Boxee Box users now have a way to watch traditional TV as well as online content.
The company has just started selling its new $49 Live TV tuner, which connects directly to the Boxee Box to deliver over-the-air broadcast television channels, potentially making it a useful option for cable TV cord cutters.
Of course, as CNET's Matthew Moskovciak pointed out in a column in November, all HDTVs these days include a built-in ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) tuner, so most cord cutters already have a way to grab broadcast TV without coughing up extra dough.
Still, the folks at Boxee are touting several advantages offered by their new TV tuner, according to a blog by Team Boxee yesterday.
On the plus side, the Live TV tuner provides an all-in-one interface, so you can see what's available both on TV and on the Web and easily jump from one to the other. You can also edit your channel listings to remove stations you don't watch or re-title the default station names to something more user friendly.
The Live TV tuner is also into sharing. You can not only view what's on TV but also check out what your friends are watching and see how many people altogether are tuning into a certain show. If you wish, you can also automatically share your viewing preferences with your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and Tumblr readers by using Boxee's Live TV Timeline app.
On the minus side, the Live TV tuner doesn't as yet have any DVR functionality. So cord cutters who got rid of their cable company's DVR are out of luck.
Apparently, the company has already heard from customers disappointed over the lack of a DVR feature and is trying to determine if such an enhancement is possible. But if so, it doesn't sound like anything that will happen soon. The company said it would make an announcement later this year if it can add DVR support to the tuner.
The Live TV tuner sounds like a handy gadget for Boxee Box users. But I think the lack of DVR will dissuade many potential buyers and force others to wait to see if that feature gets added down the road.
Moving beyond the TV tuner, Boxee is rolling out an update to its Boxee software.
Dripping out to customers over the next few days, the 1.5 version will feature a host of improvements, including a new look and feel, better search options, new library screens, a way to deal with browser popups, and even integration with the Rotten Tomatoes Web site.
A look at the Boxee Box Live TV tuner