It wasn’t all that long ago really but in Internet terms it was at least a couple of light years since the Browser Wars. Remember it?
A brief bit of history for the sake of interest and nostalgia then. The Netscape browser kicked off the commercial Internet as we know it today in 1994 and at one stage had over 90% of the market. Such a monopoly upset Microsoft (what a surprise) which responded with their Internet Explorer browser being bundled with the Windows operating system.
What followed was the Microsoft anti-trust trial (another story) which effectively killed off Netscape, although that slow death took until 2007 at which time it had less than 1% of market share. In the halcyon late 1990s, AOL thought Netscape was such a good thing that they paid over $4 billion for it and still owned it when Netscape was finally read the last rites.
Anyway, back to today and what are the similarities, if any, and what learning can we apply to this next generation of Internet expansion?
It has been a great success but with the limitation that you either watch a movie on your poky PC screen or cart the PC to the lounge room and connect it to your TV. Clumsy and a bit messy really.
However, now Boxee has partnered with D-Link and built the Boxee Box DSM-380.
This great little box sits on your home network and connects to your TV set and becomes a part of your home entertainment system. Now you can watch and listen to whatever you want, in comfort and with quality high definition video and audio.
The opposing contender in this battle for Internet turf in the lounge room is Google TV. Google TV has similarities to Boxee in that both make it easy to bring the Internet to your lounge using Apps, browsing and search capabilities.
Whereas Boxee has only the single product at this stage, Google has initially chosen two manufacturers to get the Google TV bandwagon moving. In direct competition with the Boxee Box is the Logitech Revue Box with Google TV which also sits between an existing TV set and the Internet.
However Google has gone a step further with the release of Sony Internet TV with Google TV. Here we have a Sony high definition TV receiver with Google TV built in, plus the necessary home network connections. It looks like Google TV has both components of the market covered – those who don’t want to buy a new TV and those who do.
Let’s hope for the sake of competitiveness and consumer choice that both Google TV and Boxee are successful and are able to further develop their respective products.
It would be a tragedy if one fell by the wayside for any reason. We certainly do not want an extended period of uncertainty and second rate products as happened during and immediately following the Browser Wars.