Will Boxee Make It?

by Bradley Jobling on October 6, 2010

The exhibitors at October 4th New York Video 2.0 Meetup once again did not disappoint. The four companies to exhibit were Magnify, dotSub, SpeakerText, and Boxee.


Magnify’s Steven Rosenbaum demoed the Magnify Web site tool where with a few clicks of the mouse, videos can be curated for a site. Here is an example of a video that was curated within minutes of the NY Video Founder Yaron Samid www.nyctech.magnify.net. The process works by:

  • Searching across several video sites using the Magnify search engine
  • Grabbing the codes only for the videos which allow embedding
  • Dragging and dropping the videos selected to the Web site
  • Adding pre-roll advertising to the curated videos.

Many sites have numerous videos but don’t necessarily create all of their own video. An example of this given by Magnify’s founder Steven Rosenbaum is the New York Magazine site which creates itself at most 3 videos a week, but displays hundreds.


dotSub is a back-end tool to help that translate subtitles and creates transcripts for videos. The original idea behind dotSub was that news videos could be altruistically translated into obscure languages such as Bulgarian and Croatian. The back-end profile shows that status of each video being translated, percentage completion, translator and review.

The TED videos are translated by volunteers using dotSub. Videos which may not be translated as a volunteer process will reward transcribers and translators with virtual currency. Adobe TV will be using dotSub to translate their videos under this virtual currency model.


Another video translation company SpeakerText first uses an automatic speech recognition and language translation software for initial processing and the Amazon Mechanical Turk community of workers for a human review of the machine output. The charge for the translation from Amazon is $2 per minute transcribed.

The SpeakerText transcription has a feature where a clip of the video text after being truncated to 140 characters, can be tweeted with a link to the starting and ending point of the clip text. These subtitles and transcripts can be placed on the server side of the videos for SEO as well as on the browser side for user access.


Boxee demonstrated their D-Link box which is purposely square and at an angle so it sits on top of any other devices. Boxee has taken a stance where they will port their software on any device or platform. This includes phones, Blu-Ray devices, and TV-connected box.

There is a remote that comes with the box which has been designed for ease of use, including the typing of short text. The box will have the same Netflix, Facebook Video, and MLB apps which the free software does. It scans networked hard drives for downloaded video and audio files.

The question is, will Boxee be able to complete with upcoming Google TV and other devices that will be coming down the pike. So far, Boxee has agreements with networks such as MLB and Netflix while Google at first glance seems to have inked agreements with TBS, CBNC and some of the other major television networks. Which TV boxes and navigation platforms do you think will survive?

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