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

Posted by Soulskill
from the user-agent-what dept.
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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  • Google does the same (Score:3, Informative)

    by devbox (1919724) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @08:12AM (#34153416)

    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.

    You mean like country restrictions?

    It would be nice to side with Google here, but they do exactly the same on YouTube. Apply restrictions that content producers require. This time they're just on the other side of the game, and get restricted themself.

    • by shoemilk (1008173)
      Being a USian living outside of the US, this is something that bothers me. It's the primary reason I've stopped buying DVDs. Why waste my money on something I can't use? Anyway, this is not similar to contry restrictions. Country restrictions come from copyright issues between companies and countries (Fox Japan buys the rights to almost every American show. On Fox Japan, I watch Burn Notice, Boston Legal, Scrubs, and many other very not-Fox produced shows). and whatnot. I don't see how that is similar to Go
      • I thought region broken DVD players can be easily found in Japan. You might need to ask around.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 07, 2010 @08:45AM (#34153544)
      You mean like country restrictions?

      There's a huge difference between the two, though. The country restrictions are there due to copyright law. Distributers in other countries could bring legitimate lawsuits against YouTube/Google if they started offering videos everywhere (and the distros would likely win).* With the Hulu/Google issue, it's simply that the networks don't want to play nice -- there are no international laws (or even local ones) prohibiting content from being shown on GoogleTV devices.

      *Now all this isn't to say that copyright laws need to change, but since the laws are written and in place, YouTube/Google needs to follow them.
      • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @10:23AM (#34154034) Journal
        The more I look into this kind of issues, the harder it becomes to not consider them like a bug in the capitalist/free trade system. I am not sure this makes me a communist but hey.. It is hard to think about copyright as something that helps spread and disseminate culture anymore. And this kind of greed-driven move just goes to the opposite of innovation, and possibilities. I thought this economical system was supposed to transform individual greed into overall progress, but the more I look into it, the more broken it appears to me...
        • by temcat (873475)

          Copyright as such is not compatible with free trade, but what ABC, NBC, and CBS do here is.

        • >>>It is hard to think about copyright as something that helps spread and disseminate culture anymore.

          That was NEVER its purpose. The purpose was to provide incentive (money from sales) to the writers to make new works. Otherwise if their books immediately fell into the public domain, they'd have no incentive to create. Or if they did create, might end-up like Edgar Allen Poe (poor).

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by dryeo (100693)

            The first copyright law's full title was "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned" which sounds pretty cultural to me.
            Of course it started out as a law to make copyright a true type of property with no expiration and it was the unelected house of lords who fought against locking up all the learning for ever.
            America basically just adopted the current English law right down to the 14+14 ye

      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @11:19AM (#34154394) Journal

        >>>The country restrictions are there due to copyright law.

        Close but not quite true. When DVDs were first introduced with Region coding, it was done to prevent citizens from buying products from overseas, like Japan or China, for less money than the home versions. The companies wanted to make that impossible, and thereby "break" the global free market. Sell the DVD for $1 in China, and $20 in the EU or US.

        Now they've extended that concept to Online video.
        Basically it's all about Control and money.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        >>>it's simply that the networks don't want to play nice

        Pretty much. They want you watch the shows on COMCAST and other cable companies, not over the internet. I submitted the following article to slashdot about a week ago:

        NBC's Syfy delaying online episodes 30 days

        The Comcast/NBC-owned Syfy cable channel has decided to delay Online airing of new episodes. Most of its shows (including Haven, Ghost Hunters, Sanctuary) will not be legally available online for 30 days, in an attempt to get more people watching the show live on their Cable or Dish TV subscriptions. The response from Syfy VP Craig Engler: "How soon we post video is dependent on various agreements with producers, distributors, etc. We post as much as we can as soon as we can."

        The explanation given by Hulu on their Stargate Universe page: "The first 3 episodes of the new season will be available the day after their original airdates. Subsequent episodes will become available 30 days after their original airdates."

        The full article is here: http://forums.syfy.com/index.php?showtopic=2351127 [syfy.com]

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by EllisDees (268037)

          Well that explains why I haven't seen any new episodes on Hulu. Torrentreactor, here I come...

      • P.S. And another article I submitted to /.

