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Boxee switches to WebKit for HTML5 support

updated 07:05 pm EDT, Wed September 8, 2010

Boxee browser to drop Firefox for WebKit

Boxee tonight revealed that it's dropping the Firefox-based browser in the Boxee Box and desktop apps will switch to the Apple-made but open WebKit engine instead. Lead Apps Developer Rob Spectre told NewTeeVee that Boxee wanted to guarantee HTML5 support. Firefox's Gecko engine has rudimentary HTML5 support, but it doesn't work well within the Boxee client.

It also provided a consistent experience across mobile and the desktop, which Boxee couldn't ignore. "It absolutely should be the future for the browsers you use on your TV," Spectre said.

The WebKit makeover should be ready in time for when the Boxee Box ships in November, for $200. Clients for the Mac and other desktop platforms will get the new framework once the app reaches 1.0, which should be shortly after the hardware is available.

Boxee's choice is a minor but symbolic loss for Adobe, which has been trying to push Flash on non-PC hardware and had its largest win this spring with promises of support for Google TV. YouTube and others have said that Flash is still important for sites that need copy protection, but they have also gone so far as to extend HTML5 support when possible. Apple has been one of the strongest proponents of HTML5 and is often credited with having one of the more accurate implementations before the standard is finished.

by MacNN Staff



  1. MaxHedrm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple made?

    Pretty sure WebKit was open source before Apple adopted it.

  1. growlf

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Up until the Android explosion about a year ago, all (with 1 or 2 exceptions) the contributors to Webkit were Apple employees.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    One more Nail...

    ... in the coffin of Flash.

  1. cdlenfert

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What does this mean?

    I'm not a Boxee user so correct me if I'm wrong. But I thought the Hulu and Netflix apps on Boxee and other apps relied the Firefox browser functionality to stream content. Will this work the same with webkit?

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Browsers? On TV? LOL.

    '"It absolutely should be the future for the browsers you use on your TV," Spectre said.'

    Oh gods, are they still trying to jam the square internet peg into the round TV hole? With the same old wireless keyboard and mouse? WebTV tried that back in 1995. And where are they now? (Hint: Microsoft bought them and WebTV eventually died. Just like Danger.)

  1. OtisWild

    Joined: Dec 1969


    That case is awful

    Incidentally, that Boxee case is an abortion. How to fit that thing in my entertainment center rack?


  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: No

    Up until the Android explosion about a year ago, all (with 1 or 2 exceptions) the contributors to Webkit were Apple employees.

    Except WebKit was taken originally from Konqueror on KDE. Thus, it was 'apple created' only in the sense that Apple came up with the name WebKit vs. using the old name.

  1. Radovich

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's a hard road to success

    Someone thought html5 should take 10 years before replacing adobe in the areas like games, desktop widgets, e-learning interactivities and many applications that require advanced animation API or techniques. As ifunia lists in their official website, html5 can’t replace adobe at once, because “74% of the web can't be seen on the iPad” (that means you have to convert videos by 3rd-party video converter like ifunia and handbrake), ipad needs help, let alone html5! So, adobe is necessary for our digital life all the same. But boxee made a progress with apple to html5.

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