Boxee had already announced that they were going to to stop supporting the computer application, available for PC, Mac and Linux, they had made. But they never mentioned they were going to completely remove it from their site, yet, that is exactly what they've now done.
Boxee is now focusing solely on the Boxee Box hardware since they believe that the future of the digital living room is not the PC. Yet, isn't the Boxee Box just a single-function PC of sorts? It seems like just a way to shoot themselves in the foot with their community who has been with them from the very beginning.
Boxee Strategy No Longer Includes Software Support
Boxee VP of Marketing Andrew Kippen had stated that he believed people would continue to watch video on computers but it would be laptops and not media centers any longer because of the rise of the OTT boxes and connected TVs with a second screen in the living room being a tablet.
However, they seem to have failed to realize that serious cord-cutters are already using their computers as media servers and those who aren't in the market to upgrade their TV or buy an overpriced, single use PC (like a Boxee Box) will still need software.
I do agree that connected TVs and the rebirth of Google TV would definitely cut into their community simply on the power of the companies behind the products. Google TV is going to be everywhere with at least five TV manufacturers working on getting products to market and a handful of new OTT boxes based on the software. Clearly, Boxee lost the race to win the hearts and eyeballs in the living room because of the way they positioned themselves.
Google TV can't simply be downloaded and installed on a device, which was were Boxee had the upper hand. But Boxee don't seem interested in that section of the market anymore and instead seem to want to go head-to-head with the likes of Google TV, Apple TV, etc. A mistake on their part if you ask me.
In light of today's news that they'll pull the software off their server, I've compiled some alternative software that you can use to get your media from your PC to your TV via game consoles, etc.
- Serviio - A new update was pushed out today. The free DLNA server streams audio, video (SD & HD) and image files in their native format or transcoded in real-time as well as content from online sources, like RSS feeds, live audio/video streams, web page content and is compatible with a long list of renderers like Samsung TVs and Bluray players (supports additional features, e.g. subtitles), Sony TVs and Bluray players, Panasonic TVs, Playstation 3,Xbox 360,LG TVs and Bluray players,Toshiba TVs,Sharp TVs, Philips TVs (quite good, I have some friends using this).
- TV Mobili
- PLEX Media Server - As I said in my LG article, this is part of the LG Media Link.
- Myth TV - A full-fledged and feature-filled DVR software.
- TVersity - Offering both a free and a Pro version. A full DLNA UPnP A/V software. Game consoles, Set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, Networked TVs, phones and tablets can all connect via a web browser and media player.
- Twonky - A company I saw when I was at CES who have a commercial media server application. Admittedly, there are great free solutions so I see little reason to go to a paid one like this. Products include: TwonkyManager (media management), TwonkyServer (to serve the media) and TwonkyBeam (an IE9 add-on, with no Firefox support).
Of course, there's always Windows Media Center, which is what I use to manage my media on the PC and connect to my Xbox 360. Of course, my PC is in the living room and connected to my Optoma projector so I don't really even need that. I have been toying with the idea of getting a Google TV device but mainly for research purposes but I just can't justify $100-200 on something that seems somewhat redundant for my current configuration. Plus, Media Center lets me pull in a good amount of streaming media from the web right from the interface.