Blog Post

Why I’m Not Buying A Boxee Box

Yesterday, Janko wrote up all the reasons why he has already pre-ordered a Boxee Box. And today, I’m going to tell you why I think it’s a sucker’s bet.

It’s no big secret that I’m a Boxee skeptic. Let’s just get that out of the way. In our 2010 prediction piece, I suggested that the Boxee Box would be a bust. That prediction seems more likely to come true now, ever since the release date was pushed back from the second quarter to early November. Not just that, but now both Apple (s AAPL) and Google (s GOOG) have announced competitive products ahead of Boxee’s release date.

There are many reasons why I think the Boxee Box will have issues, but let’s boil it down to the basic reasons that I won’t be buying one.

For one thing, I question Boxee’s ability to offer a consistent user experience between its media center software and its set-top box. The beauty of Boxee is that anyone can build an application to deliver any web video to the TV set; the problem is that they can build those apps whether they own the content or not. Now that it’s a hardware play, Boxee can’t expect to remain an open platform and not have media companies try to block it from serving up content it doesn’t actually have the rights to.

Does anyone really believe Hulu won’t try to block Boxee from serving its TV shows as soon as the set-top box is available? What happens when a user buys a Boxee Box thinking that it will have a working Hulu application, only to find that app is just one of many that are unavailable?

Issues of content aside, the Boxee Box is overpriced for what it is, especially when you consider that Apple has found a way to price its broadband set-top box at $99, and even moreso when you compare its pricing to the Roku Player, which starts at $60. The Boxee Box, quite frankly, isn’t as much of a value when you look at the other options already available on the market.

But the biggest reason why I won’t shell out $200 for a Boxee set-top box is that it’s a band-aid. In that respect, Boxee is hardly alone. Apple TV, Logitech’s Google TV box and even Roku are all trying to solve a short-term problem — lack of internet content on the TV — with a short-term solution: adding another device into the living room. With consumer electronics manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, LG and the like adding connectivity directly into their TVs, and with carriers like AT&T (s T) working on routing IP video through their set-top boxes, the need for a separate box is quickly disappearing. The truth is that the Boxee Box is damn near obsolete, before it has even become available.

All that said, if you absolutely must buy a box to get web video on your TV, do yourself a favor and don’t spend $200 on a underpowered PC with unsanctioned video apps built by third-party developers whose content is bound to be blocked. Pay half as much for a top-of-the-line Roku box that has a lot of the same content, provided by the content owners themselves.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: Three Reasons Over-The-Top TV Apps Will Beat Big-Cable (subscription required)

78 Responses to “Why I’m Not Buying A Boxee Box”

  1. delusional2

    I am a complete computer illiterate…. so please be patient with someone with such a sad affliction as mine.! A friend of mine has a motor home and he will be traveling the country and would like to be able to have movies like netflix and other pay per view offerings…..he would also like to be able to get free movies and news channels and hulu and others that he could access…….what is the minimum equipment he will need and what will he need to pay for like a cell phone with wireless connection….I would be eternally grateful for any advice anyone kind enough to address these issues could offer …..thanks in anticipation….delusional2

    • If your friend wants to get access just about anywhere, he may have a problem if he looks into cell phones with tethering data plans. They often don’t have 3G signal everywhere and almost all are now capping their data plans which a video streamer will go through fast.

      I would actually recommend a satellite data link. I have talked with some RVers in the past who had luck with that. You can find a lot of sources for this if you just do a search for “internet for RV” in your favorite search provider. Good luck, I don’t think it will be cheap.

  2. its true, the cable/satelite providers will wise up and begin to integrate these services into their devices, but they will be extremely dumbed down versions of the standalone equipment. i am actually excited about options like the Boxee box and google tv. HTPCs are complicated and expensive. if the boxee box can do everything an HTPC can do without the cost and the complexity, than i’ll probably be in. As of now, the other options don’t even come close, so i know i’m definitely out.

  3. I disagree as well. For one thing, the article completely disregards that the Boxee not only provides music streaming services, but supports other formats beyond just MP3s and Apple’s format, while also providing us with an optical output for maximum sound quality when connecting to our home receiver. That alone allows me to consolidate two devices – one for music streaming (suche as the Squeezebox) and another for accessing web-based video content – into one.

