Team to work on improving user experience on Samsung connected devices
(Update: Samsung shutting down Boxee service) Samsung has purchased streaming set-top box manufacturer Boxee, according to reports. The acquisition, said to be in the in the region of $30 million, will allow Samsung to potentially incorporate some of the Israeli start-up's software and services into its own smart TV and streaming media device offerings in the future.
Device would directly compete with Apple TV, Roku
Amazon is planning to extend its range of tablets and ebook readers by selling a set-top box, according to a report. The device, said to be coming out sometime in the fall, will provide streaming content, such as movies and TV shows to the user from the company's Instant Video catalog as well as Prime Instant Video.
Existing Boxee Box used for new tier, monthly fee for unlimited playback
Boxee has unveiled a new free offering for its cloud-based digital video recorder. A rebranded Boxee TV, now called the Boxee Cloud DVR, provides five hours of DVR playback per month on a new free plan for users of the hardware. Unlimited, indefinite storage remains available for purchasers of a paid tier.
Holiday promotion of Boxee TV promises 3-month cloud DVR trial
As expected, the Boxee TV is now available for purchase at Walmart. The big box store chain is the only retail location to purchase the device, with online purchasing at Boxee's site the other option. The $98 piece of hardware includes a digital antenna, and word is buyers will get a three-month trial period to the No Limits DVR service.
Boxee TV due in 3,000 Walmart stores tomorrow for $98
Walmart will begin stocking the Boxee TV at 3,000 of its locations across the US starting on November 1, the two revealed. The device will sell for $98 and Walmart will set up displays just for the device along with dedicated marketing materials. Other than streaming Netflix and YouTube content, the device can also pick up free over the air content in HD.
Cloud-based DVR system offered ahead of November release
Boxee will start the promotion of its upcoming Boxee TV set-top box by giving away free units. A number of customers that have registered on the Boxee website and completed a survey have been e-mailed, offering the device at no charge before its expected release date of mid to late November.
Boxee TV gets subscription-based No Limits DVR capability, $100 price tag
Boxee, which traditionally made products that focused on streaming multimedia content from local storage and the web, has now introduced the aptly named Boxee TV. It will let users watch live TV content from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and other channels in high definition. It also doubles as a DVR and bring Internet Apps to a connected HDTV.
Boxee mulling offering DVR subscription service
Boxee may be planning on introducing a subscription-based DVR service for its recently introduced Live TV tuner. This is suggested by a survey the company sent out this weekend, asking users how much they would be willing to pay for the ability to record 300 hours of TV per month. The options range from $5 to $15, though a Not Interested option is present as well.
Boxee fights cable lobbying FCC over cable locks
Boxee in a direct criticism contended that cable companies were being anti-competitive in lobbying to drop a requirement that basic cable stay unencrypted. The Boxee Box designer argued that the request, which would let a TV provider require a set-top box or slot-in card to get any signal at all, was only meant to shut out free alternatives and force customers to buy or more often rent equipment. Company chief Avner Ronen argued that it would block devices like the Boxee Live TV add-on and that there was no real upside.
Company to focus on set-top box
As expected, Boxee is set to cease offering desktop apps for Mac, Windows and Linux. The company late last year released its last update for the desktop software, bringing a revamped interface and search improvements, however the utilities will be removed from download servers by the end of the day.
Boxee Live TV tuner ready to go
Boxee said Saturday that it was shipping its Live TV add-on. As of Monday, the $49 add-on tuner would head out to its first customers. Orders are likely to arrive later the same week.
Boxee Live TV tuner shown off at CES
Boxee gave one last preview of its Live TV add-on at CES last week. Electronista got a quick glimpse, and it looks to be an effective, though possibly too simple, add-on. Users just have to plug it into a USB port on the back, screw in a source of unprotected cable (most basic cable or over-the-air broadcasts will do), and pick Live TV from the menu. Boxee matches it up with an easy-to-use schedule to give a view of current and upcoming shows to pick by name rather than by the channel.
Boxee 1.5 marks shift from desktop to devices
Boxee marked a swansong for its desktop app with the launch of 1.5. The app has a newly refreshed interface with quicker access to the browser and the menu appearing as an overlay with quicker search. Movie and TV sections have been given their own updates, such as easier navigation by genres and sources, more details, and a better way to check for unwatched video episodes.
