Blog Post

Idiots In The Box: Building B Gets $17.5 Million Funding For Converged TV Box

As I have said it a few times before, it is the about the box…rather about getting rid of the box. And yet, Moviebeam and Akimbo tried and failed, and others keep cropping up. Vudu got a hype job in NYT three months ago. Apple TV is there, of course, so is Cisco and Motorola, working through different approaches. Tivo’s already the box. And now, a new one crops up…actually, they’ve been working on it for a year or so: Building-B, a still-codenamed company founded by Buno Pati and Phil Wiser, former CTO for Sony Corp. of America, has received $17.5 million in its first round of funding. The round was led by Morgenthaler Ventures, Omni Capital, Index Ventures and other private investors. Andy Lack, the chairman of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, is joining its board of directors.

The Belmont, CA-based company isn’t saying much more, but aims to have a converged set-top box which will offer traditional TV content, and then online/niche video. The box will be linked to a broadband connection and also receive some programming via the airwaves, though it hasn’t said what kind (Will it buy some spectrum? Lease?). From the sounds of it, it will be a white-label solution, not a retail service, which probably is among its smarter moves. In April, it announced a partnership with Claria Corp. (the formerly-controversial adware developer Gator) to enable its device to construct a profile for each member of the household, based on his or her viewing and Web-surfing habits, and suggest programming he or she might enjoy, and presumably advertising as well. More in release.