Boxee, a start-up, to offer a device to put web video on television

Boxee, a start-up, to offer a device to put web video on television

At an event in New York City, the company announced a partnership with D-Link, a Taiwanese manufacturer of networking equipment, which will make a device that will allow people to browse Internet videos on their TVs. The companies hope to keep the price of the device under $200.

Boxee collects videos and music from Web sites like Netflix, MLB.TV, Comedy Central and Pandora, and presents it in a visually friendly format that resembles a television directory, while adding some features from social networks.

The service has caught on with Internet aficionados who say it represents a future in which the wide selection of content from the Web wins out over a more limited television experience controlled by big media companies.

Up until now, Boxee’s software has only worked on a PC or Mac, although some savvy users have installed it on Apple’s set-top box, called Apple TV. Boxee now wants to move beyond that limited user base. “Today the reality is that hooking up your laptop to your television, or putting Boxee on an Apple TV, is not a mainstream experience,” said Avner Ronen, Boxee’s chief executive.

Ronen said the relationship with D-Link was the first of many deals with consumer electronics companies. “A growing number of companies see a real need to bring Internet to the TV, and they realise people will pay a premium for devices like connected Blu-ray players and HDTVs,” he said.

Boxee is facing an increasingly crowded market for such devices. More and more Blu-ray players, video game consoles and HDTVs can connect to the Internet and access streaming media services from Netflix, and other companies.

Set-top boxes that perform similar functions have not been mainstream hits. Roku, a company that sells a box that primarily receives videos from Amazon and Netflix, says it has sold only a few hundred thousand devices.

But Boxee and its backers believe that these kinds of devices are too limited, and they draw comparisons to older mobile phones that receive only the Web services chosen by a particular wireless carrier.

Although Boxee has forged its own relationships with Web video sites, any company can make its videos available through the service. “This is all about consumer choice,” Mr. Ronen said.

Boxee also said it would introduce a more polished test version of its software by the beginning of next year. Boxee, backed by $10 million in venture capital, has tried to bring into its service the network television shows posted on, a joint venture between NBC, Fox and ABC.

But those networks do not want people able to receive the Web videos on their TVs, instead of watching actual broadcasts, which carry more valuable advertising.