Boxee Looking To Make a Splash In 2011

by Damian on January 6, 2011 · 8 comments

in News

A little over a month ago I reviewed the Boxee Box, and although it showed a great deal of promise it was still rough around the edges. The Boxee developers have been hard at work to squash the various bugs and well as bring further enhancements, but it looks like they are not content with just sitting on their hands. Boxee has just announced some interesting developments at CES which could make 2011 a very promising year for them:

From the early days of Boxee the CES Show as always been great for us. It’s a time for us to meet with partners, press and users and show off some our latest stuff. It’s also a time for us to party (but i’ll leave that for a different post…).

We already announced new device partners, Iomega which is building a Boxee-based NAS and ViewSonic which is building a Boxee-based HDTV, but these devices also need access to content, which is why we are excited to announce that we have a new partnership with CBS, Americas most watched broadcast network, and we have extended our partnership with VUDU to also include 3D titles.

CBS

We have signed an agreement with CBS that will give Boxee users the ability to purchase full episodes from CBS starting later this year. We are excited about the opportunity to work with a major network on offering premium content to Boxee users, as well as create new revenue opportunities for both sides. As part of the deal, users will have the ability to purchase hit CBS television shows both current (The New Hawaii Five-O) and old (hello MacGyver!).

VUDU + 3D

The VUDU service will soon be made available to Boxee Box users (it is already available on PC and Mac), but we have some more good news. VUDU just announced they’ll start streaming movies in 3D, which will also be available on the Boxee Box, so if you have an HDTV you will be able to enjoy the largest HD VOD library with the newest releases (as soon they come out on DVD) in the VUDU HDX format, and if you happen to have a 3D TV then you’ll be able to tap into a growing 3D movie library.

Boxee for iPad

We have been working the past few months on Boxee for iPad, and while it is not ready to launch we are giving people at the CES Show a sneak peek of the App. It enables you to access videos from your Watch Later list as well as from your Feed (stuff shared from Facebook / Twitter), and staying true to Boxee roots also enables you to stream videos directly to the iPad from your PC/Mac (without requiring you to sync).

You can watch videos on the iPad using the new app, but it only takes one click to send that video to your D-Link/Iomega/ViewSonic Boxee device. “Ze nice,” as we say in the office.

So 2 new devices from new partners, an iPad to accompany them all (including the Boxee Box by D-Link), and some great new content on its way. It’s going to be a big 2011 for Boxee and our users – and we’re happy to be starting the year off with a bang.

The only concern is that Boxee is trying to run without learning to walk first, as there are still bugs and promising (i.e. Netflix/Vudu) outstanding on the current Boxee Box. Stay tuned, looks like we will be in for quite a ride in 2011.





Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found Mediasmartserver.net, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for Mediasmartserver.net you can find me over at my blog at http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com or follow me on twitter


{ 7 comments }

Sean January 6, 2011 at 10:17 am

Should we assume that all boxee licencess (implementers: eg D-Link, Iomega) will support the same set of boxee features, and be upgradable at the same time? Or do we expect that each OEM will have different upgrade cycles?

Damian January 6, 2011 at 10:21 am

My understanding is that Boxee and not the manufacturers would be responsible for software support (features, upgrades, etc…) so I would expect the upgrade cycles should be closely matched, if not identical.

Jim January 7, 2011 at 10:03 am

Boxee lost me with constant delays and vaporware. I was like you Damian – I really wanted to love the Boxee. However, I got sick of waiting and purchased a dedicated HTPC (i3, 2GB RAM, Mini-ITX, Bluray drive, cheap case, wireless kb and mouse) for ~$400 USD.

Most any HTPC is an impressive improvement over what the Boxee can do. It will preform Boxee’s specialty (streaming media) better than the Boxee. It can play Blurays, DVDs, poor rips, ISOs, browse the web, etc… This little box could also be wiped and used as an impressive workstation for the kids if my HTPC hobby started to wean. The value proposition for a Boxee is further eroded given the difficulties securing agreements with media providers who are increasingly tightening their content for certain vendors.

Something that has puzzled me about Boxee and other streamers is the lack of discussion of picture quality. It’s dreadful for me. After being spoiled by Bluray rips, I have trouble watching anything streaming on Netflix – even the HD stuff that constantly changes resolution between 9 and 11 PM on DSL due to bandwidth issues during prime time. People are dropping loads of cash on 50+ inch 1080p displays that look horrible for most everything that the Boxee streams in real time.

I think the biggest development for 2011/12 could be AMD’s Bobcat architecture. AMD could shake up the lower powered CPU market and compete favorably with Atom for the home NAS and HTPC market.

Damian January 7, 2011 at 10:22 am

Jim,

Thanks for the feedback, we are definitely in the same boat. As an aside I am working on a writeup as we speak about using various video decoders that work better with the intel graphics (i.e. i3/i5) as the MPC HC and ffdshow video decoders do not work well with intel gpu.

As far as PQ, I am spoiled by BluRay, plain and simple. It is not just PQ but also audio quality. I want the highest quality picture and audio, something that all this online stuff does not deliver on. My approach, if there is a movie I want to own for my collection of I know it is reference quality, I will buy it and rip to my server. If there is a movie that I just have a passing interest to watch I will get it via Netflix and watch (still get the BluRay disc). I do zero online streaming for movies.

Boxee is definitely moving full steam ahead and hopefully it is something they can sustain. You do worry that they are going to spread themselves thin (or the inevitable buy out from one of the larger players in the market). I still don’t like the idea of turning TVs into PCs (i.e. the ViewSonic TV that will have Boxee/Intel integrated). My TV has to be 100% stable, there is no way I want to risk bricking my TV or having to do factory resets because some software crapped out. I am more then willing to risk that on a $200 box, not on a $1k-$2k tv.

I think AMD needs to come out with a solution similar to the Intel Clarkdale/Sandy Bridge where the graphics are on the CPU (and supports HD Audio). I like the core ix family from Intel but there are some annoyances for the HTPC user (proper 23.976 support, video codec support, etc…)

Jim January 7, 2011 at 11:19 am

Damian,

This is freakish. It’s like you are one step in front of me!

Not to hijack the Boxee thread, but I have been playing around with MPC-HC (x64) and it seems to be getting worse on my i3 (H55) for h264 AVC as new drivers are installed. Recently, the Intel Graphics Control Center (or whatever it’s called) has started to flake out too.

I’m getting strange issues with ffdshow – it struggles to sharpen the image and then jumps back into crisp focus (~2 secs) before leaving artifacts everywhere. Have you seen anything like this?

As a guide, I have been using this:
http://imouto.my/watching-h264-videos-using-dxva-clearvideo-version/

I might have to start over because it’s almost completely fixed now. I will try to fix it some more this weekend and eagerly await your post.

I only went to MPC because WMP choked on some higher bit rate stuff. I use MediaBrowser (based on your fantastic walk through) and I’m absolutely smitten except for about 10% of rips that seem to have issues. Let me know if I can help you out in any way. I have a Gigabyte ITX MB with an i3-540 driving a Planar projector that is streaming over gig from a simple SMB share.

Damian January 7, 2011 at 11:33 am

Jim,

When I used the ffdshow video decoder I would get nasty green blocking and artifacts. The same would apply is using the MPC Video decoder. Sounds like similar to what you are experiencing. The only way I have been able to get smooth playback in MPC HC on my core i5 is to set the MS Video Decoder for h264 and the Arcsoft Video Decoder for VC1.

My hope is to get the guide published tonight or tomorrow at the very latest, so I would definitely give it a try and see if it corrects your problems as well.

Damian January 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm
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