Boxee Box Launch

BoxeeLaunch1 If you've never been to a Boxee launch event, you owe it to yourself to change that. They are somewhat wild and crazy events, with a good dose of geeking out. On November 10th, in NYC, Boxee will host yet another launch event, this time to celebrate the shipping of the Boxee Box in partnership with DLink.

 The event is from 7pm to 10pm at Irving Plaza, in the Union Square neighborhood. The RSVP page is here.

I will be there along with a bunch of friends. I hope I'll see you there.


Comments (Archived):

  1. CliffElam

    Are you trying to tell me that I’m going to have a boxee box up next to my Roku box, my new Apple/TV, my MacMini, my Tivo, my Time/Warner DVR, my DVD player, my VCR (small children visit), and whatever else is up there hiding in the dust bunnies?Divorce, it’s all going to end up in divorce.-XC

    1. fredwilson

      this is a transition periodone or more of the software layers that run on all of these deviceswill run on a chip (Intel, Broadcom, Nvidia, etc) in your next TVbut nobody wants to buy a new TV just to get all of this on itso we have this interim period

      1. ErikSchwartz

        Which is why Apple TV loses in the long run.

        1. mrcai

          Actually Apple’s in a pretty good position. They already manufacture and they already make their own chips.

          1. ErikSchwartz

            Which they will never sell to sony and vizio to integrate into their TVs.

          2. mrcai

            But then they never sold the A4 or iOS to Nokia, RIM etc either

          3. ErikSchwartz

            TV’s and cell phones are very different. Apple is not getting into the TV set business.The average replacement cycle for a cell phone is about 16 monthsThe average replacement cycle for a TV is about 10 years (hence the boxee box).Apple is a hardware company, they’re not going near a biz where you buy a replacement every 10 years. iPhone is one of the most successful product launches ever. After 3 years they have ~4% share of the cell phone business in an industry with a quick replacement cycle. If you extrapolate that to the replacement cycle of the TV business it would take apple about 20 years to get to 4%.

          4. mrcai

            I actually think the TV marketplace would be easier to get into than the mobile. Less regulation, no need to deal with carriers etc.I hear what you’re saying about the churn. I’m not sure a TV today has a 10 year life. 5 years maybe. Which I’d imagine is roughly inline with a laptop. Especially when considering how we’ve moved from 720p to 1080p to 3D over the last couple of years.I’m not towing an Apple for the win line here. I was simply saying, I wouldn’t bet against Apple getting into this in a big way, even if it does mean they have to build the TV’s or the chips. I don’t see it being a winner takes all market. Competition is a good thing for all of us!

          5. ErikSchwartz

            Here’s the real problem with making TV’sLG operating margin is 1.5%Vizio operating margin is 4%Sony is breaking even on TVsCompared to the iPhone which runs at better than 50% margin.

          6. Andrew Greene

            But Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson all have low operating margins (while RIM’s is low 20s), and Apple disrupted that industry. I think it’s possible that Apple can do the same with televisions. I don’t know specifically what they can do to increase margins. Maybe we will use the televisions of the future to control the networked sensors that will monitor our houses in the future. Or maybe they will develop something like Kinect.I think there’s no doubt that televisions will no longer just be about consuming content. They will have utility in security, gaming, socializing, and shopping (better experience than HSN hopefully!)

      2. baba12

        Transition period that has gone on for a very long time. I will bet that eventually wireless broadband will provide the platform for content owners to deliver their content. You will have a silicon layer that manages the relationship between content owners and the viewers and the wireless carrier will be the one to own and manage that silicon. I would like to see carriers be just carriers focussed on providing a excellent technology platform with a good service and nothing more.

      3. Andrew Greene

        I agree. Which is why it sucks that I need to replace an old tv with a new one. In general, buying a TV is such a painful process, but now seems worse with so many new devices, each with serious flaws.

      4. ShanaC

        If computers become more cellphone-like, I think the transition period will get longer, because you are now facing a dumb screen as well as a dumb pipe problem.The issue is how do you treat screens of different types and sizes, rather than the content on them- maybe they all need different UX experiences? Maybe they don’t? Maybe all of these experiences can be from the same computer? Maybe not?

