It’s not that I worry much about it, but I struggle to grasp the business model of some internet businesses. TV shows over the internet using Hulu was fun. It’s less fun now that there’s a price tag.
Sure, it’s not cable, but the selection is less than cable TV. As a veteran TiVo user with a premium cable TV connection, my choices of what to watch and when are pretty good. So, what about these new fangled systems like Boxee?
Is Free Always Good?
Apple gets plenty of criticism for their AppleTV hobby, but I think the company is wise to tread carefully because it’s a jungle out there. Television in the internet age is really, really messed up.
Every cable TV company seems to do things differently.
CableCARD is a joke. TiVo is good, but expensive, and you’re still stuck with whatever networks your cable TV company decides to show you. Ala carte selections of networks and shows would be nice, but the cable TV company doesn’t want that.
I liked the idea of Apple’s iTunes providing 99-cent TV shows, but the selection is anemic and even if the selection matched what I watch on cable TV I’d end up spending more money.
Hulu was a nice idea because it was free (nice idea for me, maybe not for Hulu). The selection was better than iTunes but I was pretty much stuck watching TV on my Mac instead of on my TV screen (we bought that huge flat thing for a reason—it’s not a $2,000 shoji door).
What’s a Mac user to do in the age of the internet where there are 5 gazillion channels and nothing’s on?
What’s The Idea In The Boxee?
Along comes yet another way for me to watch television show and movies from the internet to my television. I’m listening, Boxee. What have you got for me?
Boxee brings together TV shows, movies, sports shows and games, from the internet to your Mac (or PC) to the television. Uh oh. That means my Mac must have a way to connect to the television. Thank the digital gods for HDMI cables and the Mac mini and Elgato’s Eye TV Mac DVR solution.
Now if I could just get those same digital gods to spring for a thousand bucks so I could pay for all those connected accouterments that give me what I already get with my cable TV connection and TiVo. Does anybody see the problem here? Cable TV is simple but expensive and limited. The internet? More complex, relatively cheap, and supposedly unlimited.
Boxee might have a solution. The Boxee Box. You’d still need your internet connection, but not your Mac. Uh oh. I see a business model changing before my very eyes. Assuming Boxee had a business model that had a line item for revenue.
Boxee Box is a D-Link device that would connect your internet connection to your TV, give you a nifty remote controlled interface, and let you watch thousands of popular TV shows from the internet—for free.
OK. I get it. Maybe. But I have a few questions that need answers.
First, will Boxee Box’s internet television shows and movies be the same as what I watch on my cable TV via TiVo? Second, how does Boxee make any money (I like free, but I don’t like digital drug dealers who give away product to get me hooked into a habit, then drop a big price tag on my next fix—Hulu, I’m looking at you)?
And, what of my Mac? I would so like to have all those cable TV shows and internet TV shows and movies stroll through my Mac, filling up my 1.5-terabyte disk drive that also syncs with my iPhone and my iPad so I can actually, you know, watch what I want, when I want to watch it, where I want to watch it. For free.
Boxee, you’re cute. You’re free. The Mac version works quite well, thank you. But you’re already telling me my Mac is antiquated as you switch gears in search of a business model. Meanwhile, all I want is all the world’s TV shows and movies to flow magically through my Mac to my TV screen—and my iPhone and iPad.
Somebody, make it happen. I’m a warm blooded customer with room on my credit card.