Boxee Debuts Cloudee Storage Service

As consumer video-sharing continues to flourish, it was only a matter of time before supporting services hit the cloud. Trying to take a leadership role in this emerging field, Boxee just debuted a cloud storage service dubbed Cloudee.

The set-top box and streaming media software start-up said Monday that it’s starting with an invite-only, beta iPhone app for Cloudee, which will enable select users to share personal videos with family and close friends.

“For a while now, it’s been painful to get our personal videos to the TV screen -- our Road Trips, Boxee Meetups, family videos with our kids,” Avner Ronen, founder and CEO of Boxee, explained in a blog post on Monday. “Some of these videos were on our phones, others on our laptop or network storage, and the ones we really wanted to see were always taken by our friends.”

Rather than copying videos into a thumb drive, uploading to YouTube -- and setting it to private -- Boxee’s new iPhone app allows users to upload videos, organize them into collections, and share them as they wish.

Already a de facto leader in the cloud computing space, Apple offers a similar service through its iCloud photostream service, which the company is expected to relaunch shortly. As with Apple customers, however, Cloudee is not insisted that its users sync their devices to gain access across multiple platforms.

Analysts took note of Boxee’s entrance into the video-sharing cloud-based space, while expressing cautious optimism about its prospects.

“The company is taking aim at the complexities involved in sharing personal video shot with a mobile phone with friends and family,” said TDG senior analyst Colin Dixon. “Cloudee should make it easier to manage collections and control who may see them. Watching on TV should be much easier for those with a Boxee box once Cloudee is integrated in.”

During its beta period, Cloudee will be free, but Boxee later plans to release a paid version with unlimited video storage in the cloud, which subscribers will be able to access from their “Boxee Box,” as well as any browser.

“The cloud is the natural place for personal videos,” Ronen said. “We are now capturing videos on connected devices, which makes it easy to upload them directly to the cloud, watch them from anywhere and share them with whomever we like.”

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