As Boxee Grows, It Should Remember Two Things
All the way back in August of last year, we reported on how open source media center software player Boxee was racing to bring its platform to consumer electronic devices. A Boxee blog post at the time announced: "To make Boxee more accessible for a mainstream consumer it’s important for us to get Boxee embedded into connected TVs and Blu-Ray players, game consoles and set-top boxes. We’re already talking to device makers to ensure Boxee works on a variety of platforms for 2010." As Boxee recently announced, that vision has become a reality. The open source software platform will ship on a hardware device in 2010, and will likely go on other ones. What should Boxee keep in mind as that happens? Here are two essential things for the company to focus on.
Boxee has gained its momentum thus far from a very enthusiastic community of users who like its "10-foot UI," which allows them to watch video content on big-screen TVs and take advantage of social features to share content. Its pure open source model helped build that momentum. It's essential as Boxee moves out pre-bundled on hardware platforms for it to stay malleable, and stay open. Android is a great example of an open source platform headed for many devices that is following an open source model.
Not long ago, Boxee got in a highly publicized dust-up with Hulu, where Hulu asked that its content be taken off of Boxee's platform. Content providers weren't happy with their offerings spilling from Hulu to Boxee, outside their control. Going forward, especially if Boxee meets its goal of arriving on "every type of connected device in the living room," it needs to strike its own deals with content providers and have clout with them. Content providers should favor Boxee's platform, not fear it, and it may make sense for Boxee to explore ties to the advertising world, to entice content providers to adopt ad-driven models on its software platform.
Boxee is having a big announcement in New York on December 7th. It will be interesting to see what comes of that, and what lies ahead next year as Boxee woos hardware makers.