Don’t Count Boxee Out: Company Announces Support For Hulu Plus and Netflix
At the Boxee launch party in NYC on Wednesday night, the company announced that by the end of the year, Boxee will support Netflix in addition to their recently announced deal with VUDU. The company also said that support is coming for Hulu Plus but didn’t give a time line for when it will be rolled out. While some have suggested that Boxee will never sell enough boxes at $200 a pop to make a real business out of it, I think it’s too early to count Boxee out.
Currently, they are many different streaming media devices out in the market with different functionality and at different price points, targeting various types of users. The problem that all of these vendors are dealing with is that consumers in general don’t know what type of content, video quality or business model these boxes support. Some do 720p, some 1080p. Some rent movies, some allow you to buy them. Some services all you to store movies in the cloud, others you download to a hard drive. But the one thing they all have in common is that they really started out as hardware devices first and platforms second.
But with Boxee, it’s been different. Boxee started off as and really always has been a platform first. Only fairly recently did the company decide to work with D-Link to build a box to make it easier to get the platform in the hands of more users. And while the box is expensive today at $199, we can expect that price to decline over time. Apple TV started off at $299 and is now $99. The Xbox 360 was $299 when it came out and now retails for $199. And today, Roku’s new boxes are 40% cheaper than the original model. Over time, Boxee’s price will come down and more units will be sold.
With Boxee supporting MKV, SSA, PGS, AC3, VC1, TS, H264, FLV, ASS, AVI, OGG, ISO, M2TS, VOB, SRT, AAC and FLAC file formats, it’s got quite a leg up on nearly all boxes on the market regarding format support, except for Western Digital’s TV Live Hub. It’s also good to see Boxee take a jab at Apple on their website telling readers that Boxee supports 1080p and that, “there is no reason to settle for 720p.” And with Boxee supporting HTML5 apps, the company is also future proofing their platform if and when HTML5 takes off.
For the time being, Boxee is definitely going to be a device that only hardcore video and tech folks buy. It’s not a device that the average consumer will learn about overnight and Boxee needs to be on store shelves for awhile to really get some traction. So while I don’t expect Boxee to sell tons of boxes anytime soon, I do expect Boxee to make a legitimate run at the mainstream consumer in the not so distant future.
I ordered a bunch of Boxee boxes from Amazon and will do a review of the platform when I get some time, maybe this weekend. And check back on my blog next week as I ordered extra boxes just so I can give them away on my blog.