A Look at Boxee
About the Company
Boxee is an Internet video to TV device that (put simply) aggregates online TV shows and movies and arranges them in an easy-to-use interface for living room consumption. The service can be used through a Boxee Box or a laptop with the Boxee service installed.
Started in late 2007 as a free download, the goal of Boxee’s creators was to make an all-in-one system that brought the Internet to the living room TV. Users could connect their laptop or home theater PC running Boxee to a TV and watch online TV shows and movies on a big screen through the intuitive Boxee interface. In the past three years, Boxee has worked with a number of manufacturers to sell devices that come with the Boxee software preinstalled. These devices plug into a TV and use an Internet connection to scrape the Internet for content, including shows from cable provider websites, movies from services like Netflix, and much more.
About the Service
The Boxee service is still in its early stages. The software for PCs is free to download and most of the content that can be accessed is free, since Boxee scrapes the Internet for it. So instead of having to go to ABC.com to watch a show, Boxee will bring it to you. The only costs come with purchasing a Boxee Box and purchasing some of the exclusive content. For example, Netflix movies can be streamed through Boxee, but you need to have a Netflix membership first.
Unlike Hulu and Netflix, Boxee does offer some live programming, including sports and news broadcasts. Most of the programming however, is available after it has aired on cable TV.
Boxee requires Internet access to work, so if you’ll need to have a home network to connect to first. The Boxee service leverages its online access by giving users the ability to connect and share with social media. You can post a Facebook status update about your favorite show, or share a movie link with a friend through Twitter, all from within the Boxee service. Boxee is also developing an information scraping service that will bring you information (reviews, trivia, blogs, etc.) from websites like IMDB.com and RottenTomatoes.com about the shows and movies you’re currently watching.
Much of the content of Boxee depends on networks offering up their shows online, so if you’re looking for live TV you might want to go with a cable provider. Boxee does have a promising collection of features and apps that blend online and living room media, making it a good companion to other services.