I have a couple of friends who live in geek sphere. Some think the holy grail of geek sphere is the ultimate media center, a box that sends images, sound and movies to a large flatscreen TV. In any format, streamed from the Internet, live or canned, from anywhere on your hard drive. (Sorry, Apple TV, we mean also outside of that iTunes cage.)
It may sound like a simple task, and Microsoft fans will wrinkle their noses and roll their eyes. That is, until they need to reboot their Windows Media Center for the eleventh time, after Windows required another “critical security update”, or it showed off its infamous bluescreen of death.
What Apple carefully calls a hobby and Microsoft does, because it kind of has to, is a domain that has been silently covered by a number of Open Source projects. Among the runner ups for ultimate free media center solutions are Plex and Boxee. Boxee has been around for a while and it’s been doing a pretty good job to bring Stephen Colbert and YouTube to your HD-ready TV set. Not formatted in HD, but that’s not the point.
Boxee is no longer limited to software (there’s a new beta out). The Boxee Box, physical box made by D-Link, will soon hit the market. Designed by Astro Studios, who gave the XBox its cshape, the Boxee Box will enter a competitive market, but its features already outmatch those of competitors like Apple TV (breaking out of iTunes format limitations being just one of them).
For the geeks among us, there are pictures of a pretty modest Beta release party thrown at the Brooklyn Music Hall of Williamsburg a little more than a week ago.
The Boxee Box is expected to be introduced at the CES in Las Vegas, in early January 2010.
(Images: Boxee TV)