    2. baba12

      Be smarter than that. Remove all boxes, have a clean visual of your space and just use over the air broadcast. You will have more time to read and watch just good quality material. For everything else you can download from the content owners on to your network attached storage system and view anywhere anytime.Oh and you will save a lot of money too…

      1. CliffElam

        Funny, we just put up an HD antenna and are ditching cable….

  2. ErikSchwartz

    I too will be there.If enough of us go we should figure out some way for the AVC regulars to recognize one another.

    1. fredwilson

      badges? we don’t need no stinkin’ badges

      1. baba12

        All AVC readers can have a bottle of Merlot with them.

      2. RichardF

        what…not even the Foursquare AVC badge?!Kid would be mortified.

  3. LIAD

    box has great industrial design. very distinctive – vying on iconic.vis-a-vis the transition period until a software layer becomes ubiquitous – does that mean that boxee’s hardware is just an interim strategy designed to keep their software in the game until the major hardware manufacturers decide whose software to rollout within the TV’s themselves?

    1. fredwilson

      I wasn’t making a comment about Boxee strategyBut that is how I see the market developing

  4. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Great venue – saw quite a few great gigs there.Love the hardware design. Uber quirky/cool.Enjoy!

  5. mrcai

    Where do people see this going?We’re seeing game developers opt for the self publish model over deals with publishers. See recent comments from Angry Brids guys concerning their previous publisher Chillingo…Will we see a similar revolution in the movie / show space? Obviously there’s the initial capital problem. Can Angel’s and VC’s eventually fill the gap that the studio’s have historically? Allowing the content owners to distribute through an AppStore like model.

    1. baba12

      It will happen. Content creators could form like the SAG a bank and borrow funds at very low interest rates to create great content. If we as a society want to evolve progressively we would want to remove as many middle layers that exist today that don’t add any value to the creation but are there as sole gate keepers who control distribution etc.So there are some new ways emerging to finance content creation and technologies are being deployed to remove the role of gatekeepers. These things take time but eventually it will happen.

      1. mrcai

        I suppose this is where are pitching.In Britain we pay a TV licence, it’s ~£140 a year, that funds the BBC. A lot of people hate this, but I know a lot of people who’ll say something like,”Top Gear alone is worth the licence fee”The concept of a market for TV programs isn’t that alien, even if it doesn’t exist. It’d be great if the plan28 guys could diversify a little and raise some capital to bring Babbage to the silver screen for example. That’d be a great film, especially if it was done in a steampunk style.

        1. baba12

          The BBC produces great content and you have a great talent pool. Also the creative folks in the U.K. have a pretty balanced financial balance. You don’t have the extremes we have here stateside, we have a plethora of starving artists and a few make it through and keep the dream alive. In the U.K. you have a more balanced environment and you pay a price for it but are accepting of it.We in the U.S. have now gone to producing reality television crap that is cheaper and is really far from real but it is feeding the masses. I believe we shall see changes come about here and technology will/is make(ing) that possible.

        2. RichardF

          I like much of what the BBC produces but I dislike the licence fee because there is no choice in the matter. It’s just another tax.

          1. baba12

            Well yes no choice it is just another tax. If I had a choice I would not pay for atrocious defense budgets either. At least BBC produces great quality content for the monies they receive and stay independent.In the rest of the world outside of the U.S. BBC has a brand and name that is stronger than the local broadcasting services. That brand keeps the U.K. taxpayers pretty much in a better light than it keeps News Corp.

          2. CJ

            I agree and consider BBC a pretty unbiased source for news about the USA, way better than most of our corporate news overlords.

          3. RichardF

            I can’t comment about US news but the BBC produces no better (in terms of quality, bias or differentiation) domestic news than any of it’s UK competitors, including Sky (News International). If you were to watch the UK news at 10.00pm on any of the main UK news channels you would see the same news stories covered in exactly the same way.

