The Boxee Box HD Player starts shipping from November 10 via Amazon.com, the company announced Wednesday. All other U.S. retailers will have the product in-store and online starting November 17. Worldwide orders will start shipping shortly after this date, Boxee said. While the device is launching with an impressive array of access to online sources and compatibility with numerous codecs, the company also promised that Netflix and Hulu Plus support would be coming in the near future.
For now, you can rent movies from VUDU and watch content from other Web services like OpenFilm and IndieMoviesOnline on the Boxee Box. You can also stream your own content; one of the more attractive features of the Boxee Box is its compatibility with a wide variety of video and audio file types. Like Google TV, the Boxee Box integrates a full browser, and also lets you search right from your television for content from a variety of sources including Boxee services and the Web at large. The box also supports HTML 5-based Web sites.
“If you have been spending more and more time watching videos on your computer and would like to be able to watch the same stuff on your TV screen, we think the Boxee Box is the best way to do it,” Boxee’s Andrew Kippen wrote on Boxee’s blog. Both Apple TV and the Logitech Revue with Google TV include Netflix streaming, but neither incorporates Hulu Plus. Hulu and Boxee have an interesting history: In February 2009, Hulu pulled its content from Boxee at the request of its content providers. Boxee then added a built-in RSS reader to its site in order to provide access to Hulu.com content, but Hulu blocked that once again. The Boxee Box won’t ship with Netflix, but the company says users should expect to see it before the end of 2010. The Roku, Google TV, and Apple TV all have Netflix streaming.
Like Google TV, the Boxee Box can access a variety of online sources, such as YouTube, Vimeo, and VUDU. It can also access video content on network websites, including those sites specifically built for a TV interface. The Boxee software uses an app plug-in architecture to add additional content, much like Roku’s “channels” system. The device can also access content from a local network or storage device saved in almost any popular codec.
The Boxee Box is built around Intel’s CE4100 1.2GHz Atom processor, integrates 802.11n Wi-Fi, and supports full 1080p streaming and 5.1- and 7.1-channel audio. The actual Box supports a wide variety of formats, such as H.264, MKV, DivX, VC-1, and Flash 10.1. The Boxee desktop software features Twitter, Facebook, Pandora, Last.fm, Picasa, Flickr, and more. It also has HDMI, S/PDIF, RCA connectors, two USB ports, an SD card slot, gigabit Ethernet, and 802.11n Wi-Fi.
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