Boxee takes aim at cable companies with Live TV tuner

Boxee takes aim at cable companies with Live TV tuner

Summary: Boxes latest device is an overt jab at cable companies. But will cord cutters take notice?


Boxee, maker of media streaming devices like the Boxee Box, is trying something new with Boxee Live TV, a device that takes aim at cable companies and the consumers defecting from them.

The $49 Live TV adaptor plugs into the Boxee Box, allowing users to watch high-definition broadcast networks like CBS, ABC, and Fox without a cable suscription. While consumers are already able to do this with a standard antenna, Boxee's offering does it all within the Boxee interface.

Boxee says that because the Live TV is focused on live television, it won't come with any DVR features, which is a pretty big omission for a device of its kind. Boxee, however, maintains that the functionality could come to the device in the future if there is enough consumer interest.

In a post announcing the device, Boxee CEO Avner Ronen says that he wants Boxee Box to be an alternative to the services offered by cable companies, which he says are not in touch with the way an increasing number of people is watching television. "The cable companies’ efforts to adapt are more focused on protecting a decades-old business model than delivering a great experience to their customers," he writes.

Streaming and on-demand services, on the other hand, offer a better option. "We believe the combination of Netflix/Vudu/Vimeo/TED/etc. with over-the-air channels delivers a much better experience for less money," Ronen writes.

Of course, the big question here is why the features offered in the Live TV adaptor aren't a part of the default functionality of the Boxee Box itself. Either way, Boxee Live TV is sure to be a pretty compelling buy when it ships in January.

Topics: Networking, Hardware, Mobility

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  • RE: Boxee takes aim at cable companies with Live TV tuner

    I'm sure other companies have tried this in the past and failed because the networks claim the company is illegally rebroadcasting their signals? I'm trying to find some past articles.
    • There is no "rebroadcast"

      @TBone2k - There is no rebroadcasting involved , it is simply a TV tuner for direct viewing. This is no different from using a TV tuner in your PC to watch live TV (or on your TV for that matter). Rebroadcasting would be distribution of the signal to other parties, which you are correct cannot legally be done.
  • What to connect where ?

    "Live TV adaptor plugs into the Boxee Box".. I guess the USB end ? What about the other end ? Do you still have to connect it to an Antenna ? In that case what is the value that this device is offering ? Just that you can use your boxee remote to change channels instead of the TV's remote ? Who would spend 49$ for that ?
    • Someone who doesn't like switching inputs, maybe?

      Even for TVs with the newer "digital tuners" that don't need the DTV converter boxes, they still usually don't get good (let alone great) broadcast TV reception without some sort of antenna.

      From my tech support experience, customers aren't always happy having to switch their inputs around. It's one thing if they're switching to a particular device (i.e. switching from TV to DVD, or from TV to game console)...but to have to switch inputs between their "TV box" (in this case, Boxee) and a "live TV" input (i.e. broadcast TV through the antenna) adds the potential for confusion, or even causing issues with your remote's programming.

      Considering the price of most antennas, cable box monthly rentals, and even RF modulator boxes for older-style TVs, a $45 charge to make it easier to watch TV without switching inputs is a fairly cheap price tag.
  • RE: Boxee takes aim at cable companies with Live TV tuner

    I see this thing having limited appear. After all, the only thing it does it allow you to view live TV withing the Boxee interface (you're still going to need a digital antenna). The only other real advantage is that you don't have to reach for your TV remote. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see the functionality built-in to future boxes. I'm not going to go out and buy USB dongle to be able to do this, but if the antenna connector is built into my streaming device (a WDTV Live box in my case) then of course I'll run my antenna directly into the box rather than into the back of my TV.
    • RE: Boxee takes aim at cable companies with Live TV tuner


      Nonsense! This is why USB was created! If you live in Lafayette, where there is ONE broadcast station, and you don't have cable, you don't have to get a tuner at all. Making all the hardware modular and optional is a great idea.
      • RE: Boxee takes aim at cable companies with Live TV tuner

        @tkejlboom<br>This has absolutely nothing to do with why USB was created. Besides the fact that your comment had nothing to do with the post to which you are replying.<br>Plus, the idea that if you are only capable of getting one station, you have no need for a tuner, is so absurd that it makes it clear you have no understanding of how broadcast TV works.
  • RE: Boxee takes aim at cable companies with Live TV tuner

    Nothing new Rshack had a sim device they were on sale for $10 I bought 3 because there easy to lose work great at the camp site
  • RE: Boxee takes aim at cable companies with Live TV tuner

    after the disaster that the boxee box itself has been, why would anyone want to spend more money on it.
  • RE: Boxee takes aim at cable companies with Live TV tuner

    Oh BOY! It's interesting how the author of the article managed to LEAVE OUT the most important part of the release sentence. Here it is more accurately: "...TV dongle that lets you connect an antenna to your Box..." So, all you who think & wish it means you can watch over the air content that is not available to your TV, guess again! Some comments got it right, but if the author had not deleted the important phrase that it is necessary to "...connect an antenna...", lots of readers would not have been misled as much. WTG, ZD. Credibility hit again! Oh, BTW, there is not (though there should be) any detail whether ths dongle has as sensitive a tuner as typical TV's either - which is very important to folks in fringe areas who still want to watch TV. And, finally, the Boxee article completely overlooks the fact that most cable and satellite subscribers are doing so BECAUSE OF THE EXPANDED REAL TIME CONTENT, and Boxee does NOT meet that need.... Flash in the pan!
  • LOL

    What a scam... really beating the cable companies here with ANTENNA TV... boxee going down!

    I can already see the waves of dumb-enough consummers cancelling their cable subs and plugging in their coax cable into this dongle and then watching regular boxee content thinking... wtf... nothing's changed!

    Thank you ZD net for the good laugh this morning!
  • dngegyr 42 cqk

    yadhes,fsgojktq35, cxtnm.