There’s a big party being held in Brooklyn tonight for Boxee, the Internet video service I wrote about in this story in May. One bit of news is the unveiling of Boxee Beta — it has to date been available only in a Alpha version — that has been rebuilt from the ground up.
Engadget has a look at Boxee Beta.
For those unfamiliar, Boxee is an elegant and free media center application for the Mac and Windows that in many ways represents what people imagine when they think of TV moving to the Internet. From within Boxee you can watch Web video in all its various forms: Video podcasts, YouTube clips, downloaded movies, and with some limitations TV shows on from Hulu on your computer.
But it doesn’t stop there. It’s so good, that I’ve heard numerous cases of people actually dropping their cable or satellite TV service, in favor of connecting a Mac running Boxee to their favorite TV set. Others have been known to hack their AppleTV devices and install Boxee on them.
That fact in particular suggested opportunity. One of the things founder Avner Ronen told me at the time was that he hoped to get the Boxee service built into consumer hardware, and that he hoped to have some news on this front in time for the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which is now less than a month away.
Ronen and his team have delivered, and that is I think the bigger news. I just heard that the first so-called Boxee Box (pictured) will be made by D-Link, the company behind scores of home networking products.
In addition to video, Boxee plays music from your personal music collection, streams music from your favorite Pandora Radio stations, organizes your photos. It’s also social: You can share what you’re watching with your friends on Twitter and Facebook, and also discover things you might like from your Boxee-using friends.
D-Link says the Boxee Box has already won a “Best of Innovations” award from the Consumer Electronics Association. No price has yet been announced, but they’re promising to deliver the product to stores during the second half of 2010. More about the Boxee Box is here.