Boxee, the media player software platform, takes advantage of good-old television antennas for its Boxee Box. The USB TV tuner or antenna will be available in January and priced at $49. Through this new accessory, Boxee Box owners will be able to watch live broadcast television channels minus the high-cost of monthly cable bills.
According to Boxee, from the top 100 shows in television, 89 are shown on freely available broadcast networks such as NBC, Fox and CBS. The TV tuner then allows users to benefit from this. The users need to plug the USB Antenna on their Boxee Box then wire the tuner up and they can already watch their favorite shows live.
Users can have access to local news programs, political shows, sporting events or other shows that are found on broadcast networks. The reception for an HD channel that is received over broadcast has better quality compared to what users get over cable because it is not compressed.
However, it should be pointed out that the broadcast channels that a user may pick up are dependent on his location, the signal, or other similar factors. And also, the antenna is functional with the Boxee Box and cannot be used with a user’s Boxee software in PC or MAC. Boxee Box was released last year and is fast becoming the main media for the Boxee service according to Avner Ronen, company CEO.
The site will earn a little from the Boxee Box and USB Tuner but the CEO mentioned that the platform aims to generate profit from its software in a long term scale. Ronen said that the platform has cumulative users of two million and around 500,000 of them are active users. Majority of the active ones use the software on their computers.
The partially open-source freeware site incorporates Internet streaming media, personal locally stored media and social networking. The site’s feature on social networking provides users the capacity to share information to friends or other Boxee users regarding videos they have watched to sites such as Facebook and Twitter among others. The site’s framework is based from the Xbox Media Center source code. Boxee also allows users to develop their own plug-ins, skins, and apps for it.