          4. CJ

            Ha – And I can’t comment on UK news so we’re even! Seriously, US Main stream media sucks, it’s all about ratings so it’s celebrity laden sensationalist drivel, IMHO>

      2. ErikSchwartz

        How is that different from a studio?A studio is a public company which funds 3rd party movie and TV projects as partnerships. They share in the profits if they succeed and eat the losses if they don’t.

        1. baba12

          Difference being a lot of Studios are also involved in the distribution channels, in that they control when and how the content shall be delivered. Creators of the content don’t have the ability today to distribute the content directly to the consumer, studios manage that.I feel that the value that content creators have is marginalized by the role middlemen/gatekeepers play in the distribution process.

          1. ErikSchwartz

            But the studios buy that right by fronting the cash and taking the downside risk.Sometimes you get a guy like Coppola who guarantees a project with his own assets, but it is really rare.

          2. baba12

            True and then you also see in some instances like a Clooney & Pitt combine together to back a project. They then just rent the studios to shoot.All I am stating is that the traditional model of control is beginning to crack and eventually we shall see more of these models of creation and distribution. For now the studios are fighting hard and have the upper hand so far.Mark Cuban is doing his part in trying to change the model and not succeeding fully because the content is not good. In the end good content always gets rewarded but so far the rewards have not been fairly distributed.

          3. Dave W Baldwin

            Unfortunately, the rewards never are ‘fairly’ distributed…but you are right where this product does toll the bell regarding the transition to freedom for the customer. This leads to a different diminsion in creativity, starting with the established and moving to more independent. When there is enough sponsorship $$ the whittling down of protection afforded the current players will produce so much more.

          4. ShanaC

            I don’t think parts of the studio model is ever going away. Even now, you see mergers of new and old media, mostly because to make great media is expensive.If you can’t afford to let the piper go free, especially for new, unproven content, someone will create a business model around how to get it out there and make money for doing so. It’s what are the leverage points with different models of distribution- that seems to be unclear.

      3. ShanaC

        Well what happens if a lot of content defaults? Spreading the risk also means finding new ways of controlling that spread risk- and we’re missing that key.

    2. fredwilson

      maybekickstarter is an interesting model for seed capital for this sort of thing

  6. kagilandam

    That looks like BIG event … attendees list is huge … i clicked the “show more” button 6-7 times and then gave up… it kept on coming.How many are you expecting some few thousands?

    1. fredwilson

      thousands will sign upi expect roughly a thousand will show

  7. Dave W Baldwin

    Great two posts (busy yesterday) Fred! This represents the mature vision realizing you have to do the transition period over to what everyone expects.Those responding, don’t get too caught up trying to out do one another, because it leads to thinking ‘present/past’ as I’ve typed on before. Thinking ‘present/future’ sets in motion the product that depends NOT on whether Apple succeeds with TV…and all the other boxes for that matter, since theirs are antique.Staying with the AppleTV side, it is not so much the question if Apple is the TV, or enjoys revenue somewhere on the path of the viewer deciding what they want to view, delivering what it is and have connection to as many of those possible to set the prices for advertiser. Hence, why the reasonable opinion regarding Google/Android.Once you draw this into your mind…you may start to realize the coming arena for marketing/sales…that is really not that far away.

  8. DonRyan

    For once, I’m going to be in NYC for one of these events. I can’t wait!

  9. PhilipSugar

    How this is going to shake out will be fascinating.I flip flop depending on what I read. Mark Cuban has some interesting thoughts about this especially about aggregation versus a-la-carte. Summary is that he thinks aggregators win.The more I think about it cable companies are really two things. They are delivery of bits (which is a monopoly) and aggregators of content. Maybe those two should be split. (I’m ready for you JLM)Even though my mind says I like buying a-la-carte because I don’t want to pay for something I don’t need my actions are I buy in aggregate (Netflix).It will be so interesting to see who wins and who loses.Cable TV (the guys you love to hate) have been so tough when it comes to technology. Look what they did to Tivo.When you look at the numbers it doesn’t seem right that every household in the U.S. basically pays $75 a year for the NFL. Also I think that shapes Mark Cuban’s mind being a NBA owner.Interesting. Just like the design of the Boxee Box…looks like its falling into the device under it (very clever and smart) also designed so it has to be on top (you can’t stack anything on it) also very clever.

