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Look out cable TV providers, here comes the next wave of Boxee technology
New York-based startup, Boxee has grown quite a bit since its inception back in 2008.
A quick summary of Boxee's journey: the company which offers a free media center for your computer, has raised a total of $10 million in VC funding, gone through legal issues being forced to remove Hulu earlier this year, and reached over 500,000 users for its Alpha version in the US.
But now Boxee has two major announcements, first of all, it's taken the next step up and launched its Beta version. Second, the company has taken the step from being purely a piece of software to announcing it will be selling a Boxee Box, eliminating the need to plug your computer into your TV.
Why is Boxee important? The company helps people get all that Internet video to your television, with a convenient and easy to navigate interface. Before the likes of Boxee, say you wanted to watch a Internet TV on your actual television, you'd have to connect your computer and try and control your Internet browser with a mouse and keyboard, which anybody who has tried this already knows is pretty inconvenient. When you load up Boxee, the media player takes up the full screen and lets you access plenty of Internet video sites through Boxee apps by simply using your Apple remote or an iPhone application as a remote control. Some of the apps available include, Digg, Flickr, Justin.tv, Netflix, MTV, YouTube, Wired and Revision 3. You can also run whatever media you have on your drives, say for example I illegally torrent an entire season of The Office, Boxee will easily play these files for me. The company is definitely blurring the line between TV and the Web. For technically savvy, this is a perfect excuse to never sign up for cable TV.
As for the new Beta, which is still private, (but Boxee says it will open it to the public early next year), the interface has been completely redesigned. Most noticeably the main menu has been pulled from the side and put in front center. One of my problems with the Alpha version was that Boxee never seemed to properly add my content from my external hard drive. The Beta version apparently fixes this and knows immediately where everything in your media library is.
Finally, Boxee announced the "Boxee Box" which is a partnership with D-Link. The Box is basically a set top box which runs Boxee, eliminating the need to connect your computer to your television. The device won't carry an internal hard drive but has external USB connections, an HDMI connection, a remote, and can connect to the Internet. It will cost about $200 and hopes to ship by the second quarter of 2010.
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