Content Owners Force Hulu To Kneecap Boxee

Boxee, the powerful software package that can convert computers, Apple TVs and other popular products into media centers, has just been kneecapped by major studio content owners. One of the product’s most popular features since its implementation last October has been the ability to watch Hulu‘s entire catalog for free, on your TV. Today, Boxee has announced that Hulu will no longer be supported.

From the Boxee post:

two weeks ago Hulu called and told us their content partners were asking them to remove Hulu from boxee. we tried (many times) to plead the case for keeping Hulu on boxee, but on Friday of this week, in good faith, we will be removing it. you can see their blog post about the issues they are facing.

Hulu CEO Jason Kilar has written a post on the Hulu blog detailing why the content had to be pulled:

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. Without their content, none of what Hulu does would be possible, including providing you content via and our many distribution partner websites.

In essence, because Hulu is totally reliant on content owners for its content, it has to bend to their demands – however draconian they may be.

So what’s the motivation here? It’s likely that the content owners are objecting to the fact that Boxee makes it easy for users to watch Hulu on their TVs. While there are other ways to do this (for example, using a PS3 or hooking up a laptop), Boxee makes the experience much more intuitive, and gives users less of a reason to use cable or buy shows through iTunes and other content stores.