Boxee, the platform that lets consumers watch Internet content on just about any home screen, is releasing a little gizmo that adds over-the-air broadcast TV channels like ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC to its mix of online movies, television shows and other entertainment. Wanting to watch network television is one of the reasons people hesitate to cut the cable or satellite cord, and Boxee’s new Live TV stick takes a step toward addressing that wish.
The device – pictured – is a USB tuner that plugs into the back of a Boxee Box and costs $49 on pre-order, in advance of its release in Jan. 2012. Consumers then attach the other end to the included portable HD antenna, although most people will have a better experience if they connect it to a roof-top antenna (using it as an ATSC tuner) or to a basic cable package (unencrypted Clear QAM).
There are no other fees, but it doesn’t work for Boxee users who access the service through their computers instead of through the $180 unit D-Link makes for Boxee. The company said it is developing a version that will serve the same function for PC and Mac users, however.
According to Boxee, 89 of the top 100 shows last year were available over broadcast TV channels. “Yes, there are hundreds of cable channels, but make a list of the stuff you actually watch,” Boxee says. “You will probably find that most are on broadcast and the rest are available on Vudu/Netflix/Network sites.”