Between now and the end of 2010, AHAlife is profiling seven of the most exciting, up-and-coming New York-based entrepreneurs we've encountered this past year—spanning each of our daily categories. Read more to learn why they’re names to follow, and hear their tips and insights into key trends for 2011.
Didn’t get what you wanted this year? Browse recently curated products in our SHOP section. We’ll be back with more exciting discoveries in January. Happy Holidays!
If you have an Internet connection and a television set, it’s only a matter of time before you have a Boxee, too. Created by über-techie Avner Ronen, the Boxee is an ingenious device that makes it possible to watch everything that you can view online—including films, videos, and television programs—on your TV. As Ronen likes to say, “It just may be the only box your TV needs.”
What do you do?
I’m the founder and CEO of Boxee. We’re making the TV screen relevant for people who had the Internet before they had sex. It's a generation that has a broader definition of the term entertainment. That’s reflected in the way they use their computers and phones, and we believe it applies to TV, too.
What are some of the projects you worked on this past year?
We spent most of the year working with D-Link on developing the Boxee Box. It’s the first Boxee-based device (we are working with other device makers to build more Boxee devices). It costs $199 and it may just be the only box your TV needs.
What are some of the main trends you noticed in technology in the past year?
Probably the biggest trend is video breaking out from the TV to other screens. For many people the laptop or the tablet is competing with TV for number of hours spent watching video. It’s quite amazing.
Why do you think these trends are happening now?
I think it's a combination of increased bandwidth, new form factors (such as the tablet) with great screens; lots of high quality video readily available; and better WiFi coverage at home, work and coffee shops. Put together it is driving a real change in consumer behavior around video.
What trends do you foresee for the upcoming year?
That's an easy one: connected TVs. It feels like the TV screen was left behind. All our other devices are connected. Our biggest, highest quality, most expensive screen is disconnected. It doesn’t make sense. People want to watch Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and anything else that is on the web on their TVs.
Why do you think these trends are important to know about?
The TV getting connected will eventually have a major impact on the entertainment industry and our culture. It will impact the way content is being consumed, discovered, written, produced, distributed and monetized. My personal hope is that it will also increase the quality of the content. I love the fact that one of the most popular video sources on Boxee is TED. These TED Talks are entertaining, mind-opening, educational and provocative. It's great television.
What developments would you like to see in your field this year?
More than anything I would love to see the major media companies embrace the Internet as an opportunity rather than seeing it as a threat.
What's on your personal wish list for the upcoming year?
I’m trying to buy every gadget that comes out. Part of it is my geek fetish and some of it is trying to keep up with what's going on. I have with me a laptop, iPad, Kindle, iPod Touch, Android phone and a brand new Jambox. Kind of heavy to be carrying around, but fun, too.
On my wish list for 2011: a new iPad, the iPhone on Verizon, a new espresso machine from Rancilio and Frye boots. I assume this is a material wish list. If it’s supposed to be more broad and unrealistic then I would also like to add world peace and a Knicks championship.