Boxee/Moxi Parallels Go Beyond the Rhyme

Boxee announced today that its Netflix app has been delayed because of Netflix security requirements, and I joked on Twitter that maybe the company’s misfortunes are the fault of the “oxi” sound in its name. After all, Moxi didn’t do too well with its retail efforts either.

However, in thinking about it further, I realized there are other parallels worth drawing between Boxee and Moxi. Both companies introduced revolutionary products that got a lot of people jazzed about a new paradigm for watching TV. Both ran into challenges around content security – Boxee with content distributors/producers, including Netflix, and Moxi with CableCARD. (CableCARD installation issues hamper retail DVR success, and Moxi initially also had no VOD offering because of CableCARD limitations.) Both companies got their products to market after multiple delays, but missed the window when their products were truly innovation leaders.

Perhaps Boxee can succeed where Moxi has failed. But as the GigaOM folks point out, it’s always a challenge to meet the demands of a conservative content industry while still appealing to early-adopter consumers. Netflix has managed it so far, but only by getting the timing just right. Boxee has to do the same.

10 thoughts on “Boxee/Moxi Parallels Go Beyond the Rhyme”

  1. Really…revolutionary? How long has Roku been around? Doesn’t do the same thing and more?
    To me Boxee is already obsolete before it even gets into the main stream.

  2. Moxi was revolutionary? How so? It was a good product and had some features that TiVo needs like streaming and DLNA support but overall it was just another Good DVR that lacked other features the TiVo had. I truly wish it had done well at retail, the DVR space needed the competition and wider recognition of what a DVR with media choices can be. Still I am not seeing the revolutionary or truly innovative aspect.

  3. I was all excited about the Boxee Box when we first started hearing about it, but over time the litany of delays and missing capabilities plus the ridiculous price point convinced me otherwise.

    Seriously. My Samsung TV (big media company) has more video channels than the Boxee Box. Hulu Plus? Yup and not on Boxee. Netflix? Yup and not on Boxee. Getting stupid now. By the time they get their Hulu Plus support done Hulu might well be yesterdays news.

    Sorry, Boxee, but you’re done.

  4. This time last year there was lots of excitement about the possibilities and imminent releases of the Popbox and the Boxee Box. Now? Outside of the eight people still participating in the Popbox forum, no one cares about that device and there is only marginally more interest in the Boxee Box. Continued problems with releasing the Netflix app doesn’t help.

  5. I have much more faith in Boxee being/staying relevant than Popbox. They’ve got good buzz, recognition, and vision. The fact that they might be looking into tuners gives me additional hope.

    I do agree Moxi was ahead of its time. Too bad it was mishandled at every step. Someone should do an obituary documenting their long winding road to nowhere.

  6. Unlike some of the others that have posted here I am an acutal owner of a Boxee Box. While many people sing the praises of Netflix I personally can’t stand it. Vudu quality beats Netflix in every way. I really don’t understand why everyone is taking sides like this is some sort of winner takes all event. The more systems we have available the better all the systems will be instead of bashing Boxee, Roku or Apple we should hope each continues to suceed and pushes the others to better their offerings. Boxee will suceed and they won’t owe their success to Netflix.

  7. add streaming to TiVo and Moxi has nothing. Moxi UI was routinely criticized in reviews.
    Like I siad – I wanted Moxi to be a competitor in the DVR space. That is needed desperately, but ahead of its time when years after TiVo. I just do not see that.

  8. Way, way back Moxi was a leader – but that was *before* Digeo, the *original* Moxi box had a ton of features TiVo did not (yet) have, some it still doesn’t have (though they’re working on some, like real multi-room streaming), and some that were just out there like a web-cam attachment. But then Digeo bought them and Paul Allen killed all of the retail plans with grand plans to sell the box to cable MSO instead. And that was the end of Moxi really.

    The switch to MSOs required redesigning the product to meet their requirements, and in the delay TiVo had time to add a lot of features, ReplayTV was spiraling the drain, and a lot of the original talent left for greener pastures. In the end they only got Charter to take a relatively small number of boxes – and then only because Paul Allen also owned them. Even given that Charter never liked the Moxi units and they only used them in limited markets.

    They spent a while getting stagnant in the MSO market, getting nowhere fast, until they finally decided to try the retail market again. But then they spent a couple more years shooting themselves in the foot, the hand, the head… pretty much anywhere they could. Dave & I, and plenty of others, blogged extensively about their efforts which just made us go WTF?! Like the LivePC thing that was a Moxi + receiver but wouldn’t do digital cable, while the cable card box lacked other features. And then there was their PC software effort. They had a bunch of ‘coming’ products, all of which had some great features (the shiny UI was the best part really), but all of which had crippling flaws.

    After staggering around drunkenly for a couple of years they finally tossed all those concepts and came out with the design they did eventually ship – a year later or so. But by then TiVo had most of the features Moxi was touting all those years, and they made some questionable decisions – like no built-in ATSC support. Only supporting M-Cards at a time when a lot of cable companies still only had S-Cards in stock. No analog cable support without a dongle, when hybrid cable was – and still is – common. More *WTF?!* stuff.

    I was always very torn about Moxi. They had some great ideas, and I wanted to see some real competition for TiVo to help speed up TiVo’s plodding evolution, but at the same time I kept looking at what they were doing and wondering just what the hell they were thinking.

  9. OK – I will grant first iteration of Moxi was ahead in cable card and so forth, but they never made it to market and thus I never counted that first effort in my thinking. So if that first iteration is what people are thinking of then I guess we are on the same page

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