This is a story from Lifehacker about alternatives to Hulu for getting your TV content. In the end, they are saying people will revert back to Bittorrent for getting TV shows, much the same way they had done before. People aren’t looking to be pirates, they are looking for convenience. I actually agree with this guys take. Give it a read if online TV is a topic you are interested in.
By Adam Pash, 3:00 PM on Thu Feb 19 2009, 48,388 views Let’s say a certain web site you liked went and did something kind of stupid, and now the TV shows you were watching legitimately on your actual TV have suddenly disappeared. Guess what? There are other options.
That’s right, there’s BitTorrent—the file sharing protocol that so many people were using before they were finally offered a content provider-approved method of watching the shows they love. In the end, it wasn’t about the commercials—it was about the convenience. People were happy to watch Hulu on their TVs via Boxee, and yeah, sit through the Hulu commercials, because it was more convenient than hassling with BitTorrent downloads. It’s not about piracy or “stealing” from content providers because people are malicious like that; it’s about convenience.
Let’s say that I’m already paying for cable, but I didn’t watch the show when it aired. Sure, I could watch it on Hulu on my laptop, but I want to watch it on my TV. And why shouldn’t I be able to? What’s the difference between serving ads through my monitor and my HDTV? I’ll still sit through them, because they’re more convenient than the alternative. Yeah, more convenient than BitTorrent. Or at least it was.
But BitTorrent’s not that inconvenient, especially after Hulu’s content providers reject progress in favor of their tried and true one-step-forward, two-steps-back philosophy of progress. BitTorrent is easy to get the hang of, people.
Upset users can easily follow our beginner’s guide to BitTorrent, and spice up their skills with our intermediate guide. If they’re really savvy, they can even do their best to protect their privacy from prying eyes. But it doesn’t end there!
BitTorrent users can subscribe to shows and automatically download them as soon as they’re available using tools like the previously mentioned Ted or by setting up feeds in their BitTorrent client of choice with sites like previously mentioned FeedMyTorrents. It’s not hard, trust us. Keep in mind, we’re not saying “Go pirate every Hulu show now that Hulu won’t let you watch it the way you want to.” But that is what people will do. Everyone watching Hulu through Boxee is an early adopter—they know how to make things work. The point is—as O’Reilly’s Mark Hedlund articulated better than we could:
I’m sure Hulu is totally pissed. They pretty much said just that in a somewhat more stilted way. The real insult, though, is calling the people who made them cut Boxee off “content providers.” They might as well have told the studios they are the moral equivalent of the guy schlepping reels around the projector booth. Someone will win this war eventually, they seem to be saying, and you could have helped make it us.
Now you have a choice: someone else — not you, someone smart — will win instead, or you can change your mind. That’s pretty much my view, too. DVDs (mentioned in the note at the start) became a big boon for the studios, once their crazy ideas about self-destructing Divx discs went the way of the Dodo. The studios have a very long history of betting against technology people want, and on technology people don’t want. This is just another such case. The technology people want always wins in the end — no duh — and usually benefits the businesses who fought that technology to the death.
Here’s hoping the technology people want — Boxee — doesn’t wind up benefiting the studios fighting it now. Did you feel the sting from the Hulu block—whether it was the Boxee or TV.com block? Let’s hear your reaction in the comments.