NBC Universal Boss Jeff Zucker Lies To Congress About Boxee

from the but-what-about-the-corn-farmers dept

NBC Universal management gets more and more ridiculous every time we come across anything they do. While they’ve left most of the more ridiculous statements to their chief lawyer, Rick Cotton (who is worried about the poor corn farmers harmed by movie file sharing), CEO Jeff Zucker has made his fair share of whoppers. While he got a lot of attention last month for his cowardly handling of the whole Leno/Conan mess, his latest move is to flat out lie to Congress. In a hearing in front of Congress as a part of NBC’s effort to merge with Comcast, Rep. Rick Boucher asked Zucker about Hulu being forced to block Boxee (a battle that’s gone back and forth a few times). When the whole thing started, Hulu management was very upfront about how they were pressured by their content partners like NBC to block Boxee, which is just another browser. It was quite clear that Hulu didn’t want to do the block, but had no choice due to pressure from the likes of partial owner NBC:


Our content providers requested that we turn off access to our content via the Boxee product, and we are respecting their wishes….

The maddening part of writing this blog entry is that we realize that there is no immediate win here for users. Please know that we take very seriously our role of representing users such that we are able to provide more and more content in more and more ways over time. We embrace this activity in ways that respect content owners’ — and even the entire industry’s — challenges to create great content that users love. Yes, it’s a complex matter. A tough mission, and a never-ending one, but one we are passionately committed to.

For those Boxee users reading this post, we understand and appreciate that you’re likely to tell us that we’re nuts. Please know that we do share the same interests and won’t stop innovating in support of the bigger mission.

So how did Zucker respond when asked about it by Congressman Rick Boucher? He blamed Hulu for making the decision, and falsely claimed that Boxee illegally access Hulu content:


Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA): What about Boxee? Mr. Zucker you probably are in a better position to answer that. Did Hulu block the Boxee users from access to the Hulu programs?

Zucker (NBC): This was a decision made by the Hulu management to, uh, what Boxee was doing was illegally taking the content that was on Hulu without any business deal. And, you know, all, all the, we have several distributors, actually many distributors of the Hulu content that we have legal distribution deals with so we don’t preclude distribution deals. What we preclude are those who illegally take that content.

Of course, that’s a flat out wrong, as Boxee was not illegally “taking” the content at all. Boxee is a browser, like Firefox. If what Boxee does is illegal so is accessing Hulu with Firefox or IE. But it’s even worse than that, because last year, in a different situation, Zucker admitted that he had been a part of the decision makers to have Hulu block Boxee, telling Kara Swisher that “our vision” was to block Boxee in an effort to keep “Hulu being an online experience” rather than one you could access via a TV.

So why would Zucker flat out lie during a Congressional hearing, and throw Hulu under the bus while doing so? Does he not understand how Boxee works? Did he forget his own dealings with Hulu? Or is he just making stuff up in a Congressional hearing?

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Companies: boxee, comcast, hulu, nbc, nbc universal, universal

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Comments on “NBC Universal Boss Jeff Zucker Lies To Congress About Boxee”

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99 Comments
:Lobo Santosays:

Re: Perjury?

Testimony — the Romans put their hands upon their testicles and swore an oath to tell the truth. The unspoken(?) intent being: we’re going to take those away if you’re lying.

I personally think it was a far stronger oath than the bullshit going on today. Let them that go before congress do some ol’fashion testimony! (Also, they’ll later regret having lied.)

The Anti-Mikesays:

The problem here is that you look at Boxee as a “browser”, when in reality is it a presentation system for videos.

My firefox browser doesn’t go out and automatically catalog the contents of Hulu and present it in a format other than the way Hulu presents it (web page). A browser would just connect users to Hulu, nothing more. Boxee gets the information from Hulu, and processes it to present it in a manner other than what is on the original page, thus it isn’t a browser.

If it was only a browser, you would click a link to Hulu and see Hulu’s site, not a formatted boxee screen.

The Anti-Mikesays:

Re: Re:

It depends how you look at it. I think that NBC is one of the partners in Hulu, and that as a partner, they have a say on what goes on. If they said to Hulu Management “either block boxee or we exit now”, the choice is made by NBC, and Hulu Management have to make their choice based on what is on the table.

In the end, both statements are true, what isn’t exposed is the pressure and the influence between the parties involved. Effectively, NBC has their hand up the Hulu management’s asses, using them as puppets, but it doesn’t make the statements less true, just not clearly showing all of the relationships.

The Anti-Mikesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It is the difference between lying and not telling all of the truth. The congressional panel would have done a better job if the followup question would have asked about NBC’s direct influence over Hulu, and specifically what NBC told Hulu.

Zucker did a very good job of not lying, the answers are very carefully worded (and likely coached by a lawyer) so as not to be lies. There is just a very big black hole there that the congress members decided to ignore.

The Anti-Mikesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

No, I think it would be more like.

