Netflix to make Original Programming

affiliate linkThe folk at Netflix decided that is a good idea for them to make their own content by signing House of Cards to an amazing 2 season deal (check out Deadline for more).

I'm not sure this is a good idea.  YouTube and Hulu have done the same type of thing lately, and it all just makes me sigh.

Content platforms should be Platforms, not producers.  There is an inherent conflict of interest when your business is about both, making content and distributing it.  They will naturally push their original content more than the content of others...

I would love to see them take the idea of being a platform to the next stage instead.  Provide tools for independent producers to submit their content easily, and curate that content, to keep the quality of your offering up to your standards.

Am I making to much out of this?  Let me know what you think.

Rep. Rick Boucher Presses NBC About Hulu Practices Toward Boxee

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 4:  Comcast Chairman...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

During the Congress hearing examining the Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal Rep. Rick Boucher Presses NBC About Hulu Practices Toward Boxee.

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.

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA): “Well would you have negotiations with Boxee upon request?”

Zucker (NBC): “We have always said that we’re open to negotiations.”

I’m overjoyed to see congress pressing NBC about their issues with Boxee and Hulu.  They have had past issues with streaming content online and now with Comcast set to take over I fear those issues will only get worse.

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.

The big difference between boxee and other browsers are that boxee took the effort to make their product available on other platforms that connect easily to the TV.  This is unfortunately perceived as a threat by those studios who don’t get the change in the way audiences want to consume their media.  We go into more detail on Speculative Fiction Today #405 “Many Mini Chucks”.

Zucker’s response makes me cringe because it sounds like the health care debate all over again.  One side says hey lets negotiate on this and the other side says they are more then willing to negotiate yet their actions shows no intention of doing so.

(via Boxee Blog)

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Would You Pay Hulu For Content?

Would you be willing to pay $4.99 per month subscription to Hulu for more content?

Hulu, LLC Image via Wikipedia

Hulu is considering limiting free episodes for some TV series to the latest five, and charging $4.99 a month for access to the rest. They are looking to offer at least 20 new and older series in this fashion to entice users. More concrete pricing plans could be announced within six months. (via /film)

I would be willing to pay $4.99 per month subscription so long as there is some great value added in.

  • Getting access to more episodes then just the 5 latest ones
  • not having to wait long for the episode to air
  • I would even be willing to pay some more if they could throw in a Boxee App and / or X-Box App so that I can watch Hulu on my TV.

I would not be willing to pay for

  • Access to individual shows, If I wanted to do that I would continue to buy the DVD’s and order them through iTunes.
  • Basic access:  The corporate overlords need to realize the true value in a freemium model.  There are many shows that I would not have bought on DVD or even watched if they had not been on Hulu.  Keeping the shows free both increases sales and reduces piracy.

With more to be announced in six months I will have to keep the faith that the Hulu experiment will be allowed to grow instead of being hamstrung further by their corporate masters News Corp. Disney, and soon to be Comcast.

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Could Hulu Be in Trouble?

Some sad news out, GE is moving forward on a deal between Comcast and NBC.

Hulu, LLC Image via Wikipedia

Under the terms of that deal, Comcast would own 51 percent of the new entity, which would combine NBC Universal’s broadcast network, theme parks, movie studio, and cable-television channels USA, Bravo, CNBC and MSNBC with Comcast cable networks E! Entertainment, Versus and Golf Channel.

What does this mean for Hulu?

Hulu would then have 2/3 of their owners more interested in the company going away rather then succeeding.

Comcast is interested in keeping the public watching appointment TV and paying for a cable bill, putting their interests against Hulu.

Disney owners of ABC have a long history of ownership issues which is only furthered by the odd change in Hulu’s direction with their acquisition this year.  This season’s lessening of Hulu with many shows on a one week delay and the things going down with yanking Eastwick.

I’m not so concerned that Hulu would get shut down overnight.  What I do see as a possible future is a slow corruption in the quality of the product.  Lessening and restricting Hulu from making the advances necessary to grow it’s audience share.  This would allow it to become insignificant and to fade away.

With hope I want to believe that Hulu’s success will keep them from taking this great product away from everyone.  Hope is not enough.

How do we move forward?

What steps do you recommend we take to help the big studios see the value in offering shows streaming online and the value in services like Hulu which can aggregate those shows into a good player?

(via NewTeeVee)

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Would you pay for a iTunes TV Subscription Service?

