After seemingly ages in release limbo, streaming video startup Boxee has started shipments of its Boxee Box set-top and has announced new content partnerships with Netflix and Hulu.
The $199 Boxee Box is manufactured by D-Link and was first unveiled last December. The company has been working on software that lets users bring Web video content to their televisions for the past few years, but thus far it has required extensive set up on a computer or Apple TV. The Boxee Box is an easy plug-and-play way for consumers to bring Boxee’s software to their living rooms.
As we’ve covered previously, the Box was initially supposed to arrive some time in the second quarter of this year. Since its announcement, Google went on to unveil its own ambitious plans for bringing web video to televisions with Google TV, which includes a set-top box from Logitech, and potential integration in cable boxes and televisions. Instead of being threatened by Google, though, Boxee CEO Avner Ronen said he sees Google TV as complementary to Boxee’s own service, and that he’s interested in developing a Boxee Android app to run on Google’s platform.
Boxee promises that Netflix will be available on the Box “before the end of year”, and the company is also working together with Hulu to bring over its premium Hulu Plus service. This is a marked change in Boxee and Hulu’s previously tumultuous relationship — Hulu has worked doggedly to block access to Boxee’s software in the past. The company is also introducing a browser and support for HTML5 web video apps like YouTube Leanback and Vimeo’s Couch Mode, bringing some of the major features of Google TV to Boxee users in the process.
We’ll hopefully be receiving a Boxee Box to review soon, so keep an eye out for our impressions.