  4. I’d like to add my 2 cents on this.

    I was a long time XBMC user. Yes, back when it was on modded Xboxs and even before it was called XBMC. It was ahead of its time and great to use. XBMC for other platforms grew from that and then Boxee grew from that.

    I consider this to be a plus. I don’t think XBMC ever had that great of a community or addons to write home about, but I see the potential in Boxee. To me the best products are the ones where communities get together and work on them, allowing for hacks, mods, addons etc… to occur. You could make the argument that the Iphone is like this or even that Android has more longterm potential because it appeals more to the average programmer community.

    I see Boxee coming in like this. There are other options, but Boxee really has the potential to take off as a community built program that can continue on, getting better, for a long time. After so many years of using XBMC, it is hard to not have faith in this. There isn’t legit competition for this kind of stuff and to me that is the most important feature.

    Now… This post is about how you can’t trust future streaming or certain other features. Well, guess what… Many people file share and they will all see this program as being a godsend to carry over their files to their TV. Yes, there are other options and I will cover that in a second, but I’m not seeing how something that has a community based appeal can be outdone by something with a corporate background and little to no community in site. I’ve been using as much software as anyone for a very long time and I can tell you, something coming from the background of Boxee has way more potential than anything else I have heard discussed here.

    Now, how about this streaming? You act like streaming is a big thing. You can stream from many different places in Boxee and probably more and more as time goes on. The big thing to most modern people is being able to play their files off their box. Streaming may have gained popularity, but you still mostly deal with subpar content and it isn’t as big a deal once you learn alternatives.

    So anyway, I said I would talk about the devices. Well, I own a WD TV and I can tell you, they will never really compete. You can’t when you have a slow to develop corporate based team working on your product. Yeah it plays most things, but it will never have the touch to it or the features that a community based project has. The XBMC fork alone destroys anything that WD TV could have.

    Popcorn/Popbox? You talked about bad communities, here might be the worst. Yeah, a lot of features, but barely anything works right. You won’t see me heading down that road. I just can’t imagine Boxee Box being worse than Popbox/Popcorn Hour.

    Alright, so we don’t know a lot about Google TV, but this could be big with the SDK and known features. Still, I am betting it is a weak box overall and will be more of a showcase for what partners could do if they integrated Android into their own boxes. I probably wouldn’t consider buying one, but it sounds alright. I would worry about the corporate side of Google more than I would get overjoyed at the way they work with communities. People don’t want to use most apps anyway.

    Roku? Weak box, weak features, but yeah, if you only want the features it has then go ahead an pay less and limit yourself. I’m not being sarcastic. You should buy the features you want. Problem for me, I like variety in what I watch and this isn’t big on own files either. Streaming gets old.

    Apple TV? Cool… Hackable… but still weak and Apple owned. Apple products tend to be very limiting. They only want to do things their own way and I can’t believe people buy into this. They like their own formats, their own sales, and so on, so forth. Basically, Apple owns you and Apple products/services tend to be very overrated. One example is how for years people bought Ipods, yet they were far from the best players on the market. Apple is more name than it is features. Yeah it is cool to have something Apple, but if you can’t see the things you are missing out on then you might as well just buy this player. It does run Boxee, but it isn’t the player I would get.

    Now, the Boxee Box. Lets skip the rest, no need to keep talking about additional ones. This sounds good though. Powerful, community supported, and really built more for a user that wants control and a wide variety of features. Basically, it just sounds better and probably will run like so.

    If you used XBMC back in the day, then I can’t imagine you not wanting this product. Yeah, it has grown and forked since then, but you would already know how far ahead that little piece of software was over its competition, computer or console. If it could handle new HD formats, I wouldn’t even care about switching, but the Xbox is just too old.

    Alright, so yeah, HTPC still the best option. I own a WDTV at this point, that I got back when it first came out. I only really wanted something to play a few files on another tv. Seeing my Xbox failing now has me looking all over for a replacement. I think it will be the Boxee Box.

    Yes, all this stuff will likely end up in cable boxes and yes the need to record TV is important and non existent in most devices (And their competitors). Thing is, if you want to do all that, the best option has always been to use tuner cards with hardware encoding, to relieve stress on your computer and take advantage of all the power that comes with computer DVRing.

    None of this hurts what the Boxee Box brings and I for one think it will be the best option. I’ll await further information on it before I make my decision, but I won’t see it as limited if it doesn’t have a couple of streaming services or anything, since I could find ways to get anything I wanted that bad. It looks good to me right now and I think it looks better than the other options. This decision would be a little easier if it had an FTP server built in, but hey, you never know what they will code next.

    • Veebeam won’t work for me. I want to un-teather from the computer, not have my laptop in my lap. O have a wireless keyboard/mouse on my coffee table. I do NOT want a computer desktop on my 55″ TV, or have to use the said mouse to navigate menus. The VeeBeam is what I am trying to get AWAY from.

  5. NOT A SHORT TERM SOLUTION, I have heard this argument before. However, there are a number of consumers that wont run out and purchase an internet connected TV for many years to come. Just look at how many tube TVs are still being used by consumers, even years after they have been utterly phased out by LCD.

    This article also does not mention the portability of Boxee & Roku boxes. They can be taken anywhere, vacation, hotels, friends house, even camping (if using mobile wi-fi). The portability applications of such boxes, even 10 years down the road after non-internet LCDs have phased out, is endless.


  6. wickedmpulse

    I don’t disagree that Boxee is somewhat of a “band-aid” but web content isn’t the only reason I’m interested in buying a Boxee Box. I want a nice, user-friendly interface for accessing the media on my hard drive and I feel that Boxxee offers me the best solution for this. I’m NOT interested in hooking my laptop up to my tv every time I want to watch a movie on my hard drive. I often connect my hard drive to my PS3 to watch movies in my gaming room, so I know that the $200 I’d pay Boxxee to enjoy the same experience in my living room is very reasonable IMO.

  7. I wouldn’t say it’s overpriced as it also allows you to use it as a home media server (WITHOUT streaming it from a computer in your house that has to be turned on) via the USB ports in the back, with the added benefit of making that drive available as a NAS for your home. The new Apple TV is a cloud server and that’s it. Which is all fine and well except quite a few people have home media they’d like to have access to without having to stream it to whatever box they have plugged into the TV.

  8. Boxee is exactly what I need. I don’t like using my laptop with a web browser for streaming, having to bookmark individual sites and search each of them. With Boxee I just search and it gives me results. Also, I have a strong need for Boxee’s excellent codec support. Mainstream TV and media device manufacturers consistently fail on making converging technology that hits the mark on features and presents them well. I won’t pay for “crappy but acceptable”. Boxee is the first to get it right and it’s entirely because Avner and the other people at Boxee are the first to think like me. Boxee gets my money, not Apple and not Google.

  9. Perhaps yes, this device is not for you if you just want Netflix and Hulu access. Well I have a 360 and PS3 for those should they ever get removed from Boxee. That’s not why I want it.

    I have a huge collection of VHS movies that have yet to appear on DVD. My DVD transfers of these flicks are aging, and I’d prefer to back them up to hard drives in the best file format possible. I’ve been using an old Xbox with XBMC on it, but it’s past its prime as audio and video codecs/formats have advanced past what it can do. Apple TV will not do what I need, because I’m not converting everything over to iTunes just so I can watch it again. That’ll take me years.

    Boxee, which is built on XBMC, is a continuation of what I need combined with web apps for content that I will definitely access. Plus the interface is quite nice. I’m big on appearance and functionality, both of which Boxee excels at.

    So yes, if you want a box to watch Hulu with, maybe this isn’t what you want. If you want a HTPC for much less than a HTPC, this is the best option.

  10. Content aside, $199 for a HTPC is a bargain to me. I will happily pay this price just to stream content from my server.

    Ryan, I hope you will be purchasing a Boxee Box to confirm your thoughts like a true critic would.

    Although I don’t think this will compete against mainstream products from Apple I disagree that this “business venture” will totally fail.

  11. MrVectrex

    Hi there, and thanks for an interesting viewpoint. I have to say though, you’re focussing on the boxee box as purely a device to serve content from the internet. Coming from the UK as I do, the amount of content that is “blocked because you are in a different region” makes ALL of the devices you speak about subject to the same issue. We have the excellent iPlayer which serves up great content from the BBC, but no access to a lot of good programming from American TV networks (at least not via the internet).

    So for me, the big win is what the Boxee Box DOES provide and that is: an awesome way to scan, index and play content I already own and that is on my own network and do so in a way that is easy to use and which is not subject to having to have that content in a specific format. The new Apple TV fails for that, as does the Roku box, and as does the Google TV (if current details are correct).

