Boxee Live TV: Another Way to Stick It to the (Cable) Man

I'm a cable-cutter. Since cancelling my Time Warner Cable subscription last year, I'm no longer spending $1,000-plus a year for a vibrant mix of programming, including cubic zirconia shopping networks, colon-cleansing infomercials, and Ukrainian soap operas. Life is good.

Now the folks at Boxee, which teamed up last year with D-Link to launch the Boxee Box media streamer, have unveiled an add-on device for its customers--one that may make cord-cutting even more appealing.

The new Boxee Live TV is a small adapter that connects your HDTV antenna to a $180 Boxee Box. The $49 add-on device, which ships in January, lets you import shows from local broadcast TV stations, including ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox affiliates, onto a Boxee Box device.

Of course, you can always connect an HD antenna directly to your TV, but Boxee's solution can simplify channel surfing by providing one interface for broadcast and Internet programming.

The Boxee Box + Boxee Live TV solution may not be as elegant as cable, but it's certainly a lot cheaper at $229. And even if you factor in the cost of subscription streaming services (e.g., Netflix and Hulu), Boxee's alternative is a money-saver.

True, you'll miss out on cable TV's breadth and depth--and I do miss those 24/7 airings of Veg-O-Matic guru Ron Popeil--but you'll still get most of the shows you really want, as the Boxee Blog points out:

"Last year, 89 of the top 100 shows were on broadcast networks – they remain the most popular channels on cable. The Superbowl, the World Series, the Oscars, the Grammys, presidential debates and addresses, the Olympics… they’re all on broadcast."

Of course, there are hundreds of basic and premium cable shows that you won't find on free broadcast TV. But many of those programs are available via streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, albeit after their original air date.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci at Today@PCWorld, Twitter (@jbertolucci) or jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

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