Boxee announced Tuesday that it received a $4 million dollar investment from Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures. This brings yet another promising player in the race to merge our television sets with the Internet, and vice versa.
Boxee’s free media center allows users to enjoy content from virtually any source, ranging from the Web to your hard drive.
Its player is specialized for viewing in your living room, whether it be connected to your TV or your computer monitor. This puts Boxee on the road map, and up against companies like Apple, Yahoo, and Intel, which are trying to achieve similar innovations.
What makes Boxee so unique, is its social-media layers. Boxee’s player interconnects with the sites like Hulu, YouTube, Apple movie trailers, NBC, Comedy Central, and even music sites like Last.fm, just to name a few.
You can play around with all this, simply by installing the program and hooking your computer to your television.
On the other hand, Apple TV offers a nice interface to watch TV shows, HD movies, listen to personal music libraries, and view photos. The service is commercial free. The downside is that there limitations to the content. And, there are rental or purchase fees to view and listen. Oh, and the TV box is a required purchase as well.
Taking a step further in the merging of TV and Internet, Intel and Yahoo announced in August, that they would be bringing the Internet to the television through a Widget channel for TV sets.
The widget runs on top of TV programs as a menu bar where you can access your email, Flickr library, games, a full Internet browser, and any other apps you choose to install (similar to the iPhone). A piece of hardware is required to make this work.
Despite the competitive field, there are exciting times for Boxee just around the corner as the team continues to improve their services and release their own set-top box hardware for TVs.