A Boxee App I'd Love To See Built

A couple weeks ago, I blogged about Boxee's App Dev Challenge in which they are giving away three big screen TVs to the top Boxee apps in three categories. The response to the App Dev Challenge has been great and there are a bunch of cool new apps being built. The winners will be selected on June 23rd.

Today, at the Boxee board meeting, I showed the board La Blogotheque's "Take Away Shows" and we watched part of this video.

Bloc Party, 'This Modern Love' – A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

While we were watching it, I told Avner, the CEO of Boxee, that I'd love to see a "Take Away Shows App" on Boxee. And in that moment, I thought, "that could be an app dev challenge winner".

So if any of you out there are interested in building a Boxee app for the fun of it, I hereby request someone build the Take Away Shows app and I promise that I'll lobby the judges as much as I can legally get away with to help you win.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Morgan Warstler

    Isn’t this just a potential channel on boxee? what would the app do?

    1. fredwilson

      Many apps are just channels

      1. Morgan Warstler

        They shouldn’t be. You have a funded set of dev guys, so hooking your avg flv links/thumbs library into a common XML GUI – when someone like you finds good content (there aren’t that many) – should not rely on devs and contests.APPS need to be unique uses of other’s API data to create wholly new big screen experiences. Skype Caller ID. Notification when your name is twittered. Video timeline twitter overlays. Find a video recipe for items in your pantry. Google maps to movies scene locations. Education lectures that collects questions/feedback along a timeline. Progamming that interact with new toys (specialized remote controls) sold online. Those are apps.

        1. avneron

          you’re right. it is very easy to publish an RSS-feed based content source on boxee, and there is a lot of content that is available to boxee users this way. however, if the content owner wants to create a more rich, branded, immersive experience he can build an app to create this type of custom experience.it is like having users access your content via RSS reader vs. coming to your site.

  2. Facebook User

    There are several (many actually) such channels on Vimeo, particularly in short/experimental films and music. Why not some sort of “generic” framework to publish a boxee app for ANY vimeo channel/feed?…or perhaps even partner with Vimeo to include publishing a Boxee app as a premium service?I share your enthusiasm for La Blogotheque… good stuff. Yes please. 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      Is there a “take away shows” channel on vimeo?

        1. fredwilson


    2. avneron

      it’s a good idea to enable publishers on Vimeo, Blip, etc. to have a few templates they can use to easily create 10-foot experiences around their content

  3. Chris Dodge

    There might be an interesting synergy (sorry – I normally hate that word) emerging between TV/Movies and iPhone Apps (also as an extention Boxee?!?) games as a marketing platform prior to film/show releases.I could imagine a TV show launch release a Boxee app to ultimate build up a viewership before the show starts to air.I know I’m going to draw some ire for this question, but any chance that Boxee could support a more “typical” development environment, e.g. C++, C#, Java. I’ve never touched Python and I probably wouldn’t pick it up just to develop for Boxee plugins.

      1. Chris Dodge

        Hi Avner,Thanks for the feedback. Congrats on all the Boxee success! It’s been fun watching the evolution of the product since 2006 or so.I’m just a pretty “old-school” architect/developer and – as such – I’m kinda stuck with traditional OOP style programming, although I say that with clear understanding that I might of be a dying breed these days.If I might expand a bit on my earlier fragmented thoughts, there is an interesting opportunity between “apps” (Boxee or iPhone) and pre-launch show marketing. In expanding that out a bit to consider what dev platforms that require, it’s really back in the C-like sphere (C++, C#, Objective-C) with some 3D support like Open-GL. It’s hard for me to picture those type of applications in Phython or XML-based scripting languages.All the best in your continued success!

      2. fredwilson


    1. fredwilson

      We talked about that at the board meeting today and they know they have to make the api work with other development tools

      1. Chris Dodge

        Glad to hear that. In my reply to Avner in the comment thread, I do think there is an interesting opportunity in tie-ins between TVMovie launches and pre-released “apps” on iPhone – and as an extension – perhaps Boxee and other set-top-box devices.But perhaps again I’m just too stuck in OOP development models ala C++,C#,Objective-C, or Java.

      2. iamronen

        I’ve been looking for a boxee developer to collaborate on a boxee app – unsuccessfully so far. I have content but not the required development capabilities.In addition to a wider API, I think it could be supportive and useful if there was an online presence for the boxee developer community – where ideas & content could meet developers… (otherwise a lot of creative content ideas from non-technical folk might never appear) Just a thought!

