Boxee describes itself as, “the one box your TV needs.” Just a year ago, the company announced a content partnership with CBS and an iPad app, an announcement that now seems dull compared to what the New York-based company announced at CES this year.
Boxee took the massive attention around the Consumer Electronics show to announce that 2012 will be the year of an extremely deep Facebook integration and the influx of live TV. The market for “smart” set-top boxes has gotten extremely competitive in the last few months. Xbox has been innovating, Roku is offering cheaper and simpler options, rumors around an Apple TV get juicier each month and Google TV keeps spreading to connected TVs. 2012 might actually be the first year that consumers make one or more of these devices a must in their living rooms.
Boxee Live TV:
One major differentiator between Boxee and the rest is the ease at which you can play files downloaded from places like BitTorrent on your TV without needing to convert them. When we asked Andrew Kippen, Boxee’s VP of Marketing if their customers are using the Boxee a lot for downloaded files he said that “1/3 is local content and 2/3 is online content.” Boxee’s new play is at live content, an initiative they describe as, “the perfect trifecta.” By connected an HD antena to your Boxee Box you’ll be able to access, “live sports, local news, special events, and shows from your local broadcast stations (such as ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC).”
Seamless Facebook Timeline integration:
The second major announcement was their new partnership and integration with Facebook. Kippen described the partnership as, “similar to what Spotify did.” Here’s an excerpt from his blog post:
Boxee is one of the first TV apps to let you share what you’re watching on your Timeline and to help you sort through what’s on. The new TV app for Facebook Timeline will make it easy to discover new video with friends and share the experience with them. Let me show you what we’re talking about.
He described that because of Facebook privacy concerns they made it so users can customize what they share if they don’t want to automatically share everything. He said there’s a “subset of people who don’t care,” or think it’s bad to share everything on their timeline. Along with Hulu and Netflix this new integration which you can see in action in the below video will be transforming Facebook into a major TV discovery tool.
The future of the Boxee box:
\Kippen admitted that they “still need to work on the price point,” of their D-Link boxm currently $174.95 on Amazon. I finally received one as a gift over the holidays and am excited to dabble. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the shape. I’d rather something small I could shove out of the way and just benefit from the technology. The remote however is perfect. It’s sleep and has a keyboard on the back, something that should be a standard for every single remote (especially since when you turn your smart phone into a remote it automatically has one). But will set-top boxes (or sticks), even be needed when everyone has a connected TV?
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