Boxee Box adds SlingPlayer remote TV streaming
The Boxee Box got an unusual feature addition Tuesday after the Boxee team added a SlingPlayer app. Its media hub can now stream and remotely control devices hooked up to a Slingbox Pro-HD or Solo, such as a cable DVR or even another networked media hub. It carries Sling's latest program guide but should otherwise be familiar to those who've used one of the larger-screened SlingPlayer apps.
Boxee Box Live TV adapter adds to mix
Boxee confirmed its own beta leaks by putting up the Boxee Box Live TV stick. The USB TV tuner is intended to catch free over-the-air TV and let Boxee Box users catch live sports and first-airing TV shows in HD. The tuner gets its own customized interface and will get program IDs, show recommendations from friends,
Convergence Bridge mixes remote, keyboard, pad
Convergence Technologies is hoping to build a universal remote intended for networked media hubs, not just traditional home theater hardware. The Bridge uses a gamepad-like shape that holds both a joystick to replace the mouse, a full QWERTY keyboard, and buttons for common remote control tasks. The device talks over IR and RF (using RF4CE) and should support Apple TV, the Boxee Box, Google TV, and Roku players, as well as most Macs, Linux, and Windows PCs.
Adobe hints Google TV to lose Flash as well
Adobe has followed up its cancellation of mobile Flash with a statement extending that end to TVs as well. The company would continue to give support to those using the Porting Kit to convert Flash to apps on TV, but it told GigaOM that it would press hardware makers to build native apps instead. It went so far as to indirectly suggest that Google TV had been taking the wrong route with its focus on the web until the Google TV 2.0 update.
Boxee Box to get USB TV tuner option
The Boxee Box should get a live TV tuning feature after details found in a test build of the 1.5 firmware were caught late Tuesday. Just referred to as Boxee Live TV, it would let viewers plug a USB TV tuner in to watch over-the-air or unprotected cable TV through the Boxee Box, without having to switch input. GigaOM's sighting also revealed that it could share viewing data with friends, hinting that it might scrape channel or show details.
Google TV Android 3.1 goes live
Google on Friday posted its long-in-waiting Google TV update. First shown back in May, the update runs on Android 3.1 and adds support for downloadable apps for the first time. While it already had built-in apps before, it now has access to new video apps, games, and other titles optimized for the TV in Android Market.
Boxee adds playback controls to iPad app, more
Boxee has updated its iPad app with version 1.2 (free, App Store). It includes new playback controls on the iPad screen in the lower right hand corner that allow the iPad to work like a remote control for the Boxee Box. The app will also now remember the playback progress of any local files played through the Boxee Media Manager app and resume playing from there.
Boxee Box adds Spotify Premium listening
Boxee gave owners of the Boxee Box a reward for the weekend on Friday with the addition of Spotify streaming. Those who pay the $10 monthly subscription for Spotify Premium can listen to any track in the catalog and get access to their playlists. The Boxee app is optimized for the TV-sized interface and doesn't have the social features, but it does have the song sharing inbox.
Intel phases out group behind Boxee, Google TV
Intel is shuttering its Digital Home Group in what could trigger a sea change in TV media hubs. New details unveiled just late Monday to AnandTech had it keeping the pure embedded set-top box business but dropping the full-scale Digital TV business responsible for some of its lowest-power Atom processors. Staff would be rolled into Intel's recently established tablet group.
ViewSonic gives up on Boxee smart TV, for now
ViewSonic will no longer bring its planned smart TV running on Boxee's media center software, at least in the near term, the company told GigaOM. High costs and a lack of interest in the market were cited as the key factors. ViewSonic elaborated, stating consumers spent less on Smart TVs along with the slow-down in the economy.
Opens up 11 million song library via Boxee Box
Boxee has added MOG's instant music streaming services to the media selection now available with its set-top box. The addition will offer subscribing Boxee owners a pick of over 11 million songs from its catalog. All are available in higher quality than usual 320Kbps streams.
Boxee for iPad and Boxee Box firmware go live
Boxee swung out a pair of major additions to its mix, including its first real tablet app. Boxee for iPad (free, App Store) lets users stream video both from some content channels as well as from computers on the local network. The app isn't locked into supporting the iPad's native formats and transcodes video from the computer on the spot.
Boxee Remote ships for Macs and Windows
D-Link touched on a frequent request of home theater PC owners Wednesday by formally releasing the Boxee Remote for PC & Mac. The controller is an exact match for the one included with the Boxee Box but comes with an RF wireless USB adapter that avoids the need for a line of sight. It's tailored to let users stay entirely in the Boxee software front end and has a keyboard on the flip side for text.
