Boxee’s latest set-top box retains its predecessor’s internet TV–streaming roots, but adds live TV and DVR capabilities to the mix. In fact, the Boxee TV’s primary focus is now live TV and its revamped user interface and simplified remote is designed to appeal to a wider audience than the Linux-based Boxee Box. Although the device is primarily a DVR for recording live TV, it comes without any onboard storage at all. Instead, the Boxee TV uploads recordings to the cloud, making the device “the first ever No Limits DVR.”
While the Boxee TV still boasts internet TV and music streaming capabilities, with Netflix, VUDU, YouTube, Vimeo and Pandora apps coming preinstalled (and more promised), the unit is more focused on live TV. With two tuners for tuning into broadcast HD channels, such as ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS and Univision, along with support for unencrypted basic cable, users are able to watch one channel while recording another. Boxee will even throw in a free digital antenna for those in good reception areas.
Ensuring users will never run out of space to record, well, anything, the Boxee TV uploads recorded programs to the cloud. Not only does this mean you’ll never have to worry about choosing between Here Comes Honey Boo Boo or Two and a Half Men to claim that last bit of remaining space on a hard drive, but you’ll also be able to pull down the recorded shows to a variety of devices, such as a laptop, tablet smartphone, or TV. The Boxee TV also lets a tablet or smartphone be used as a remote control or program guide.
Naturally, the “no limits” cloud recording functionality isn’t free. DVR subscribers are slugged US$14.99 a month, with the initial launch restricted to the top eight U.S. TV markets: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Additional markets will be added later in 2013.
The Boxee TV unit itself will cost $99 and will be available next month in the U.S. There’s no word on whether it will venture beyond U.S. shores in the future or not.