Boxee users can watch YouTube videos, listen to Last FM music, and sort through pictures from Picasa and Flickr–all on their television sets. The process requires only a free software download to a PC or Mac, a cable, and a comptuer or universal remote.
Boxee, which launched in private alpha testing a couple of weeks ago, isn’t the first to try and bring digital content to the living room, but it’s one of the first to do it using an open source platform. CEO Avner Ronen views content aggregators like Apple, Netflix and Amazon as possible partners rather than competition.
It won’t just be large companies integrating their content with
Boxee–users can make their own homemade content and applications
available to others. One user created an application that combined Last
FM and Youtube to create a "personalized MTV," Ronen told me
at the Beet.TV office last week.
Boxee is working out the bugs and cultivating the social networking aspect of the site to get it ready for Beta, and will explore ways to monetize the site after the product is publicly available. Possible business models include advertising, premium services, and software licensing, Ronen said.
The Boxee got a great response at the NY Video 2.0 event in June, scoring the highest in the live SMS poll. Now Boxee will rely on feedback from at least 5,000 alpha testers to help move the site forward. Digital content from Beet.TV will be available on the site by the end of the week.