Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

A Web Video Truce: Free Hulu Goes Away From Boxee, Replaced by Hulu Plus

The Hulu-Boxee war is over! The terms of the truce: Boxee, which makes software that makes it easy to get Web video on TV, will remove links to Hulu’s free service–but will give users the ability to use the Hulu Plus paid service.

Boxee CEO Avner Ronen is scheduled to make the announcement tonight at an event celebrating the release of the Boxee Box, his company’s first move into the consumer electronics business.

The arrangement with Hulu, which is primarily owned by News Corp.’s Fox, Disney’s ABC and GE’s NBC Universal, marks the end of a conflict that dates back to February 2009. That’s when Hulu insisted that Boxee take down links to its service, then tried severing the connections itself.

Hulu said it made the move at the insistence of its network partners (an argument that outgoing NBC U boss Jeff Zucker said was not true). But recently it has stopped complaining publicly about Boxee.

And as I noted earlier this week, the big networks have warmed to Boxee in the last year or so. And with the appearance of Google TV, which offers something similar to Boxee, they appear to be more amenable to working with Ronen and company.

Boxee will also have other content partnerships to announce tonight, I’m told, including a deeper relationship with Netflix. More details on that, as well as timing of the Hulu move, as I hear about it.

UPDATE: Alas, no details from Boxee on either–just confirmation that Netflix will come to Boxee by the end of the year, and that Hulu Plus will come “soon.”

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus