The New York Times today profiles Boxee, a company whose software allows users to cherry-pick video content from various online outlets and watch on a regular or high-def TV monitor.
The New York online video company “is treading over the carefully negotiated business arrangements of much larger companies and garnering accolades from tech-heads for doing what the big guys have failed to do,” the Times said.
The Boxee software is free, and works on Macs and the Apple TV box. A PC version is in “private alpha,” the company web site says (how’s that for a switch, Mac fans).
Boxee had one of the hottest booths at this month’s CES, the Times reported. Boxee’s blog said the company was approached at the consumer electronics show by “several device makers” interested in embedding the software in existing or future products.
One cable executive said the service was intriguing, but its business prospects were not so hot:
“There is a lot about Boxee that doesn’t work, like the business model, which is really nonexistent right now,” the unidentified cable exec said.
He probably should be hoping things stay that way. One of the biggest complaints, among the many about cable TV service, is its bundling of networks and stations, which effectively forces consumers to pay for channels they never watch.
Boxee admits its technology is not exactly user friendly at this point: “Boxee is not optimized for the Apple TV hardware, Netflix doesn’t work on it, etc.” (Although the user profile asks for Netflix account info.)
An Apple computer or one running on Linux does have to be connected to the TV unless an Apple TV device is attached. Boxee also can be used just on, say, a Mac computer.
A Boxee poll of its web site visitors found the Joost online video application was the one they most wanted to see incorporated into the software.
The web site includes a social media set-up that has links to your presence on the usual suspects. Your first “friend” will Boxee’s creator and CEO, Avner Ronen.