    1. ErikSchwartz

      If they make less money as an aggregator they will raise rates for delivering bits. For streaming to go really mainstream there needs to be huge increases in infrastructure. The capacity has to come from somewhere. The broadcast model is extremely cost effective, there is basically zero marginal cost for each incremental viewer. I wrote a piece about this last week. before we go down the it’s going to be 4G/wimax road… A 720p stream takes 12-15mbs, say you have 500 TVs in a single cell. Do the math. That’s a lot of OC12s to each cell tower. You’re dead just on the backhaul. (never mind how you get all those bits through the allocated spectrum)

      1. PhilipSugar

        I agree completely with you Erik. TV is a great example of massive digital delivery via single point broadcast to multi-point receivers. Wireless is great for many low bandwidth connections like cell phones but just can’t compete when it comes for high bandwidth delivery.Its why satellite works for tv and not for phone (I kept Mitsubishi out of the Iridium project)Its why the phone was never setup to massively deliver broadcast because its about thousands of low bandwidth direct connections.The dumb pipe we call the internet has blurred the lines. Certainly not completely.It makes me wonder if eventually we don’t have Akami type devices right in our house…..because there are two issues: total bandwidth consumption and peak consumption (just like electricity) so if you could slowly drip the 20% of content that is viewed 80% of the time and broadcast the live content, maybe the custom content would be do-able through Moore’s law.I certainly don’t have all the answers. Its amazing how far we’ve come in twenty years, when the cable companies were struggling mightily to put telephone to the home and the RBOC’s were trying to increase the size of their pipes.

        1. ErikSchwartz

          I think the trickle loading of a local cache is HUGE idea. Especially because terabytes of storage are now under $100 (and getting cheaper fast).

          1. fredwilson

            don’t forget OTA digital for live events

          2. ErikSchwartz


    2. ShanaC

      I read mark cuban, I don’t buy it for a second. I think he misses media consumption patterns the same way there seems to be a technology hit or miss for those in the ‘burbs. I think he also manages to forget that we bond over media. TV in the form he is talking about won’t dissapear

      1. PhilipSugar

        The title of his post is Why the internet is not disrupting TV, so I’m not sure I understand (there are a lot of things I disagree with Mark Cuban the foremost having met him is his personality).His main thesis is that we watch TV because we’re bored and because we value our time we don’t want to search for stuff we want it all aggregated.I’m not sure I agree with the last part. I think people watch TV to be “dumbed”I agree with Erik’s post that we watch TV either passively or in the background…One thing I think technologists have missed over the years is that people watch TV to be dumbed. Trying to make it interactive or require effort or thought is contra to the whole reason you’re watching in the first place.I’ll admit to watching TV and I do it to be dumbed. I’ve had too much stimulation all day and I’m powering down my mind and dumbing myself.

        1. ShanaC

          See, I keep thinking TV will be a fracture phenonema (more cult tv, less big shows). This is partially due to Henry Jenkin’s work (Convergence Culture) in which he talks about TV and book reading and how different communities interact with it on the internet. It may be a slightly older book, but there is a ton to be learned about what happens when you add a second screen.It also leads me to believe that someone will get the social networking side right (I don’t think checking in is enough, people want to interact with the story…it’s not clear to me if they want to be the story though). I also think the power of story can be that engaging- there have been discussions that TV in the past decade has gotten smarter in response to audience demands for more engagment (excluding some reality TV, and even then, I can’t say for certain…you hear stories about how cupcake wars engaged people to make cupcakes…)

      2. CJ

        Mark is always right on the money or spectacularly wrong. I love that about him, he’s always interesting.