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

I am torn about the idea of an iTunes Subscription service.  Rumors are swirling again that it might me on the way.

A subscription service from Apple consisting of a $35 or so monthly fee for access to a large and complete library of current-season television episodes via iTunes would fit well into the TV networks’ overall content strategy — Hulu has proven there is a demand for streaming full episodes, and the cable companies have long shown that consumers are willing to pay for access(NewTeeVee).

When I wrote my Would you pay for a Boxee app? I laid down some ground rules:

Rules for Paid Apps

  1. Paid App channels would have to be commercial free.
  2. Paid App channels must have a free version to test the content.
  3. Apps must be cheap!  The more they cost, the fewer people will pay.
  4. Apps should be available for networks and individual shows.

Reasons I would pay for an app

  • Premium Channels: HBO and Showtime are top of my list.
  • Foreign Content: BBC iPlayer is top on my list, but I have a soft spot for Chinese and Indian TV.
  • Supporting Indie Media:  I would pay to support the Guild, Legend of Neil and other shows, but I would expect extras.

Would I pay for an iTunes Subscription Service?

In an era before Hulu, I would definitely would have paid for this, but I am not sure I would now.

If the Price is $35 a month it would have to:

  • include many channels that I cannot stream online already
  • be commercial free
  • allow me to watch the show when it is airing on Cable.
  • allow on demand streaming the day the show aired not 24 hours later
  • allow all episodes of a season to be on watched at anytime as often as I want
  • work on my Mac, PC, AppleTV, and iPod Touch for one fee

I need a lot more details before I know whether I know if I want to pay for this.

What would it take?

What would it take for you to pay for an Apple streaming TV service?

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TV and Movie Streams Up, Push Decabling!

ipsos_8_5The number of people who are streaming TV Shows and Movies online is way up.  Now is the time to push Decabling! Hulu and Netflix are helping in the cause, but we have a lot of work to do.  We need to promote AppleTV (or better the Mac Mini) and Boxee to get more people to move to the next phase, leaving the cable companies for the freedom decabling offers.

How do you think we should push decabling?

(via New TeeVee)

NBC and Fox want to kill Hulu!

Image representing hulu as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

During a talk at an Internet Week event the other night, News Corp.’s chief digital officer, Jonathan Miller, suggested some of Hulu’s content might become available only to subscribers. Miller’s comments echoed NBC CEO Jeff Zucker’s words at the D7 conference last week where he said that a Hulu subscription was a possibility (New TeeVee).

Hulu is successful because it is like broadcast TV, free to anyone who picks up the signal... If Fox and NBC get their way, there are some people who will pay, but the majority will go back to P2P for their free TV.

How Paid Content on Hulu Might Work

The only way I could possibly see this working is if they left the standard definition content (up to the hi-res) free for anyone to watch and made the high definition (HD) a paid extra.  I think the hi res video is good enough to keep most people on the site, but the extra cost of sending HD video could be subsidized by those who really want it.

The only other way I could see this working is if they offered a commercial free Hulu as a paid service.  That is something even I might pay for.

If they make all of the content for pay, then Hulu will quickly go out of business.

The "Good" News

Hulu says they have no plans to switch from their free model to a paid one..  Cold comfort, but I'll take what I can get.

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Hulu Desktop

h10-image-2Hulu have launched a new Desktop app for the Mac and the PC.  It is in beta, but works really well.  This is one step closer to what I want from Hulu but I noticed something in the software's Terms of Service that upset me.

Video their way

2. Permitted License Uses and Restrictions. Hulu grants you a license to install and use the Hulu Software on your personal laptop or desktop computer (“Personal Computer”) for the sole purpose of streaming content that is available on Hulu’s site located at (“Hulu Content”) on your Personal Computer. You may not download, install or use the Hulu Software on any device other than a Personal Computer including without limitation digital media receiver devices (such as Apple TV), mobile devices (such as a cell phone device, mobile handheld device or a PDA), network devices or CE devices (collectively “Prohibited Devices”).

Grrr, argh.  I am glad they made the software, but honestly, I want it on my AppleTV.  I suppose I will have to get a Mac Mini for my next media center so I can run this on my television easier.

I am surprised that they are continuing to push their content way from the television, while at the same time showing that they understand how people want to watch their content.

Hulu walks the line

I think Hulu is doing its best to walk the line between what their viewers want and what their content partners want.  (sigh)

It is only a matter of time before they come around.  This is at the very least, a step forward.


