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Boxee Eyes Over-the-Top Live TVBoxee Eyes Over-the-Top Live TV

Boxee adds DRM and adaptive streaming tech from Widevine, paving the way for its over-the-top box to pipe in linear and on-demand video

August 18, 2010

3 Min Read
Boxee Eyes Over-the-Top Live TV

Over-the-top video player Boxee could soon add live TV channels and Hollywood hits to its content roster after striking a deal to use Widevine Technologies Inc. 's digital rights management (DRM) and adaptive streaming technology.

The companies said they've reached an agreement with a “large content service” that will allow Boxee to deliver “major motion pictures” to viewers watching TVs wired to broadband Internet devices such as Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) Blu-ray players and Boxee’s upcoming broadband-fueled set-top. (See Boxee Teams With Widevine.)

Boxee will be able to use Widevine’s DRM technology, adaptive streaming, and virtual DVD controls to deliver linear TV channels directly to viewers via the Internet, Widevine CEO Brian Baker tells Light Reading Cable.

Boxee’s Internet video software has been popular with college students and consumers who are cutting the cord on cable TV subscriptions, and relying solely on broadband to deliver their home entertainment. Its Web video browser allows viewers with PCs connected to their TVs to watch on-demand content from Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), Major League Baseball, and dozens of Websites and content providers, including MTV, Comedy Central, YouTube Inc. , CBS, and CNN. (See Boxee CEO: MSOs Should 'Go Over-the-Top'.)

While Boxee’s agreement with Widevine gives it the technology to add live TV channels to the mix, the company has yet to announce any network deals. Cable networks that rely on license fees from cable MSOs, satellite TV providers, and telcos may hesitate to sell content to a firm that could threaten their core business. (See Boxee CEO: MSOs Should 'Go Over-the-Top'.)

Boxee is popular with some tech-savvy consumers who need to install software and connect their computers to a TV via High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) cables or another connection in order to view Web video content on a big screen. But in November the company plans to begin marketing a small set-top, the Boxee Box, which is designed to allow viewers to more easily watch Web video content on a TV. (See Ronen: Boxee Isn't a Cable Killer.)

Widevine boasts that its DRM platform is available in more than 250 million CE devices worldwide, including Blu-ray players from Samsung, Panasonic Corp. (NYSE: PC), and LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) . Baker doesn’t know how many of those devices are “updatable with the Boxee software,” noting that Boxee would also need to cut deals with various CE manufacturers in order to deliver content to those devices.

In addition to helping deliver content to broadband-connected devices, Widevine is looking to generate revenue by supplying its technology to pay TV providers for their TV Everywhere rollouts. Earlier this month, Widevine announced an agreement to supply its DRM technology to EchoStar Technologies LLC for "SlingLoaded" set-tops being supplied to corporate cousin Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH). (See Widevine Protects Sling's Streams .)

Baker tells us Widevine is also supplying technology to cable MSOs for their TV Everywhere Websites, but he declined to name those companies. He noted that Widevine showed off its video optimization and DRM technology earlier this week at the CableLabs Summer Conference in Keystone, Colo.

— Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable

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