Cancel Your Cable? Boxee Box Says Yes
In a time when cable bills are climbing, the Boxee Box provides a simple alternative whose one-time price is equal to about two month’s worth of cable service.The much anticipated set-top box began shipping today from Amazon.
The device’s prospects look good as a possible replacement for cable service. Consumers today are less satisfied with their monthly pay-TV bills compared with last year, according to J.D. Power and Associates' annual service survey. The average digital cable customer already pays almost $75 a month, according to research firm Centris, and will see their cable bills rise an average of five percent every year.
The Boxee Box from D-Link claims to deliver all of the entertainment available on the Internet to your HDTV, no keyboard or computer required, unless you count the Qwerty-equipped remote included with the box. But promises for free entertainment don’t always live up to their hype. Can Boxee Box?
First off, Boxee offers a free download of its software to your computer, so you can try it out before buying the device itself. For that matter, you can use the Boxee site for free, forever, if you’re happy viewing content on your computer. But if you want to watch shows on the big screen, you’ll have to spring for the $200 device.
Boxee brings together and organizes available entertainment from across the Internet. For instance, select TV shows and you’ll see a list of the 200 most popular shows available. The tab on the left will open a navigation window to search for a favorite. The selected show will include the available sources, whether or not ads are included, available episodes and all of the other information you’ve come to expect from entertainment channels.
Most networks, with the exception of CBS, post episodes of their shows the next day after they are aired, which has in large part replaced the need for time-shifting devices like TiVo. Streaming movies are easily accessed through Netflix, which has begun a campaign of ubiquity, offering its service via computer, Internet-connected TVs, smartphones, gaming consoles and set-top boxes. But the problem of of jumping from hulu.com to netflix.com in search of something to watch remained until now.
Boxee also brings social channels into its mix. Boxee can sync with Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Google Buzz, Flickr and Tumblr accounts if you authorize the connection. For instance, when Facebook is connected, you can watch videos your friends have uploaded to the site on your TV.
While Internet-connected TVs such as Sony’s Google TV or a Samsung connected-TV offer access to many of the same sites, you won’t find one for $200. Roku may be Boxee’s biggest competitor whose full HD-capable set-top box priced at $80. Roku offers a much smaller selection of built-in entertainment options, but it is wireless, unlike Boxee.
Recommendation: Give Boxee a try, the download is free and it’s up to you whether or not it’s worth the $200 to bring it to your TV and cancel your cable service.