    So, I for one will be waiting to read the Boxee Box reviews, which I suspect will be overwhelmingly positive, then, when it’s available here in the UK, I will be buying.

    • I just checked it out and it look good I been wondering why have they not done this yet. Although i can see boxee using a built in wirless to stream from your pc. but the problem is. It does not work in ubuntu only windows and mic.

  12. This article is very uninformed. The web content part plus the ability to watch my hi-def local content (more so the latter) is why I’m buying the Boxee Box. Plus, if the box does 1080p/24, 1080p/23.976 and hd audio passthrough (two of those have already been confirmed by Boxee), this would be the most complete all-in-one media player in one box. I don’t care for optical media (that’s so 2009); digital media is the way to do. I’m rooting for you guys at Boxee.

  13. gonzo90017

    I hope the Boxee Box does well. But as it is know I doubt it.
    Here are my reasons:

    They’re planning to release a COMMERCIAL product when the software is still in BETA! The software has a ton of issues. It’s far from ready for prime time. Go to their forums and you’ll see that the forums are really active but %90 of the post are with people having issues.
    “1. There are more than 400 apps available to Boxee users. Some developed by our partners, some by us and some by users.”

    This is another one of the big issues. Avner when is the last time you used Boxee yourself? 400 apps but a lot of them don’t even work! (It looks like you have the Dish Network syndrome counting HD Channels that are not full time as HD). A lot of black screens. Or no videos found. Example: I open Boxee go to Apps I click on G4. I select the 1st show no videos found. 2nd show no videos found. 3rd show, well you get the idea. This App has been broken for about 6 months. I just started learning about RSS Feeds and their structure around 7 months ago no HTML experience or anything related and this seems like a pretty easy fix using something like Yahoo pipes.

    Boxee relies waaaayyyy to much on the Users. What’s wrong with that? Well Boxee Users create a bunch of apps. But what’s their motivation? Usually someone requests a certain site and those who have HTML knowledge whip one up. But what happens when the web site is updated? The app gets broken and many of the original app creators don’t really bother fixing it. What for? For one they’re not getting paid and it’s a site they’re not really interested in so why waist my time? So the result is you have another broken app. Which going back to point #2 Boxee is littered with.
    Lack of Feedback: There are a ton of issued posted everyday in the Boxee forums. But the developers rarely make an appearance to address them. Instead they rely on regular Boxee users / Moderators to answer the questions. When they don’t have to solution they send the users to another website to write a bug report? Isn’t that what the forums are for? Developers should at least address the issue and do a bug report themselves. This lets the user know someone is listening to them and they’re not just talking into thin air.

    And this is coming from a guy who tried them all (almost) TVTonic, Joost, VeohTV, Miro (Democracy Player), Juice, etc. etc..

  14. To me, Roku and the AppleTv is something that I would get my parents. They are simple products with really no frills that will not tax the non-techy person’s brain.

    My wife has been in a tizzy lately with the prospect of our TV shows airing at the same time. I told her about Boxee and what it does. Needless to say she wanted one right away. So I tried what I thought was the next best thing. Old AppleTV with Atv Flash installed. Well, streaming from Boxee was impossible due to AppleTV’s crap internals. Alas, we have to wait until November.

  15. Dead on Arrival

    Boy Avner saying he is like Apple is about the funniest thing I’ve read all day.

    Look: Apple TV has .99 cent episodes from broadcast + cable and nice movie rentals. Boxee does not. Boxee has a bunch of cobbled together free on demand streaming products (with some premium apps from the MLB) which at anytime are subject to change in availability. It seems to be that the market for the Boxee box are those pirating media who need a way to “sling” it to their Television. Since I’m not 13 years old anymore the entire value proposition on this goofy looking thing is lost, sorry.

    However being fair I do admire what Avner & team have tried to do. It isn’t easy launch a consumer hardware device and regardless of the success or failure of this one it gives them a good plateau from which to launch their next business. Entrepreneurs fail all the time, Avner probably fails this time but not next.