        Say Goodbye to Free Net tv

        According to a just-released Associate Press article, recent actions by FOX, ABC, NBC and CBS suggest broadcasters believe they can make more money from cable TV providers if they hold back some programming online. That could mean new limits on online viewing are coming: Broadcasters might make fewer of their shows available to begin with, or delay when they become available -- say, a month after an episode is broadcast -- rather than the few hours it typically takes now. FOX Broadcast already postpones viewing of its new episodes by 8 days.

        It would make it tougher for viewers to drop their cable TV subscriptions. Broadcasters can then demand more money from cable and satellite TV providers to carry their stations on the lineups. Meanwhile Time-Warner and Comcast are pursing a new model called "TV Everywhere" that would allow viewers to watch shows from TNT, TBS, Syfy online, but not until they entered the required password (available to cable subscribers only).

        The full Associated Press article: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hLJUJG0KT_y42300paSxJ64BMVWg?docId=c148bb49920c44d590c60ce1f5935c83 [google.com]

        • Then people need to do what I did and quit watching TV all together.It's even gone so far as to drop back to the absolute basic level of cable just so I have access to news when the net is down.

    • by RDW (41497) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @09:06AM (#34153664)

      'It would be nice to side with Google here, but they do exactly the same on YouTube. Apply restrictions that content producers require.'

      Indeed. Playing around with the new Apple TV yesterday, I found that the full-length programmes on UK Channel 4's YouTube channels (e.g. http://www.youtube.com/4oDDocumentaries [youtube.com] ) aren't accessible with this device even from the UK (they're geographically blocked as well, of course). In this case (basically the same problem iPhone users have with these videos) it seems to be a combination of the usual short-sighted DRM policy from the provider (which fondly imagines serving their stuff only as flv via rtmp makes it 'secure' - presumably they haven't tried RTMPDump!), and Apple's well-known refusal to provide Flash support:

      http://getsatisfaction.com/channel4/topics/create_a_iphone_app_for_4od [getsatisfaction.com]

      With this sort of nonsense going on all the time, it seems like the only thing you can plug into a TV and make full use of all the (freely and legally!) available content is a media PC with a conventional browser.

    • by Kizeh (71312)

      Or when Ebay refused to show me a bunch of listings because my browser included German in the list of accepted content languages -- not even the preferred language, just in the list. Ebay tech support advised me to only allow US English and no other languages if I wanted to see all US listings.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by batkiwi (137781)

      Google forced Popcorn Hour to remove their youtube movie viewing capability because it hadn't been sanctioned by google.

      http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/11/youtube-blocks-non-partner-device-syabas-as-allegations-fly/ [wired.com]

  • The more onerous restrictions legitimate services impose, the more people will be drawn towards services that don't impose such restrictions, like thepiratebay.

    • by camperdave (969942) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @09:15AM (#34153712) Journal

      The more onerous restrictions legitimate services impose, the more people will be drawn towards services that don't impose such restrictions, like thepiratebay.

      Yes, when will corporations realize that information services are not scarcity driven, but are plentitude driven? The more shows that you provide, the more customers you will attract.

    • by westlake (615356) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @09:55AM (#34153908)

      The more onerous restrictions legitimate services impose, the more people will be drawn towards services that don't impose such restrictions, like thepiratebay.

      The Pirate Bay is nothing:

      A few weeks ago, video delivery favorite Netflix made headlines with an amazing statistic: twenty percent of all downstream Internet traffic during peak home Internet usage hours in North America.
      To put that amazing figure in perspective, that's more than what YouTube, iTunes, Hulu and even Bittorrent each individually manage.
      Impressed? Now consider this: Netflix has managed to account for 20% of the North American internet's collective broadband without a streaming-only subscription service. Though one has just been introduced at a lower price, the 20% number was achieved without one...
      Now consider this: that 20% of all internet traffic? It was accomplished by a mere 2% of Netflix's subscribers.
      Netflix's streaming growth might be too much for the Internet to handle [geek.com]

      Netflix has 15 million subscribers. 2% of 15 million is 300,000.

      The Netflix client is in your HDTV, Blu-Ray player, video game console and set-top box.

      The HD video stream is seconds away from launch.

