History shows us the best devices dont always win. VHS beat Beta Tapes, and Laserdisk lost to DVDs. Sadly, the same thing has happened in Cord Cutting; interesting and fun boxes failed where others succeeded. Here are our 3 favorite streaming boxes that failed despite offering more than other boxes that continue today.
Boxee was one of the best freeware HTPCs (Home Theater PC) of the late 2000s. In 2011 Boxee came out with the Boxee Box, a great streaming media player with the full power of an HTPC behind it.
Sadly for their fans, Samsung bought Boxee for a rumored $30 million in an effort to incorporate Boxee into the Smart TV software you see today.
While the Boxee staff may still survive, they are no longer working on Boxee Box or Boxee. After being purchased by Samsung, Boxee immediately stopped development.
Although independent developers have worked hard to keep the box alive, it has slowly faded away. Many still believe that if the Boxee team had kept working on their product it would likely be one of the best 3 or 4 set top boxes on the market today.
Google TV was Googles first set top box for the living room. It ran on Android and came with a Chrome web browser which allowed viewers to stream from sites like TBS, TNT, and Hulu to name a few.
Sadly, many sites like Hulu moved to block Google TV in an effort to force viewers to subscribe to their service.
Google TV boxes had a slow roll out with high costs (some as high as $299). Also, a few buggy early versions made for a less than thrilling first impression. All were issues Google TV could have overcome; however, word quickly spread that Hulu, and others, had started to block the Google TV boxes. This left consumers wondering if their $299 purchase would become nothing more than an obsolete paperweight.
In 2013 the last Google TV box was announced, and in 2014 Google declared they would retire Google TV and replace it with Android TV. In 2015 YouTube announced they would update their API which would disable the YouTube app on Google TV.
Without support from its manufacturer, the box with so much potential is now defunct, just 2 short years after it came out.
Sonys Streaming Media Players with Wi-Fi are, in short, a Playstation that doesnt play games. Sony turned down the processor and ram, and then stripped out the gaming system to make a cheap but powerful media player.
The user interface was that of the PS3 and had access to all the same apps. If you were a Sony Playstation fan, and wanted a media box for the bedroom or office, this was an excellent box for you. Sadly, it just never caught on and while you can still find some for sale, there is no word on future releases or updates to this great little device.
Hopefully, Microsoft gets the same idea and releases an Xbox light without a subscription or gaming. The software is there, and with some marketing, could probably turn into a first-rate media player.
As 2015 continues many new streaming boxes will be released, and we dont doubt that they too will contain some gems that, for one reason or another, simply fail to catch on.