Boxee Launches $99 Combo Pay TV/Antenna/OTT Box
– Challenges TiVo with $15/m Online DVR
The smart TV adapter war, like Apple TVs, is far from over and
the pay TV STB war, like TiVo’s DVR, is heating up.
Boxee will play in both the smart TV adapter and pay TV STB
markets with its new $99 Boxee TV device. It’s like TiVo DVRs
except DVR recordings are made and kept online. It has five
popular OTT apps for video and music, plus dual tuners for
antenna-based and basic-cable TV reception. The online DVR
function is $15-per-month for unlimited usage.
It’ll be available November 1 in the States.
The prior Boxee Box, which sold for $230, had OTT apps and
allowed users to build their own apps, although it’s hard to
imagine anyone but geeks doing that. Now discontinued, it had
over 400 apps, but Boxee said customers used only five of them
90% of the time.
The new device will start with only those five: Netflix, Vudu,
YouTube and Vimeo for video and Pandora for music. There’s no
Amazon OTT app and, of course, no iTunes. It will add other
apps, it said, perhaps Hulu, Spotify and maybe even
Microsoft’s new Xbox Music.
Boxee said it has shifted its product strategy from a “for
geeks by geeks” to a “for the people, by geeks.”
Like the TiVo, the Boxee TV box can receive basic cable TV and
over-the-antenna digital broadcasts from the local stations.
They can be in either SD or HD.
Boxee TV TiVo
DVR online hard disk
DVR monthly rate $15/month none
Price $99 $150 to $400
Netflix, YouTube yes yes
Hulu, Amazon no yes
Vudu yes no
EPG monthly price none $15
Streaming to iOS s devices no yes
App to control the device no yes
The $15 a month online DVR functions much like the network DVR
that some cablecos were touting a few years ago. There is no
hard disk in the home because all recordings are made and kept
offline, a much more efficient method that uses less power. It
said customers can record as much of that as they want and
discontinue the service at any time without losing their
Viewers can watch their recordings on the Boxee TV and on any
device with a browser such as PCs, Macs, smartphones and
tablets. They do not need an app because viewing is done
within the browser.
The unit has dual tuners so users can watch one channel while
recording another or record two at the same time. TiVo has
bumped some of its DVRs up to four tuners.
Unlike TiVos, there is no monthly fee for the electronic
What differentiates the Boxee TV from other smart TV adapters
is that, like a TiVo, it has tuners for both cable TV and
local stations over an antenna and a DVR function. Unlike the
TiVo, it’s only $99 and does not require a monthly fee for the
on-screen program guide, although the online DVR service is
$15 a month.