      • by Uberbah (647458) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @02:09PM (#34155538)

        The Pirate Bay is nothing:

        Netflix is nothing for when you want to watch a TV show that aired two hours ago. Someday that will be different, but not now.

  • ...the same thing happened with Boxee and Hulu after Boxee supposedly had Hulu's blessing to integrate Hulu into Boxee. A little while later, Hulu Desktop was released. I guess the networks want people using their TVs to watch their on the actual TV channels.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tharsman (1364603)

      We cant blame them, at least from what I have read. From what I read a while back, Studios license their content to these sites with explisit conditions that it's for computer viewing only. When a setup box can leach the videos, the service providers (like Hulu) get in trouble with the content owners and are forced to take action to stop it.

      To be able to stream to TVs they need to get special licenses, that is why Hulu Plus does not have the same content as regular PC Web Hulu.

      Netflix sort of dodges tha

      • by cynyr (703126)

        So, what if i connect my computer to that 37" computer monitor with HDTV tuner, that is in my living room?

        Mind you where i'm at i get one blocky HDTV channel, and do not have cable. I'm part of that 2% of netflix users using 20% of the US internets bandwidth.

        I'm failing to see how a pc hooked to my TV is different than the googleTV computer hooked to my tv? Care to explain that to me? The googleTV box uses crome as it's browser and has flash 10.1 as well. Just like my computer...

        • by Tharsman (1364603) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @11:44AM (#34154536)

          So, what if i connect my computer to that 37" computer monitor with HDTV tuner, that is in my living room?

          As far as networks care, cases like this are just outliers and they just don't worry too much about them.

          I'm failing to see how a pc hooked to my TV is different than the googleTV computer hooked to my tv? Care to explain that to me?

          Easy and yet complex. In short: If there is no difference between hooking your computer to the TV or Google TV, then GoogleTV is redundant and should not exist.

          If you can think off any reason for GoogleTV to exist, you answer your question on why they are different. I can think of many reasons but I'll let you think off the ones you very likely already know.

          Note, I'm not saying I LOVE the fact that this is happening, but I understand it.

      • >>>explisit conditions that it's for computer viewing only.

        A Boxee or Google Box is not a computer? It has a CPU, GPU, and memory. How is that not a computer? This reminds me how RIAA gave permission to TV studios to use music on television and home video (VHS, laserdisc, videorecords), and then 10-20 years later claimed "DVD is not video" to extract additional fees. Of course DVD is video. Of course a boxee or googleTV is a computer.

        Damn lawyers.

  • 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?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)

      The networks are trying to protect their money. To them, letting people watch their shows on computers broadens their market. Letting people watch their shows on GoogleTV or similar set top devices on a TV undermines their higher paying conventional TV market, they generally get a lot more money from ads on TV and carriage agreements than they do with Hulu.

      • And for someone like me who doesn't have cable, blocking Google TV (and similar) ensures they get zero ad money. I hate watching shows on a computer monitor.
      • >>>they generally get a lot more money from ads on TV and carriage agreements than they do with Hulu.

        You're 100% correct. ABC, CBS, Comcast/NBC, and FOX are trying to protect the TV screen for use with broadcast and cable feeds only. They don't want internet on the television screen, because it doesn't earn as much money for them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by PhreakOfTime (588141)

      This seems to clearly be a case of one hand not knowing the other hand is doing.

      Im going to go with its a case of CNBC and NBC having different internal rules as a result of the planned diversification that GE/NBC has been doing for over 25 years now.

      Or in other words;
      This parent comment seems to clearly be a case of someone not having the slightest idea of the organizational elements of a large corporation, and instead distilling it down to an incorrectly simplified idea.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Rachel Maddow appeared on MSNBC the other night and did point-out that CNBC has different rules from the other NBC-owned properties. She was discussing Keith Olbermann and how he was forbidden from giving contributions to politicians, which is a universal rule across all the NBC-owned channels... except the financial channel CNBC where it's a-okay.

        Apparently CNBC has a different organizational structure separate from NBC, MSNBC, Syfy, and so on, which is why you can't watch NBC, MSNBC, Syfy, et al on the G

    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      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.

