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CR App on Boxee discontinued
The Wise Wizard
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Posted 11/9/13

flamepanther wrote:

TheAncientOneThe PS3 support isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Even if Sony stopped selling the PS3 on the day the PS4 was introduced
That's a fair point, but that means paying a lot more than even $100 for a platform that at least seems to be safe for awhile. But then, if we could go by what seems reasonable, then the Boxee app would still be sitting neglected rather than actively removed, so...

I take it you had not read my most recent reply in the Premium User forum, where I pointed out a good reason for CR to pull the app immediately (based on your explanation of how the app works).

As to not paying more than $100 for a device that can stream CR now in 1080p and could be expected to be supported for a long time, the answer would be Apple TV. It has sold millions (13 million as of later this year, vs. perhaps 200,000 for the Boxee Box).

If you could wait a few months for HD, then I would advocate the Roku, which can be had for substantially less (although I've seen refurbished good-as-new Apple TV units for only $75).

You seem to imply that CR supported the Boxee Box for only a short while, but the app was introduced 4 years ago.



[UPDATE]

Contrary to the assumptions of some, I posted in the other topic over on the premium members' forum hoping to find an excuse to keep paying for the service, not an excuse to switch to piracy. I still have Netflix on my Boxee, and can convert my own DVDs, Blu-Rays and iTunes purchases to work on the device with no trouble--although it's true that fansubs also will continue to work while Crunchy will not. My point with that last bit was that CR was supposed to be the magical solution to the fansubbing issue... and now it isn't. At least not for me.

The best I was able to find from the community or the company was personal attacks, blame shifting, and vague hypothetical excuses. Thanks to everyone's feedback, I've realized that my best option is to put my money where my mouth is and cancel, which I have just done.

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the Boxee have a Flash-enabled web browser? If so, it isn't as if it no longer works with CR, it simply isn't as convenient.

I certainly don't recall engaging in any personal attacks, or even blame shifting. (Purchasing a device that didn't sell well and was dropped by its own company sucks, but you aren't to blame, but neither is CR).

I don't believe I put forth "vague hypothetical excuses", but possible explanations. Frankly, if my understanding of your explanation of how the app works on the Boxee Box was correct, I believe the scenario I put forth in my latest message in the Premium Users forum was indeed correct.

In the end, if CR had stepped forward with an explanation, would you have accepted it, or merely argued with their reasons? In either case, would it make any difference in the end? You would either have still had no app access on the Boxee Box, or would have still cancelled.

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Posted 11/9/13
You can play CR in the web browser as long as you don't maximize the window. If you do, there seems to be some kind of flash rendering error/bug where the subtitles will be overlayed twice; once where the embedded video was before you full-screened, and the other in the expected position when you full-screen.

There's a workaround which involves manually entering in the popout video URL into the Browser, but this won't hide the controls.

Just put the app back. If Adobe pulls Flash support for older browsers in the future, that's fine, but, until then, pulling the app is pointless, and does nothing other than inconvenience paying CR customers.
The Wise Wizard
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Posted 11/9/13

kazamaa wrote:

Just put the app back. If Adobe pulls Flash support for older browsers in the future, that's fine, but, until then, pulling the app is pointless, and does nothing other than inconvenience paying CR customers.

I'll quote part of my reply to flamepanther in the Premium Members section:

Support brings up the likely reason for CR dropping the Boxee Box now. Given the way you described elsewhere how the app works (i.e., not being installed locally), would there be any way for CR to deny the app to new Boxee users, without also denying it to existing Boxee users? Any new user obtaining the CR app would expect it to work, and could easily be as upset about finding out it was "unsupported" (i.e., no bug fixes, no addressing of any problems, etc.) as you currently are about it being unavailable.

Given the number of Boxee Box units sold, unless the percentage of Boxee Box users among CR's premium membership is highly disproportionate to the general population, it is very likely the number of CR premium members that have a Boxee Box never topped one thousand (and was likely closer to 600). Of those, who knows how many have long since turned to another device for viewing CR.

