By Tara Lane, Staff Writer
With the availability of devices like Tivo, DVR, and online video streaming platforms, we have access to nearly every show on television, whenever we want it. Our growing media consumption – whether it’s through TV, YouTube, iTunes, or streaming video – is no doubt growing each year, and expanding beyond the television set itself to ever more popular on-demand streaming platforms.
Online video streaming will get even easier on December 7th when the emerging digital platform Boxee launches its public beta version to the masses. Boxee enables easier video streaming and organization for home computers, and even for the TV itself. Leading up to its launch, the venture-capital backed company has announced partnerships with other online video sites Crunchyroll and Crackle, along with Sony Pictures, to feature a large library of TV shows, movies, and original content.
Boxee is a free, downloadable, open source software that essentially gathers streams from online platforms to deliver them right to your computer, without the need for individual searches on multiple platforms and Web sites. Compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux, Boxee has been available for some time on Apple TV as well, delivering and all-in-one package for the most avid television viewers.
Extending beyond the video realm, Boxee offers users the option to connect with popular sites and applications like Last.fm and iTunes, and social networking sites Facebook and Twitter – all in one place. Boxee organizes files, folders and data to be easily accessible, and essentially having no need to exit out of the application. Additionally, Boxee is designed and readily capable for TV hookup through an HDMI cable, without a separate box or media player. Tech and media gurus everywhere have long sought after capabilities like these, and Boxee is the first to deliver such options from a single platform like this.
Boxee is also continually being created and improved by independent developers using its open source platform. The creators of Boxee encourage people to get creative and create new and improve applications and uses for the system, another aspect that has been drawing people to use it for some time. Whereas other streaming sites have their own back-end developers, Boxee relies upon its own community for improvements, allowing it to be unique and stand out from the competition.
After the upcoming beta release, Boxee stands to be a major competitor for Hulu and Fancast, Netflix, as well as individual networks that have their own streaming media players. With Comcast’s recent acquisition of NBC, which owns part of Hulu, the debut of Boxee could have major implications for the online video viewing community, although the extent of it is still unknown. And like Netflix, which already offers a platform for streaming via video game consoles, Boxee’s owners hope to move their system to that area in the very near future.
Boxee looks like it can be the next big thing in digital and social media, especially with the power of individual developers behind it. The system already has a solid backing of users ready for even more improvements. With this all-access pass, users will be able to be tuned into almost every corner of online digital media with the click of a mouse – and all of its competitors have the work cut out for them.