Thursday, March 26, 2009

Advantage Hulu

I've posted a couple of times about viewing Hulu videos using my Playstation 3 browser. The conclusion is - it mostly works, although I do sometimes bump up against the limit of what my wireless connection between my router and the PS3 will handle, result in occasional stuttering. I get similar results streaming from YouTube (watched old Bottom Live shows in ten-minute chunks - good stuff there).

Having missing Lost last night, I decided now would be a good time to see how things worked over on (since ABC doesn't use Hulu or YouTube to distribute its shows - I don't think I actually watch any CBS shows, so that network doesn't matter to me). So, I fire up the browser and head on over.

First strike - ABC has pop-under ad windows. The PS3 browser can handle multiple windows at once, although I think you only get full-screen mode - you have to select which window is on "top". Of course, you don't know until you switch over, and the browser first asks if you want to open a window (I think there is an option somewhere to permanently select the desired behavior). I thought we had kind of gotten beyond those annoying pop-unders, but I guess its just that I've been using more modern browsers on my PC and Mac and so never have to see them.

Second, and more severe - once I got to the Lost page and started the viewer, ABC decided my browser just wasn't good enough. Only Mac and PC need apply, and only if using IE, Firefox or Safari. So Linux is out, as is Google Chrome, I assume.

And of course, so is my PS3.

Now, there's really not any reason for it. It's just plain old Flash video, same as Hulu and YouTube, so there isn't really a technical reason why ABC can't get their content to the PS3. They just decided to put some kind of lock on it, and wanted to overly control how it gets delivered.

But the bottom line is, I now will just jump over to BitTorrent and pull the show from there. Since it's recent, it'll be easy to get. Of course, ABC won't get to embed any advertisements in the copy I get, and they won't get the hit count (and advertisement dollars) on their web site that I would have given them.

So yeah - nice work there, Disney. Good job.

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