  16. I agree with the blog post’s title – Have a different reasoning for it though..Boxee app (software) is really killer stuff. But, why would I need an atom doing the churning when I can get a decent(better than atom, more RAM) HTPC laptop with MCE remote much cheaper? The Box is a right fit for those who are not tech savvy, for sure..remote is good too.
    Another major negative factor of the box is the (in)ability to stream live tv (aka tv tuner support). The prices may fall once google tv is out /towards new year/thxgiving or atleast by mid-2011 and at which point many more may jump into it..

      • The ‘box’ cannot do it… or can it? the whole idea of going for a box is it gives most of what users need ‘out-of-the-box’.. if i need a myth/playon etc.. we are driving users away from it (since it would mean that i another PC is needed with myth/playon etc streaming on UPnP.., right?) thats certainly a problem…

      • Scott King

        Agreed. But Avner & crew never claimed the thing had tuner cards in it ;-)

        I was just stating that it may be possible from within the Boxee UI, without having to switch inputs, etc. But your points are valid.

  17. I turned into GigaOM from other techsites since I believed I could get a better insight of things.
    Unfortunately, articles like this are misleading and misrepresent the reality of things.

    I live in uk and can’t wait to buy my Boxee.

  18. Anyone who has used boxee next to the Apple TV or Roku knows that there’s no comparison. Boxee isn’t just about internet streaming to your tv, it’s also about organizing streaming video collections from your computer. The metadata scrape that provides context in the form of pictures and summarys of movies and tv show episodes from imdb and the like is awesome. The open source format streams everything with greater ease than the apple tv ever thought of at this point…they’re just not comparable products for what they do. I’ve already pre-ordered mine, and I’m super excited for it to get here!

  19. TheBigmac

    This guy barely knows what he’s talking about. I am with Avner on this one. In my household, there is a PS3, an XBOX 360, a Wii and 3 laptops capable of streaming Netflix and doing other things Boxee does, and I’m still going to buy a Boxee box. Why? Because they all do it poorly or are making me jump through hoops. The PS3 requires me to stand up, remove Modern Warfare 2 and put a Netflix streaking disc inside for it to allow Netflix instant streaming. The 360 requires me to pay a 60 dollar yearly membership in order for Netflix to work. The picture on the Wii sucks and hooking up my laptop to my LCD TV and operating it from the couch with wireless mouse is not only uncomfortable but robs me of my laptop while watching Movies which I like to use for facebook, twitter etc. Let alone the 1080p MKV movies I like to watch the most, are incompatible with my ps3. Of course I can make them work after converting them to VOBs or I can transcode them on the fly with PS3 media server. But they’re a pain to fast forward if transcoded. The problem is………..I don’t want to do any of that crap. I just want 1 device, that does everything, instantly and smoothly. I don’t want to worry about converting, or encoding, or codecs, or compatibilities, or yearly memberships or streaming Netflix discs. I just want to power on, and start watching. And that my friends, is what makes the cookie crumble!

    Oh and by the way, “the Boxee Box is damn near obsolete, before it has even become available” is one of those moronic conclusions people just like to pull out of their asses. I’m sure all of you have heard these idiotic maxims which Newscasters love to proclaim in the varieties sections of the nightly news like: “Soon we will have flying cars”. or “Look at those Japanese robots! Soon we will all have robots doing stuff for us at home” The reality? No flying cars and no robots and I assure you, no internet connected DVRs free of charge for everybody courtesy of your cable company for at least 10 years. And the other gem: ” with carriers like AT&T working on routing IP video through their set-top boxes, the need for a separate box is quickly disappearing”. Really? How quickly? Sooner than Christmas? No? How about Spring? No? Then when? Is this just like Verizon which has been “working” on upgrading their horrendous HD DVR capacity for the last 4 years and they keep telling us: “soon”. So Ryan, if you’re willing to come to my house and insert the Netflix streaming disc for me until that omnipotent DVR Utopia you talk about comes to fruition, maybe I won’t buy a Boxee box. But just like the flying cars and the servant robots, the reality is, Boxee can count with my 200 dollars as soon as their box is released.

      • TheBigmac

        You can’t. But If you have an extensive Blu-Ray collection like I do, you can rip them to your PCs hard drive and organize the better in MKV format. that way you don’t have to get off the couch to switch discs. There are also plenty of free documentaries available on Bit-torrent in MKV format.

