byNilay Patel||November 10th 2010 at 7:42pmNovember 10th 2010 7:42 pm
Sure, the Boxee Box has been teasing us since CES, but it's finally here, new Intel-based chipset and all. We're live at the huge launch party, and Boxee CEO Avner Ronen and crew always have a few surprises in store, so join us after the break for the full blow-by-blow!
8:46PM They're giving stuff away -- we'd say this is over. We're off to see if we can accost some Hulu execs.
8:45PM "Thank you for coming." He's about to play I Gotta Feeling. Way to bring it back corporate.
8:44PM "Can I plug in a USB Blu-ray player?" This was a serious question. Avner: "I don't think so. I feel like I'm losing the crowd. There's another slide? Once we're done here we're gonna go drink real drinks nearby. I get much more chatty when I'm drunk. And I dance."
8:43PM One more question and then we're done here.
8:42PM "2012 we're supposed to start making money. That's what we told our investors."
8:42PM The hard drive supports basically every formatting standard. "I don't know where FAT goes, but we support it."
8:42PM "I'm not sure if I answered the right question, but that was my answer."
8:41PM This is devolving into chaos.
8:41PM Multiple Facebook and Twitter accounts? "I guess more than one Facebook account is kind of freakish. We don't support it."
8:40PM "What about autoplay on the queue? We should do that. It's not a queue, by the way -- it's a Watch Later." Avner on a roll here.
8:40PM "Assuming it doesn't download torrents or give you the wrong weather, we'll post it."
8:39PM "Can you write your own weather app? You're not happy with the weather!?" Fake outrage from Avner.
8:39PM Boxee Box can't act as a network bridge, but it can serve as an SMB server.
8:38PM Working on an iPad app for Boxee. Android coming sometime next year. "If you're an Android developer and you're in the crowd, we're interested. Windows Marketplace, if it happens, we're interested."
8:37PM And that's it! Q&A time.
8:36PM "Next up for me after this is peace in the middle east." Ha!
8:36PM Only Hulu, no Hulu Plus.
8:36PM "We're gonna work really hard really soon to make Hulu Plus available, and do it in a way that makes sense. No hacky stuff. Between Hulu, Netflix and Vudu it's going to be an amazing experience."
8:35PM Hulu Plus slide goes up to huge cheers. "It's true -- we're friends now!"
8:35PM "Netflix is coming! It won't be available tomorrow, but it's coming by the end of the year. It won't be the same interface, but it'll be high definition. Many people waited on preorders because of Netflix -- there's gonna be Netflix and it's gonna be great." New version of the remote with a dedicated Netflix button! "This is serious!"
8:34PM "Anything I forgot to say?" Crowd yelling Netflix, Hulu. One guy yelled porn -- "We tried it last time, it didn't work so well."
8:33PM "The other thing we have is search. We search the Boxee TV library, the movie library, and the apps library, and also the whole interwebs." Working with a company called VideoSurf. "In Boxee search we trust. If it's on the internet you should be able to play it."
8:32PM "The weather is great. We have it."
8:32PM "Whenever we have a new version of Boxee there's one project that takes to much time... in this case it was this icon. It's the weather. Apparently many people care about the weather, and now we have it. It's cold. There's a map of coldness. It continues to be cold. You can see news about... it being cold."
8:31PM "In the end you shouldn't care about so many formats... I don't even know half of them. But you should be able to hit play and have it work."
8:30PM "We also tested with the Apple TV and the Google TV Logitech product." The other boxes didn't play quite as many formats.
8:29PM We are definitely watching a very dramatic Bollywood film.
8:28PM "If it has three letters in it, we support it." Big cheers from the crowd here.
8:28PM "1080p -- Boxee is not even sweating."
8:28PM Showing off the Boxee Box's codec support with Anandtech's suite of video files.
8:27PM "People have terabytes of storage with lots of files. If you can play it on your PC, you should play it on your TV. No matter if it's on a disk, or a NAS."
8:27PM "There are already HTML5 apps from HBO, TNT, Chow. The fact that Google TV is pushing this is helpful."
8:25PM Showing off the New York Times TV site now.
8:25PM "To tell you the truth, we think the idea of apps kind of sucks. We don't think every TV platform should have an SDK, and that all this content is on islands that aren't searchable. We'd much prefer HTML."
8:24PM "I've been told that if I say I love TED more than three times, they'll invite me to speak."
8:23PM Playing the Andrew Bird TED performance.
8:23PM "We don't think using the browser is a mainstream TV experience."
8:22PM TED app looks a lot like Vevo, actually. Sort of Cover Flow-y.
8:22PM And now we're going straight from "Like a G6" to the TED app. "You can spend hours watching TED."
8:21PM Avner's bumping "Like a G6" from Vevo.
8:21PM Showing off the Vevo app -- it's pretty austere, but also pretty fast.
8:20PM Showing off the apps now -- you can sort them in many ways as well.
8:19PM Drilling through genres and other options in the Movies menu. The interface looks pretty quick.
8:18PM Watching the Scott Pilgrim trailer now, playing with the transport controls.
8:17PM It installs and launches the Vudu app when you click on it. "We love Vudu, they're amazing. Their HD format looks perfect. 9 megabit streams, surround -- it works perfectly."
8:17PM Looking at the movie screen now. "We have this amazing partnership with Vudu... there are over 9,000 movies in the library."
8:16PM "We don't think using a web browser on a TV like on your computer or phone doesn't make much sense... you're better off using your computer or phone... but having that freedom to use a browser is great as a fallback. We built this Webkit browser with Intel... it's not beautiful, but you can play whatever you want. That's cool."
8:15PM Sorry -- Die Antwoord. Seeing this in this context shook us out of our normal spelling comfort zone.
