I'm convinced that none of us paid any attention in history class. This Hulu/Boxee business reminds me of the theatrical/DVD debate. Content owners refused (and for the most part, still do) to allow their precious theatrical releases to overlap the DVD production cycles. "Let's extract all the theatrical revenue first, and then issue the DVD." And before that, .. "Let's not even issue the tape/DVD, because people won't go to the theatres." Well, deja-vu.
Judging by the gossip, Hulu (or their partial owners, NBC and Fox) are worried that showing their TV content on TV again, via the web, is going to eat into their precious (declining) TV ad revenue. They should go take a look at the theatrical business. Last I checked, gross feature-film revenue increased, i.e., was net accretive (and not by a small amount) when additional forms of distribution were introduced. The logic that was missing in the early days is that any fall-off in theatrical viewership was more than compensated by DVD viewership and the expansion of the total viewer base. And in that case, they had to buy a DVD player.
In this case, the total world-wide audience is essentially 6B people. Yes, there are content rights issues, and internationalization issues, but come on.