why that doesn’t make Facebook, LinkedIn, Zynga, and Yahoo too happy. [Forbes]

Look, RIM has options, okay? (They’re just not great options.) [Reuters]

Amazon is making it easier for developers to create games on the Kindle Fire. Good, because the current selection is zzzz. [Bloomberg]

Yet another I/O roll-out: Google Compute Engine, the company’s very own infrastructure-as-a-service product to compete with Amazon Web Services. What, no skydiving to announce it? [Google Blog]

Speaking of the GOOG, they’d like everyone to know Gmail now has 425 million users which, by our calculations, means they’ve dethroned Hotmail. [TechCrunch]


Netflix to Congress: Can We Get a Little Help With These Data Caps?

Photo: Mr. Hyman.

This should really liven up the debate over data caps: Netflix wants Congress to step in. Man, cable companies are just going to love this.

Bloomberg reports that, in a hearing today, Netflix general counsel David Hyman told the House subcommittee on communications and technology that, “When you couple limited broadband competition with a strong desire to protect a legacy Read More

I Want My Free TV

Is Hulu About to End Free Streaming?

Not the new CEO. (Photo: Hulu)

The days of Saturday Night Live as cheapo Sunday morning hangover cure may be coming to a close. The New York Post reports that Hulu is getting ready to upend its current business model and require users to login with their cable or satellite account numbers. If you don’t have a cable or satellite account and therefore you don’t have a number, well, tough cookie.

Sources tell the Post that Hulu plans to transition to an authentication model, meaning access to content will be predicated upon some sort of subscription. Those same sources point to the shift as the reason for Providence Equity Partners unloading its stake for $200 million. Read More


Here’s Hoping Some of Hulu’s New Shows Are As Good As ‘Battleground’

Screen Shot 2012-04-20 at 1.26.46 PM

Earlier this week, the New York Times chronicled Hulu’s trajectory from an upstart streaming video service into something more in the vein of a traditional TV network with its own original programming, much like its corporate masters. Of course, that change has been in the works since January. But as Hulu and Netflix face increasing difficulty in convincing TV and cable stations to hand-over programming in a timely manner, they’ve put more of an emphasis on creating its own content to fill that gap. Read More

Web TV Wars

Hulu Grew 60 Percent In 2011, But Whiffed On It’s Own Predictions

Good, just not as good as you promised

Depending on where you read the coverage of Hulu’s revenue numbers, the picture of the company looks very different. Read Write Web declares that the company turned in a “pretty big year,” growing 60 percent and “raking” in $420 million in revenue. But as Peter Kafka points out at All Things D, that falls short of the $500 million Hulu CEO Jason Kilar predicted the company would make in several blog posts.

Mr. Kafka attributes the miss to rumors of soft ad sales which have been percolating for a while. Hulu also was on the chopping block for a while, then off again, then back on. And several of its partners, most notably Fox, either took away next day rights for programming or discussed the idea. All that volatility is sure to make it tough for Hulu to sell ads.  Read More

The Third Degree

Q&A with Avner Ronen About Boxee’s New Live TV Feature and Why, For the First Time, It’s a Real ‘Alternative to Cable’

Can you hear that? The sound of a thousand cords cut.

About a week ago, a GigaOm writer Janko Roettgers stumbled across something big: an integration that would allow anyone who owns a Boxee Box to watch live broadcast TV over the device without having to switch back-and-forth between inputs.

Now, Boxee is finally prepared to speak about the feature. In January, the company will start selling a USB dongle that transforms the antenna on the Boxee Box into a tuner to capture free over-the-air HD TV signals from channels like ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. The dongle is a one-time cost of $49 and the company is currently taking pre-orders.

So that’s a little more expensive than your typical digital converter box, which also lets you get free live broadcast TV. But you get some special social juice with Boxee, plus everything in one unit with one remote control.

Betabeat spoke to Boxee founder and CEO Avner Ronen yesterday about why he thinks this could be a tipping point in getting consumers to cut–or at least shave–the cord. Read More

Web TV Wars

The Dysfunctional World of Web TV: R.I.P. Qwikster, We Barely Knew Ye

Not the new CEO. (Photo: Hulu)

Reed Hastings has a surprise blog post up this morning announcing that, after all the sturm und drang, Netflix won’t be splitting its business in two after all.

The announcement comes just as all the major players have submitted their bids to purchase Hulu, the web TV platform created by the big TV networks, which no longer appeals to them as a business.

Taking a look at two of the biggest names in the web TV space, it’s becoming clear that the internal battle between analog and digital television is creating real problems for companies hoping to straddle both worlds. Read More

Web TV Wars

The Web TV Wars Are Starting to Get Really Bloody

Oatmeal really nailed this one

Netflix sent the blogosphere into a tizzy earlier this week when it announced it was dividing itself in two: Netflix the streaming video business, and Qwikster, the disastrously named DVD by mail step child. A lot of articles were written trying to parse the news, but the general sentiment was confusion.

The truth is that the TV business is on the brink of a seismic shift, akin to what has already happened in music with the iTunes store and Spotify. But the entrenched interests, both the networks and the cable companies, are doing everything they can to make sure they keep control during this change.

So you get a situation like Netflix and Qwickster, which as Elliot Van Buskirk explains, is all about the licensing silly: Read More