Hulu Content Headed to Roku?

Dave Zatz —  June 2, 2009 — 17 Comments

roku-hulu2

I can’t say I’m a regular reader of Playboy but, after coming across this juicy nugget, I did indeed pick up the current issue (June 2009)… for the articles. Well, just one little blurb in particular. After talking to Roku, Playboy has concluded “Hulu support is coming” to the $99 set-top box. Could this be the cable freedom Holy Grail we’ve been awaiting? (Assuming Hulu and partners beef up their library.) I gave the Roku folks a quick call and they had nothing to say on the topic. Something us bloggers often liken to an affirmation. Nice! But when?

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17 responses to Hulu Content Headed to Roku?

  1. I’m skeptical. I think the pushback from Hulu’s content partners on Boxee was around TV-viewing centric solutions as they don’t really want consumers going with pure OTT solutions that would replace a pay-TV set top.

    But hey, if Hulu comes to Roku, I’d find that much more valuable than Netflix and pony up the $99.

  2. That’s cool and all, but where’s the Hulu/Xbox 360 announcement I was hoping for? I don’t want to add yet another box to my cluttered home system? : )

  3. So if Hulu is open to putting Hulu content on boxes that means XBox360 and other devices are a possibility after all. Hmm….

  4. Brent, I assume any hardware-based content will have time-based restrictions to keep the local broadcasters and cable networks/providers happy – they fear cannibalization. So maybe instead of being online 24 hours later, maybe it’s be 72 hours. Or maybe just prior seasons. It’s all very interesting… we’ll see how it plays out. But I think this could finally be the beginning of a seismic shift in how ‘network’ content is delivered… assuming it pans out.

  5. Given the lead time on Playboy publication, I’m sure HULU was somewhat interested at that time. I agree with Mike and am skeptical the content players would allow such a thing.

    If you look at the HULU Desktop terms of service, clearly a direct TV connection violates them. Further, should you decide to violate them (no, did I do that?), the overall quality is a bit disappointing.

  6. I’m skeptical.

    It was my understanding that Hulu’s agreement with content providers specifically prohibited the integration of that functionality onto set-top box hardware.

    From Hulu Desktop’s terms of service:

    “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”). You may not use any hardware, software or service other than the Hulu Software to stream, re-encode, project or transmit Hulu Content. Except as may be required by law, you may not use hardware, software, a device, a service or any other means to cause the Hulu Software: (a) to stream or transmit Hulu Content to any Prohibited Devices;..”

    If Hulu support is to come to either Roku or TiVo, then it is my understanding that it must come through a PC gateway application. That’s what Moxi did; Moxi can access Hulu only when the PlayOn software is running on a Windows PC. Even then, Hulu could ban access to any device that makes that content available to STB hardware.

  7. I’m with some of the other commenters, its hard to believe the studios have enough leverage for a move as aggressive as this given the pushback re boxee we’ve seen recently.

    I’m betting this is still a ways off.

  8. From the Hulu.com terms of service:

    “The copying, downloading, stream capturing, reproduction, duplication, archiving, distribution, uploading, publication, modification, translation, broadcast, performance, display, sale, or transmission of the Content is strictly prohibited unless it is expressly permitted by Hulu in writing. The Content covered by this restriction includes any text, graphics, layout, interface, logos, photographs, audio and video materials, and stills. In addition, you are strictly prohibited from creating derivative works or materials that otherwise are derived from or based on in any way the Content, including montages, mash-ups and similar videos, wallpaper, desktop themes, greeting cards, and merchandise, unless it is expressly permitted by Hulu in writing. You may not incorporate the Content into any hardware or software application.”

    Note the last sentence.

  9. Are we sure this isn’t just sloppy/lazy fact checking?

  10. Andy, bkdtv: I’m with you on your skepticism. But I’m not sure why you think Hulu’s terms of service for users has any relation to other business deals they may negotiate. We know NBC & Fox content are headed to ZillionTV (hardware) and I doubt a player like Roku would scrape content without an agreement/authorization.

    Tom, Normally that’d be one of my first thoughts. But the way the author phrased it (“Roku promises”) led me in another direction. Guess time will tell.

  11. Scott G. Lewis June 2, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    From Hulu Desktop’s terms of service:

    “You may not download, install or use the Hulu Software on any device other than a Personal Computer including without limitation”

    I don’t think this would constitute the installation of Hulu’s desktop software onto a non-PC. Whatever agreement Hulu has with Roku certainly has nothing to do with the TOS for their separate Hulu desktop product.

    I’m finding that XBMC + Hulu Desktop on my HTPC is a fantastic combination. Almost as good as being able to “subscribe” to Hulu and watch TV same day for a monthly fee.. which is all I really want. First network to allow that will get my vote for best network ever. :)

  12. I bought the Roku last year just for this purpose. Let it rain Hulu, let it rain XD

  13. Dave and Scott,

    Refer to the Hulu.com (not Hulu software) license terms:

    “The copying, downloading, stream capturing, reproduction, duplication, archiving, distribution, uploading, publication, modification, translation, broadcast, performance, display, sale, or transmission of the Content is strictly prohibited unless it is expressly permitted by Hulu in writing. The Content covered by this restriction includes any text, graphics, layout, interface, logos, photographs, audio and video materials, and stills….

    You may not incorporate the Content into any hardware or software application.””

  14. I updated my comment above to emphasize these citations are agreements between Hulu and users/viewers. I’m not suggesting Roku would scrape content, I’m suggesting they’d collaborate with Hulu as they have with Netflix and Amazon.

  15. I agree that this may be lazy fact checking. For starters, Hulu doesn’t have the latest episode of Lost (ABC.com does, however).

  16. @bkdtv: *You* may not do those things. Hulu is free to define different terms of service with other partners.

    Now, if you can cite agreements between Hulu and the content providers, that’d be different.

  17. i love that this story made engadget, solely because its the story is based on an article in playboy…

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