      Not really. The thing is, news streaming and show streaming are not the same thing. When was the last time you saw "The NBC Night Time News 2010 Season Complete DVD Box Set" for sale at Best Buy? Networks don't fear as much to put news streaming online because they live off current news (unlike print-to-web news that now wants to live on yesterday's news.) They do sell Chuck and other Shows on DVD, and they license it to Netflix and Hulu Plus for hard cash, so they reuse that content a lot. Allowing anyone

      • by cynyr (703126)

        explain to me the differeance between a mini-itx atom running windows 7 hooked up to my TV and the googleTV(arm? and linux?) hooked up to my TV.

        Both are computers, both have an OS, both use chrome, both have flash 10.1, both are hooked up to my TV.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tharsman (1364603)

          Didn't you ask this to me already in another post? As I stated there: If there is no difference then GoogleTV is redundant and should not exist.

          If you can think off a reason for it to exist, then you answer your own question on why they are different.

  • by burne (686114) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @08:24AM (#34153468)

    I've been blocking certain sites and services for certain groups like forever. If you live in a specific Asian country you haven't been able to send email to me or any of my users for like ten years.

    It's my website, and I allow or disallow you to see my content. Just like I allow or disallow people to enter my house. Why should things be different when you are Hulu, NBC or anybody/anything else? Within the bounds of law anybody has a right to discriminate.

    • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardpriceNO@SPAMgmail.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 astar (203020)

        Perhaps like hot-linking. But I think the real thread is as to a motivation that also generates such concepts as "electricity as a luxury items" and opposition to its general availability. This is historical, say pre- 1960's and not some more recent greenie thing. Hmm, well I could make the relationship, but the concepts are more subtle. At least in my area of the US, the defense of scarcity for electricity got really pretty nasty, up the point that the Bonneville Power Administration was online and the

    • by lazuli42 (219080)

      I completely agree with you.

      Blocking content from people using certain browsers might be bad business, but I don't see any reason why the law should deign to notice. Your property, your equipment, your configuration, your rights.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Because we effectively had that for years and all that happened was stagnation in the browser market. I remember when I first moved over to Firefox back before it was Firefox and it was a challenge at times getting things done because so many sites were hardwired to only work with IE. Sure they didn't formally block other browsers, but they might as well have given that they'd use tricks which were wholly unusable on other browsers and they'd use plug ins which weren't available beyond Windows.
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @08:56AM (#34153604) Homepage Journal

      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. What consumers want is a return to that type of system. We do not want to pay $100 plus dollars for two hundred channels of which we watch 5. This is going to be the new reality and the Networks need to get a grip on it. The Cable TV model is passing. My mother in law lives near Dallas and gets all her TV OVA again. She gets like 30 channels and all the networks for free.
      Where I live that isn't an option which is too bad so my wife and I are probably just going to drop Cable and watch Hulu. The one channel we really want is CBS for Big Bang Theory but we are willing to stop watching that to save a thousand plus dollars a year.
      If the other networks want to not have us watch that is their business or lack of.
       

      • 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.

    • But not within normal business sense, unless you are the RIAA and like pissing on potential customers.

      • by burne (686114)
        RIAA/MPAA-customers like to be pissed on, otherwise they would leave. Right?

        (think about it, next time you are waiting for that FBI-warning to disappear..)
        • by cynyr (703126)

          what fbi warning??? they still have those? almost every dvd* that come into the house, gets the longest track ripped and encoded to h264....

          I don't rip disks from the library, or netflix as I don't own those, but i might be able to make an argument for ripping the ones from the library, as my taxes bought them for me to watch.

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      I've been blocking certain sites and services for certain groups like forever. If you live in a specific Asian country you haven't been able to send email to me or any of my users for like ten years.

      And we see that this is the second part of the Great Firewall; making sysadmins around the world block China. And all they had to do was spam and hack a little. It was a win/win scenario.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      It's my website, and I allow or disallow you to see my content. Just like I allow or disallow people to enter my house. Why should things be different when you are Hulu, NBC or anybody/anything else? Within the bounds of law anybody has a right to discriminate

      Because I can bust out the rabbit ears, or get cable or satellite, and see it just fine. There's no relation to 'law', it's just a giant pissing match. In fact, I can get various stuff from the BBC in Canada on TV, but if I try to watch it on the web(exactly the same stuff), it's region blocked.