“I am writing a story that includes the pope.”

“One of the stories I am writing is about secret muslims.”

Unless someone asks “is the pope in your muslim story”, there would be no way to know.

Both statements are true. The rest would be you inferring that my story is about the pope being a muslim. I didn’t say it, you concluded. That isn’t me lying, that is you connecting dots (perhaps incorrectly).

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Unless someone asks “is the pope in your muslim story”, there would be no way to know.

And if I just just state “the Pope is secretly a Muslim” and no one asks “in real life?”, then I’m OK too, eh? I mean, I didn’t explicitly say “in real life” and no one asked, so there.

You know the problem with liars such as yourself is that you’ve lost ability to even recognize lies. You’ve made up so many justifications for them that you’ve started to believe them yourself.

RDsays:

Re: what a ridiculous shill you are

“The problem here is that you look at Boxee as a “browser”, when in reality is it a presentation system for videos.”

And so? Its not illegal to create a front-end for such things. If it were, then all the ebay-auction things would be illegal, as would youtube for that matter. The TECHNOLOGY isnt the issue, its Big Media saying “We dont like something we dont control.”

“My firefox browser doesn’t go out and automatically catalog the contents of Hulu and present it in a format other than the way Hulu presents it (web page). A browser would just connect users to Hulu, nothing more. Boxee gets the information from Hulu, and processes it to present it in a manner other than what is on the original page, thus it isn’t a browser.”

Oh, you mean like Google doesnt search for things, index them, and present them to you in a way other than the original page? Are you a COMPLETE fucking retard, or just well-paid to LIE and MISREPRESENT everything?

“If it was only a browser, you would click a link to Hulu and see Hulu’s site, not a formatted boxee screen.”

Not requried, not illegal, not wrong. Plus, people LIKE having this option. They PREFER it (well, some of them). NOT giving people what they WANT is a good business model, right? Is that even a smart business idea? Please give us the answer your Corporate Masters pay you to give us.

Phillipsays:

Re:

If you go to hulu.com/user/queue you get all of your stuff on one page.
You can add this link to your boxee account and guess what you get all the same stuff on one page…
wow so technically challenging and obviously illegal…
All it is a browser that is designed to be navigated by remote control so it has a simple interface, and it automatically goes to full screen instead of forcing you to click the full screen button.

Everything else is the same. Play a show get the show and the ads from hulu. pause a show and it pauses just like on hulu in FF.

Try using the software 1st before talking about it and saying how it must be wrong…

Hephaestussays:

Re: Re:

“automatically catalog the contents of …”

“Mine does. Are we supposed to care what your browser does?”

I thought it was pretty common to do this, obviously I am mistaken. I have an app I downloaded off sourceforge. I can select what I want to download and keep, or watch it right then, or use it like a DVR and record stuff as it becomes available. Viewing it on the LCD TV was as easy as hooking up a VGA cable. Plus it also does pretty much every TV station with shows on the web.

jdubsays:

Re:

“”browser”, when in reality is it a presentation system for videos. “

What do you think a browser is? It is a presentation system for web content. Instead of using the presentation template from the website you clicked on, you can set up in your own browser to display and present the info in your own pre-defined format. This is all what Boxee is, is a pre-defined format to display video content.

:)says:

Re:

My firefox browser doesn’t go out and automatically catalog the contents of Hulu and present it in a format other than the way Hulu presents it (web page).

Hmmm…I guess TAM never heard of RSS and what it does and that HULU has it and it is why it shows in MIRO but doesn’t actually plays.

Besides that TAM never heard of user scripts that can be made for all major browser in the market and that actually can make any webpage appear the way people want Coliris being a famous one and Stylish not to mention the thousands of scrapers from Greasemonkey, Opera is even more rich than Firefox. Good luck trying to sue people for changing inside their homes anything, or trying to make them not use filters if they so choose so, this is a battle already fought and lost by the entertainment industry more then once with sony and tivo, people could even copy the entire show for time-shifting purposes according to the law.

Boxee did nothing wrong or against the law and that will be an uphill battle as there is precedents that did not farewell for the industry.

Sen Franken nailed Roberts:

“In other words,” Franken continued irately, “looking to get approval for this merger, you sat there in my office and told me to my face that these rules would protect consumers but your lawyers had just finished arguing in front of the Commission that it would be unconstitutional to apply these rules.”

Those people lied about everything.

Christophersays:

It *is* just a browser.

You’re (deliberately) reducing a browser experience to a simple HTML page. LOTS of presentation layer goodies like Javascript, XML, Flash, CSS can go into a page and make the experience richer… likewise, a custom browser can ship with CSS templating and make pages look much better than they are. And it’s still a browser, and the content hasn’t been altered.

-C

mike42says:

Re:

A browser presents the contents using various presentation layers, i.e. HTML, XHTML, flash, Sivlerlight, etc. It does not just, “connect” to the “content”. Boxee just uses a different presentation layer than your other browsers.

