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How Hulu, NBC, and Other Sites Block Google TV 338

Shortly after the launch of Google TV, it became clear that several networks and services were blocking access. Reader padarjohn points out a blog post from Lauren Weinstein explaining the blocking mechanisms being used and wondering why it's being tolerated. "Imagine the protests that would ensue if Internet services arbitrarily blocked video only to Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers! Or if Hulu and the other networks decided they'd refuse to stream video to HP and Dell computers because those manufacturers hadn't made deals with the services to the latter's liking." Various workarounds are being used to get around the blocks.
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How Hulu, NBC, and Other Sites Block Google TV

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  • by hhedeshian ( 1343143 ) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @08:22AM (#34153456)
    From TFA: "Ironically, NBC -- one of the networks blocking Google TV -- offers a CNBC Google TV application for fans of its news channel."
    This seems to clearly be a case of one hand not knowing the other hand is doing.

    From T[o]FA: "Google TV isn’t totally a lost cause ... because of the generosity of Comcast ... streams just about everything to Google TV: ABC, NBC, Fox, all but CBS ... The ironic part is that the content seems to be provided by Hulu itself"
    Wait... How many fucking hands do I have?

    Sometimes I really wonder is these media companies are just run by pre-pubescent boys. Does someone have the invitee list to the CEOs' birthday parties?
  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@gm a i l . com> on Sunday November 07, 2010 @08:30AM (#34153482)
    My immediate thought was, isn't this more like blocking hot linking of images? Plenty of sites do that, it's not a bad thing at all.
  • by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @08:48AM (#34153562) Homepage

    Google should just make an advanced configuration settings page, and let users set whatever user-agent/etc they want there.

    If users can edit all of the http request headers, then there will be no way for providers to filter by browser/etc. They just need to put in the headers for IE9 or whatever and they're done.

    Google of course should not distribute anything with those settings to stay in the clear.

    Don't worry - the average consumer is pretty smart and they'll get their smart next-door-neighbor's kid to set them up.

    About the only way studios could block this would be to put keys/certificates on boxes that they want to provide content to. That will last about as long as HDCP...

  • by burne ( 686114 ) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @08:50AM (#34153572)

    'saving bandwidth' is not the term I would use. I call it 'stealing bandwidth and services'.

    Hulu has every right to dictate how you may use their content. Being liberal in what they allow would be smart, since more viewers means more eyeballs for their advertisers, but at the end of the day it is their right and no-one else's.

  • by Andy Smith ( 55346 ) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @09:03AM (#34153650)

    Google can't complain about this until they stop the ridculous blocking of YouTube content on certain devices. I have an Android phone and around 1 in 3 videos I try to view on YouTube have a "not available on mobiles" error message.

    I would guess that this is a 'security' option given to video uploaders. But why? Why allow someone to watch a video on their desktop or laptop, but not on their mobile? Much is made of having YouTube "built in" to mobiles, so why hold back progress by making the mobile world off-limits for certain content?

  • by burne ( 686114 ) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @09:16AM (#34153720)

    They have the right but that doesn't mean that we have to like it. The reality is that TV used to be free. You put up an antenna and got TV for free. The networks made money by showing commercials.

    If they block you they are not showing their commercials to you, and they are losing money. That is what you should be telling them. Companies need money, rejecting customers is losing money, or at the very least leaving money (that they could earn) to a competitor.

    You don't want goverment stepping in, you want corporate greed winning from stupid RIAA/MPAA-inspired blocks.

  • by MeatBag PussRocket ( 1475317 ) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @09:39AM (#34153814)

    theres backlash with that too though. If Google excluded them from search they'd be defeating them selves by providing inferior service. Customers would soon notice. If they did something like that i'd start buying shares in MSFT, Bing would hit a whole new level of acceptability.

  • Not for anything but (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kilodelta ( 843627 ) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @10:42AM (#34154136) Homepage
    Google's Market Cap is currently at $199.88 Billion dollars. ABC is $86.45 Billion, CBS is $39.7 Million, and NBC is for all practical purposes a part of GE so they're not a target.

    You could well see a Google takeover of ABC and CBS. That would be interesting.
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @11:55AM (#34154618) Journal

    >>>It's my website, and I allow or disallow you to see my content.

    Careful. Senator Rand Paul was called a racist when he made the same argument. Don't be surprised if, in the near future, you will no longer be allowed to limit who sees the free portions of your website. i.e. You'd no longer be able to block "a specific Asian country" as you do now, because of Congressional or Judicial action.

  • by chimpo13 ( 471212 ) <> on Sunday November 07, 2010 @03:13PM (#34156074) Homepage Journal

    I used to use the term "American" as in "From the US of A" but as I started to travel in other countries, I quickly learned that it's a confusing thing to say. American includes Canada all the way down to Argentina. North American, Central American, South American. It's not that "Canadian" isn't understood, but I've talked with people who've had problems and I've been bitched at by people when I'd use "American" to mean "from the US".

    I say, "I'm from California" and sometimes "I'm from the US". I'm not a fan of USian either. The only place I had to clarify California was in India. I was there when Bush was leaving and Obama got elected. Most Indians love Bush. He let them buy nuclear power plants without signing the non-proliferation treaty.

  • Google's fault (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 07, 2010 @04:41PM (#34156682)

    As far as I'm concerned Google brought this on themselves, & they mislead their customers as well. They pitched something that on paper sounded like it was a major leap forward, but didn't do the work of hammering it out with the content providers. Apple TV may be a much more modest system, but at least it does everything it promised or was implied to do. The further you follow gTV you see that you need to have a certain provider for some features, large amounts of content are blocked, etc.

    Basically they talk as if they are disrupters; a kind of technological savior. But it's all hubris based on thinking their advertising business plan can kill anyone else's. gTV & all the carier restrictions on Android prove that Google is not trustworthy. In this case they look like impetulent children biting the hand that feeds them. The real victim is Google's customers.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.