Hulu begins encrypting HTML content to thwart non-browser apps

It looks like Hulu's trying yet another ill-fated tactic to keep its content restricted to traditional browsers and off things like Boxee -- TunerFreeMCE's Martin Millmore says Hulu's HTML is now encrypted at the source and then decrypted using Javascript on the client. That means plugins that parse the Hulu site for links to content won't work anymore, but man, what a complicated monkey dance for basically no gain -- it's already been broken, and we're wondering what Hulu's going to do when Boxee or another company stops playing around and simply builds a full-on WebKit or Gecko browser with a tweaked ID string into their app. Keep driving towards that cliff, guys -- millions of users who want Hulu on their TVs and will jump through hoops to get it don't represent any kind of market opportunity or anything.

The Boxee folks just pinged us to say what several commenters have also noted: the current Mac alpha now features an XUL-based Hulu component that works no differently than a browser, and the Windows and Linux versions will be updated shortly. We'll see how Hulu responds -- for now we're sticking by our prediction that this all ends with someone building a full-on browser into one of these apps.