Boxee To Launch New Internet TV Set-Top Box

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Boxee have released plans for the next generation of its Internet TV software which it will put into a set-top box due for release early next year. Revealed in New York, Boxee have entered into a deal with Taiwanese network manufacturer D-Link, to construct a device that lets viewers watch and browse the net from their television set.

Boxee compiles videos and streams from sites such as Netflix, MLB.TV, Comedy Central and Pandora, and delivers the content in a tv listings style mixed with social networking.

The service has been a success with users who like the vast selection of internet content which beats the limited television experience controlled by the big networks.

Until this point, the Boxee software has only worked on a PC or Mac, although some Apple users managed to install it on the Apple set-top box.

Boxee now wants to move beyond that limited user base. "Today the reality is that hooking up your laptop to your television, or putting Boxee on an Apple TV, is not a mainstream experience," said Avner Ronen, Boxee's chief executive.

Mr. Ronen said the relationship with D-Link was the first of many deals with consumer electronics companies. "A growing number of companies see a real need to bring Internet to the TV, and they realize people will pay a premium for devices like connected Blu-ray players and HDTVs," he said.

Boxee is facing an increasingly crowded market for such devices. More and more Blu-ray players, video game consoles and HDTVs can connect to the Internet and access streaming media services from Netflix, and other companies.

Set-top boxes that perform similar functions have not been mainstream hits. Roku, a company that sells a box that primarily receives videos from Amazon and Netflix, says it has sold only a few hundred thousand devices.

But Boxee and its backers believe that these kinds of devices are too limited, and they draw comparisons to older mobile phones that receive only the Web services chosen by a particular wireless carrier.

Even though Boxee has forged its own relationships with tv and video websites, any company can make its videos available through the service. "This is all about consumer choice," Mr. Ronen said.

Boxee also said it would introduce a more polished test version of its software by the beginning of next year.

Boxee, backed by $10 million in venture capital, has tried to bring into its service the network television shows posted on, a joint venture between NBC, Fox and ABC. But those networks do not want people able to receive the Web videos on their TVs, instead of watching actual broadcasts, which carry more valuable advertising.

As a result, Hulu has largely blocked Boxee from adding its videos. Boxee says it is currently working on a Web browser, based on open-source technology from Mozilla, maker of the Firefox browser, so its users can manually go to any site and watch the video there. "Its not as good an experience, but we want to make as much content available as possible on Boxee," said Andrew Kippen, a Boxee spokesman.

James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, said such an approach could end up undermining the promise Boxee is making to customers who spend money on the set-top box. "If it's not done with explicit permission, that content is always at risk," he said. "There is no guarantee if you buy the box you will have all this content in perpetuity."

One thing is for sure, next year looks pretty interesting for internet tv fans.

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