Boxee Re-Tunes to Hulu Videos via RSS

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A couple weeks ago, NBC/Fox joint online video venture Hulu asked that its content be removed from the cross-platform media center software Boxee, citing contractual restrictions on how its content could be shared. Now, Boxee is bringing Hulu back—well, not really, but sort of: a new version of Boxee doesn’t offer all the functionality of its previous Hulu application, but it does let users tap into Hulu content via public RSS feeds—along with video from YouTube, Yahoo, and other sources.

Boxee emphasizes the new version is an alpha release and is likely to have some rough edges. In addition to video RSS features, the new version offers a first attempt at a Boxee application store (dubbed the “App Box”) where users can find new applications and plug-ins (including support for third-party repositories, so boxee isn’t the sole arbiter of what’s available). The version also (finally) includes an autoupdate feature so users can get updated versions of Boxee whenever they’re available, rather than manually having to keep an eye on Boxee’s site.

Boxee says it hasn’t been able to reach an agreement with Hulu to bring back Hulu content is its original form, but that the company seems confident Hulu will eventually come around.

“The fact that it’s becoming easy to consume Internet video on a TV brings into question many of the industry’s business models that developed before the Web,” wrote Boxee’s Avner Ronen on the company blog. “That’s part of the reason why Hulu asked to be removed from Boxee. Our meetings over the past week weren’t able to change that. But the people in the industry “get it.” They are users. They read the blogs. They talk with users. They are trying to adjust to a new reality, but they need time.”