A few weeks back I started to temporarily (b/c I cannot seem to find a splitter that will allow for simultaneous viewing on my monitor and TV) hook up my mac mini to my TV to test out a new service called Boxee. From what I have seen Boxee is the easiest way to display Ad Supported Internet Video on your TV (assuming that you do not have an Xbox – as I have heard they do a great job). There is no special set top box, just a simple downloadable app that from a mac can be navigated through the remote control (and if you are a PC user, last week they released a windows version). Boxee essentially acts as an aggregator for Internet video services like Hulu, and is used in a similar fashion to Video on Demand – automatically formating the content for a full screen experience and ignoring quality of picture, I would take it over VOD (think about the amount of free ad-supported programming that you it opens you up to).
An unintended side effect is that it takes the ads that are found in and around content and takes the interactive experience away. Most users would not know the difference between watching a TV show via CBS’s Internet offering through Boxee vs. watching it on CBS (with the exception of much shorter and a fewer quantity of commercials), so the user recognizes it as a TV experience, not the Internet experience, where advertisers flock to for the inter-connectivity.
Its a few years off, but it will be interesting to see how the TV experience evolves, as built in wi-fi on TV’s becomes common place (as LG recently announced) will they come with keyboard / mice, and will Boxee become the aggregator of your Internet Video for your TV? With all of the players in the set top box space fighting to figure out who will win the download / streaming of paid content to the television set, I look forward to seeing more entrants focusing on the ad-supported space which is behind the recent surge in online video and will only continue to grow, especially as advertisers shift their budgets to online video.
Here is a quick overview of Boxee:
I titled this post Round 1, as I am sure that there are several more to come!