updated 03:05 pm EST, Tue December 21, 2010
Cable companies take out Hulu Plus from TiVo DVRs
While the Hulu Plus service is available on TiVo Premiere DVRs, it will not come to TiVo devices offered by cable providers, it was revealed on Tuesday. This includes Suddenlink, Cox and RCN, because of licensing fees. Netflix, a streaming service accessible from TiVo DVRs, cannot stream through a box leased by a cable company because its contract prevents it from doing so. A Hulu spokesperson confirmed this is also the case.
Customers are believed to lose in the equation, as they expect the TiVo Premiere DVRs, the same devices they can buy or rent directly from TiVo, to offer the same services. Suddenlink it Texas, for example, only charges $5 per month less than TiVo itself for the DVR, at $20. TiVo itself will be hurt by these restrictions, as DVRs leased through cable companies represent a large portion of its consumer base.
Hulu has regularly blocked access to its free site on Google TV and other TV-focused web platforms in an attempt to protect its network partners' businesses, but until now there hasn't been a similar obstacle for its paid Hulu Plus format. Cable providers have repeatedly tried to threaten competitive Internet businesses and would be leaving Hulu Plus out to prevent customers from subscribing to a cheaper TV package and using Hulu to fill some of the gaps. [via GigaOm]