The streaming video site Hulu and the streaming-video-on-your-TV service Boxee spent all of last weekend fighting. Again. In late February, Hulu asked Boxee to remove the special Hulu browser from the Boxee software. Boxee complied with Hulu’s request, but Boxee users were very upset.
Then last weekend, Boxee figured out a way around the Hulu issue. Boxee was able to reintegrate Hulu videos back into Boxee’s software by creating a video RSS reader. Basically Boxee was just browsing Hulu’s public RSS feeds which any web browser or RSS reader can do. This solution wasn’t as flashy as the special Hulu application that Boxee had made, but it was a good work around until a formal deal could be worked out with Hulu.
Over the weekend, news quickly spread on Twitter that Boxee had reintegrated Hulu back into the Boxee software. Boxee users rejoiced but their celebration was short lived. Even though Boxee was only importing Hulu’s public video RSS feeds, Hulu promptly blocked the Boxee RSS browser and displayed the following message: “This video is not currently available at this site, but you can view this and other Hulu videos at Hulu.com.”
In response, Boxee released a statement on the company’s blog:
“To our 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… while some of the best things in life are free, sometimes you have to work hard to get them.”
Why is Hulu is putting so much effort into blocking Boxee? The only difference between Boxee and your web browser is that Boxee’s browser is on your TV screen, rather than your computer screen.
However, there is a silver lining to this story for Boxee users. The new video RSS reader functionality that Boxee developed to reintegrate Hulu can be used to access other public RSS feeds. The next version of Boxee will most likely include the new RSS reader and a feature called “App Box” that will help simplify the addition of new in-house and third party applications.
Boxee hopes to have a new release ready before their New York City Boxee meetup on March 24.
Not sure what all this Boxee talk is all about? Boxee is a free open source cross-platform media center and entertainment hub that can play movies, TV shows, music and photos, as well as streaming content from websites like
Hulu, Netflix, CBS, Comedy Central, Last.fm, and flickr. Hell, the damn thing can even download free public torrents (Refer Madness anyone?!).
All you need to install Boxee on your Apple TV is a USB stick. If you own an Apple TV, then you need Boxee. Install Boxee and set your Apple TV free.