Web TV Wars

Boxee Burns Loyal Users, Discontinues Support for PC Software

boxee 1 5 Boxee Burns Loyal Users, Discontinues Support for PC Software

Screenshot of Boxee 1.5

Yesterday Boxee announced that version 1.5 of it’s Boxee Box is currently being tested by a select group of users and will roll out to everyone in January. The update also went out to Boxee users who access the service through their PC. But in the same post Andrew Kippen, Boxee’s VP of marketing, also announced that this would be the last time Boxee would offer updates or support for their PC users. In a section entitled “Growing Past the PC” he wrote:

We believe the future of TV will be driven by devices such as the Boxee Box, Connected TVs / Blu-Rays and 2nd screen devices such as tablets and phones. While there are still many users who have computers connected to their TVs, we believe this use case is likely to decline as users find better alternatives. People will continue to watch a lot of video on their computer, but it is more likely to be a laptop than a home-theater PC and probably through a browser rather than downloaded software.

To our computer users… to those who have come out to our NYC and SF meetups, talked with us at Engadget, GDGT, and Giz Gallery events, or enjoyed Austin BBQ with us during SxSW, or simply messaged with us on Facebook, Twitter, and our forums… thank you for all your support – we would not be where we are today without you. But we can’t stay here.

Hundreds of users replied in the comments. “Yeah, Merry Christmas from Boxee… Leaving all your PC users out in the cold,” wrote Matthew Hall. “Seriously, you should just charge for a premium PC app, I would gladly pay for this. Definitely want be getting a Boxee box. Very disappointed.”

For some long time users, the end of the PC was a slap in the face. “So to sum up the article: If you helped spread awareness of Boxee and tested it and provided feedback years before there was a Boxee Box product and helped make the service and software a success, you’re being shown the door. In exchange for our time working through a products bugs and helping to get it ready for prime-time (which it still isn’t) you get nothing,” wrote R. Reed.

It might make sense for Boxee to focus on its hardware product, where it generates real revenue. It also allows them to stay closer to the integrated experience of Apple, and avoid the fragmentation plaguing Google’s Android operating system. But it has clearly cost them a lot of passionate users who contributed to improving the product.

 

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Comments

  1. EricG says:

    I disagree with this entirely. I believe a “main PC” or “central PC” will be at the heart of every home in the future. Having PC compatible Home Theater software is key. These proprietary set top boxes are actually dying. We already have the laws requiring cable companies to offer CableCard access and new CableCard capable PC devices have been released (e.g. SiliconDust) recently and more are coming out. Discontinuing PC support is short-sighted and an inaccurate prediction of future trends.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Glad to see it go.  Streaming video devices are the future.  I like XBMC better, but until they partner with a hardware manufacturer, they’re not going to go mainstream where the big bucks are.  That’s where Boxee seems to be headed.