But the new Boxee TV from Boxee may change everything, with its built-in apps, electronic programming guide, built-in antenna for local broadcasts, and DVR with unlimited storage in the cloud.
The product, which will retail for practically nothing ($99), is the next iteration of Boxee Live TV, an antenna dongle for a legacy Boxee Box. Both of those products will be discontinued and no longer supported once Boxee TV launches.
The best part about Boxee TV for cord cutters like me is the built-in dual TV tuner that connects to an included antenna.
Alternatively, for better reception you can hook up to basic cable or bring your own antenna … in my case the new ClearStream 2 Complete from Antennas Direct.
Taking it one step further, Boxee is introducing the first “No Limit” DVR in history. For a monthly fee of $14.99 per month your recorded shows are automatically uploaded to the cloud where you can access them from anywhere including mobile devices and computers.
Potentially you could record every show on two channels simultaneously all year round.
Boxee will make limited storage available for free, but you cannot record to a local storage device.
“We felt that it would be a confusing experience to have some content in the cloud and some locally (and therefore not available to stream from any device),” a Boxee spokesperson tells CE Pro, “and the cloud allows us to provide the unique offers of this product — namely unlimited storage and access on all your devices.”
It certainly wouldn’t be confusing for me if local storage were allowed!
A Boxee spokesperson confirms that you will still have access to your local media stored on shared drives throughout the home, but “it just is not a key feature of the product and will not be as exhaustive as the Boxee Box’s local file support.”
As with the previous version, Boxee TV will feature a host of apps to lure you into making this the number-one media device for your entertainment system. Apps like YouTube, Netflix, Vudu and Vimeo bring tons of videos, movies and TV shows to your fingertips. Pandora is also included as well as many more to come.
Additional Boxee TV Features
Thankfully, Boxee is going with a more traditional form factor.
How many of you have ever tried to fit the Boxee Box, with its really odd design, into a rack? It gets worse when you add more than one. Not that I don’t think the form factor is cool, but unless it’s supposed to be the centerpiece of your system, sitting on a lowboy under your TV, then the device is just plain old difficult to integrate.
The new box is smaller in width and depth than two iPhones next to each other so I would imagine that two could easily fit into a single rack space.
A downside for me is that the QWERTY keyboard on the back of the remote is gone, forcing you to type with the remote onscreen. The reason for this is probably related to the fact that they also ditched the built-in browser because apparently browsing on a TV is too “painful” Boxee CEO Avner Ronen tells the Huffington Post.
I think that depends on the TV you’re using to browse, and the browser’s functionality as well (READ: Flash, Java, HTML5, etc. compatible). In any case, you can’t beat the $99 price tag, which puts Boxee TV in the same league as Roku. The original Boxee Box sold for $180.
Hopefully Boxee fixed its power problem with the new product. In the original version, if power is interrupted to the thing, it doesn’t turn back on automatically and a homeowner must walk over to it and physically power it on.
All in all I think this is a great step in the right direction for Boxee and another step towards the demise of cable, provided Boxee continues to add content to their lineup.
If they can find a way to include content like HBO, ESPN, CNN and other top stations to the list I think we could safely say cable’s days are numbered.
The device is available for pre-order on Boxee’s website right now with regional availability on November 1 of this year and rolling out to the rest of the nation in the next few months.
This article originally appeared on: CEPro.com