        How’s that for a response I just pulled out of my ass to show that despite you’re convinced you’re this brilliant sarcastic mind who caught someone red-handed doing something wrong, and you’re about to out that person in front of everybody just to make yourself look smart and cool, you’re nothing but a self-important douche and you can’t prove dick.

    • timekeeper

      Easy Broheim. It was you who made the association between MKV and illegal use not me. I just asked where you could rent or buy them. MKV is a great container for media and it is open source. Who could ask for anything more?

      I’ll chalk your caustic reply up to it being Friday. Have a beer and give thanks for the weekend.

      • @timekeeper: I guarantee you that anybody who read your first comment connected the implication that you were making about illegal use. Acting all innocent about it in your 2nd comment convinces nobody.

    • “… that way you don’t have to get off the couch to switch discs….”

      Holy cow, are people so dang fat and lazy they can’t get off the fricking couch? Get outside, go for a walk, look at the real world.

  20. Richard Evans

    You’ve won me over Avner. The Boxee Box offers more features than any other internet STB plus the continuous addition of more apps means it will even be more useful in the future. The RF remote is fantastic. It has an input for an SD card which is rare in these devices. I actually like the unusual design. It makes a statement in a sea of black boxes. But with the RF remote you can completely hide it if you wish to. Those who think it’s too expensive are unrealistic. The WD Live Plus with a WiFi dongle costs about the same yet only offers channels and access to your NAS. The Boxee Box offers all of that with a fully functional web browser giving access to virtually anything on the internet. If you can manage to make Netflix access available that will be great too. I understand that you do have definite plans to implement Netflix at the time of release or soon after.
    To those who say just buy a HTPC I respond; show me a HTPC for $200 with all of the features of the Boxee Box including it’s nearly silent design and a cool RF remote and small form factor. The Boxee Box is meant for the big TV room, not a second computer room. Plus it’s going to be a whole lot faster and easier to reboot the Boxee Box than any HTPC. I can’t wait to get mine!

  21. Apple or rather Steve Jobs summed it up when he called a lot of these HTPC companies and their media content distribution as ‘amateur hour’.

    With all due respect to Mr. Ronen, despite his list of 400 available apps and his list of partners the content is extremely lacking for them.

    The good content like MLB is for a niche male demographic and limiting. NetFlix is the only portal providing decent ‘pro’ content but Boxee is far from the only offering allowing me access to it. I can get better quality content on a cheaper device and that is why in 12 months time, once the small portion of geeks and advocates buy their Boxee Box, Avner will struggle to push further sales beyond the techies.

    Having worked in this sector, people still have a hard time understanding what a ‘media center’ is and nobody is getting it right in terms of UI, features and content combined, therefore it remains a geeks pastime for now… but at least those with valued content will make a living.

    I look at Boxee sometimes and think. Ok, marketing it well, saying the right things, talking a good fight, but not making any money on their investment… are they just going to be the space monkeys, shaved and sent out there to see what happens. Tthen someone will send up the real astrounauts (like Apple)? Nobody remembers the test monkeys… Buzz Aldrin took all the glory!

  22. vinodgopinath

    While I have used the PC version of Boxee, I am yet to see the Box in action. I like what I see in the PC version. I wouldn’t spend money on a Roku just because it’s not as feature rich. For my mom however, it is possible that a simple UI with a few content sources is the way to go (Roku?).
    I tend to agree that a stand-alone OTT box will find it hard to compete with the rest of your electronics in the living room in the short run. In the long run however, it is possible that you may just swap your blu-ray out for one of these.

  23. I have roku and love watching netflix on it. However, it does NOT offer nearly the content that boxee on the htpc does. Roku, unfortunately, does not have shows from hulu, crackle, NBC, ABC, CBS, cartoon network, etc… I have had a roku box for seven months and it is only after the htpc with boxee program that I was able to cut the cord and loss my $80 cable bill. If the Boxee box is able to do what their computer app does I will gladly pony up $199 for one for the bedroom TV.

    Also I am a bit surprised that you failed to mention that hulu attempted to block boxee before and failed. Why do you think they would be more successful this time?

  24. Dear Ryan,

    I am sorry you will not be buying a Boxee Box. It might be that Roku is better suited for your needs. However your post is full of inaccuracies and is a bit misinformed.

    There are more than 400 apps available to Boxee users. Some developed by our partners, some by us and some by users.

