The Verge has obtained photos of Boxee TV, a device that aims to combine over-the-air live TV broadcasts, DVR functionality, and web apps into a single home theater solution. It's a markedly different strategy than the one Boxee took with its first foray into the living room. Boxee Box, launched in 2010, managed to attract a small subset of cord cutters to the company's media center platform, tallying 200,000 active users as of April. But a lack of TV integration immediately limited its mass appeal. Now the company is taking another stab at convincing you to wave goodbye to your cable subscription, insisting that OTA programming is all most viewers really need.
The new hardware (also manufactured by D-Link) sheds Boxee Box's angled black cube in favor of a form factor that resembles competing products from Apple, Roku, and others. But what Boxee's latest gadget loses in character, it stands to gain in functionality. Whereas the current Boxee Box requires a separately-sold dongle to watch live television, the new box carries a TV tuner (complete with coax input) right inside its matte black casing — an external antenna is also said to be included. It's here that Boxee seems to be launching a full-scale assault against the traditional cable model, imploring users to "watch more free tv" and "stop spending money on stuff you don't watch" on the device's packaging.
Boxee's not making friends in the cable industry
To make that live TV aspect more enticing, Boxee has thrown in DVR capabilities. Our tipster hasn't had an opportunity to give recording a run-through, but a survey delivered to beta participants hints that you'll be able to watch content across multiple devices — likely through Boxee's companion smartphone app. Thankfully Boxee hasn't forgotten about your personal media library, with the new hardware providing similar network streaming abilities to those found in the present model. Yes, you'll still be able to play those 1080p Blu-ray rips.
No more QWERTY remote
But there have been other reductions: the company has sacrificed its previous two-sided remote in favor of a simpler solution that omits a QWERTY keyboard altogether. Instead you're given buttons for play/pause, home, back, menu, and a four-way directional controller. The remote also features blue and green specialty buttons, though these reportedly have no utility just yet. And on that note, it's clear there's plenty of work to be done before Boxee TV is ready for consumers; our source says the software routinely crashes several times a day and that Boxee plans numerous updates down the line to refine the user experience before any public unveiling.