Please try to understand the technology before posting. As Abraham Lincoln said, “it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open ones mouth and thereby remove all doubt.”

Spaceman Spiffsays:

Re:

@ The Anti-Mike

It’s just software. There is nothing to keep a user from writing some client-side code using Java, JSP, or whatever to do the same thing that Boxee does, or from someone creating a video indexing add-on/plug-in for Firefox, Chrome, et al that accomplishes the same thing. FWIW, it’s all a presentation system for information that is available on the Internet. Your display can be a monitor, or your TV which these days most likely has monitor capabilities. So, I fail to see the distinction you apparently do and agree that Boxee is JAB (Just Another Browser), albeit a specialized one.

colinnwnsays:

Re: Not really

Your argument isn’t germane. A browser is just a “presentation system for videos” also. Browser rendering engine differences means every website they visit is presented a little differently than the way the website designer may have intended. A RSS reader presents results in a way other than the way the RSS feed provider presents it.

I could write a Firefox or Google Chrome add-in that would do exactly what Boxee does. The real issue networks have is they don’t want their material presented on a living room television by alternate distribution means than cable/satellite/ota. They only grudgingly provide Hulu the opportunity to stream their material to small screens attached to computers, partially as a way to discourage piracy and provide minimal ad revenue. They feel threatened any other way.

Re:

You have a really narrow idea of what a browser is.

A browser is a device that parses HTML and displays it in some manner of its choosing, usually determined by a set of standards ratified by the W3C.

All Boxee does is parse Hulu’s web pages and display them, with the videos’ ads intact, in a manner of its choosing.

iTunes, as well, is technically a web browser. It may only let you access pages on the iTunes store domain, but it still parses and renders HTML. Miro (http://www.getmiro.com/) is also a browser. It aggregates media for you in a manner of its design, but it’s still collecting said media from HTML pages, RSS feeds, or whatever.

douhulu?says:

Re:

I hate to say it but you are wrong. Hulu has a whole set of tools and API’s to do just that. Meaning that you could format the content any way you want it and integrate it on your own page or product.
do you thing Hulu didn’t know about Boxee integrating their content? of course they did. They created API’s just for that right there: http://www.hulu.com/labs Their videos are available on a steaming server for retrieval by other apps than just I.E for easy embedding. Just because you watch youtube videos on an ipod touch doesn’t mean you are not browsing (even though you are not using safari but a custom app) Furthermore, Hulu is not only a “webpage” but a desktop application. Finally, Boxee never hid either the source of the content or the ads.

It Seems Endless

Or is he just making stuff up in a Congressional hearing?

What’s so infuriating about all this, is that the content industries are most obviously fighting for two things – profits and control. They are most decidedly NOT fighting for a better experience for their customers.

These things (profit,control) can be had in the digital age, but they must be earned. In the past, all you had to do to earn them was to capture an expensive, narrow distribution channel – broadcast license, record-stamping plant, printing press.

Now, those barriers to participation in the content distribution game are gone and with them the (sometimes obscene) profits they provided.

Rather than learn to compete however, these greedy bastards want the game changed in their favor.

You can hardly blame them; it was so easy in the past if you had the big bucks to get in the game.

Now any schmoe with a video camera and an internet account is potential competition.

The Anti-Mikesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually, I visited the site a number of times.

You have to sign up to use their product.

They are setting up some sort of payment system.

Their software cannot be used to browse anything except videos.

Their software does not present websites as published, but changes their presentation.

There is no indication on how boxee intends to monetize their website, but having users sign up is an indication that they value user information and contact.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

You have to sign up to use their product.

-They are setting up some sort of payment system.

Don’t care nothing illegal or infringing about that

-Their software cannot be used to browse anything except videos.

Demonstrably false

-Their software does not present websites as published, but changes their presentation.

What is your point there? ‘as published’ is a bunch of text. every browser presents pages different than they are published. Load up hulu on IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari slight differences abound! no load it on the browser of a smartphone … even more differences.

There is no indication on how boxee intends to monetize their website, but having users sign up is an indication that they value user information and contact.

As they should!

JEDIDIAHsays:

anti-mike has no clue

anti-make is just making random stuff up. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. All Boxee does is present a more iTunes like interface for connecting to web video and any personal content you might have. It doesn’t add any extra advertising and it doesn’t remove the advertising that’s already in the video streams. It doesn’t do anything that any other browser or website does.

It might bypass hulu.com banner/flash ads but I do that with the firefox extensions I already run.

Phillipsays:

Re: Re: Re:

Wow, do you even know what you’re talking about?
Boxee doesn’t advertise on top of hulu, they don’t sell you anything. They just show you what is already there, ads and all. It is the exact same experience as watching from FF or IE. You get Ads, you watch a show all from hulu. boxee injects nothing and blocks nothing.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

http://blog.boxee.tv/2010/01/20/coming-soon-boxee-payments/

I glanced at that. It appears to be some way that Boxee is proposing to collect money to give to the TV industry in order to pay for something the TV industry is giving away free for people who don’t use Boxee.

