Boxee gets a new name. Xbox plans to upgrade its TV services. Ladies and gents, let’s hear it for the letter X.

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

Bo-Bo-What?

Hey, remember Boxee? Sure you do. As I wrote back in January of last year, it “might just be the cheap (finally!) alternative to your normal cable television package.” It planned on doing as much by utilizing these four things: Social channel listings. Sharing. Channel editing. And an all-in-one interface. It was unveiled in November 2011, shipped in January of 2012  and …

… now it’s dead. Or, well, at least it’s dead as we knew it. From Janko Roettgers at GigaOm …

“Boxee has rebranded its new consumer electronics device just five months after it first became available,” Roettgers wrote. “The $100 device, which combines live TV and cloud DVR functionality with apps like Netflix, is now being called Boxee Cloud DVR, after previously being marketed as Boxee TV. The company also used the rebrand to unveil a free service tier for its DVR.”

Ah-ha! “A free service tier for its DVR.” I’ll give you three guesses as to which word in that sentence is the most important and here’s a hint: It stars with F and ends with Ree.

According to Roettgers, the company’s vice president of communications claims that the previous name didn’t “accurately capture the device’s functionality, letting consumers to believe that it was primarily a media player similar to Apple TV or Roku. The new name is meant to emphasize the DVR functionality as a key differentiator.”

Or, in other words, Boxee is recoiling from its initial, “Hey, Stop Using Cable Television” platform and investing in the “Hey, We Are Like TiVo” mantra. Even so, the thing can be used and abused for free now, leading us to ponder and reflect upon the following adage …

Maybe the best things in life don’t have a price tag after all.

From 360 to 720 to your source for live cable television

Laugh all you want at Google TV, the product that inexplicably can’t seem to garner any traction despite it having the name of the most recognizable search engine on the World Wide Internet attached to it. But thee who laughs first laughs … well, first, I guess, and that’s about all. Because now one of the most popular video game consoles has decided to put The Big G on its back as details of its upcoming release have crept out. Let’s go, Tom Warren, of The Verge …

“Microsoft is investing in TV in a big way with its next Xbox console as part of a fight for the living room,” Warren wrote earlier today. “Multiple sources familiar with the company’s Xbox plans have revealed to The Verge that Microsoft will introduce a feature that lets its next-generation console take over a TV and set-top box in a similar way to Google TV. We understand that the next Xbox will require an online connection to use the entertainment services, allowing them to be always-on for streaming and access to TV signals.

“The functionality will work by taking a cable box signal and passing it through to the Xbox via HDMI, allowing Microsoft’s console to overlay a UI and features on top of an existing TV channel or set-top box,” he continued. “We’re told that this is a key part of the next-generation Xbox and that it will go a step further than Google’s TV implementation thanks to Microsoft’s partnerships with content providers. Extended support for various cable services will be rolled out gradually, but the basic functionality will be available at launch.”

Finally … Xbox catches up with its biggest competitor, Sony’s Playstation 3. As those who play video games regularly already know (or, well, as those who play video games regularly have told me), the biggest difference between the two systems is that only one allows you to access the Internet and such wonderful things as Crackle, home to “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.” And of the two, the product devoid of such groundbreaking entertainment has come from .. you guessed it … Microsoft.

But that will change now. And more importantly, as Warren’s story reports, that change will even include a cheaper Xbox set-top box that will be available early next year. Your move, Sony.

As for my next move, I’m off, escaping the fine scenery of Frederick, Maryland, in exchange for foreign people and a really large tower. Translation: I’ll be away from this blog for about a week-and-a-half. Miss me dearly for I will miss you more. C’est la vie, friends. C’est la vie.

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