by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

Boxee Live TV. What in the name of Dr. Gregory House is that?

Well, the short answer is that it might just be the cheap (finally!) alternative to your normal cable television package. The long answer? Take it from the product’s blog …

Way better than just plugging the included antenna into the back of your TV, Boxee Live TV kicks it up a notch with:

  • Social Channel Listings – We’ll show you what’s on, what your friends are watching, and how many people total are watching a show as you flip through channels.
  • Sharing – Share the traditional Boxee way on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr AND you can now passively share to Facebook using our Live TV Timeline App – turn sharing on and whatever you’re tuned into will post to your Facebook ticker automatically.  It’s easy to switch off too so your friends don’t need to know about your addiction to HSN.
  • Edit Channels – Quickly hide channels from your lineup that don’t speak your language or have angered you off with bad programming decisions like taking Arrested Development off the air.  Easily rename WNDHCTA 7.2 to NBC.
  • All-In-One Interface – done watching a show on broadcast, easily jump into more episodes from the web. It’s the best of both worlds all on the same remote. 

Ohhhhh. And Ahhhhhh.

This makes news today because, as PCMag notes, the product is now finally beginning to ship to those who bought one of those tiny devices after first being unveiled last November. If you happened to already own what is being called a “live TV stick,” don’t worry — you’ll be receiving software updates sometime over the next three days to accommodate all of the awesomely awesomtastic upgrades that seem to be making news today.

Why we care is simple: The thing costs a mere 49 bucks. Yes, not only is that less than a DVD set of your new favorite HBO program, but it’s also less than most (and by most, of course, I mean all) over-the-air cable television packages. In addition to the price is the ability to watch the four major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX) live anytime you’d like.

It’s like Christmas in January.

Interestingly enough, the company’s CEO, Avner Ronon, compared the Boxee device with the music business last month to the aforementioned PCMag. Listen closely and you’ll hear the sound of my head turning …

“Rather than pay $80 per month for cable TV, and pay a lot of money for stuff they don’t watch, [Boxee TV is] a different setup, where they have much more control over what they pay for,”Ronen told the site. “We think it’s very similar to the transition that happened in the music business. Historically, you had a couple of songs that you really like, but you still buy the whole album. As music became digital, users revolted against that type of bundling, and I think the same is happening with video. We don’t think [Boxee TV] is necessarily for 100 percent of households, but I think for a good numbers of Americans, it could be a real alternative.”

A real alternative indeed.

The product is available in only the United States and Canada, so for those of you reading this blog in Chile, because clearly there are so many of you, my deepest apologies for letting you in on yet another Great American Secret that you can’t immediately obtain (like, say, Woody Allen movies or Lisa Des Moraes television columns). It should also be noted that there is no DVR component for this thing yet, so if you so choose to finally subscribe to the TV Without A TV lifestyle, you’ll have to make sure you’re in front of a television the next time a J.J. Abrams series begins if you actually want to see it (though who are we kidding? Why on Earth would you ever want to do that?).

Cheap. Easy. And live. What more could you ask for? “Let the chord cutting begin!” a headline reads on Boxee’s site. And that exclamation point proves you best listen.


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