Am I wrong, or did Boxee say they were going to add charges on top of that for themselves?

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

http://blog.boxee.tv/2010/01/20/coming-soon-boxee-payments/

Okay. I read that a little further. They are going to institute a Pay-for-play mechanism, but will be doing so in cooperation with “content providers”

Going back to the initial point however, how does that qualify them to be blocked from giving users access (just like an extension-enabled Firefox) to ad-supported video like Hulu if they don’t block Hulu’s ads or charge for that access?

The Anti-Mikesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Like any business, boxee has to find a way to make money from it’s service. Using Hulu videos (without permission) to create value in their service. If users go to boxee instead of going to hulu, hulu loses their chance to deal directly with the consumer and create an experience, market that experience, etc.

As an example, Hulu has certain things on their front page. Perhaps Hulu is being paid to place them there, or gets better ad revenues from certain content. Boxee is effectively denying them the chance to operate their business freely. a browser would just display the hulu site directly, and hulu would be “in control” of the experience. Boxee interferes with the experience.

What would happen if boxee became a members only site? Actually it is, because you have to register to use it. Do they at all market anything to their users? Obviously if they are going to a pay-to-play market for some content, they would be effectively marketing using Hulu’s content (but not selling Hulu content). At some point in there, it is obviously against Hulu’s best interests to allow that to happen.

Hulu is a private company and private website, and they should have the right to refuse access to anyone for any reason, as long as that reason is applied equally to all without discrimination.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Like any business, boxee has to find a way to make money from it’s service. Using Hulu videos (without permission) to create value in their service.

I don’t get the “without permission” part. I doubt that Hulu has given explicit permission to Firefox, IE or Safari to access their service.

If users go to boxee instead of going to hulu, hulu loses their chance to deal directly with the consumer and create an experience, market that experience, etc.

I see one of your fundamental misunderstandings. Users are not “going” to Boxee, they are “using” Boxee – like FF, IE, etc.

As an example, Hulu has certain things on their front page. Perhaps Hulu is being paid to place them there, or gets better ad revenues from certain content. Boxee is effectively denying them the chance to operate their business freely. a browser would just display the hulu site directly, and hulu would be “in control” of the experience. Boxee interferes with the experience.

Is Boxee blocking those things?

What would happen if boxee became a members only site? Actually it is, because you have to register to use it.

Another misperception. You don’t have to register. At the top of the registration screen, just click “click here” and you can download the software without registering. I’ll admit that’s a little sneaky – the page looks as if you’re required to register. I can’t test the download right now, but I gave no information to get the software.

Do they at all market anything to their users?

So? The pertinent question remains – do they block or hide Hulu’s ads?

Obviously if they are going to a pay-to-play market for some content, they would be effectively marketing using Hulu’s content (but not selling Hulu content). At some point in there, it is obviously against Hulu’s best interests to allow that to happen.

I can see how it would be easy to be confused on this. They (Boxee) say they are trying to negotiate with content providers, but they are not using Hulu’s content in that negotiation, other than perhaps Hulu blocking them has caused them to have to negotiate with people who have content on Hulu in the first place.

Hulu is a private company and private website, and they should have the right to refuse access to anyone for any reason, as long as that reason is applied equally to all without discrimination.

Yeah. I suppose so. You can make it technically difficult for users of a particular software to access your public website, but on the other hand, it’s not illegal for people to fix their browsers so it works with that site unless they’re doing something like cracking passwords or hacking the system.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:

Yup,…

Which contradicts your claim that a browser couldn’t do that. Congratulations, you just proved yourself a liar (again).

…and if you extension included a payment model or added advertising, you likely would be enjoying getting blocked off as well…

That would be their own short-sighted choice. It’s still a browser.

(or potentially sued for reselling without permission).

Ridiculous lawsuits are filed all the time. There’s a big difference between filing a lawsuit and winning one. And it’s still a browser.

The Anti-Mikesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You love calling me a liar, too bad it’s just you who is a bad reader.

A browser can’t do it. A plugin for a browser isn’t a browser, sort of like saying your car can’t go 200 MPH, and then strapping 10 rocket engines on it and saying “how about now?”. Duh, add enough software, and you can probably make your laser mouse into a strobe light. I have a video player and photoshop on my machine. If I have both of them turned on at the same time, did the video player just become an image editor?

Would you use Boxee to surf the net normally? No. You use it to view videos. It is a media player, not a browser.

Ridiculous lawsuits are filed all the time.

