I Guess It's Boxee Day at AVC

I knew Boxee was going to announce Netflix support this week and I guess I should have waited and written one post instead of two, but the timing didn’t work out.

So in addition to the video of Avner’s interview that I posted this morning, here’s the Netflix news:

you can now access Netflix on boxee,  get your Instant Queue and
Recommendations, browse Recently Added and Most Popular, sift through
the entire Netflix Watch Instantly selection by Genre and  Search.

This is a fast running small company trying to give the users what they want as rapidly as possible and so Netflix isn’t working everywhere yet:

the bad news: we could not make it run on Apple TV ☹ . we tried real
hard. vulkanr was almost able to tame it, but he was bucked by the
Apple TV’s 1Gz processor.  it screamed back at him in thick Scots
brogue, “I can’t do it captain, I just don’t have the power!” we’re
still working on it, but don’t have a solution, yet.. also there is no
Netflix for Ubuntu, yet (i believe Netflix mentioned they will support
Linux later in 2009).

And as many Boxee fans know, none of this is available for Windows yet. Today was a milestone in that effort too, because:

Windows user? we have not forgotten you. also released today is the
pre-alpha of the Windows version. a select group of 214 users (no idea
how we came up with this number) is starting to test our Windows
release. based on their feedback we’re going to start opening it up for
more testers.

So that’s the short summary of the exciting news coming from Boxee today. The post I linked to is from the Boxee blog and is much longer and you should click thru and read it if you are following this sector closely.

If you want an invite to try Boxee, go here and as a friend of this blog, you’ll get an invite within 24 hours.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. andrew

    I would like to get an invite when MS version gets released.

    1. Tom

      Yeah, I’m soooo excited to be able to use it. Any idea on the timeframe for windows alpha for those of us who signed up? Are we talking days, weeks, next year?

  2. nickdavis

    Congrats! This might be worth rejoining NetFlix!I installed Boxee on my mac mini yesterday and have been having fun playing with it. I’ve been listening to my Last.fm station, got caught up on Heroes, and checked out a couple shows I’d never watched before.if we could get Rew/FF during Hulu/streaming, it would be perfect!

    1. bijan

      i rejoined netflix because of Boxee.

    2. fredwilson

      That’s a big issue. I am confident they’ll fix it. But you are right to point it out. I’ve had to finish some movies at hulu that I started in boxee

    3. avneron

      we fixed skip forward and back in Hulu streams in the new release.ugly piece of code behind it.. but it works

  3. fredwilson

    Thanks for your patience. Its still alpha and buggy and they are iterating fast and taking risks. I am confident they”ll squash these bugs quickly too

  4. hv23

    Boxee was great for me the couple days I tested it out, but I had to uninstall it because it hijacked the Mac remote… even when I wasn’t using Boxee , I couldn’t use the remote for simple actions like changing a song in iTunes or adjusting the volume, which is a problem as my usage of the remote is fairly high. Will revisit it later as they seem to be adding great features by the day!

    1. bijan

      @hv23,you can go into your boxee settings and there is a check box that in the Mode section that says “always running” or not. that way you can use your Apple remote only when Boxee is running.I had the same issue-bijan

  5. daryn

    This is great news, congrats avner and boxee!This is the feature that might get me to go buy a mac mini and start using boxee for real! I have a Roku, and I’m not fundamentally opposed to it, but would love to replace it with something more flexible and open.

