updated 06:15 pm EST, Fri January 14, 2011
Boxee CEO says content deals needed to drop prices
Boxee may turn to subsidies to help get the price down and better compete in the market, company founder Avner Ronen said in an episode of the This Week in Startups show recorded on Friday. He mentioned that the $200 street price for a Boxee Box was "way too expensive" to get mass market adoption and floated the idea as one option for future models. Nothing was definite in the talk and might not necessarily come about with a future deal.
Ronen also provided some brief hints at the possible future of Boxee. Gaming was a possibility as he noted that games had often driven technology adoption, but it would most likely occur through the browser in HTML rather than through proprietary apps. A TV tuner had been ruled out in at least the short term as it was a matter of "focus and resources."
DVR had some slight promise. Boxee team members "haven't decided" on whether or not to let the hub record TV, but Ronen acknowledged that many on the official forums had called for it. Development resources were again the primary focus. "We're a small team," he said.
Boxee hasn't given out sales numbers but has taken a mixed approach to competing with Apple. The hopes to subsidize the Boxee are a first sign of intent to more directly challenge the Apple TV and Roku's Internet Player, both of which hit or dive below the $100 price mark through their use of cheaper but roughly as efficient processors. Ronen reiterated, though, that he saw Boxee as filling in gaps that Apple didn't cover, giving users content outside the iTunes ecosystem.
"We're fine with owning that niche for ourselves," he explained.