You can call a tail a leg if you want, but your dog still can’t walk on it.

jdubsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

From Wikipedia

“A web browser is a software application for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web. An information resource is identified by a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) and may be a web page, image, video, or other piece of content.[1] Hyperlinks present in resources enable users to easily navigate their browsers to related resources. Although browsers are primarily intended to access the World Wide Web, they can also be used to access information provided by Web servers in private networks or files in file systems. Some browsers can be also used to save information resources to file systems.”

By definition Boxee is a browser, and a browser tailored to online video content. A media player Boxee does use to view the videos, as does any web browser when viewing content on the web (quicktime, flash player, windows media player, etc)

“Would you use Boxee to surf the net normally?” Again, it doesn’t have to be a generic web browser. Hell windows explorer by the above definition is a browser, so you could also even argue that within windows media player the explorer interface could be even considered a browser.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“In the strictest sense, it would be a “video browser”, not a web browser.”

Wow, that’s the best you have? Please look at what Boxee is, and understand that it’s a browser for viewing videos on the web. In your tortured distinction, how is it not a web browser or “web video browser” if you must?

Please stay away from these hopeless arguments You clearly have no grasp of how technology really works, and seem to be basing all of your arguments of ridiculous misconceptions of everything from wireless security to web browsing. At least try to have the good grace to admit you’re wrong, and accept that there are people here who have a much tighter grasp on how things really work.

You could learn a little from your visits here, if you didn’t spend your whole time trying to contradict everyone who knows what they’re talking about.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“By definition Boxee is a browser”

In the strictest sense, it would be a “video browser”, not a “web browser”.

Hmmm, I think you’re confused about some things here. A browser is a browser. A web browser is a browser, and a video browser is a browser. They both browse. A video browser is not a web browser, but that does not change the fact that it is still a browser. What you’re trying to say, is similar to saying that a woman is not a human, because only a man can be a human. That’s wrong, because they’re both human, just different types of human.

JEDIDIAHsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“By definition Boxee is a browser”

By who’s definition?

In the strictest sense, it would be a “video browser”, not a web browser.

anti-make is just making random stuff up. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. All Boxee does is present a more iTunes like interface for connecting to web video and any personal content you might have. It doesn’t add any extra advertising and it doesn’t remove the advertising that’s already in the video streams. It doesn’t do anything that any other browser or website does.

It might bypass hulu.com banner/flash ads but I do that with the firefox extensions I already run.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

You love calling me a liar,

Just pointing it out.

too bad it’s just you who is a bad reader.

And there you go again.

A browser can’t do it. A plugin for a browser isn’t a browser, sort of like saying your car can’t go 200 MPH, and then strapping 10 rocket engines on it and saying “how about now?”.

More like you claiming that no car can go 200 MPH and then, when shown one, trying to claim that it isn’t a car.

Would you use Boxee to surf the net normally?

For some sites.

You use it to view videos. It is a media player, not a browser.

Firefox can play videos without any plug-ins or extensions. So that means it’s “a media player, not a browser”, huh? You’re just digging your hole deeper.

You can call a tail a leg if you want, but your dog still can’t walk on it.

You should keep that in mind.

And they blocked the people watching through a BROWSER on the ps3 (no reformatting/re-presenting etc) because of the same reason. Content Providers said so. They seem to think watching through a device connected to a tv is just to dang scary

Until the suits in charge of the content licensing abandon the attitude that “Watching the content including the advertisements from Hulu on anything other than a computer is stealing” this lunacy will continue.

Hulsersays:

Unblock Boxee then

What would be funny is if Hulu responded by unblocking Boxee. “Well, now that Zucker has cleared up this little misunderstanding, we can go back to allowing access to Boxee users. And NBC would obviously not have a problem with this because Zucker testified to Congress that it was our decision to block in the first place, right?”

:)says:

Senate Hearings

Video in the bottom of the page for download and transcripts of the depositions

Senate Hearings

Senator Al Franken nailing Brian L. Roberts is priceless.

“looking to get approval for this merger, you sat there in my office and told me to my face that these rules would protect consumers but your lawyers had just finished arguing in front of the Commission that it would be unconstitutional to apply these rules.”

Hosermagesays:

It's obvious why he lied...

It’s a hearing about the merger of two huge companies, so naturally people are concerned about the monopolistic effects of that union. He lied because he didn’t want to leave the image of NBC using its powers to force another company into doing its wishes.

I agree that it would be hilarious if Hulu now unban Boxee users, though, not likely.

dronesays:

Boxee, Browser, Whut?

Obviously TAM does not understand what Boxee is, I’m afraid several other people are making specious arguments as well.

Firstly, both sides are over-simplifying this.

“Boxee” is not a browser in-and-of-its self. But the thing that was playing Hulu content, was.

To be more clear: Boxee is a port of the XBMC software that was an open-source clone of the original Xbox software, it is an operating environment that allows one to run applications, and provide a custom user interface for doing that.