    3. fredwilson

      i’ve been thinking for years that cable is both a pipe and a content bundlerthey can continue to be both, but i think they need to offer a “unbundling” of the twoi might get my pipe from verizon and my content bundle from Time Warneror i might get my content bundle a la carte from netflix, and a few cable channels i subscribe to directlythat is the future

      1. Baba12

        Why would you want a channel why would you not want just a specific program. Not everything that is on a channel is something you want. You may want to watch only Dexter or True Blood on HBO or Luther from BBC. If you look at the advertising it is not for a channel but for the content specifically.You should be able to get the content you want and just pay for that.You can deliver this content through the pipes be it cable, OTA, Wireless broadband etc.As a pipe owner one would hope they would offer a better platform for the consumer to get the content they want when and where they want and charge a reasonable fee for it.Today if you are a Cable subscriber and have two residences like Mr.Wilson and have the same service provider in both locations it is still impossible to get a single bill that shows all the services you have from the provider.They treat Mr.Wilson Manhattan differently than Mr.Wilson the Hamptons differently in their database and all the associated costs of managing that relationship are considered low in relationship to what they are generating in terms of revenues.I don’t want to go off on a rant here but it seems that big businesses in the U.S. like to maintain status quo as there is little or no incentive for them to change, and they hold on to the fiefdoms because of their size.Maybe boxee will challenge this fiefdom with help from a google tv.

        1. fredwilson

          in a perfect world yes, but the networks will naturally see themselvesas bundlers, at least in the short run

          1. PhilipSugar

            The more I think about it the more I realize why content providers themselves want to be bundled with their competitors.If you are bundled you have power. If you are un-bundled you have no power, because the second one of your competitors reduces price you go right down to free.If the NYtimes, Washington Post, WSJ, etc were bundled and that was the only way you could get them you’d have to pay. As its stands everybody but WSJ went to free.Good content does cost lots of money to produce. It will be an interesting next twenty years.

          2. Morgan Warstler

            As long as content/network guys want to bundle their A channel, with B, C, D, E, and F…. cable will lever that partner desire into Everywhere.I’ll tell users, “sorry, Fred wants you to have A-F”. You’ll tell users, “Sorry, you can’t have my stuff on the web, unless you pay for it on Morgan’s cable.”And FOR SURE, you’ll say, “if Morgan isn’t paying to show it on his cable, you can’t see it at my site on HIS Internet.”They’ve been married longer than you or me Fred. They might fight a bit, but they really love each other very much.The question to unlock the riddle becomes: What does ESPN want to charge a user per month to see ESPN 1 and 2 in HD over their Internet connection?I think the answer is probably $20 a month… maybe $15 on a one year contract.

          3. Prokofy

            what does Boxee do? Do you have to have a TV to have it?

          4. fredwilson

            ideally yes, but you could connect it to a computer monitorit allows you to get web video on your TV

      2. PhilipSugar

        I think you are going to need a Judge Green for that. Just like AT&T. Maybe you see it different with the internet??? I don’t know….when you control that last mile there are all sorts of dirty tricks you can play unless you are totally separate companies.

  10. bijan

    Avner is going to kill me. I can’t make it because of a commitment that I can’t break that night.It will be an absolute blast and I’m getting ready for my beating.

    1. fredwilson

      he may not give you the boxee box he promised you

  11. paramendra

    If you say so. I went ahead and RSVPd. And I also posted an update on my Facebook wall that says “Fred Wilson invites you.” Congrats Fred. This is disruptive. And the party also promises to be.

  12. LIAD

    coincidentally – see mention of boxee box in last weeks Mail on Sunday – the UK’s second largest Sunday Paper – sales of 2m, readership of approx. 5mm…

  13. awaldstein

    I’ll be there.

  14. awaldstein

    BTW…new Boxee Box positioning is getting crisper. See this

    1. fredwilson

      check out the haters in the commentsi love to see thatthe best companies have the most haters in the comments

  15. Daniel Kligerman

    I’m thinking of doing the same. It seems to me that with Boxee/Netflix/AppleTV, the only think you’re missing is access to live TV for things like the news, and an HD antenna fills that need. So the combination of the two seems like the right way to go–more content that you actually want, and for less dollars per month.

  16. ea cpe

    Wondering how Boxee compares with similar products– specifically Apple TV. Thoughts?

    1. fredwilson

      the CEO explains that here…

  17. Marilyn Byrd

    I thought the same thing!

  18. paramendra