Hulu Desktop Here!

Review: Legend of the Seeker 114 Hartland

Review of:  Legend of the Seeker: Hartland  Legend of the Seeker - Legend of the Seeker, Season 1 Overall Rating: 9

When Darken Rahl establishes a foothold in the Seeker's hometown, Richard, Kahlan and Chase must journey through the boundary to save Hartland from the forces of darkness.  Watch the episode streaming online above.

  • I really enjoyed how they wrapped up the story between Richard and Anna.
  • It was really interesting seeing how Darken Rahl brainwashed an entire town
  • The Gar were freaky looking in a good way
  • they address the barrier and help to explain it.

Get you copy from: Legend of the Seeker - Legend of the Seeker, Season 1

Get the books: The Sword of Truth, Boxed Set I, Books 1-3: Wizard's First Rule, Blood of the Fold ,Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind

Netflix, Inc.Netflix lets you rent, watch and return DVDs from home - Try free for 2 weeks

  	 Fandango - We've Got Your Movie Tickets!Don't wait. Guarantee your seat before you go and  avoid a sold out show. Skip the box office lines and buy movie tickets at

Review: Chuck 216 Versus The Lethal Weapon

Review of:  Chuck: Chuck Versus The Lethal Weapon Chuck Overall Rating: 8

After MI-6 Agent Cole Barker was captured by Fulcrum, Chuck must go under 24 hour watch and can not move in with Morgan.  Now he must figure out how to break the bad news to Morgan.  Meanwhile he pursues one of Fulcrum's scientists, in hopes of learning how to get the Intersect out of his head.  Watch the episode streaming online above.

I really enjoy the Get Smart feel that this show has with chuck as this adorable bumbling success of an agent.  They also permeated the show with so many geek and speculative fiction fandom references which has lent the show such a familiar feel.  One game I love to play is picking out all of those references in each show.


  • The Dance Like an Egyptian remix was awesome
  • Jeff and Lester: repulsion is our business our business is good
  • The hobble chase scene, awesome
  • Robert Picardo: I love that he was in this episode
  • The MI-6 Agent Cole Barker kept cracking me up as he reminded me of Eric Idle’s character in National Lampoon's European Vacation.  He would get injured and be so cordial about it and wave it off as nothing more than a mere inconvenience
  • really sweet and neat ending that furthers the story.

Geek and SF references in this episode

  1. Tron poster
  2. The false belief that a gamming habit might repulse a female.
  3. Robert Picardo

Get you copy from: Chuck

Chuck - The Complete First Season

Netflix, Inc.Netflix lets you rent, watch and return DVDs from home - Try free for 2 weeks

  	 Fandango - We've Got Your Movie Tickets!Don't wait. Guarantee your seat before you go and  avoid a sold out show. Skip the box office lines and buy movie tickets at

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Hulu Awards: The SF Winners

Hulu have announced the winner of their first award thing.  The categories were strange, and the "finalists" where not always what you would want to vote for.  Several Speculative Fiction series, movies, and clips won.  Here they are:

Really!?! Award

To no ones surprise the winner of the Realy!?! Award went to Triumph the Insult Dog mocking Star Wars fans on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

The idea that it is funny to mock Star Wars fans for not being molested by priests. I get tired of the idea that fans don't have sex. I assume these people don't know any fans, and I am sure they have never been to a convention. Most of the fans I know have too much sex. Gah, and am not going to get into my stop turning conventions into orgies rant here, but ugh. Stupid mundane people having stupid fun. Ugh.

Best Trailer

The Watchmen! It is going to be hard to beat the Watchmen for best movie of the year, and this trailer is a great promo for it.

The Show We'd bring back

Firefly! It is close to impossible to find anyone who has seen Firefly who doesn't want more.

(via Hulu)

Email your questions for Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon at the premiere of Serenity (film)
Image via Wikipedia

Even though I am miffed with Hulu over their choice to remove themselves from Boxee, this is a rare chance for fans to ask Joss questions.

Have a burning question for the brains behind Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dr. Horrible and Dollhouse? Now's your chance to ask Joss Whedon for answers. See if you can get him to spill the beans about his latest heroine, Echo, and whether we'll ever see Dr. Horrible on Broadway. Send your questions to by 9 a.m. PST on Wednesday, February 25 (Hulu).

Good luck getting your question to him.  I know I am going to come up with some goodies to ask the master of dark fiction.