Boxee has added capabilities (ref “social media”) to XBMC, and then attempted to streamline the interface. Boxee, per se, was not the thing playing Hulu content. Instead, there was a separate application that used RSS feeds that were made available to all web-based consumers of Hulu content, and then called a special application that displayed the Hulu content in a container. Yes, that makes the application that displayed the hulu content a browser (in fact, all it did was present the actual Hulu flash app as it was shown, and bring it full-screen, an intercept the remote controls to click the proper buttons on the flash app.) So yes, I don’t care what specious claims you make TAM, the thing that showed the content was a browser, according to the W3C, which is the only opinion of any merit in this argument about what constitutes a browser.

However, Boxee its self is NOT a web browser (although, yes, it does come with software that let’s you browse normal web pages from your couch), but instead a custom port of XBMC (xbox media center) with software to enable “social media” (go look it up yourself), and bundled applications to handle everything from web-based content to local media.

Yes, I was an alpha user of Boxee, and I have used it quite a bit.

dronesays:

Re: Re: Boxee, Browser, Whut?

“As I understand it, that application identifies itself to servers as “Boxee”.”

That’s still oversimplifying the situation by saying that “boxee is a browser.” Just because the specific browser component identifies its self as “boxee” does not imply that boxee as a whole is a browser. As I’ve already explained, Boxee is meta-concept built on XBMC, which is not inherently a browser, but includes applications which are browsers. XMBC, to be more specific, is a user interface (think X11), that can run applications specifically written for that interface. Each media option available on Boxee is implemented as an independent application, some “browsers” and some not.

dronesays:

Re: Boxee, Browser, Whut?

Well, when even the browser itself identifies itself as “Boxee”, don’t be surprised when people call it that.

Just sayin’…

Just sayin’ that if we use specific terms, and if the meaning of specific terms become functional facts in the discussion, then it is useful to be accurate when speaking specifically.

Phillipsays:

Re: Boxee, Browser, Whut?

but unlike boxee xbmc was made to do more stuff, weather, news, games, etc…

boxee is made for one thing only consuming content on the web and your computer. It will play local files, but so will FF if it has the right codecs and you browse to it. It is a browser. You can have it read rss feeds and video and music streams. It doesn’t make for a good web surfer, but you can go to any webpage in it.

I think you’re confusing the functionality of XBMC with boxee. yes it is what boxee is based on, but they do not provide all the same funcionality.
It is like saying a netbook is the same as a desktop computer. They both come from the same thing, but a netbook can’t do everything a desktop can, and some stuff like portability it does better.

dronesays:

Re: Re: Boxee, Browser, Whut?

Huh? That’s like saying GDM and XDM do entirely different things, because one makes a certain activity easier than the other. Boxee is, as I said, XBMC with changes. From wikipedia, and with 6 citations:

“Boxee is a fork of the free and open source XBMC media center software which Boxee uses as an application framework for its GUI and media player core platform, together with some custom and proprietary additions.”

Just another way of saying exactly what I said.

dronesays:

FWIW, here’s Boxee’s response to the same issue, and it should perfectly clarify the whole concept of browser, not a browser. etc.

http://blog.boxee.tv/2010/02/04/boxee-responds-to-nbcs-jeff-zucker/

To quote: “Boxee uses a web browser to access Hulu?s content ? just like Firefox or Internet Explorer. Boxee users click on a link to Hulu?s website and the video within that page plays. We don?t ?take? the video. We don?t copy it. We don?t put ads on top of it. The video and the ads play like they do on other browsers or on Hulu Desktop. And it certainly is legal to do so.”

The real truth of the matter is that the content providers are attempting to re-define what “browser” is, to include the device on which the browser displays (to which TAM plays well into) and therefore the expectation of the user for how they view said content. That the exact same piece of software displaying on a TV is a different access model than playing on an LCD monitor. The only effective difference between the two being where the viewer is sitting. On a couch or at a desk.

The Anti-Mikesays:

Re:

I have read that explaination, but it is somewhat incomplete.

Does Boxee store a copy of the video later for playback? Does Boxee help the user to collect videos and display them again in the future without a connection to the server required? Does Boxee allow users to fast forward where the Hulu flash might not allow this to happen, etc?

As Hulu makes it’s income on the numbers of views, unless a connection is made and a new video downloaded each time (with fresh ads), it would break the Hulu model. Even then, because they don’t display the full hulu page and only display individual videos, they do change the hulu experience.

I wouldn’t expect Boxee’s site to address these issues. I also don’t expect them to explain why a user has to register for free software that runs on their home PC, and then sign in for each use.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

Does Boxee store a copy of the video later for playback? Does Boxee help the user to collect videos and display them again in the future without a connection to the server required?

Do IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, et al, allow one to store web pages and “display them again in the future without a connection to the server required?” Well then, they must not be browsers, huh?

Nastybutler77says:

Re: Re:

“Even then, because they don’t display the full hulu page and only display individual videos, they do change the hulu experience.”