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Posted 11/10/13 , edited 11/10/13

TheAncientOneSupport brings up the likely reason for CR dropping the Boxee Box now. Given the way you described elsewhere how the app works (i.e., not being installed locally), would there be any way for CR to deny the app to new Boxee users, without also denying it to existing Boxee users? Any new user obtaining the CR app would expect it to work, and could easily be as upset about finding out it was "unsupported" (i.e., no bug fixes, no addressing of any problems, etc.) as you currently are about it being unavailable.

I didn't want to come out and say it, but I did find it interesting that the app vanished right after ray73_babe had been asking CR for support. But even there, I think CR went about this the worst possible way. We weren't even warned before hand. Everything is plugging along and then POOF! No more app! And what a crappy thing to do to the customers in the first place, if it could be avoided with minimal effort--which is certainly plausible.

Again, as the CR app on Boxee is effectively a glorified web app, it should take minimal effort to simply add a text disclaimer to the app (they could even just put it in the app's metadata) stating that it is unsupported and no longer updated. Then if somebody asks for support anyway, they can send out the same canned response they've been sending anyway, without removing the app.


Given the number of Boxee Box units sold, unless the percentage of Boxee Box users among CR's premium membership is highly disproportionate to the general population..

While I'm not gonna say I think this is the case, it also wouldn't surprise me too much if it were. When it was still relevant, the Boxee Box was not only one of the very few streaming appliances that supported local media files from USB and network drives (the top end version of the Roku2 could be made to do it), and one of the even fewer of those that supported MKV files (as opposed to just AVI and MP4) it was virtually the only one that also had proper support for SSA/ASS subtitles--making it especially attractive to anime fans. The advanced subtitle support was, in fact, the deciding factor when I bought one. So yeah, there's a definite possibility that the Boxee user demographic is skewed toward people who would also want an HD anime subscription.
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Posted 11/10/13

TheAncientOne wrote:Support brings up the likely reason for CR dropping the Boxee Box now. Given the way you described elsewhere how the app works (i.e., not being installed locally), would there be any way for CR to deny the app to new Boxee users, without also denying it to existing Boxee users? Any new user obtaining the CR app would expect it to work, and could easily be as upset about finding out it was "unsupported" (i.e., no bug fixes, no addressing of any problems, etc.) as you currently are about it being unavailable.

Given the number of Boxee Box units sold, unless the percentage of Boxee Box users among CR's premium membership is highly disproportionate to the general population, it is very likely the number of CR premium members that have a Boxee Box never topped one thousand (and was likely closer to 600). Of those, who knows how many have long since turned to another device for viewing CR.


Fair argument, but, ultimately not a good enough reason to pull the app.

As all apps require auth through the CR site, you simply add a disclaimer whenever a user attempts to auth a unsupported device that the app on the device has been deprecated and NO support is provided. CR can also add this to their support center. App stays up, no one is surprised if/when the app breaks or behaves badly, everyone's happy.

Easy.

And it is also a fair (but irrelevant) point that Boxeebox's support of MKV & subtitle formats used by digisubbers was a deciding factor for some users to purchase it (it was a contributing factor for me; I mainly wanted the ability to stream ISOs from a NAS).

It isn't coming back at this point, though, so the best workaround for Boxeebox owners is use the popout window (you'll have to manually enter the URL as the icon in the UI doesn't work).
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Posted 11/10/13 , edited 11/12/13

TheAncientOne wrote:
In the end, if CR had stepped forward with an explanation, would you have accepted it, or merely argued with their reasons? In either case, would it make any difference in the end? You would either have still had no app access on the Boxee Box, or would have still cancelled.


We're paying for this service: as paying customers, we're entitled to know why our subscription has suddenly changed in a negative way. Thinking about a hypothetical scenario about the possible reasons and our possible responses has no bearing on the actual situation. We deserve to be notified in advance and we deserve to know the reasons. All we know is that


The Message in the OP:
Boxee box has been discontinued by its parent company and will be phased out as a viewing device.