8:14PM It's getting totally nuts in here.
8:14PM Avner dancing now.
8:14PM Die Antwerp! Sort of a perfect match to Major Lazer. We're assuming the Intel reps are totally freaked out.
8:13PM "In terms of playback, I'll go and play something from YouTube -- it launches our new Webkit browser, and you'll see HD streaming from YouTube."
8:12PM "This is a big development: instead of calling it a queue, we're calling it Watch Later."
8:12PM "We've introduced a new menu... there's a menu button on the remote that brings it up. We're brilliant at Boxee."
8:11PM "One of the things that is very common with people sitting on couches that they don't know what they want to watch... so you go into the friends section and see what people share with you. We think that's a great way to waste time. Lots of time."
8:11PM "We tried to take away as much from the homescreen as we can. We try to recommend things people will love... this is whatever Andrew thinks is cool."
8:10PM "Can the guys drinking at the bar be quiet? It's ruining my mojo." Ha!
8:10PM "What we've done with this new homescreen is try to make it much simpler."
8:10PM It's a totally new UI -- much simpler.
8:09PM And the Box is up!
8:09PM "You'll have to play music for me to dance... you're serious with the music? I don't have any moves. I have to be drunk." We'd say Avner knows some jokes.
8:08PM "I don't know any jokes, by the way."
8:08PM Some technical troubles now. "What you're supposed to be seeing right now is the Boxee Box."
8:07PM "That's the end of that presentation, so that means we should probably switch over... to the Boxee Box."
8:06PM And we're back to Andrew from Boxee. "Boxee started off as five guys with a problem to solve, and we wouldn't be here without partners like Vevo and Intel and Vice. And I'd like take a moment to thank D-Link."
8:05PM Short documentary about Diplo, who produced MIA's Paper Planes. They're in Jamaica with him. We would assume they will not be showing any Major Lazer video clips.
8:04PM Okay, let's lighten the mood with an Intel-sponsored Creator's Project video. We're assuming no one will kill a child and drink their blood during this one.
8:03PM Liberia, that is.
8:03PM The Vice Guide to Liberian, everyone.
8:03PM We are entertained. We are also never leaving the house again.
8:02PM This appears to be an extremely depressing documentary about human trafficking. "So you killed a child, and then you drank the blood? Yes."
8:01PM Showing some Vice video. "It's about a minute long... you'll be entertained." Ha!
8:01PM Showing off Vice content on the Boxee interface. "Wonderful to see it on TV rather than with a laptop on your lap."
8:00PM "We only started our magazine because of desktop publishing... the same thing happened with video when we started VBS.tv."
8:00PM "When people think about Vice they think of us as content creators, not a technology company."
7:59PM Spencer from the Creator's Project up now -- a partnership with Vice magazine.
7:59PM "In the end it's all about getting the right content and cool experiences to the consumer. And today I get the honor of introducing the Creator's Project."
7:58PM "Around six years ago we decided to bring the innovation around the PC to the mass market to the TV. So we spent about a billion dollars doing the first SoC. And we did it to bring innovation to the TV. There hasn't been innovation around the TV in a long time."
7:57PM Next up: Intel! Say hello to Lance, people. "I didn't expect a chip guy would get such a response."
7:56PM "The fan doesn't know much difference between the display in their hand and their TV, and with Boxee we're taking a step towards that. With Boxee the fan is a VJ -- it's not just lean back, it's search and discover."
7:55PM "The artist is now a filmmaker." This sounds something like a Grammy Lifetime achievement award.
7:54PM First up: Vevo. "Last month over 50 million people in the US and Canada watched music through Vevo."
7:53PM Introducing some partners. "Talk about yourselves but mostly how great Boxee is."
7:53PM Boxee Box launching in 33 countries and pretty much every retailer. "You'll be able to get your Boxee fix in many places. This is all thanks to D-Link -- we know nothing about this retail stuff."
7:52PM Showing off the remote. "On screen keyboards suck."
7:52PM "It's a strong beast in a small package." Running down the specs now.
7:51PM Big cheer from the Boxee crowd here.
7:51PM "Unfortunately we hit a delay... we switched platforms from NVIDIA to Intel. That was painful, but here we are today."
7:51PM "People think the Boxee Box is like this huge subwoofer, but it's really small."
7:50PM "CES 2010 was amazing for us -- we went in with D-Link, we got so much love."
7:50PM "We learned some stuff in Vegas: we learned that we shouldn't build our own booth. We also learned about clubs in Vegas and alcohol."
7:49PM "In 2009 we won a CES startup competition -- we won $50,000 and a booth. That $50,000 is our only revenue to date. It was... our peak."
7:49PM The first working prototype ran Linux -- it was a computer in a new case. "We ran around to investors and said we had a box... they still didn't give us money."
7:48PM Showing off the prototype of the first Boxee Box QWERTY remote. "This cost like $50,000... I don't know who has it."
7:47PM "We went to Astro in San Francisco... they designed the Xbox 360 and a bunch of other stuff." Showing off some early box prototypes. "We never thought about doing yet another pizza box."
7:47PM "We went to Amsterdam... we got our photo taken, we engaged in some illegal activities... we launched an alpha."
7:46PM Showing off some initial UI concepts here. They're pretty rough.
7:46PM "When we started the company, we decided that user experience sucked. So we went out and hired a company called Method, which designed our logo and also our UI -- before we wrote one line of code."
7:45PM "And then we said the alpha is pretty good, and well, we want to have a box partner. And D-Link called us... and now the Boxee Box is coming!"
7:44PM And we're off! Avner's on stage. "We went out raise money very confidently, and told us we shouldn't build boxes. So we said we were a software company instead."