I’m not a religious man, per se, but let’s just assume that I believe in some sort of cosmic energy force that connects everyone and everything in space and time and that, for the sake of argument, we’ll refer to this entity as “God”. My advice to you would be to let God be the wireless router on the superhighway of life.
Now let’s assume that there’s some sort of magical box that connects everyone and everything that we know and love about television, movies, and internet video and we’ll refer to THIS entity as “The God Box”. My second piece of advice would be to let The God Box be the set-top thing that you plug into your television.
Long story short (too late), a company called Building B has created what is being referred to as “The God Box” — a device capable of rolling traditional television, video on demand, movies, and internet video into one neat little package. Building B just raised an ass-load of money ($17.5 million) and will begin rolling out the boxes sometime this fall, price unknown.
Now, the big question. Is it truly the end-all, be-all?
Om Malik is skeptical. I can sympathize. You see, Building B will be “licensing content from cable content owners and other companies, and delivering it over a wireless network.” For the time being, I can’t advise plugging this thing into your television in order to replace whatever’s plugged in there now (the whole wireless router quote is still good, though, you can still quote me on that). To me, a true God Box would use your existing cable connection and on-demand offerings, record stuff a la TiVo, and allow you access to every possible streaming video site in existence. Actually, come to think of it, maybe the true God Box means a different thing to everyone — just like in real life. But I digress.
The kicker here is that Company B is being very vague and secretive about the actual product. There might be a fair amount of smoke and mirrors at play. Most of the smoke is being used for the aforementioned smoke and mirrors trick, while the rest is perhaps being blown up everyone’s collective back end.
Let’s see what Om has to say…
“In an interview with NewTeeVee, Building B co-founders Bruno Pati and Phil Wiser said that offering all types of video content in one service that’s delivered over the air using wireless broadband to a single box is something consumers will find appealing.
‘The real opportunity, we believe, is in the living room, but unfortunately, you have a lot of new boxes in your living room for different things,’ says chief executive officer and co-founder Pati. Fellow co-founder Wiser, formerly chief technology officer of Sony (SNE) and founder of Liquid Audio, says, ‘We are licensing content from cable content owners and other companies, and delivering it over a wireless network.’
Building B, however, is being unnecessarily tight-lipped about the technology it’s using for wireless content delivery. They said that the service combines best of Internet and wireless delivery, but didn’t offer any specifics. The executives were equally cryptic about how much the devices and the service will cost. A commercial launch is currently slated for sometime in the fall, when they plan to sell them through regular retail channels, but Pati and Wiser wouldn’t provide any information beyond that.
Such reticence makes me inherently skeptical of their claims, especially in light of Movie Beam, another wireless video content delivery service that burnt through millions of dollars and in the end had little to show for it. Similarly, Akimbo, which has been aggregating produced video content for some time, hasn’t exactly rocked the world, despite backing from AT&T (T) and Cisco Systems.”
So will this be the true God Box or will it end up being another false idol? I’m putting my money on the latter although I’d love to be convinced enough to spend it on the former.
Building B Builds A God Box For Internet Video [NewTeeVee]