Boxee unveils new beta, D-Link product partner

Front SMALLThe Boxee team have held good to their promise, delivering their first hardware partner (D-Link) and an all-new Beta of the Mac, PC and Apple TV-friendly multimedia service for digital lives.

Perhaps the big news delivered at the Music Hall of Williamsburg last night is that of the Boxee Box by D-Link, the first of what the team hopes becomes a family of products using the Boxee software. We’ll take a quick look at the new beta later in this report.

D-Link has been named first choice as the hardware partner to release a Boxee branded device for the living room (an Apple TV-killer?) the Boxee Box by D-Link.

This promises access to tens of thousands of movies & TV Shows, organisation and playback features for home movies and photos, and music playback from their home network or from Internet sources like Pandora.

“By pairing Boxee’s innovative social entertainment platform with D-Link’s technology we’re able to create a solution that introduces people to what TV should be.  Additionally we’re bringing a new level of social interaction to the living room,” said Daniel Kelley, senior director of marketing, D-Link Systems, Inc. “We can’t wait to bring this product to market and are looking forward to demonstrate the Boxee Box by D-Link at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in January.”

“We are happy to be working with D-Link as a hardware partner because we share the same vision for creating solutions to help anyone get the most out of technology,” said Andrew Kippen, vice president of marketing for Boxee. “D-Link has great reach and together we are able to offer consumers an attractive inexpensive solution to bring the Boxee experience directly onto the TV.”

The Boxee Box by D-Link, which has already won a Best of Innovations award from the Computer Electronics Association, delivers all the movies, TV shows, music and photos from a user’s computer, home network and Internet to their HDTV with no PC needed. Additionally, Boxee’s core social features make it easy for friends to discover new content from each other through social networks like Facebook, Twitter and more.

The Boxee Box by D-Link makes it easy for consumers to connect the device via HDMI, SPDIF, RCA Audio. The box has 2 USB for expansion and can quickly connect to a home network using both Wi-Fi (802.11n) and wired ethernet.

The Boxee Box will be available in the first half of 2010, price hasn’t yet been finalised.

The new Boxee software beta offers a range of features, including a redesigned home screen that makes navigation much easier and includes Facebook and Twitter recommendations for socially-connected content discovery; staff recommendations and the ability to monitor for new episodes of your favourite shows and so on.

The global menu makes it easy to access helpful resources (TOP – Logout, Settings, Queue, Feed, History), the main menu (MIDDLE – Photos, Music, Movies, Home, TV Shows, Apps, Files) and shortcuts (BOTTOM) to your favorite Apps, TV Shows, Movies, or folders.

Movies and TV show offerings now include both Internet and local content; If you know what it is you want to watch, we’ll show you where you can find it and start playing it immediately – no need to go through an App. “Not sure what you’re in the mood for, we’ve made it easy to browse a ton of popular movies from the Internet by selecting the Movie library,” the team explains.

Boxee now organizes TV shows by season and episode, and let’s you filter by whether freely available or not, so once you’ve seen all the free episodes you can decide if that DVD is worth it.

Also new, the Boxee Queue ; You can put almost anything into your Queue, a movie, a TV show episode, an Internet stream, a local file. In addition, if you added your favorite TV shows into My Shows then new episodes will automatically be added to your Queue. Unwatched items will appear in bold, white font.

Apps discovery also sees a boost. You can sort by popularity or browse the newest additions to the Boxee App Library. Clicking on App will let you choose whether you’d like to run it, add it to My Apps (the list of your favorite apps) or add it as a Shortcut. We also made it easier to add and browse 3rd party App repositories.

Boxee for Windows just got faster and can play 1080p without your CPU breaking a sweat.

Additional upgrades:

• Bug fixes
• Performance improvements
• Official support for Snow Leopard and Ubuntu Karmic

The Beta goes on public release on Jan 7th (at CES). Over the next 4 weeks we will gradually release invitations to our early access users and then to existing alpha users.

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