    As you well know Boxee has partnerships with the likes of Netflix, MLB, NHL, Conde Nast, Sony Crackle, MUBI, CBS, LiveStation, many more and many more to come.

    To position Boxee as a collection of user built hacks is inaccurate and unfair. In the history of the company we were asked to remove only one user-built application for using a logo without approval…

    The Boxee Box has a webkit browser that enables the user to access any webpage and play the videos on that page, view the banners and watch the in-stream ads. Boxee is by no means the only company offering a TV browser and I don’t believe we will be singled out by content owners.
    Apple and Roku “found” a way to sell a device for $99 because they are both using hardware that is underpowered compared with Intel Atom and therefore can’t do stuff like play 1080p at 60fps, support Flash 10.1, run a full-featured browser and more… You can also get a free phone from your mobile carrier, but if you want a smartphone alas it costs more. There are plenty of people buying cheap, basic phones and there will be plenty of people buying cheap, basic Internet TV products.
    If you are in the market for a new HDTV or BluRay with Internet connectivity then go for it. You may find it underwhelming when it comes to how it handles Internet content, but then again you may be fine with being limited to a select few video sources offering a very rudimentary experience.

    We believe the Boxee Box is the best solution for people who want to watch any video from the Internet or their home network in 1080p with a simple remote. We hope that for people who would like to have this type of freedom that the $199 price will not be a turn off.

    My 2011 prediction is that by the end of the year you’ll have to print this blog post and eat it (comments included).

    which is why I’m making it a little bit longer…


    • “My 2011 prediction is that by the end of the year you’ll have to print this blog post and eat it (comments included).”


      I think Ryan knows little to nothing about Boxee and mentions nothing of its perks and slick UI. I pre-ordered the Boxee Box on day1 and can’t wait to get my hands on it. Even though many of the online content won’t be available to me in Canada, I’m still looking forward to it and its future offerings.

      Keep it up Boxee!

    • My 2011 prediction is that by the end of the year you’ll have to print this blog post and eat it (comments included).

      which is why I’m making it a little bit longer…

      I like your style.

    • MagnoliaFan

      Boxee gets my vote. I’ve been using it for months now and love it. Recently got a Roku as a gift — it’s nice and works great, but really does feel primitive when compared to Boxee… and very lacking in content.

      The Boxee UI is fantastic and I love that I can use my iPhone as a remote. I’m definitely concerned about the content providers trying to block their material though, so it will be interesting to see how that pans out. Hopefully they can strike enough deals to make that not an issue. If the providers are smart, they’ll come out with their own apps and monetize the hell out of them. And why shouldn’t they? It’s only fair.

      Only criticism about the box itself is the design. Looks cool, but it would fit much better on a desk than within a home theater setup. Hopefully v2 will take care of that!

    • Ryan Lawler

      This piece was clearly meant to be opinion. And part of that opinion is based on what I see as the potential risk of certain content not being available, whether it is viewed through an app built by you or a third party, or through the built-in browser.

      Regardless of the more philosophical discussion of whether or not you should be able to view web content through a dedicated piece of hardware like the Boxee Box as opposed to on a laptop connected to the TV (and whatever the differences between them are), the fact is that you’re on shaky legal ground here. I mean, you’re basically promising users that they will have access to certain content that you have not actually secured rights to distribute. That includes Hulu and all the major broadcasters.

      I just think that consumers should be aware of that risk and should take it into consideration before they spend $200 on a piece of hardware.

      • Ryan, I understand where you are coming from but people have been connecting their computers to TVs for some time now and Boxee Box just makes doing so more convenient. You don’t need the box to run its software… its just a computer that’s main purpose is the Boxee Media Center. I think your are over-exaggerating.

      • Brianary

        “Shaky legal ground”? Citation needed.

        Are you asserting that companies putting content on the web are going to complain when people watch that content via the web?

        I’d be really interested to hear the legal definitions used to make a distinction between allowed and disallowed web browsers. It might have interesting ADA implications.

  25. In the end, all the functionality and features of devices currently in the works from Google, Apple, and Boxee will be swept up into some “crappy but acceptable to the masses” offering from the cable/satellite companies, in much the same way they overran TiVo with DVR’s. The Boxee box, like Apple and Google TV, is for hobbyists – and their collective sales will likely reflect this. The technology will only take off after the cable companies bring it to their customer base…IMO of course.