What difference does that make? If you’re giving away oranges, once you’ve given them away, you don’t have the right to say what I do with them once I have them. If I want to make orange juice with them, but you wanted me to slice them and use them as garnish, guess what? Once they’re mine I can do with them as I please.

Same with web content. If you place free content on a website, how I access that content is up to me. Original intent doesn’t matter in the least.

But being the contrarian asscap that you are, I’m sure you’ll disagree even though you know deep down I’m right.

Re: Re:

you really are a fucknut you no that?

in the case of the boxee-hulu connection they did address it and it has even been posted in this thread
“I?d like to set the record straight regarding Boxee?s access to Hulu. Boxee uses a web browser to access Hulu?s content ? just like Firefox or Internet Explorer. Boxee users click on a link to Hulu?s website and the video within that page plays. We don?t ?take? the video. We don?t copy it. We don?t put ads on top of it. The video and the ads play like they do on other browsers or on Hulu Desktop. And it certainly is legal to do so.”

Requiring users to ‘join’ is more the norm than an exception for free services especially services that pitchthemselves as a social networking experience.

Generally I don’t agree with TAM, nor do I comment but this comment stream is why I created my account.

I believe whether or not Boxee is a ‘browser’ in any sense of the word is moot. Many on here have presented pretty solid cases on both sides of the debate.

My thing is, Hulu is partnered or ‘owned’ in some form by the content providers. Socially right or wrong, those providers can and do dictate how they want their content to show. They want TV to be separate from the computer, maybe its for licensing reasons, business reasons or just because the staff hates ‘those evil computer things.’

Either way, they do have the right, with their own business, to dictate what it may be viewed on. It sucks, yes, I agree. Blocking Boxee is no different than blocking PS3 or blocking computers that use a ‘tv’ resolution.

You can change it by voting with your wallet. Don’t like the way Hulu dictates things? Move to another provider. One isn’t available? Well, are you being forced to watch their shows? Does a TV exec sit in your living room with a gun to your head?

What Mike’s point is (to me) is that Jeff Zucker is saying something is illegal when it is not. Kinda like felony interference of a business model. Is there anything illegal with using Boxee or any other browser to view shows on your TV? I don’t think so, I’m not lawyer though. At most, I could see it being against the Terms of Service.

How about writing those in power? Might not help much but at least its doing more than endlessly debating something that the content providers don’t really care about.

Not that I’m not way off, but this is how it seems to me.

As for TAM, I don’t think he’s paid by anybody since most of his comments are industry neutral. I don’t agree with him 90% of the time but at the same time just because he might be (IMO) wrong doesn’t mean he’s always wrong. Just because he might be a dick about it doesn’t mean his opinion isn’t any more invalid than the rest of ours.

Anonymoussays:

Re:

Either way, they do have the right, with their own business, to dictate what it may be viewed on.

No, they don’t (unless you can provide authoritative legal citations to support that claim). They can block, if they want to, but they don’t have any “right” to dictate.

It sucks, yes, I agree.

And is not legally enforceable.

As for TAM, I don’t think he’s paid by anybody since most of his comments are industry neutral.

Oh boy, another puppet.

Re: Re:

No, they don’t (unless you can provide authoritative legal citations to support that claim). They can block, if they want to, but they don’t have any “right” to dictate.

Sorry, I used dictate for lack of a better word. Yes they can say you can’t use X to view our website. Doesn’t mean you can’t do an end-run around and use another piece of software. But even still, they have the right to say you can’t view their website using X.

And is not legally enforceable.

Where did I say it was? Can you point that out for me? By saying dictate, I meant ‘say.’ As in, they can say you can’t use X. I use Boxee, I use Boxee to view Hulu, I update every time Hulu blocks Boxee. I’ve also used various hacks to enable it the last few times it was blocked.

Oh boy, another puppet.

Yup, that’s right. I get paid by the Democrats, Independents AND Republicans to make your own ideals bad with my own thoughts. Seriously, if I was paid don’t you think I’d have a more formulated response? Though, if your interested you can view my blog at blog.drgn.net and see what kind of corporate sponsorship I have. I mean, obviously I spent millions in corporate sponsorship. Hell, pay me and I’ll help bring your ideals to light using bad grammar and punctuation. 🙂

Not everybody giving their opinion is a corporate shill. Though, at least I have the decency to post with my name and give my website address. I don’t see the same courtesy from you and yet your basting me as another corporate shill? Ooooooook…

Brandonsays:

Re: Re: Re:

Arg! Sorry for the mashed together text, I used HTML and forgot to put line breaks. Here’s a better view and from now on I’ll use the preview button like I should.

No, they don’t (unless you can provide authoritative legal citations to support that claim). They can block, if they want to, but they don’t have any “right” to dictate.

Sorry, I used dictate for lack of a better word. Yes they can say you can’t use X to view our website. Doesn’t mean you can’t do an end-run around and use another piece of software. But even still, they have the right to say you can’t view their website using X.

