Boxee 1.5 coming by end of March, ‘huge browser update’

Boxee 1.5

Update
Engadget followed up with Boxee and confirmed the iPad application would indeed be available to iPad 1 users as well. Apparntly Kippen miss-spoke about that and the version number, the update will actually be 1.05, not 1.5.

Good news Boxee lovers, there’s another update on the way. During Episode 118 of the TechWebcast podcast, VP of Marketing for Boxee, Andrew Kippen revealed details of the upcoming update. Previously un-announced publicly, Boxee 1.5 will include a ‘a huge browser update’. The update will dramatically improve the browser speed (browser launch time, page load times), as well as increasing compatibility with websites, particularly flash-enabled content. Expect better format support for HTML5 and CSS3 standard.

It’s important to note that the desktop versions of Boxee are still stuck on 0.9, while the Boxee Box moves forward. It is now abundantly clear the Boxee Box is where the company focus is. When Boxee Box launched late last year, desktop software was scheduled for early 2011.. its middle-late March and still no update. Kippen confirms later in the interview (31 minutes in), the desktop updates are ‘on-hold’.

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Image source: MacRumors

Another big announcement is that there’ll also be an iPad app for Boxee that allows you to stream content to your TV, via Boxee Box. Effectively they just announced Boxee Box will have AirPlay support ! Strangely Kippen specifies it’ll be only available on iPad 2. The Boxee app for iPad will also allow you to see what your friends are watching, similar to the Friends shared videos section on Boxee Box. Given most of these videos require flash, I doubt they’ll be playable inside the app (YouTube excluded).

During the Skype call, they also discussed local Australian content, it seems Boxee are keen provide Australian consumers with more content, but are waiting for a primary streaming partner to emerge. Boxee isn’t in the game of creating a VOD themselves, but where one exists are happy to work with them to deliver the content via Boxee. Unfortunately in Australia we don’t have Netflix, the Zune Video Marketplace or iTunes, even BigPond video all require proprietary hardware.

Also discussed during the call was QuickFlix, but that’s essentially where Netflix was 10 years ago, mailing DVD’s. Netflix in the US has pivoted their business to align with their forward thinking name, streaming movies on-demand. So in 2011, Australian’s don’t have a single, stand-out video streaming service. Netflix, please come to Australia so Boxee and every other set-top-box can add support.

Kippen mentions during the interview, that Boxee would love to see consumers have a simply, easy, legal method to get video content. He goes on to say they are working with content producers to explain the benefits of delivering online for an affordable price. It was an interesting discussion and continued on to cover content release windowing, Boxee being blocked by providers like Hulu and more.

Listen to the podcast below, or check it out in iTunes.

More @ TechWebcast