After several months of delay, the Boxee Box set-top box is now available for preorder.
It won't ship until November, and when it does it will have new chips inside: instead of the previously announced Nvidia Tegra 2 chipset, the oddly shaped set-top will feature Intel's Atom processor instead. The switchover was responsible for the delay, according to Boxee.
The device will sell for $200 through Boxee.tv or Amazon.com. Before it was a piece of hardware, Boxee was a software download that put Internet content on a TV screen. The Boxee Box, which was built by D-Link, is a media player that allows 1080p HD videos to be streamed to a TV from the Web or a local network. It can also run a browser on the TV, including Flash content.
Though it's been talked about for almost two years, Boxee Box has managed to arrive just in time to compete with both Apple's revamped Apple TV set-top box, and Google's new take on Internet video and TV, called Google TV.
Google TV will be available as a set-top box from Logitech and built into a TV from Sony. The price hasn't been announced. It could arrive sometime this month, according to Intel CEO Paul Otellini.
Apple TV just had a drastic makeover, is now a quarter of the size of the previous version, and got a large price cut, from more than $200 to $99. Apple TV allows 99 cent TV rentals through iTunes, as well as streaming content from iTunes on other devices in the house.
While neither Google's nor Apple's take on the set-top box has been proven yet, taking on both at the same time will be a huge challenge for a small player like Boxee. CEO Avner Ronen addressed the Apple TV announcement on Boxee's corporate blog last week, saying he felt "strongly confident" about the space Apple left for Boxee to compete. "We have a different view of what users want in their living rooms. We are taking different paths to get there," he wrote. "The Boxee Box is going to be $100 more expensive than the Apple TV, but will give you the freedom to watch what you want. We think it's worth it."
This post was updated at 1:01 p.m. PDT to correct Boxee's Web address and the price of rentals on Apple TV.