12.14.2009 11:07 AM
Boxee to bring Web video on TV sets
Boxee, a startup committed to turning Internet video into mainstream television, announced last week that it will put its software into a set-top box that will go on sale next year.
The company announced a partnership with D-Link, a Taiwanese manufacturer of networking equipment, which will make a device that will allow viewers to browse Internet videos on their TVs.
Boxee collects videos and music from Web sites like Netflix, MLB.TV, Comedy Central and Pandora, and presents it in a visually friendly format that resembles a television directory. The service has caught on with Internet aficionados who say it represents a future in which the wide selection of content from the Web wins out over a more limited television experience controlled by big media companies.
Up until now, Boxee’s software has only worked on computers running Windows or Macintosh operating systems, though some users have installed the software on Apple TV, Apple’s set-top box. Boxee now wants to move beyond that limited user base to create a more mainstream experience, said Avner Ronen, Boxee’s chief executive.
Boxee, backed by $10 million in venture capital, has tried to bring into its service the network television shows posted on Hulu.com, a joint venture between NBC, Fox and ABC. But those networks do not want people to able to receive the Web videos on their TVs, instead of watching actual broadcasts, which carry more valuable advertising.
As a result, Hulu has largely blocked Boxee from adding its videos. Boxee said it is currently working on a Web browser, based on open-source technology from Mozilla, maker of the Firefox browser, so its users can manually go to any site and watch the video there.