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Innovation

Boxee takes inevitable hardware plunge with Box living room device

Boxee has become quite popular as an interface for navigating Internet TV and video, making it easier to view content from Netflix and MLB.tv as well as use social networking apps like Facebook and Twitter.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor on

Boxee has become quite popular as an interface for navigating Internet TV and video, making it easier to view content from Netflix and MLB.tv as well as use social networking apps like Facebook and Twitter. It's mainly been an alternative to Windows Media Center on PCs, but also runs on Macs and Linux systems, and has even found its way onto Apple TV devices via clever hacking.

So it was only a matter of time before the company would decide it needed its own hardware to run on in living rooms. On Monday night, it unveiled the Boxee Box, a streaming device that its hardware partner D-Link will produce for release next year. True to its name, the box-shaped player has no front-side adornments beyond a glowing green Boxee logo, but its rear side sports the usual connectivity—HDMI and optical audio outputs, a pair of USB ports, an SD card slot, and an Ethernet port. But unlike many similar devices, the Boxee Box promises built-in Wi-Fi, which helps most of us who don't have an Ethernet port in their living room.

To go along with the Box announcement, Boxee is rolling out a new version of its interface, which is open to beta tasters, who can sign up here. The Box is expected in the first half of 2010, with the price possibly being under $200. Making the hardware move should expand the number of content partners Boxee can claim, though there's still no way Hulu.com will make its TV content available (to avoid giving people a way to end-run around watching more commercials on the broadcast version).

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