          1. iamronen

            Avner thank you for taking the time to reply.Naturally my writing it motivated by my personal motivations regarding Boxee. But I feel a recurring pattern coming on and since for now I do have a vested interest and your reply was not helpful to me I am compelled to generalize a bit.On Getting InvolvedThere is a recurring pattern I encounter in open-source platforms I have encountered. It seems that unless I am technically oriented – a developer – I can’t find a way in to contribute. Also, when I do want to get involved it is within a certain and limited capacity. Digging around in 3 (or more) different resources (with mediocre researching accessibility at best) usually exceeds that capacity.Technological FilteringAs a result what you get is a technologically oriented filter on initiatives, ideas and implementation. It will let technological & feasible initiatives get through and not much else. “Good” ideas are those that a developer is interested in developing. I have a feeling that “much else” is required for any digital product to realize it’s potential. I used to consult as a software product designer and I believe that technological choices can (and often are) lethal to an evolution of a product. A great book comes to mind “The Inmates Are Running the Asylum” by Alan Cooper.Now back to a personal note. I have already visited some of the resources you mentioned. I have initiated contact with 2 developers I managed to pick out from your blog and twitter. I have been in touch with your business development people – who were very kind and supportive and embraced our content offering. I am waiting patiently, keeping my eyes and ears open – hoping to find an opportunity to penetrate through the barriers that are keeping me from sharing our content with Boxee.There is nothing more I can do… and that doesn’t feel right to me… but I have learned patience 🙂

      3. Vin Armani

        No, they shouldn’t complicate the issue. I’ve developed two apps already and am working on another. I didn’t have but a very cursory (a HelloWorld back in the day) exposure to Python before I started working on those apps. If you can code, you can write Boxee apps. It IS OOP. I don’t know what Chris is talking about. If you can write Java, you can write in Python (in fact, it’s so close to JavaScript, it’s silly). The XML aspect they are using is great. The closer they can keep it to web standards (CSS, XML, JS), which they already are, the more likely the platform will be adopted by the greater number of developers.

  4. Amdizzle

    They already use MRSS in their FeedBurner feed. You can pretty much just add the feed URL ( http://feeds.feedburner.com… ) to your feeds in Boxee and you’re set. Everything other than that is simply a graphic interface. I don’t see how that’s going to win the contest.

    1. fredwilson

      HmmNow I gotta come up with some cool functionality that I want

  5. rahmin

    I’d love to see a “watch this video later” app… like an instapaper for video…problem: people find video content that they can’t consume in the moment and would like to save it for later

    1. fredwilson

      I’m so with youSee the youtubing comment thread for my thoughts on that

  6. Nick Molnar

    Ra Ra Riot’s Oh La Take Away Show is pretty incredible.

  7. Tieg

    I haven’t looked into Boxee’s api yet, but building a worthy app sounds fun (and I’m willing to brush up on Python to check it out). Are there any existing or planned apps that act like VJ’ing software? Something like mashing up 2 or more streams of video and a few controls that let you manipulate them (perhaps like a simpler Quartz Composer).

    1. avneron

      sounds like a great idea! go for it!

    2. fredwilson

      Ooh. That sounds great!

  8. Joe Lazarus

    How do you add Boxee apps? Where do I find the Boxee app directory? I see where you can add RSS feeds, but I can’t seem to find any third party apps. Am I using an outdated version of the software? I’m using version 0.9.4166 on my Macbook Pro.

    1. avneron

      you have an item on the menubar that is called App Box. you’ll see all the available apps when you click on it.

      1. Joe Lazarus

        Avner, thanks for the reply. I’m assuming you mean the menu that slides outfrom the left side of the screen. I don’t see anything there labeled AppBox. I only see buttons for Video, Music, Pictures, Profile, Downloads,Settings, Exit.

        1. avneron

          i guess you’re running an old version. pls update to the latest from http://app.boxee.tv in case you’re on Mac, or run the launcher update and boxee update in case you’re on Apple TV.

    2. fredwilson

      Yeah, you gotta update to the newest build which is available at boxee.tv once you login on the web

    3. fredwilson

      Yeah, you gotta update to the newest build which is available at boxee.tv once you login on the web

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks for the link. I hadn’t seen that

  9. Joe Lazarus

    Thanks Avner & Fred. I’ve got the right version now. The App Box has a lotof potential. Some cool apps are already there. I’ll take a look at thedeveloper site and see if I can come up with anything interesting tocontribute. So far, I’ve just been playing with Boxee on my Macbook, butit’s intriguing enough that I’m thinking about hooking a Mac Mini or AppleTV up to my TV and possibly ditching either my cable or my Netflixaccounts.