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Decabled: Hulu forced off Boxee

Image representing Boxee as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

The folks at Boxee announced that they are being forced to remove Hulu support from Boxee at the request of Hulu's content partners...

Hulu posted this as their reason:

Our content providers requested that we turn off access to our content via the Boxee product, and we are respecting their wishes. While we stubbornly believe in this brave new world of media convergence — bumps and all — we are also steadfast in our belief that the best way to achieve our ambitious, never-ending mission of making media easier for users is to work hand in hand with content owners (Hulu).

What platform is next?

I cannot understand this.  I spent most of the day trying to find just one rational reason for a content partner to ask a web service to block a platform.  I couldn't think of one.

This is tantamount to saying, I don't want my web content visible in Internet Explorer or Firefox.  Maybe I am missing the point of Hulu entirely.

Isn't Hulu about making money?

Image representing hulu as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Unless I am horribly wrong, the purpose of Hulu to make video available to viewers in an easy to use way so their content providers could make money off of the ads.  Am I wrong?

Well Hulu says:

Hulu's mission is to help people find and enjoy the world's premium video content when, where and how they want it. As we pursue this mission, we aspire to create a service that users, advertisers, and content owners unabashedly love (Hulu).

The need to rewrite that mission statement a bit.  Here let me help.

Hulu's mission is to help people find and enjoy the world's premium video content when, where and how they want it as long as they only visit our site through approved browsers. As we pursue this mission, we aspire to create a service that users, advertisers, and content owners unabashedly love.

There, that is more like what they are actually doing.

Contact them and their partners:

Let them know how you feel about them banning an browser from their service.  The next thing you know, they will have to scan for a media center before they  allow access to their video.

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Chuck Finds Father and it’s Scott Bakula?

Scott Bakula is returning to TV as Chuck’s dad!  I’ve really love this show.  It’s like geek heaven, full of geek and speculative fiction references.  I’ve caught up on Hulu and now can’t wait for the next part of the season to start.  Bakula should appear in at least 3 episodes with his arc kicking off in April.

"Chuck made a promise to his sister, Ellie [Sarah Lancaster], that he was going to find their dad in time for her wedding," Schwartz explains. "And it's something that Chuck becomes consumed with pursuing during the second half of the season.

"But when he finds him, he's not necessarily a guy who wants to be found," Schwartz continues. "He's living in a trailer, he's disheveled, he's paranoid and he's claiming constantly that Ted Roark [Chevy Chase] -- who he used to work with -- stole all his ideas from him. And Ted Roark has now become this super-successful software billionaire, and Chuck's dad has become an eccentric, living in the shadows."

Did they just say that Chevy Chase will also make an appearance?  That would rock even more!

Watch Chuck Streaming Online Here.

This clip is a great sample of the show Chuck.

(via EW)

Boxee and the Digital Future

boxee The new build of Boxee is out, and I got a chance to play with it today.  The new build offers a lot of new features:

  • Netflix, for the Mac version only.
  • a new Hulu – looks more like, enables you to login (so you can get your Hulu Queue), works faster, and playback should be greatly improved on Apple TV
  • a new YouTube – new look, as well as higher quality video playback. some of these YouTube clips look pretty good on your 46” LCD
  • a new CNN, Flickr, Picasa and Apple Movie Trailers – we’ve re-written all of these plug-ins to work faster and look better
  • Boston Globe’s The Big Picture – it’s a great photo-blog, which we really like, and thought could be pretty cool in a 10-foot experience. if you’ll like it we could bring much more of these type of services (let us know!)
  • integration with MTV Music – when you click on an album you’ll see a new option to let you watch music videos of the artist. check it out. MTV said they can give us higher quality videos, and we have a few more ideas for providing a great music video experience on boxee
  • theWB – on our quest to bring more TV content to boxee theWB is the latest addition. it means shows like Buffy, Babylon5, Firefly, One Tree Hill and The O.C. are now available on boxee

First Impressions

Well, I have to give it mixed reviews.  I love that Boxee is trying to bring together all of the online streaming options into one place.  I installed it on my AppleTV, and I have to say, I am a fan.  These are features that should exist natively on the AppleTV and they turned a something I loved into a device that I am now fanatical about.

There are a couple problems.

Netflix does not work on the AppleTV

I am not sure if this is because of the AppleTV’s processor or the fact that Netflix streaming service relies on Silver Light and a heavy dose of DRM.

This is not a deal breaker, and the folks at Boxee are committed to trying to make it work.  If they can make it work, then the AppleTV will become the best media center I could imagine.

