NYC-based Boxee, which makes software for browsing and watching Web video, has raised $6 million in financing, following a $4 million round last year. Boston-based General Catalyst led the round; prior investors Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures chipped in.
What’s Boxee? It’s basically a Web browser designed for watching video from your couch — the so-called “six-foot experience.” It runs on computers — either by themselves, or hooked up to your TV — and on hacked Apple TV set-top boxes, and lets you watch video like Netflix (NFLX) movies and TV shows, MLB.TV, YouTube, Hulu (via a hack), etc.
The idea is that Boxee is creating a better, next-generation set-top box user interface — better than the garbage on your cable box and with dozens more services than Apple lets you watch on Apple TV.
What will Boxee do with the money? They outlined four goals in a blog post:
- Improving their software, set to enter beta this year.
- Adding more content, both free and paid.
- Attracting more developers to its app store.
- Getting Boxee built into hardware gadgets next year.
Boxee has a solid product but turning it into a real business will be challenging. Perhaps they’ll have some luck with consumer hardware devices: While Roku has a head start, there’s still a need for an inexpensive, stupidly easy-to-use gadget that pipes all the video from the Web into TV sets.
That should be the cable company’s place to shine, but thanks to their painfully slow innovation, opportunities exist for companies like Boxee to at least get some attention. Perhaps they’ll end up eventually purchased by a company like Comcast or Cisco to help design the next-generation cable set-top box.
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