The little HTPC (Home Theater PC) and media center software start-up, Boxee
, has been making a splash on the web scene since it first debuted in public beta back in January 2010. The software was developed in an effort for cross-platform support and as such, has received a lot of air-play on the internet by end users, social media as well as Boxee's platform partners. With the ability to support a "soup to nuts" offering of web-delivered content from big name providers such as NetFlix, YouTube, CBS and ABC, as well as stream locally stored media from NAS devices, USB drives, optical devices and even a BitTorrent tracker; Boxee's "10 foot" user interface claims to be able to become the center of all your consumable media.
Recently Boxee announced a partnership with D-Link
to manufacture their first actual device that can drive their software technology autonomously. The Boxee Box unfortunately was initially met with delays however and the company had to shift gears from NVIDIA's delayed Tegra 2
processor to Intel's CE4100
(Sodaville) line of SoC media processors, which are also being incorporated by big name rivals Google in their Google TV
product. Regardless, the Boxee Box is now up for pre-order and set to hit retail shelves this holiday buying season; not a moment too soon.
And of course, Boxee's charismatically geeky CEO, Avner Ronen, has been rather successful at evangelizing the company's technology. We were able to catch up with him recently at a press event in New York. Fittingly, we cornered Avner for a quick hands-on demo of soon-to-be-shipping Boxee Box.
In addition to the D-Link Boxee store
, online retailers are setting up the channel to deliver the product and we're sure a number of brick and mortar retailers like Best Buy will be stocking the device as well. From what we saw at the show, the Boxee Box is a fairly impressive little device (1080p 19Mb/sec streaming, yes...), though it will have competition from Apple and Google. Time will tell but if we were the betting type, we think Boxee will do well this holiday buying season. It's just a question of whether or not consumers will appreciate the smaller newcomer and their rather open approach to the market, or if they buy into the big brand-name marketing hype that will no doubt blitz the airwaves and interwebs in the coming months.