Boxee just announced that it plans to release a dedicated Boxee hardware device in partnership with an undisclosed consumer entertainment company. This is a big step for Boxee. The software, which aggregates Internet video content from a wide variety of sources, is already designed to run on home entertainment PCs that are connected to TVs. The market for these devices is still very small, but if Boxee manages to get its software on a large number of connected TVs, set-top boxes and BluRay players, the company could easily establish itself as the standard interface for bringing Internet content to the living room. Boxee will share more details about the device on December 7.
Boxee's Ambition: To be on Every Connected Device
Right now, the easiest way to use Boxee in the living room is through hacking an Apple TV. While this is an easy hack, it doesn't help Boxee to bring its service to a mainstream audience. According to today's announcement, Boxee's goal is "to be on every Connected device in the living room" - and to do so, the company will need to partner with large, well-known brands that can push its software into the living room as a default feature.
On Collision Course With Roku
This announcement, as the NYTimes' Brad Stone points out, also puts Boxee in direct competition with Roku. Roku made a name for itself by offering a cheap and easy-to-use hardware device that allows users to stream online movies to their TVs. Just last week, Roku announced it will branch out from just offering streaming movies and that it plans to offer different channels with Internet content in the near future. Chances are that within the next few months, both Roku and Boxee will offer very similar services and hardware devices. If Boxee manages to strike up enough partnerships and gets its software into more devices, however, it will have a major advantage over Roku.