      Uh what?

  • 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 corby (56462) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @09:02AM (#34153642)

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

      As the linked article states, Google does allow users to set their user-agent. The video content sites are blocking on the Flash Version ID, and Adobe does not provide a mechanism for changing that.

      • by cynyr (703126)

        Can I proxy the flash request though squid and rewrite the agent? or does it use some "secret" method for communicating?

  • Seems odd that CNBC would be an "early adopter" and NBC would be actively sandbagging the same project.

    http://www.multichannel.com/article/458030-Google_TV_Tunes_To_Turner_HBO_CNBC_Netflix_And_Others.php [multichannel.com]

    • Not odd at all.

      NBC is the parent company, which has subsidiary companies below it; like CNBC and MSNBC.

      Each of those smaller companies is designed to have a degree of independence from the main corporation(NBC). This allows them to each chose what sets of rules to live by, which in effect gives NBC a pool of running experiments. Some will have desirable outcomes, and some will have undesirable outcomes.

      MSNBC has different rules than CNBC, and for current evidence of that all you need to do is look at the

  • When I first heard hulu (and others) were blocking GoogleTV, I immediately imagined they were going off the user-agent string. Of course, what else could they really use? But I'm told they began blocking GoogleTV even though people were changing their user-agent string to MSIE strings. How the hell do they do it?

    Your typical GoogleTV appliance will be behind a NAT gateway, and it will make relatively ordinary web requests. It's not like they're using os fingerprinting or something. The networks can

  • by pedantic bore (740196) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @08:55AM (#34153602)

    Owners of a content distribution channel for content are attempting to exercise their right to control how that channel is accessed, albeit in a stupid and pointless way! Horror!

    • You say that facetiously, like it's not a big deal, but as the article points out, how long before this spreads to differentiating between what browser you're using?

      I can easily imagine a scenario where a company like Hulu might start making exclusive distribution deals with someone like Microsoft. If you're not using Internet Explorer, you'll get a message that says something like, "We're sorry, but this program is only available to users using Internet Explorer 10. Click here to download the latest vers

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by grumling (94709)

        You mean like what happened when I tried to watch a program that was posted here [frbatlanta.org] yesterday and couldn't because the FED uses Microsoft codecs to stream their content?

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

    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 GweeDo (127172) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @10:47AM (#34154166) Homepage

      Google isn't your problem there man. Those videos aren't allowed due to the content creator. Right now the mobile devices don't support Google's advertising system on YouTube. So if you can't see the ads that overlay the video, you can't see the video.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sloppy (14984)

        Sounds the like the same defect. The server can distinguish between a "TV" vs a "computer" (whatever the hell that means) just like it can distinguish between a "mobile" and a "not mobile" (whatever the hell that means). The N900 is mobile but from a software perspective it nearly isn't. A laptop is a mobile but the mainstream says it's not. It's just going to get more blurry, just as the distinction between "TV" and "computer" did.

        And that defect is Flash. Because of the fact that people are not in co

    • You could also ask: Why allow someone to watch video in US of A and not in Europe?

      I guess it is about what is goal of your video. Is it viral ad? Virals over PC are resent, Virals on mobile are shown in person (depriving watchers a link he could resend). Is it straight ad? Maybe mobile users are not part of your intended audience. It is traffic souce? You do not want some sites to be visited by mobile user (eshops for example).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hedwards (940851)
      It's probably because they aren't delivering the content via Flash and the HTML5 version doesn't yet support ads. Meaning that those were probably videos where the person uploaded it requiring ads and they can't presently show ads with HTML5. I'm not sure why all mobile devices are blocked, but I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that most Android phones don't support flash properly or at all.

      Not saying that's necessarily the case, but it's not necessarily them being mean and short sighted.
  • by gru3hunt3r (782984) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @09:28AM (#34153774) Journal

    Hmm.. well Google ultimately (at the moment) has the most control.

    What they did with the Facebook address book is interesting - they said "you either play nice, or we won't" - and that's a VERY interesting corporate precedent they've established.
    It basically translates into a simple "quid pro quo" - or perhaps even better "we only have to play nice, when others do".

