Boxee's Live TV Stick Lets You Cut the Cable
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
November 16 2011 02:35 PM ET
Boxee, the quirky set-top box manufacturer, has unveiled a Live TV stick companion for its streaming media box. The $49 plug-in device is a USB stick and HD antenna combo that delivers broadcast channels — including HD — into the Boxee system.
The advantage to the Boxee player with Live TV stick is that the system brings broadcast channels into Boxee’s interface, so viewers can see all available content in one place. That means no switching between TV modes to choose between an NFL game in HD and the latest episode of "Breaking Bad" via the Internet. For a taste of Boxee, download the free app to your computer.
Like any HD antenna, the channels a viewer receives is based on their location, but most households can expect to receive 30 or more over-the-air channels, including the major networks: ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS. The Live TV stick consists of two parts. It comes with a standard-size USB stick that has a port on the opposite end for the included HD antenna . To get an idea of what channels you’ll receive with an HD antenna, run a test at AntennaWeb.com. In areas where signals are weak, viewers can attach a cable from an outdoor antenna to the device for better reception. Alternately, a coaxial cable from a cable box can be connected.
The Boxee combo comes at a time when consumers are looking for ways to cut their cable service without sacrificing too many entertainment options. Internet content along with broadcast channels may be enough. According to Boxee, 89 of the top 100 rated shows are available on broadcast TV.
“The Super Bowl, the World Series, the Oscars, the Grammys, presidential debates and addresses, the Olympics… they’re all on broadcast,” Avner Ronen, Boxee CEO, writes on the company blog. “Yes, there are hundreds of cable channels, but make a list of the stuff you actually watch. You will probably find that most are on broadcast and the rest are available on Vudu/Netflix/Network sites. What is left on your list? Is it really worth $85 a month?”
A Boxee box will set you back $180. With the $49 stick, that’s about $230, or less than three months worth of cable.
Boxee’s Live TV stick is available for preorder from the Boxee website. The company plans to begin shipping the add-on device in January 2012.