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Hulu Blocks Hillcrest Again

Jeff Baumgartner

5:45 PM -- Well, that didn't take long. Just two days after Hillcrest Labs released a new version of Kylo, its TV-optimized Web browser, that enabled access to Hulu LLC videos, it appears the Web video hub has stepped in again to block access to its streaming TV content. (See Hillcrest Creates Hulu Workaround for TV Browser and Tricking Hulu .)

Users discovered today that when they adjust Kylo's compatibility settings to view Hulu, the videos play for about half a minute before the stream is shut down abruptly, followed by the posting of this unhelpful message:

Apology Not Accepted

The first time, Hulu confirmed to Hillcrest that it was blocking Kylo but never officially said so to the outside world. (See Hillcrest: Hulu May Be Is Blocking 'Kylo' TV Browser.)

Hillcrest took the latest Hulu block in stride.

"Our hope is that a respectful dialog with Hulu will encourage them to consider changing their policies, especially since consumers can use other Web browsers like Internet Explorer, Safari, and Firefox to watch Hulu on TV," Hillcrest founder and CEO Dan Simpkins said, in a statement. "Fortunately, the major TV network shows are available directly from the networks' individual websites, and those sites are compatible with Kylo."

He added that Hillcrest views Kylo as "simply a Web browser" with a "specialized UI (user interface) that includes larger controls," and is based on open-source Mozilla code. "We believe consumers should be able to use the Kylo browser to visit any site on the Web on the display screen of their choice," he added.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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12/5/2012 | 4:33:48 PM
re: Hulu Blocks Hillcrest Again

So the owners of Hulu have made it clear that the service is not intended for use with devices that are explicitly designed to display web-based video on the TV.  A key premise of the FCCs proposed "all-vid" solution is to stimulate development of internet capability on the TV, in part by requiring a pay TV solution that enables web access on the TV.  So as the FCC plows forward on their all-vid proposal, has anyone bothered to ask the content owners whether they will allow their content to be distribtued over such a device?  If NBC and other Hulu partners are blocking access from devices designed to display web video on the TV, doesn't the proposed all-vid solution fall in this category?

How can the FCC mandate a CPE solution that the content owners will not support?

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