Boxee desktop getting big fall update
Boxee swung its focus back to the desktop on Monday with a promise of a major update for the Mac, Ubuntu Linux, and Windows versions of its media front-end app. The new version will bring the reworked browser and content options that have been present on the Boxee Box in recent months. The code would also be more closely in step with the dedicated box in the future.
Release fixes recent update
Boxee has released a follow-up fix that resolves several issues that surfaced with the company's recent firmware update. The Boxee Box 1.1 firmware had caused problems for systems using Dolby Digital audio, preventing some surround-sound setups from distributing stereo audio through the rear and center channels.
Concord says Apple TV may have hit 1.82m total
Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on Wednesday estimated that sales of the second-generation Apple TV had been steady since it went on sale in October. Extrapolating from the official tally of one million in December, he determined that another 820,000 of the media hub had shipped in the first three months of 2011. He didn't directly explain the reasons why to AppleInsider.
Vudu hopes for Apple device support in future
Vudu chief Ed Lichty in a talk on Friday expressed hope that his movie streaming service might come to Apple devices. As part of an anticipation to expand into "tablets and other new gizmos," according to Forbes, Lichty thought devices like the iPad and iPhone might follow suit. He didn't give an indication of how close these were or whether there would have to be any changes.
Boxee Box May update to add iPad hooks
Boxee on Wednesday afternoon detailed the promised update coming in May for the Boxee Box. The upgrade will bring support for the hinted at Boxee for iPad app to stream the media hub's content to an Apple tablet. The browser should also be faster for loading and scrolling as well as bring favorites and a history.
Fate of desktop software remains unclear
Boxee has announced details surrounding an upcoming iPad app, along with an update to the software that runs on the company's set-top box. In a TechWebcast podcast, Boxee marketing VP Andrew Kippen confirmed earlier rumors that pointed to a new tablet app in the works. Although the company already offers a remote control app, the new utility, which is said to only work with the iPad 2, will allow users to stream content to a TV via AirPlay or view previews of items that are being watched by friends.
Apple TV update adds MLB.tv games
(Update: NBA too) In a quiet companion update to iOS 4.3, Apple on Wednesday also added MLB.tv to the Apple TV. Those using Apple TV 4.2 (build 2060) can watch both live and archived games, including in HD where the option exists. Users can hop to particular plays or at bats and can play the version of the broadcast from either city.
Boxee gets 16.5m from Softbank, more
Boxee's media ambitions got a significant help on Tuesday with a $16.5 million cash infusion from a round of partners that included Japanese carrier Softbank. The Boxee Box creator hoped both to improve the content and quality of the Boxee UI but also promised an ambitious hardware expansion. It planned more partners than just Iomega and ViewSonic and eventually hoped to be a complete TV replacement.
Mac OS X Lion drops Front Row and PowerPC
More discoveries in Mac OS X Lion have shown Apple is cutting out two of its older implementations. The developer preview no longer has Front Row, Apple's early answer to Windows Media Center. It had originally launched in sync with the last Power PC iMac, the iSight-equipped G5 model, and was a staple feature of early Intel-based Macs.
Watch Instantly launches on Android, Boxee Box
Following announcements of Netflix support on Android devices and the Boxee Box, shares of Netflix stock surged by seven percent by the end of the trading day. The primary announcement came from Qualcomm at Mobile World Congress, which highlighted the new capabilities for the wide range of Snapdragon-based devices.
Hulu exec could be forced out for defiant speech
Hulu's chief executive Jason Kilar might be removed from the top spot for a post that challenged traditional TV from studios. A News Corp executive said on Thursday that the Internet video maven would very likely be forced out as Comcast-NBC, Disney and News Corp's Fox are upset that he would criticize their TV business. The SAI tipster suggested Kilar was aware of it and was risking a 'poison pill' gesture that would lead to retaliation.
Boxee Netflix update delayed again
Boxee delayed its Netflix update for its hardware a second time today over technical issues. The streaming movie service was already running on the app and the Boxee Box but hadn't yet met Netflix's "security requirements" for copy protection, the company's Andrew Kippen said. He didn't have definitive scheduling for the launch other than "soon."
