Continuing the trend of screen convergence, Boxee has released the USB Live TV dongle for its Boxee boxes along with version 1.5 today. For those that don't want a full-on premium TV subscription, but do want local channels, can now get that along with your online video entertainment without the need to buy an all new television.
Boxee 1.5 and the new Boxee Live TV adapter combine over-the-air programming with over-the-top (OTT) Internet content in one package. But it's more than just grabbing a signal from the air and displaying the content, there are also some other useful features.
- Social Channel Listings – We'll show you what's on, what your friends are watching, and how many people total are watching a show as you flip through channels.
- Sharing – Share the traditional Boxee way on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr AND you can now passively share to Facebook using our Live TV Timeline App – turn sharing on and whatever you're tuned into will post to your Facebook ticker automatically. It's easy to switch off too so your friends don't need to know about your addiction to HSN.
- Edit Channels - Quickly hide channels from your lineup that don't speak your language or have pissed you off with bad programming decisions like taking Arrested Development off the air. Easily rename WNDHCTA 7.2 to NBC.
- All-In-One Interface – done watching a show on broadcast, easily jump into more episodes from the web. It's the best of both worlds all on the same remote.
I hate the automatic sharing to Facebook. I would much rather have total control because I might flip back and forth between shows. Is it then going to flood my Facebook wall with "is now watching…" checkins? What if I don't want anyone to know what I'm watching? I have to go turn it off and on? It all sounds cumbersome when a simple share overlay seems like a far better solution to me.
The major thing lacking in it all is DVR which is odd since there is storage in the Boxee Box. It seems that they are looking into it. It seems a major flaw to release such a product and not offer DVR capabilities at release. I have OTA and DVR right from my computer and now that they've discontinued development of the PC software, I will be looking for something else meaning, they've lost a potential customer.
I also think that this is too little, too late on their part. Connected TVs are here and for those who are ready to upgrade to a new TV the choice is obvious, that means no Boxee Box and a single connected TV which can do OTT and OTA or cable and DVR. It's not cord cutting but it would be effective.
I actually have no DVR on my cable sub, I do it all on my PC. It's not high quality but it's useful in case something I want to watch isn't on demand and honestly, everything I watch is either on demand or online at a place like Hulu. So like I said, it seems like it's now too little, too late. I'm not saying they are going to disappear, but it does seem like all the delays and now the lack of DVR are certainly not going to expand their audience and may even shrink it with their decision to drop software support for all but the actual Boxee Boxes.
Their own blog announcement says "let the cord cutting begin" and yet the $49 device only accepts over-the- air programming. Well, if I just wanted that, I wouldn't have a cord anyway. I think they've missed the mark in addition to being late to the game. There seem to be far better solutions for getting your OTA and OTT on the same device and… they have DVR in some of them.
Here's what's included in version 1.5 of Boxee:
- New UI look and feel
- Improved search
- New library screens with simpler filtering
- Browser Pop-up management
- Rotten Tomatoes integration
- On-Device Social Account Pairing