The new Hulu Interface.

While I like the look of the new Hulu interface, I don’t find it as intuitive as the old one.  It could just be that not used to it, but I didn’t find it as easy to use as the old one.  My biggest complaint, is that after I watched a show, I had to drill back down through the show menu to pick a new show.  If there is a “back” botton, I didn’t see it.

All and All

I would have to say it is an improvement, and it shows what Boxee will eventually be able to do.

New Media is not Small Media or Binding

I was reading an article on The 10 movies you shouldn't watch online.  In which, once again they demonstrate how people don’t get the new media.

Hulu recently added 1962's "Lawrence of Arabia," which raises the question: Should anyone watch a nearly four-hour-long epic of sweeping grandeur on their laptop? Or, heaven forbid, their cell phone?

New media is about being freed from schedules and opening up more choices.  Yes, some watch Hulu and other shows on their portable devices but the growing trend is like myself to have Hulu tied into our main entertainment center and watch it like one would watch a DVD or Television.  I love my Apple TV and Boxee which I run on it to allow me to watch Hulu on my Big Screen.  Besides if you were on a long flight with internet access and I had to choose between the big screen in-flight movie or Star Wars on my laptop, well the decision is easy.

Watching movies on Hulu is about being freed from appointment TV.  This way if they show his #5 pick Star Wars on TV I would probably have something going on during the time slot when it would be aired.  Yet on Hulu I can load it up when I have time to watch a movie on my schedule.

What do you think, do you watch movies on Hulu?  If so how do you like to watch them?

Good Bad & Ugly Online TV

briansimpson I have been wondering for a while: "Why are TV studios are doing the things that they are doing in regard to providing their content in a manner other than appointment TV?" The general answer was a shrug followed with "well it is a new medium and they are scared to change the old models that worked so well." Not the most satisfactory answer and vague enough it might just work. The Good: The online advertising debate will move forward. With the more traditional means of advertising and advertising expectations moving online this will put pressure on the advertisers to pay more fairly for their advertisements. Currently most advertising reaps the benefits from the add with viewers seeing the product but they don't have to pay for it unless someone clicks on the add which results in many free adds for advertisers. The TV model will hopefully fuel the debate and put pressure on advertisers to more fairly pay for those add views. It will also fuel the debate over what counts as a fair add view and how is it tracked. All good questions that need to be discussed.

Advertisers pay more online because there is a better accounting of how many viewers see the ads and an extra benefit that an impulse to purchase can be acted on with the click of a mouse.

"For an advertiser, you're getting a clear performance result," said Bob Davis, a Web investor. "No matter what the click-through (rate) they get, it's infinitely larger than the click-through they get on TV. The click-through they get on TV is zero."

The Good: With NBC realizing that free advertisement supported content online is more valuable than pay per view model they will hopefully put up more content and leave shows up longer. There are many shows that I would watch from time to time with adds online but I would not buy on DVD. It is an undeserved market and I'm excited to see NBC taking up the charge. They should also leave the content up longer giving word of mouth movements to drive up their ratings of shows that may be good but have bad advertising.

For TV shows at least, ad-supported free viewing online has proved more profitable than fee-based video downloads on services like Apple Inc.'s iTunes, said George Kliavkoff, chief digital officer of NBC Universal.

The Bad: With the value of commercials being so high online and the studios desire to get even more out of their online revenues there is concern that they may move away from sharing that revenue and try to drive viewers to their individual sites, pulling their shows from aggregating programs like hulu and Joost.

The Ugly: Those studios that think that this is just a fad to draw viewers back into appointment TV, causing them to play games and annoy viewers and in turn driving down online viewership online through false means.

"The thought was purely to try to find new eyeballs in a medium that generally appeals to younger demographics, and then drive them ... to watch on their beautiful plasma-screen TV when the series takes off," said Quincy Smith, president of CBS Interactive.

CBS, who's player and site experience is most unpleasant. I have been annoyed with them all season because of the stupid games they are playing. I really enjoy shows like The Big Bang Theroy and How I Met Your Mother. I would watch it through my Joost player because the experience is convenient and pleasant. I have actually fallen behind in many episodes because CBS was not releasing the current episodes in a regular fashion to Joost. I hope that this delay is not due to them playing games to drive viewership back to appointment TV.

Overall this news is promising and hopefully studios will continue to move into the new media.

via Press-Enterprise