Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hollywood: You Can Hook a Computer to a TV?!?

Marc Hedlund's new column nails the idiotic mentality that leads Hollywood to desperately swim against the unstoppable wave of streaming content. The latest dumbassery went on display after some entertainment lawyers realized people can plug their computers into their TVs. The horror! To make matters worse, the program Boxee lets them watch web content—including Hulu—via a nice, easily remote-controllable interface.

Now, Hulu shows a lot of network shows, legally with short commercials, among other content. I don't use it that much, but have plenty of friends who love it. One day at a get-together, we even plugged my laptop into the TV and watched "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog." There was a bit of mousework to get things going and enter full-screen mode, but once we got started, we watched the whole thing in peace. If I'd had Boxee at the time, it would have conveniently eliminated the need to mouse-over to the show and hit the full-screen button. (There's also a version of Boxee that runs on AppleTV, filling in the gaps of Apple's functionality.) But Boxee just lost some of its appeal, because Hulu's content providers made the service block Boxee's access to it.

Hedlund explains:
Not to your TV -- from your TV. To your dumb-ass laptop, you smelly, hairy, friendless, gamer-freak nerd. (Sorry, I hate to talk about you that way, but that's how they think of the Internet. I think you smell great.) To your TV is something completely different, and from the "content providers'" point of view, completely wrong.

Yes, the entertainment industry's money men remain delusional that they can stop any new technology, no matter how convenient and popular it is. But if they want to get in on the ground floor of a new source of money, they need to actually work with it. Too bad they don't even understand what they're dealing with.

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