updated 09:40 pm EST, Mon December 7, 2009
Boxee Box arrives ahead of CES
(Update with pricing) Boxee tonight revealed both the beta version of its software as well as Boxee Box, its first hardware dedicated to its custom TV interface. Both the device and independent software have a newly updated version of the front-end with a much more visual layout that focuses on the menu, the active media queue and a social networking feed for friends, Facebook and Twitter. While it's still available for Macs and 32-bit Linux PCs, the beta is also freshly optimized for Windows and uses DirectX on that platform as well as Flash 10.1 that gives it hardware acceleration of Flash video using modern NVIDIA graphics.
Three new Boxee apps have been added for all platforms, including Escapist and its shows like Zero Punctuation, Suicide Girls and TV Guide to the Web.
The Boxee Box loads directly to the interface and has a unique "sunken cube" design; every feature remains intact, including access to Apple's movie trailers, TV websites like ABC or CBS, and similar services. It connects to the Internet through 802.11n Wi-Fi or Ethernet and can take expansion through either an SD card slot on the front or two USB ports on the back. HDMI is its only video output, but owners can pick either SPDIF optical or RCA analog for audio output.
A definite release window hasn't been given for the beta, but the Boxee Box should be unveiled by D-Link at CES and should ship sometime during the spring with a price estimated at about $200.