Boxee TV: Video Streaming On Steroids

Boxee TV and Remote

Video streaming platforms like Boxee TV are rapidly gaining traction. Netflix, Netfinity TV, Hulu, Vudu, and Roku™ have all seen rapid gains in membership and use over the past couple of years. Boxee TV is set to eclipse them all. How come Boxee is so much better? It’s like all the others I mentioned, true. However, I consider it video streaming on steroids. Read on, dear reader.

Learning About Boxee TV

Boxee TV centers around an Internet appliance that plugs into your broadband Internet connection and your TV. It’s a small set-top box that gives you access to almost every single non-encrypted (non-Premium) Cable TV channel and network available. You get ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Univision, and many others. Additionally, it delivers all of these networks in stunningly beautiful HD. You’ll also get full surround sound for seat-shaking audio. Even better, it works with antennas, as well.

“But wait,” you say, “I can get all that with just my Cable, Satellite, or video streaming site subscriptions.” This is true. But here’s where it gets interesting. Boxee has two tuners built into the unit. This means you can watch one program AND record another with the DVR function. How much does your Cable TV or Satellite TV DVR rental cost per month? $20? $30? Boxee is only $14.99 a month. The box itself will cost you $99.

Waitaminit! You said this makes it different! I can do that with my Cable or Satellite DVR. Yes, you can, but what you can’t do is record an unlimited amount of programming with your Cable or Satellite provider’s DVR. You’ve only got enough space for a few hours of programming. When that space is filled up, you need to delete some recorded programs so you can record new ones. Not with Boxee. Boxee TV lets you record an unlimited number of hours of programming. This is because instead of using a hard drive in a physical DVR, Boxee uploads it to the cloud.

Boxee TV Home Screenshot

But wait, dear reader, there’s more! Unlike the DVR that’s sitting somewhere near your TV, you can watch your recorded programming anywhere you want. If you’ve got an Internet-enabled tablet (or smartphone) and you’re waiting for a doctor’s appointment, you can get caught up on that episode of The Simpsons that you missed. Stuck in traffic behind a wreck for a few hours? No problem, boot up the Internet connection and catch up on Dexter. True, you can do this with many of the other video streaming sites and applications, but you have to search and search to find what you’re looking for. It’s all right there waiting for you with Boxee.

Just imagine, being able to record 60 or 70 programs and not have to worry about when you watch them. Feels liberating, yes? Try that with your Cable TV or Satellite TV DVR.

Boxee TV Gives You Access to Sites and Apps

We all know that there’s going to be times when even if you have access to hundreds of networks and channels, you’re not going to find anything worth watching on TV. You could subscribe to Pandora, Netflix, Vudu, and Hulu Plus. Or you could subscribe to Boxee and get all of them included with your subscription at no extra charge (for most of them). Since Boxee is an Internet appliance, you get the best of the Internet, along with all of your favorite TV networks.

Like to socialize? Yes? Then Boxee is perfect. With it, you’ll get access to your Facebook and Twitter feeds. Keep everyone up to date while you’re watching TV. Or have your friends give you ideas as to what you should watch.

Limited Rollout in November, Nationwide in 2013

I can hear you now, “How can I get this amazing device into my home?” Boxee is planning a limited rollout in November, 2012, in a number of major markets and a complete rollout nationwide in 2013. There’s quite a bit of infrastructure that they need to put in place. They have to breathe life into their cloud, basically. Here are the markets that Boxee is set to rollout into in the next few weeks:

  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Atlanta
  • Washington, D.C.
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Houston

The Limitations

There are always limitations. You may not have access to all the free programming advertised in the literature, depending on where you live. HD and ClearQAM may not work perfectly everywhere. Right now, the unlimited DVR isn’t going to be available everywhere (but they aren’t saying where it will be available just yet). Also, since video is a bandwidth-intensive application, your Internet connection needs to be full broadband, with a 3 MB download and 1 MB upload speeds recommended as minimums. Additionally, some of the apps and websites might not be available everywhere from day one. And, some may not be completely free.

Either way, it definitely sounds like an intriguing product for those looking to save on their entertainment expenses.