Because of this, we have cancelled all service through Boxee Box.


edit:
It doesn't matter if we intend to argue with their reasons or not, there are still a huge number of Boxee apps that work without issue. Many of them are free to us. Pandora Radio still works. The Youtube app still works and doesn't play ads (unlike the actual Youtube). Why would the NHL and NLL continue to work despite CR? There is no point to wondering about why Google and Pandora and sports networks still work and Crunchyroll has been removed entirely when we could directly ask for a reason.
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Posted 11/10/13 , edited 11/10/13
Hi. Boxee Box owner here. Kinda late to the party...

I'm not fond of the way CR has handled this, but nor am I surprised. Need a reason? Just a guess, but I'd say cr found transcoding and hosting the videos here a pain and figured it too much a burden on time and resources. The Boxee sellout and flash had little to do with it. crackle and vevo are two examples of companies dropping support due to lack of interest long before Boxee ever dumped the Box themselves.

Even more curious to know now if there are any other html5 CR apps floating out there. If so I'd like to know the address(es) please.
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Posted 11/10/13 , edited 11/10/13

TheAncientOne wrote:

Given the number of Boxee Box units sold, unless the percentage of Boxee Box users among CR's premium membership is highly disproportionate to the general population, it is very likely the number of CR premium members that have a Boxee Box never topped one thousand (and was likely closer to 600). Of those, who knows how many have long since turned to another device for viewing CR.


Right now, I'm skipping around in a two and a half hour lacrosse game after one fifteen second commercial in the beginning. There are no interstitial ads. Even though the Boxee is discontinued, I can watch the NLL for free but can't watch something else I've already paid for. Then I can go over to the Escapist app and watch some stuff after one ad. Then I can go to the Youtube app where (unlike the actual Youtube!) there are no ads at all.

Why would CR make this decision instead of doing literally nothing like so many other content providers? Pulling the plug is bad enough, but CR did it without telling us beforehand with full knowledge that there were still users that specifically pay for CR with the intention of watching it on a Boxee. If discontinuing the Boxee was important enough to stop supporting it, wouldn't businesses that (sometimes by design!) don't make any money in the first place have stopped supporting the Boxee long before one that people actually subscribe to?

Plus, it turns out the only good substitute for what I'm doing is to build an HTPC, which I won't be able to do in the foreseeable future. I want to watch CR, which I'm paying for, and I'd like to do it on my until-recently supported device or at least reasonably know why that's no longer possible.

It doesn't matter why I think this is happening. What matters is what's actually happening. Just telling us that this is happening after the fact isn't acceptable business practice.
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Posted 11/11/13
I'm not familiar with all the apps, but I know the youtube app is just a variant of leanback. Which means youtube need not transcode videos specifically for boxee. Other web enabled devices potentally can all use the same encoded videos from YouTube. Crunchyroll however has only used a web app for one device as far as I know. That one device being the boxee box. As I kinda guesstimated before, maintaining the boxee app might actualy entail a necessary upkeep crunchyroll simply isn't willing to muster. Had they built a html5 app for another device then I'd be with you guys demanding they just keep it up until it breaks since they'd still be encoding the videos. I'm not demanding the app back, but I would have liked to of been able to keep it for at least access to already encoded catalog videos.

