What if I told you there was a free (and legal) program that would let you watch most of your favorite shows on your TV without paying for cable? Well, there was. The program is called Boxee. The main source of most of Boxee’s goodness was Hulu and the makers of Boxee were forced by Hulu’s content providers to remove Hulu’s content stream from their software. It’s a very disheartening event that’s sure to affect new media for the immediate future.
The way I see it, there are a two ways this whole thing can go. The other content providers could either see this as a sign to keep fighting current technology and force us to hang out in the dark ages of media for a while. Or, if they have anyone with a brain working for them, they could see that this whole thing is a big mistake and they’re missing a great chance to ditch the cost of working with cable companies and distribute their content via the Internet.
The cable companies are worried that they’re going to lose a massive source of revenue, and that’s probably true, but they also stand to reduce costs substantially. If the content providers would find a suitable way to distribute their content over the Internet, the cable companies would be able to drop support for all of that old cable technology, get rid of a huge amount of staff and put all of their focus into providing faster and more reliable Internet access.
Each company could specialize and become very efficient at one thing, rather than having the overhead of trying to support multiple departments that probably hate working with each other anyway. Efficiency is good. It means better service for us and more money in the companies’ pockets.
Eventually, something’s got to give. There are some very dedicated people out there working on alternatives to cable and Content providers will eventually have to wake up and realize how much more money they could make on their own. We may have been delayed, but we’ll eventually have the answer we’re looking for.