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Networks Block Content – Make Me Want an HTPC Even More

I really love streaming video. Being able to watch anything I want whenever I want is fantastic. Not having to wait for a download makes it all the better. The problem comes with getting all that content onto my TV. The biggest issue with all those cool set-top boxes isn’t the hardware or the cost – it’s the networks.

I’ve been considering a few different options like the Boxee Box or Google TV, but it seems like a dedicated PC is still going to be the best answer. Why? Because there are no restriction on what I can watch.

You may have seen the news about Google TV’s trouble with Hulu. Neither the Sony Internet TV nor the Logitech Revue will have Hulu access at launch, but may add Hulu Plus in the near future. This may not seem like much at first, but consider that Google TV products feature web-browsers. It’s not that they won’t have a Hulu app; you won’t even be allowed to bring up the web site in the first place.

ABC, NBC, CBS have announced that they’ll be blocking Google TV’s access.  Even Fox jumped on the bandwagon. That means that some of my favorite shows like ‘Community’ and ‘Modern Family’ won’t be available to me if I buy a Google TV.

Of course, if I hook up my netbook to my TV, there’s nothing stopping me from getting to that same content. I can stream it to my computer, attach that computer to a television, and get the exact same content that’s blocked on other devices.

If blocking the content in the first place is silly, the reason is downright ludicrous. According to an article in ‘The Wall Street Journal‘, companies like Disney are concerned about piracy. They worry that people using Google TV may see results from pirate sites in searches and watch there, rather than on the official sites.

That’s right. Disney doesn’t want people watching ABC shows on pirated sites, so it blocks access to the legitimate site. Let’s look at that again: Disney doesn’t want people stealing, so it removes the only option that isn’t theft.

It’s not consumer desire, broadband speeds or even video quality that’s holding streaming content back. It’s attitudes like this from slow-moving companies unwilling to advance with the technology.

Again, if you’ve got an HTPC, a netbook or a laptop hooked up to your computer, none of this matters. You can stream all you want, without worrying about what company is trying to block access or whose service you’re allowed to use.

6 comments

  1. it’s so stupid. i got hulu plus on my roku player yesterday. i loved it. it great to have it on your t.v. than on a little monitor. now the top ones get the DVR treatment and the second tier shows get the hulu.google needs to start doing something to get the networks on the google , that is the highlight , to watch programs on it.

    • Greatest thing about an HTPC – if Hulu or the official sites doesn’t have what you are looking for, there is still BitTorrent.

      This being said, with streaming Netflix and other services, I haven’t had to look at other options in months.

  2. Patrick A Crone

    Since hulu plus came to Playstation Network it’s been great. My only gripe is a few shows only stream on the web. At least it dropped down to $7.99 a month

    • My gripe was a lack of content from networks I watch, such as TLC, Discovery, Travel, ETC. I found Rick Steves Europe which I am catching up on, but so far, I haven’t really seen anything that makes me want to keep it past my trial week. :-( I’ll play with it mroe tonight, just installed it this morning, but it seems to me that there are more TV shows on Netflix than on Hulu, and Netflix comes free with my subscription to the disc service.

      • Yeah, but I got Cosmos in my Netflix Stream. Point is, most of the shows they have, I can get in other places, and those that are exclusive to Hulu are really not shows I am interested in. I will play with it a bit more, but so far, not all that impressed.

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