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11/12/2010
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Boxee Box Launches Without Netflix, Hulu Plus

The D-Link media player joins the crowded field of devices that stream web content, movies, shows, and other content to TV sets.

D-Link Boxee Box Media Player
(click image for larger view)
D-Link Boxee Box Media Player

Just in time for the holidays, D-Link's Boxee Box, a device that connects to a TV set to stream movies and shows from the Internet, is now shipping in 33 countries, giving couch potatoes another viewing option in the growing media player market.

When the box is plugged into a TV with an HDMI cable, users can connect to their home network either wirelessly or via Ethernet and watch web content. Boxee Box supports video streaming in 1080p at 60 frames per second, integrates Wi-Fi 802.11n, and has compatibility with several codecs. It is powered by the Intel Atom processor CE4100, which is designed for TV and Internet integration and has an open source software platform.

A number of video providers have partnered with Boxee, which started out as software, including VUDU, MUBI, IndieMoviesOnline, OpenFilm, EZTakes, and Ooyala. Two glaring omissions at its release are Netflix and Hulu, although Boxee's website says Netflix will be available before the end of the year and the company is working with Hulu to bring Hulu Plus on board.

Boxee and Hulu have had an up and down relationship since Hulu blocked the software in February 2009 due to pressure from its content partners. Even after Boxee integrated an RSS reader to its site to provide access to Hulu.com content, Hulu blocked it again. In early 2010 Hulu launched its Hulu Plus service, which has been expanded to Sony Bravia HDTVs and is expected to soon come to Roku and the Sony Playstation 3.

At $199.99, the media player is $100 more expensive than Apple TV and Roku, but "will give you the freedom to watch what you want,'' explained Boxee Box CEO and founder Avner Ronen, in a company blog. It also competes with Google TV from Logitech Revue.

With Boxee Box, users can watch nearly 40,000 TV episodes, free, and premium movies; access music and pictures from a computer; and follow friends on Facebook and Twitter to see what they are watching. Users can search the Boxee TV, movie, and app libraries, as well as the web from a browser, and the device also supports HTML 5-based apps.

Boxee runs on Apple Macintosh; Windows XP, Vista, and 7 versions; and Linux. It is available on Amazon.com.

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