We told you about Boxee’s app dev challenge a few weeks ago, where 40 apps were developed with great innovation. Yesterday the results have been unveiled in San Francisco but the big winner was… Boxee! The Israeli media center start up is loved by the open source development community and is about to roll out some major league upgrades today, including (drum roll please…) Boxee for Windows.
The Windows version not only opens Boxee to a much larger market, but also gets the media center software into the living room. Unlike Apple TV users, most media center PC users hook up their laptops to the TV. Given the right streaming experience, Boxee could eventually replace your cable box… I was part of the early alpha on Windows and it looked good back then – I’m sure that CEO Avner Ronen and his team will make PC users happy. Boxee is also available for Mac and Ubuntu operating systems.
Some other new Boxee features include:
Major League Baseball
Boxee partnered with MLB to offer MLB.TV Premium broadcasting of thousands of baseball games, live and on-demand in HD. This is part of a bigger bet that Boxee will be placing into sports and for expats like me this feature might be very popular.
Integration with Digg
Boxee serves up the popular videos voted on Digg, but user can’t vote through this interface yet.
Stream music and view slideshows from the people they are following on Tumblr
Boxee started small with Current, the SF-based citizen journalism company backed by Al Gore. The current app includes four shows: The Rotten Tomatoes show, infoMania,Vanguard and SuperNews.
So what about Hulu?
After blocking its content on Boxee a few months ago, Hulu came up with Hulu Desktop, their own ‘Boxee’. While the premium content on Hulu is a big eye ball driver, CEO Avner Ronen told Techcrunch that plenty of other media providers are starting to stream their content on Boxee.
In addition, the Boxee API is off to a good start with 40 apps developed already, such as:
- Newsbox(ee) – Twitter and YouTube together at last – bring videos related to trending terms on Twitter onto Boxee
- l8r & boxqueue– bookmark videos with on the web, watch them later with Boxee
- DropBoxee & Decho – stream video, music and photos stored in the cloud
- UK’s Open University & Open Course Ware – courses, lectures and videos from UK’s Open University, MIT, Stanford, Yale, and Berkeley… who said TV has to turn your brain to mush? :)
- Facebook photos & I Can Has Cheezburger? – The world’s largest photo repository, and the funniest photoblog are now remote control friendly
- National Film Board of Canada – access to all the movies produced by the NFB
Hulu may have superior content, but Boxee is working on a superior platform. The battle on the media center experience on the PC is not over yet.