And is not legally enforceable.

Where did I say it was? Can you point that out for me? By saying dictate, I meant ‘say.’ As in, they can say you can’t use X. I use Boxee, I use Boxee to view Hulu, I update every time Hulu blocks Boxee. I’ve also used various hacks to enable it the last few times it was blocked.

Oh boy, another puppet.

Yup, that’s right. I get paid by the Democrats, Independents AND Republicans to make your own ideals bad with my own thoughts. Seriously, if I was paid don’t you think I’d have a more formulated response? Though, if your interested you can view my blog at blog.drgn.net and see what kind of corporate sponsorship I have. I mean, obviously I spent millions in corporate sponsorship. Hell, pay me and I’ll help bring your ideals to light using bad grammar and punctuation. 🙂

Not everybody giving their opinion is a corporate shill. Though, at least I have the decency to post with my name and give my website address. I don’t see the same courtesy from you and yet your basting me as another corporate shill? Ooooooook…

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:

Sorry, I used dictate for lack of a better word.

I can only go by what you actually wrote. I can’t read your mind.

But even still, they have the right to say you can’t view their website using X. And is not legally enforceable.

And I suppose a “dictator” is just someone who expresses an opinion too, huh? Get real, you and TAM, both.

And is not legally enforceable. Where did I say it was? Can you point that out for me?

Sure: “Either way, they do have the right, with their own business, to dictate what it may be viewed on.” I think that’s what most people would take that to mean.

Though, at least I have the decency to post with my name and give my website address. I don’t see the same courtesy from you and yet your basting me as another corporate shill? Ooooooook…

Yeah, like that proves you’re no puppet. OK, I’ll fess up: I’m the Queen of England. Here’s a link to my official website just to prove it: http://www.royal.gov.uk . So now I’m no more anonymous than you are.

Brandonsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I can only go by what you actually wrote. I can’t read your mind.

Fair enough.

Sure: “Either way, they do have the right, with their own business, to dictate what it may be viewed on.” I think that’s what most people would take that to mean.

I do apologize, I was using the word incorrectly. I was using it more as something said, not something forced. I was incorrect in the definition. (2 a : to issue as an order b : to impose, pronounce, or specify authoritatively c : to require or determine necessarily (injuries dictated the choice of players)). Though however, it still could be a violation of their terms of service. How enforceable that is, I have no clue. Probably just being banned from the site. My point was, one you didn’t respond to, is that they can say you can’t use X browser just like some software vendors say you can’t use X with their software. Crack would sort of a good example, though that’s more piracy. Which is NOT what (IMO) Boxee is doing. All I’m saying is instead of bitching about it, why don’t people do more than just bitch in some forum. I’ve written my congressmen in Florida about various issues including copyright all the way to medical MJ (fyi – support medical MJ in your area, not for the stoners but for those with critical illnesses.). I just don’t understand why people don’t do more. Hell, look at Mike (not TAM), over the years he’s done quite a bit more than probably yourself on political issues, including this site.

Yeah, like that proves you’re no puppet. OK, I’ll fess up: I’m the Queen of England. Here’s a link to my official website just to prove it: http://www.royal.gov.uk . So now I’m no more anonymous than you are.

Hello Queenie! How was that Lady GaGa concert? Seriously though, you got me there. I just don’t understand why I’m some corporate puppet for expressing my own opinion about a matter like this. It’s like saying I’m a republican puppet because I don’t like Obama (He’s a douche) and then saying I’m a dailyKOS puppet because I hated Bush (also a douche). But meh, whatever. Can’t please all and all that jazz.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

I just don’t understand why I’m some corporate puppet for expressing my own opinion about a matter like this.

The opinion you originally expressed was one that would typically be expressed by such. Then your defense of TAM didn’t help any either.

It’s like saying I’m a republican puppet because I don’t like Obama (He’s a douche) and then saying I’m a dailyKOS puppet because I hated Bush (also a douche).

OK, I’m starting to like you a little more now 🙂

Brandonsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

The opinion you originally expressed was one that would typically be expressed by such. Then your defense of TAM didn’t help any either.

Bad choice of words and as you stated agreeing with TAM didn’t help and probably caused immediate dismissal of anything I had to say, though I find that a little disheartening. I comment because I enjoy debate and discussion as well as a chance to learn more. I feel that by being debated I also have a chance to learn other schools of thought which better form my own opinion. Copyright, Patent and IP issues interest me though I have no experience outside of personal research I’ve done and sites like this, boingboing and a few other good places. I didn’t agree with him because I believe all of his ideals on the subject, and reading more of his comments, ‘dictate’ does certainly fit his ideals on this subject, this is what I get for skimming before commenting. I’d like to think I’m usually pretty good at expressing my opinions in s non-douchebaggish way. Though as a first post, it certainly classifies as a fail to a degree.

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