Thursday, July 04, 2013

Living In A Box

So the brave attempt to introduce a new box into the world's living rooms has resulted in partial failure as Samsung snaps up Boxee for a reported $30 - just $5.5m more than the company had raised during its existence.

The Boxee unit was a cord cutter's delight, but never managed to go mainstream, partially due to hostile content owners such as Hulu, partially due to the unit costs (it used Intel chips instead of the cheaper mobile phone chips found in most set top boxes).

I never owned a unit (there was little point outside of the US) but watched the company's progress with interest. I did find the over-complex remote control strange when I had the opportunity for a tryout, but the UI was quite good.

If you consider the ups and downs of major hardware companies, it was always going to be difficult for Boxee to survive. Tivo has lost much more money than it's made down the years despite some tasty copyright infringement wins.

Hardware is, well, hard. And now all of the functionality is moving into the cloud it may all be irrelevant.

This is where Samsung is playing a clever game. They can plug all of the best bits of Boxee into one of their lovely big screen, and hook that up directly to the internet. Who needs a box ?