Boxee Gets Boxed, by D-Link

The buzzy (and buzz-worthy) online video management software Boxee has become a set-top box, with the help of D-Link. So instead of using your spare laptop or Mac Mini to run Boxee, you can now buy a dedicated piece of hardware (with Boxee baked in) and plop it down by your TV set. Yay! Another box for the living room! Merry Christmas!

Boxee has until now been a disembodied piece of software code in need of a host device; it now becomes a thing. And the "Boxee Box by D-Link," is an odd-looking thing. The designers made it look like a black square that has sunk halfway into the surface it's sitting on. And just try to set something on it.

Help! I'm sinking . . .

D-Link says it doesn't think the new box looks odd at all. A company rep said the new box will become available in shops in the first half of 2010, although the price "has yet to be determined." And the D-Link Boxee box won't be the only Boxee box. A company rep told me D-Link has an exclusivity window with Boxee, after which other box makers can join in the fun.

The Boxee Box connects to your home network using Wi-Fi (802.11n) and/or wired ethernet. The device connects to your TV via HDMI, SPDIF, RCA Audio, and has 2 USB expansion ports.

Boxee, in a nutshell, or in a black box, is a free software that lets you navigate all your stored movies, TV shows, music and photos, as well as streaming content from websites like MLB, Netflix, Pandora, Last.fm, and Flickr from one screen with a remote. You can also use your remote to immediately share favorite clips or shows with friends via Twitter or Facebook.

As it enters beta, Boxee also announces a bunch of improvements to its interface that it says will make finding, organizing, storing and sharing web video content much easier. You can see the specific interface changes here. Boxee also announces a few more content partners, including Clicker, The Escapist, and Suicide Girls.

I'm glad to see Boxee entering beta, adding content and finding its way into hardware devices. Still, I'm not sure the world needs another dedicated set-top box to go along with your DVD player, your cable box, your audio tuner, etc., etc. But until HDTV makers step up to the plate and start building the Boxee software into connected TVs, it's a pain we'll have to deal with.

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