It’s the New Year and a good time to reassess your digital entertainment viewing options—especially if you’ve recently disconnected your cable box or satellite dish. If you can wait a few months, check out the new Boxee Box by D-Link. At CES this month, we spoke with Avner Ronen, Boxee’s CEO, and Andrew Kippen, VP of Marketing, about the new product, tips for choosing an Internet video streaming box that’s right for you, and other random topics, like the fact that an Australian company refuses to give up the boxee.com domain name!
Rarely does a product that isn’t available win so many awards at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). But this year Boxee managed to pull this off for its highly anticipated Boxee Box, which lets users watch Internet videos (and more) on their TV, is set to debut this Spring for $199 (US). With a sleek design created by Astro Studios, it picked up the Last Gadget Standing Award, as well as recognition from CNET, G4 and LAPTOP magazine, among others. For the past year-and-a-half, the Boxee team has been optimizing their technology for the popular Boxee platform that’s viewed on a computer desktop, as well as for the upcoming Boxee Box to view on a TV, with Blu-ray and other devices on the horizon.
For those of you not familiar with Boxee, it’s a visually attractive (and free) desktop application that you download to your computer. It helps you find and stay up-to-date with many of your favorite Internet-based videos, from Web TV shows to broadcast and cable shows available on the Web, as well as movies and music. (In techie lingo, it searches the Web and aggregates Web video content in one place to make it easier for you to find entertainment content.) Plus, it can add your personal collection of videos and music on your computer to the Boxee menu so you can find all of your digital entertainment – in one location.
With over 300 applications available to access videos, social media, music—and content partners such as TV.com, blip.tv, Revision3, Wired, IGN (for you gamers out there), and others—you’re bound to find something you like. Not all content is not free of charge (for example, you need a Netflix account in order to use the Netflix app), but the convenience of having one place from which to access and manage your ever-expanding universe of online entertainment favorites makes Boxee appealing.
Something exciting for independent Web TV content creators is that Boxee will be introducing its first content payment system in about six months, so content creators will have the option to monetize their shows. We’ll share more details about this when they’re available.
The Internet represents a great opportunity for the major media companies and for the independent content producers to create more engaging and immersive experiences around their content and for them to be paid for more eyeballs on yet another screen.
While details are still to-be-determined, Boxee will charge a small fee (i.e. lower than the 30% charged by many app stores) for transactions which we enable. This beginning to the Boxee business model ties our success as a business to the success of our partners. (Avner Ronen)