Boxee Box starts shipping, promises forthcoming Netflix, Hulu Plus support

The much-hyped Boxee Box from D-Link has started shipping, and the company says that support for Netflix streaming and Hulu Plus are on the way.According to the Boxee Blog, Netflix's on-demand service -- basically a pre-requisite for any streaming-video home theater device -- will be available by the end of the year.

The much-hyped Boxee Box from D-Link has started shipping, and the company says that support for Netflix streaming and Hulu Plus are on the way.

According to the Boxee Blog, Netflix's on-demand service -- basically a pre-requisite for any streaming-video home theater device -- will be available by the end of the year. In the meantime, you can rent movies through the Box via Vudu's service.

Support for Hulu's TV service is further down the line, with Boxee not even promising a release date yet. While you wait, you can watch episodes through other online sites -- and, of course, through the set your Box will be connected to.

The $199 unit is powered by the Intel CE4100 processor, the same one running Google TV devices like the Logitech Revue. It supports 1080p HD streaming, includes 802.11n Wi-Fi, and features a pair of USB 2.0 ports and the ubiquitous HDMI connection. It also comes with a cool double-side remote with a couple of control buttons on the one side and a QWERTY keypad on the back for input text for Facebook, Twitter, or Internet searches.

Even with Netflix support coming soon, the Box is priced on the high side in the increasingly cluttered streaming-video marketplace -- it's a $100 more than Apple TV, for instance, but it already has a loyal fan base that appreciates a less walled-garden approach to their convergence device. But can Boxee appeal to a big enough audience to be a major player in the space?

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