Families test cord cutting with digital media hubs
Marketing firm Hill Holiday this weekend posted the results of an experiment in cord cutting, or dropping traditional TV for digital media devices. Each family was given one device among several, including the Apple TV, Boxee Box, Google TV, Roku and Xbox 360, and had to stop using traditional TV. The week-long, recorded test (video below) revealed mixed results and showed that none of the companies were entirely where they needed to be, according to the researchers.
Vudu 2.0 reaches most devices
Vudu started the weekend by rolling out its 2.0 interface on most all devices. Following the PS3 and Boxee Box updates, Blu-ray players and Internet-linked TVs now get the same simplified interface and optimizations for HD and newer controllers when they appear. It now recommends movies based on the viewing history and theoretically gives faster access to movies.
Boxee pushes Vudu update
Slightly later than planned, Boxee on Wednesday rolled out Vudu access on the Boxee Box. The firmware upgrade gives the media hub its first access to top-tier, commercial movies in the US, with many purchases and rentals coming the same day as they do on DVD. The Boxee's Atom chip is fast enough to decode Vudu's signature HDX format at its full 1080p and 5.1-channel Dolby Digital Plus surround.
We review the Boxee Box media hub
Digital media hubs have almost invariably fallen into two camps: the polished, commercial but limited universe of a device like the Apple TV or else the free-wheeling and flexible, but often bootleg-focused, hubs such as the Popcorn Hour. Boxee in its big push into the living room is aiming for both: it wants to give access to legitimate content while still having the leeway to play every format someone might encounter. But how well does it bridge that gap? We'll discover that in our Boxee Box review.
Boxee CEO says content deals needed to drop prices
Boxee may turn to subsidies to help get the price down and better compete in the market, company founder Avner Ronen said in an episode of the This Week in Startups show recorded on Friday. He mentioned that the $200 street price for a Boxee Box was "way too expensive" to get mass market adoption and floated the idea as one option for future models. Nothing was definite in the talk and might not necessarily come about with a future deal.
Sony, Panasonic, Samsung among supporters
Rental outfit Netflix has announced a development effort that will see a Netflix One-Click button placed on remotes for Internet-enabled TVs and Blu-ray players. The button will offer direct access to the company's streaming service, bypassing other menu screens. Initial remotes with the button are expected in the spring.
Iomega outs TV with Boxee, SuperHero iPhone Dock
Iomega today brought out a pair of media devices stepping outside of its usual space. The Iomega TV with Boxee is the first dedicated Boxee device outside of D-Link's Boxee Box and tries to improve on the formula with permanent storage options: versions with 1TB and 2TB of storage are available to hold a personal collection. The hub can accordingly serve as a DLNA media server, not just a receiver.
Boxee details delayed Vudu and Netflix additions
Boxee just before New Year's apologized for the delayed additions of Netflix and Vudu to its Mac and Windows desktop apps and the Boxee Box while giving new timetables. The Vudu update will be the first and should arrive next week to provide per-title movie purchases and rentals. Netflix is now due to reach Boxee before the end of January.
Expects to ship 100,000 units in 2011
D-Link has achieved better than expected sales of its IPTV Boxee Box set-top-box (STB), according to a report. Since its November launch event, D-Link claims that its sales performance in the US and Europe have frequently exceeded stock volumes. In the US the device is sold through Amazon and is also expected to reach Best Buy soon increasing its retail footprint significantly.
Kinect hack lets users control Boxee, XBMC
Two developers, John Simons and Joel Griffin Dodd, have just released free public beta code that will turn their Kinect peripherals into a Kinect Driven Media Control, nicknamed the KinEmote. The trick lets Windows users navigate the menus of their Boxee and XBMC media portals using just hand gestures. The code also supports other, OpenNI-compliant cameras as it's built around OpenNI and NITE middleware from PrimeSense, whose technology Kinect uses.
New Apple TV off to fast start, to hit 1 million
Apple on Tuesday said that the new Apple TV would reach the one million sales mark by "later this week," or just before Christmas. It added that video downloads were also climbing and that viewers were either buying or renting 150,000 movies and 400,000 TV shows every day. Sales weren't broken down by the country or given a motivating factor.
Sony says Google TV sales in line with hopes
Sony TV lead Hiroshi Yoshioka on Monday defended the early adoption of his company's Google TV series. He wouldn't give numbers but said the Android sets' sales were "in line with expectations." However, the company's overall TV's business will fight to turn a profit and should fall short of its 25 million March target.