Boxee disappointed us a while back, when they discontinued their software in favor of their hardware solution. From the beginning, their hardware has suffered from problems, and software updates have been too infrequent. Boxee has been at the forefront of negotiating for the future of unencrypted basic cable. As we previously have written, we aren’t thrilled with the solution the FCC came up with. But now, it is more clear why. Boxee has announced the $99 Boxee TV. It is a DVR that stores recordings in the cloud(for $15 a month) and uses your antenna/basic unencrypted cable to do so. It contains many of the Boxee apps, but not as many as the legacy Boxee box. By the way, they are killing the Boxee Box, except for maintenance updates. This is just yet another example of Boxee pivoting again, and is bound to fail again. Not because some of their ideas aren’t good. But the Boxee Box attracted Cord Cutters…and it has a mandatory(not optional), $15 a month charge. In order to store in the cloud, you need to transcode and downgrade your HD signal. And it relies on Cloudee, their cloud video service, to remain in business for the [...]
Home Theater PC Archive
The FCC has issued an order amending its rules to allow cable operators to encrypt the basic service tier. This tier consists of broadcast and a few other assorted stations. Their rationale for this is that it will ‘benefit’ consumers who can have their service activated and deactivated remotely, reducing truck rolls and waits for service calls. The problem is the “small number” of cable subscribers who will be adversely affected. A few years ago, you could change channels directly on your TV. These were cable channels…channels you paid for. You are still paying for them, but now you have to pay to rent equipment from the cable company. The current cost of a box from our cable provider is $10 a month, plus a $4 fee. To rent a cable card is only $2.50, by comparison. This is an issue. The $90 a year difference would pay for a cable box purchase in two years, or pay the additional cost to add a cablecard slot to the average television. This has not happened. As a condition of the FCC Rule, operators must provide either a converter box with home networking capability that can provide access to basic channels or [...]
To All RSS Subscribers: Due to the recent uncertainty regarding the future of Feedburner, we are removing all redirects to Feedburner. All links on the site will now use local feeds. If possible, please update your subscriptions. If not, the Feedburner feeds will continue to be maintained for as long as Google continues to offer the service, but we feel that self-hosting all feeds is the more prudent long-term move. Feed: http://www.gadgetwisdom.com/feed/ Related articles Feedburner on the Rocks?(onecoolsitebloggingtips.com) Is Google Feedburner Shutting Down?(quickonlinetips.com) Using Feedburner? Time to Look at Alternatives(blogher.com) Why, How and When to Quit FeedBurner(socialfish.org)
As we’ve previously mentioned, we’ve been redoing our music collection. Now, after weeks of part-time ripping, and some cleanup, it is time to upload the music to various sites, as a test. Amazon has discontinued its music downloader for Linux and is no longer allowing Linux users to download the .azw file for use with a third-party application. The AZW files are used to download an entire album when purchased. This occurred concurrently with the rollout of their new Cloud Player product, which included one other fun feature. DRM. Not on the file level. Amazon proudly sells DRM-free MP3s, but to upload or download albums, you need to authorize your device. You are allowed a maximum of 10 devices, you can deauthorize a device and the slot will reopen thirty days later. This includes Android devices. If you don’t do this, you can only download albums one track at a time. We wanted to see who else was pointing out that this is a DRM-like feature, and came up with an interesting analysis of same by The Leisurely Historian. His theories are: (Comments are ours) Compromise negotiated with music labels over cloud player – This seems the most likely. But, [...]
It’s been a while since we’ve updated our Downstreaming series. The concept of downstreaming was one of simplification, and how you can downgrade your paid cable
bill and look at internet based alternatives. Some people talk about cord cutting…but it is clear the alternatives aren’t quite there for everything.
The Wall Street Journal featured an article which was written as a tearful goodbye to the author’s cable service.
“Everyone’s getting their shows and movies through the Internet these days. I’m sorry. It’s just the reality of things… Yeah, I’ve changed, but you know what? You’ve changed more. I mean, come on. How many shows about housewives are there? I like chefs, but I don’t need to see them on television 24/7. Ghost hunters? Dancing celebrities? Talent shows? “Shark Week”? Celebrity ghost-hunting talent shows during “Shark Week”? It’s too much of too little. You’re full of a lot of inescapable crap.”
And we have to agree. Television is catering to someone, and it isn’t us. The Sci-Fi Channel is SyFy, and where’s the Science Fiction? The TV Guide channel no longer shows a tv guide. The Learning Channel….what the heck are we supposed to be learning on it now? There are so many channels, and how many of them do you actually want.
In a recent appearance on the MythTVCast, our editor was commenting on how hard it was to figure these things out. Too many channels, not enough package choices, and a resistance to changing with the time. And our own conception continues to involve. We continue to realize things about ourselves and our habits that we want to use to change what we do.
- Your console is your cable box as Comcast, HBO Go, Verizon FIOS, and more come to the Xbox 360 (arstechnica.com)
“In an Internet/on-demand world your primary concern is the quality of your content, since you are held accountable by the consumer.” – Avner Ronen, CEO, Boxee, 2009
Version 1.5, just released, of the popular media software, Boxee, will be its last for the PC.
“We believe the future of TV will be driven by devices such as the Boxee Box, Connected TVs / Blu-Rays and 2nd screen devices such as tablets and phones. While there are still many users who have computers connected to their TVs, we believe this use case is likely to decline as users find better alternatives. People will continue to watch a lot of video on their computer, but it is more likely to be a laptop than a home-theater PC and probably through a browser rather than downloaded software.”
Boxee started with community support. We showed up at every Boxee NYC event. Nearly a year ago, we asked if Boxee had ‘sold out‘. They had slowed their PC development to a crawl, and now they are releasing a final version, after which they will focus solely on their embedded hardware. There are complaints about numerous firmware issues on their hardware.
We threw a lot of support behind Boxee early on, because they seemed to understand the HTPC hobbyist. They started with trying to create a seamless and social experience based on top of XMBC, an open-source media center with extensible plugins. We understand the needs of a business to make money, but each decision has been a nail in the coffin. There are many less expensive options for streaming. Roku boxes start at $50. Many of these features are integrated into TVs and Blu-Ray players.
Boxee may have missed its chance, and is floundering for a way to succeed. We can say we are very disappointed. We still remember when Boxee CEO Avner Ronen had a very public debate with Mark Cuban about the future of video, from which the quote at the top of this article appears. Ronen was referring to cable providers, but he should remember his own words:
The concern should be quality, for you are held accountable by your consumers.
- Boxee 1.5 nears release, will be final desktop version (engadget.com)
- Boxee is discontinuing its PC software, focusing on set-top-boxes, mobile apps (liliputing.com)
- Boxee To Drop Support for Windows, Macs, and Linux (readwriteweb.com)
- Boxee abandons HTPC users (edugeek.net)
- Boxee to Release Last Software Update for PCs (allthingsd.com)
Engadget offered screenshots yesterday of Prime members who were noticing “Prime Instant Videos”, unlimited streaming on select movies for those who join Prime. It includes the note: “Your Amazon Prime membership now includes unlimited, commercial free instant streaming of 5,000 movies and TV shows at no additional cost.
Last week, TNL.net did some analysis of how the top streaming video services were doing in terms of the most popular video entertainment of 2010. They compared Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video-on-Demand, and iTunes.