  6. Eran Shir

    Boxee are totally nailing it. Avner et al, keep up the good work. Here are some highlights from a post I wrote on Boxee few days ago (the full can be found here: http://shir.posterous.com/o…Up to now, I thought the best media service on the web is netflix. Actually, I consider netflix to be the best executed site on the web, period. But Boxee has the potential to give it a good run for its money, with fraction the investment.Avner Ronen and his team are really doing a lot of things right, so I thought it should be useful to go over them, perhaps as a blueprint for good execution.Entertainment, more than anything else, is a social activity: 1. In Boxee, your first screen is the ‘status’ feed, which shows very clearly what people are watching/hearing with Boxee. 2. The feed items are actionable. And over time they’ll probably become even more actionable. So basically, your friends’ activity feed become your (optional) programming schedule and VOD menu. Now that’s miles away from the 9pm primetime spot… 3. I can seamlessly add my Boxee activity to my external social footprint. With integration to all of the other USV social friends such as Twitter, Tumbler, etc. Boxee gets the benefit of reaching out, USV is showing some “whole greater than sum” portfolio effect (though, as boxee, I would integrate Twitter as an obvious first, not sure about tumblr though) and we all get yet another opportunity to clutter the world with ridiculously granular bits of information about our daily life. Yet another step in our happy march towards a global “Truman Show”.People are lazy and stupid: I’m using a Mac as my media center. Up to now, my set-up was quite convoluted. I’m using TED to download torrents for our favorite shows, which are then being downloaded using mostly Azurues, which then saves the completed files in a directory with an attached folder action that runs a script who makes the media iTunes ready and moves it into the iTunes library. And why? all of that so we’ll be able to use that small Front Row remote thingy and nothing else. No keyboard, mouse, etc. And it works. Only it doesn’t work with Hulu, or netflix, or youtube, or… and knowing Apple, it never willOur way of accessing media is through our FrontRow little white remote. And what do you know – Boxee is accessed in the same way, using the same remote. Only now, I can do quite a lot more with that little fellow (and they were nice enough to still let me access FrontRow through the command-esc combo). There are many more good stuff about Boxee’s interface, and some bad things (after all it’s just alpha), but the fact they got right those little things usually only Jonathan Ive gets tells me a lot about their prospects.Entertainment is the queen of the implicit People think the prevalent model for consumer facing web companies is, generate attention/traffic, then sell ads. That’s false. The real model is exchange your value for a meaningful layer of meta-data and insight that you can uniquely own (not necessarily in the usual meaning of “property rights”, rather in the meaning of “being the core of an ecosystem”). In most cases, this is an implicit data layer that emerges automatically from people’s interaction with the service. In many cases, the implicit/meta-data layer is much larger than the actual content/data. Understanding that and leveraging the implicit data-layer is the key being a meaningful player.As such, Boxee has in front of them an amazing opportunity. Sure, Amazon does collaborative filtering based on people’s interaction with it, but compare the number of times you go and buy something on Amazon, compared to the number of times you open up your tv to watch a show or a movie. Being the proxy of all of this activity allows Boxee to intimately understand so much about so much. From amazingly detailed personal profiles, to being a much better, more granular Nielsen, to understand long term trends such as the move towards “greater than life shows” such as heroes, eli stone and Lost. If anything this is probably the largest opportunity Boxee has in front of them. They can take a lesson from Netflix on how to create an amazing experience by leveraging the implicit data layer intelligently, but they can go beyond, being much more social oriented and working with more media sources.Avner, guys – good luck. Now just make it that I don’t have to click 12 times to Exit…

    1. hv23

      One thing that’s emerging in all this conversation is the idea that people need their web video experience to be similar to their TV/DVD experience in that they can control their content in a point-and-click manner (remote). Boxee’s media aggregation+integration of remote to control that media is a clear part of their value-add. Great work so far!Now if only there were an easier way to interface between a laptop/computer and a big-screen TV (without buying a Mac mini, etc… and VGA cables etc. are just generally inconvenient) we’d move a big step towards cable’s obsolescence for the mainstream..

  7. Gotham Gal


  8. Lataz

    I’d like to test the windows version..

    1. Justin

      same here.

  9. Scott

    Not sure if you’ve seen Wordle but I ran AVC through it and thought you might dig the results.http://tinyurl.com/5jntqh

  10. Prashanth

    Went to the link and registered to get a boxee windows version, still no luck. Can you please share when available

  11. Paul

    I’m excited at the potential of Boxee, but I just can’t get really get into testing it because it is such a step back my basic use case. I’ve invested a lot of money and time to get a very good mac mini HTPC set up, and Boxee has great potenital, but just can’t displace Front Row for my basic usage. Until I can do that, Boxee will sit on my dock and Front Row will be used.I have more than 400 MB of video – ripped DVDs and recorded from my dish. I’ve invested a lot of time to make sure all of it is tagged well, managed in iTunes, and played via my remote. My 3 yr old daughter does not watch DVDs, they are all ripped, TIVO’ed shows are recorded and tagged, etc.But Boxee looks at all of that media, and simply takes the file name and tries to impute a video name. And it fails miserably. I don’t have time to go through literally 400+ videos and check names, reenter them, etc. Until Boxee can read the metadata, or import my iTunes DB, I can’t even really play with it.I know that one of these days, someone will make a better UI than Front Row. Whether that is Apple, or Boxee, or someone else, I don’t know. I’ll keep watching, but until that basic hurdle is fixed…

    1. Paul

      >>I have more than 400 MB of video [edit] – more than 400 GB…