Parks Associates Blog

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Has Boxee gone to work for "The Man"?

It's interesting that in the same week Boxee indicated that their "Boxee Box" (the D-Link product) would not ship until November (after being unveiled with great fanfare at CES), Sonic Solutions announced an alliance to provide premium video services through the Boxee interface, and presumably the Boxee Box.

It's good timing to hold off on this box. Frankly, the description of the Boxee Box provided by D-Link at CES is a real yawner: "It includes a huge library that spans the Internet, such as university courses, panel discussions, academic lectures, presentations, web-only videos and more from TED, Stanford, FORA.tv, Kid Mango, Next New Networks and others. Boxee also makes it easy for users to add their own favorite entertainment sources with simple RSS or XML feeds available for most online video."

Not to be too harsh here, but hasn't the industry learned anything from the history of failure in attaching niche video and Web content to new set-top boxes? Akimbo ring a bell?

That's why I think that the new partnership with Sonic gives Boxee some legitimacy and at least some hope that somebody will buy the D-Link box. Consumers want movies and TV shows on the TV ... YouTube and blip.tv are fun distractions, but you're not going to sell enough stand-alone set-top boxes playing solely that content. Now, maybe instead of getting hammered by the folks at Hulu, Boxee will take its unique social networking angle to online content and figure out how to help content providers create a much richer user experience. Then, maybe they'll throw some sportscoats over those t-shirts.

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