View Full Version : Hulu's Response to iPhone Support

Jun 11, 2008, 04:16 PM
Hey Guys,

The other day I sent Hulu some feedback. Mainly I pointed out why they should have iPhone support. They had this to say (my email also follows).


Thanks for writing. We have many iPhone users in the office and would love to be on it as well.

There are some challenges. First is that the iPhone does not support Flash, which we use as a wrapper for our H.264 streams. The second is that Apple does not license its DRM, Fairplay, to anyone else. That's the same policy they have in music.

So to be on the iPhone we'd currently have to offer an unencrypted stream. This makes content owners nervous. As proof, note that Apple does not release their video content unencrypted either.

It's not an insurmountable problem. Apple could support Flash, or content owners could be comfortable with unencrypted streams at certain resolutions, or any number of other solutions. Rest assured we'll continue to work on cracking that problem.

This, by the way, has nothing to do with NBC or any rumored feuds with Apple. NBC and Hulu and the consumers' incentives are all aligned--the more ways people can access our content, the more every one profits, from consumers to content owners to Hulu.


On Tue, Jun 10, 2008 at 7:45 PM, Chris Hall <email removed for obvious reasons> wrote:
Dear Hulu,

Pleas, please, please support the iPhone! This is a huge market that you guys are missing out on!

As I understand it, Hulu's base video encoding is H.264. This would easily allow full blown iPhone support. Additionally, the iPhone SDK would even allow hulu to distribute a great native app to the iPhone.

I know many people that have either and iPhone or iPod touch who crave this feature. It's a now brainer.

On the other hand, I know NBC seems to be in the mist of a public feud with Apple, but I pray that you will see reason. 6 million iPhones have been sold and now with the advent of the 3G iPhone expected on July 11, even more people will be able to access hulu's rich content. Think of all the money that will be gained from the ads right on the iPhone.

Furthermore, NBC has made an iPhone site of there own, but its quality could never be on par with Hulu.

Please consider it.

Chris Hall

What do you guys think? Are they justified or is there away around the DRM issue?

Jun 11, 2008, 04:17 PM
Very friendly response. I buy it.

Jun 11, 2008, 04:25 PM
Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A102 Safari/419.3)

I think that they are in a position where they feel that Apple is getting more out of the possibility than they are. That being said, I believe that something can be done within Apple's constraints that is mutually beneficial.

The Phazer
Jun 11, 2008, 04:25 PM
They're completely right.

Look at how badly the BBC's MP4 streams have gone for iPlayer - they've been widely stolen, and content providers are up in arms with them about it.

The people writing those hacks have essentially made sure that no broadcaster will ever do the same.

Apple needs to start licencing out Fairplay, sharpish, or broadcasters are going to switch en masse to Flash and AIR, and the iPhone gets hurt by that unless they allow it...


Jun 11, 2008, 04:30 PM
If they wrote a native app and streamed all video through there, it'd be impossible to steal the content. Sounds like they're lazy.