    What I'd like to see Google announce tomorrow --
    Okay NBC, Hulu, etc. our new policy: we won't index sites which decide to arbitrarily support devices due to "incompatible business models" ..

    and poof - from one moment to the next there will be a big black smoking crater where those websites once were in the google index.

    I don't see why Google.com should be expected to maintain a compatibility database for sites, and return different results so they don't accidentally send Google TV viewers to NBC, Hulu, etc. it's probably easier for them to just drop those offending sites until they "work out their technical difficulties".

    Alternatively Google can just put up big red warning messages adjacent to search results that basically say "this site is broken, it may not work correctly" as sort of a warning that "you either fix it, or we'll drop you in 30 days" or something like that.

    "I will shit on the towel of anybody who pee's in the pool."

    • Dammit, my mod points expired yesterday. That's actually quite a good idea. I hate corporate pissing matches, but the fact is that I suspect that these network need Google a hell of a lot more than Google needs these networks.

  • Imagine the protests that would ensue if Internet services arbitrarily blocked video only to Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers!

    Is that meant to be ironic? This was standard practice until a few years ago and I still come across it from time to time.

  • It makes little sense to me to waste so much hot air and lobbying effort to regulate what ISPs can and cannot do if non-ISP parties can accomplish the same evil means.

    Hulu, Apple, Google Android, TV networks, Microsoft. It's hard to think of a player in the net market who is not trying to restrict unfettered access to any and all apps and uses. I don't understand why people get so worked up if an ISP wants to throttle competitor's video, but they easily accept that Apple's Itunes store wants to refuse com

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      It makes little sense to me to waste so much hot air and lobbying effort to regulate what ISPs can and cannot do if non-ISP parties can accomplish the same evil means.

      Clearly, you have little understanding of what Net Neutrality is and why it is important. Without net neutrality, real competition on the Internet won't exist -- because the cost of entry will be too high. Without net neutrality, there will not be real free speech -- free speech needs outlets and if money can not only gain prominence for its

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hey! (33014)

      Since language is all important in today's politics, I suggest that Network Neutrality is a misnomer. It suggests that it is an issue only for network providers.

      It suggests correctly. Net neutrality is the network version of freedom of association. It's about forbidding the providers of the tubes say, "You must get this content from A rather than B." It has nothing to do with A saying, "I don't want you to have this content," or "I don't want you to have this content unless you do certain things (e.g., pay me, use the playback devices of people who pay me, etc.)."

      A content provider discriminating against *users* is not a net neutrality issue, even if that discrim

  • 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.
  • I see. Hulu says you can't play their content on Google TV... nor an iPhone... UNLESS you pay them for it. Hulu Plus. But the very same content can be had for free if I happen to have my laptop with me. So, is their plan to slowly pick and choose who they want to have to pay? I predict Hulu Plus for Google TV any day now.

    God, I hate Flash.

  • by ledow (319597)

    "Imagine the protests that would ensue if Internet services arbitrarily blocked video only to Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers!"

    Er, I can probably name half a dozen sites that do just that, and a lot worse. Anyone remember the Olympics where only Silverlight (and hence Windows) could be used to view the online streaming video? Or ITV Player which only worked on Silverlight (and was later changed to Flash because they were losing viewers left, right and center)? Or BBC iPlayer that can't download to

  • Imagine the protests that would ensue if Internet services arbitrarily blocked video only to Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers!

    Isn't that what silverlight was about? Isn't that what iTunes is about? It's not like this is new. Heck up in Canada every one blocks us.

  • The future (Score:3, Informative)

    by JimboFBX (1097277) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @02:57PM (#34155944)
    I'm using the future right now, I have a 65" Mitsubishi DLP TV with a super gaming computer hooked up to it via HDMI. I can play games like Bad Company 2 in stereo-3D. Its completely awesome, and then when I'm done I can watch hulu or netflix or whatever on my big TV in full screen mode. I use a USB extension cord so I can interact with it from across the room without getting that crappy mouse responsiveness problem you get with wireless (likewise so that the 3d sync isn't interfered with)

    Just as a FYI, those sony and samsung 3D TVs you see on display every absolutely suck compared to DLP 3D. Go to RC Willy and try out their 3D TV demos if you haven't already.

    Also technically GoogleTV is a computer, as is your Sega Genesis and your Xbox and your toaster...

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman

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