NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker asserted at hearings today that Hulu, not NBC, was responsible for blocking Boxee from accessing its videos. When questioned about the move in justifying the Comcast NBC merger, Zucker said Hulu executives made the decision themselves since Boxee was "illegally" taking content from the streaming TV site without having agreed to a deal. Outside deals are acceptable with formal terms, he said.
The statements directly contradict what Hulu said at the time, blaming its "content owners" for closing down the deal against Hulu’s will. It’s often been claimed that NBC and Fox were afraid of any Hulu implementation that was designed for a TV-sized display and thus could lead customers to drop their cable and satellite TV packages for Internet video.
Hulu hasn’t had an opportunity to respond to the accusations.
Boxee for its part has long denied making any illegal deals as the very nature of its Hulu access was standards-based. Since it has simply depended on web browser code to view Hulu videos as they are on the website, it preserves ads and other content that would be available through a regular computer. The Boxee software is available on not just the Boxee Box but on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows in a beta form.