Perhaps it was missed, but I had indicated earlier that for now, anyone can still get to the crunchyroll app via web browser. It's not pleasant, but it still works. Browse there, go to a web app site like youtube.com/tv, hit menu/back button, and you now haz control. Trick is to go full screen... but now that I've said too much cr will probably rain on my parade.
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Posted 11/12/13 , edited 11/12/13

mozychan wrote:

I'm not familiar with all the apps, but I know the youtube app is just a variant of leanback. Which means youtube need not transcode videos specifically for boxee. Other web enabled devices potentally can all use the same encoded videos from YouTube. Crunchyroll however has only used a web app for one device as far as I know. That one device being the boxee box. As I kinda guesstimated before, maintaining the boxee app might actualy entail a necessary upkeep crunchyroll simply isn't willing to muster. Had they built a html5 app for another device then I'd be with you guys demanding they just keep it up until it breaks since they'd still be encoding the videos. I'm not demanding the app back, but I would have liked to of been able to keep it for at least access to already encoded catalog videos.


If this is why the app was discontinued, then that's perfectly reasonable. I just want to make an informed decision when it comes to changing my media setup.

There wouldn't be an issue if there was another device that could do what the Boxee does and cost less than an actual computer, but my CR-on-a-Boxee alternative is either building a tiny computer or buying another streaming media player and a separate dedicated media server. I'd love to do the first, but I can't afford to do either right now.



Perhaps it was missed, but I had indicated earlier that for now, anyone can still get to the crunchyroll app via web browser. It's not pleasant, but it still works. Browse there, go to a web app site like youtube.com/tv, hit menu/back button, and you now haz control. Trick is to go full screen... but now that I've said too much cr will probably rain on my parade.


I'll try this. I hope it works!
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Posted 11/12/13
The streams don't need to be transcoded for the Boxee Box. I know this for other reasons, but the fact that the web streams play fine in the browser (if you have the patience to get to them) is proof enough of that on its own. If some aspect of the Boxee app required special attention and upkeep, then it lies elsewhere than encoding the streams.
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Posted 11/12/13 , edited 11/12/13
H.264/MPEG-4 AVC with .mp4 extension and MPEG AAC Audio was what they had been using after the last app update departed from flash... but wdik
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Posted 11/12/13 , edited 11/12/13

mozychan wrote:

H.264/MPEG-4 AVC with .mp4 extension and MPEG AAC Audio was what they had been using after the last app update departed from flash... but wdik


Are other apps using that same format?


trianglema wrote:

There wouldn't be an issue if there was another device that could do what the Boxee does and cost less than an actual computer, but my CR-on-a-Boxee alternative is either building a tiny computer or buying another streaming media player and a separate dedicated media server. I'd love to do the first, but I can't afford to do either right now.


There's the Roku, WD TV Live, Ouya and a number of devices with Google TV: /devices. I think the Roku is one of the cheaper options with a large variety of available apps.
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Posted 11/12/13 , edited 11/12/13
"Has a Crunchyroll app" and "does what Boxee does" aren't the same thing. The Ouya comes closest, since it has XBMC, but it carries the same risk of premature abandonment. Most Roku models won't play local media files, and the ones that do don't handle advanced subtitles last time I checked.

And none of those devices should require transcoding. One app may or may not need a different container than another, but the codecs CR uses are all very well supported standards, pretty much universal on modern players. Even the player on the website streams an (encrypted) mp4 file of the sort described above, so devising an alternate container for Boxee would be stupid and a waste of effort.
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Posted 11/12/13 , edited 11/12/13

eyeofpain wrote:
There's the Roku, WD TV Live, Ouya and a number of devices with Google TV: /devices. I think the Roku is one of the cheaper options with a large variety of available apps.


The WD TV comes closest because of the huge number of file formats it can play, but it still can't act as a media server. I'd have to:

- Make my computer into the media server, which wouldn't work very well and would use tons more power than the Boxee.
- Build/buy a dedicated server, which would cost way too much.
- Keep the Boxee, which wouldn't make any sense because I just bought the WD TV to replace it and I only have one TV.

There's also the issue of spending $120 on something so I can watch a $60 per year subscription service. It doesn't make financial sense. Especially when I bought the Boxee because it was basically a cheap media server with CR and Youtube. Then I finally get the money for another year's subscription together and CR stops supporting the Boxee with no warning after a month. It's frustrating and ridiculous.
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