Boxee Says Google TV Is Complementary to Its Vision – Is It?

boxee beta homescreen

Last Thursday Boxee tweeted, after watching the Google TV introduction, that Google TV was “more complementary than competitive. we should start working on Boxee Android App for TV… :)” A fairly diplomatic response, I must say. Now, Boxee is reiterating to the TechCrunch Disrupt audience that Google TV can be a great opportunity for people to easily experience Boxee on their TV, if they can download a Google TV compatible Android app.

While I agree that a Boxee Android app may be a good strategy, it leaves some unanswered questions. Will the Boxee Android app be the full Boxee experience or a TV optimized client that talks to a separate Boxee-powered PC or Boxee Box that will serve content — much like what Boxee wants to do with its iPad app? If it’s the full Boxee experience, with all the functionality Boxee enables, than a Google TV Android app would be awesome! A client app, though, not so much.

boxee box by dlink

As for the Boxee Box that’s expected to hit the market sometime this year, how is that going to be complimentary to Google TV and Logitech’s companion box? I say it’s not. In fact, it’s a direct competitor (just as the Roku digital player and Apple TV are). Unless, however, Boxee pushes forward with a server/client strategy that would leave room for their set-top device to be part of the mix.

Diplomacy aside, Boxee’s CEO, Avner Ronen, did take a swipe at Google TV when he told the TechCrunch Disrupt audience that what Google showed in regards to browsing the Internet is much like what people experience through their PC, which is in stark contrast to Boxee’s app offering. Personally, I think we’re talking a bit of apples and oranges here. In Google’s defense, Google TV allows you to surf the web and not be tied to available “apps.” What’s more, Google has posted guidelines and an API for web developers to create interactive TV optimized websites that will offer better navigation and readability via Google TV (example: YouTube “Lean Back”) — not to mention Google TV has its own Android apps.


Let me just finish by saying that I like Boxee and wish them the best. It will be interesting to see how the startup deals with growing competition in the coming months. I was definitely looking forward to buying a Boxee Box, but now I’m thinking Google TV may be the better choice. What say you?

Tags: ,
Filed in: Industry Buzz, Software, Streaming Media Devices

  • nite_man

    Boxee is more then just software to watch online video. It's a fully functional software for HTPC as you know. So, Google TV won't kill it as well as XBMC. And it's a good idea to add to Boxee supporting of Google TV ;)

  • The HTPC Blog

    I couldn't agree more. I touched on some of the same things in a post on my blog. At this point in time I don't understand the purpose or value of a Boxee app for Google TV aside from the sheer “look what we can do” factor.

    We'll see what the future holds. I'm just glad Avner “reiterated” his comments he posted on Twitter.

  • Alexander Grundner

    Read your post:…

    Good point about HTPC enthusiasts tinkering with Google TV on their HTPC hardware once it's fully open sourced. Would be nice if Google TV had generic TV tuner integration (maybe that's coming?).

  • Alexander Grundner

    What kind of integration would you like to see Boxee have in Google TV? BTW, I don't think Google TV will kill Boxee or XBMC either.