In case you forgot, the Boxee Box is now officially shipping in the USA following the launch event in New York last night.
There were many speakers at the event from both the Boxee team, and third parties with whom Boxee had been working. The big news of the night, though, was the introduction of a major update to the Boxee software, with it officially coming out of beta and hitting the big 1.0.
There’s already been one quite large overhaul to the Boxee media centre software since when it hit Beta, but yet more changes and tweaks have been made to the interface to make sure it’s tailored for the big screen.
The home screen now has a simpler layout to it. At the top of the screen, you still have the same core items that were there before, plus a few more such as “Friends”. Also, your queue is now called “Watch Later”. Below these items, however, you no longer have the 3 pane layout that was present previously. Instead, this has been replaced with a much clearer stream of the recommended Boxee items.
Although it may take some getting used to for users who have been using Boxee for a while already, I think that it’s ultimately a good move. It certainly makes it a lot easier to navigate through the home menu with the Boxee remote, as you’re not having to flick through as much content, and it will look magnitudes better on a large TV screen.
Speaking of software, US users are in for a treat as far as online movie distribution is concerned! They already have access to the incredible Vudu service, which streams movies at 1080p with high quality audio, and that will soon be joined by Netflix, which is expected by the end of the year. There’s no time-scale for Hulu Plus just yet, but hey, the Boxee guys are doing a better job of convincing the big names than Google are.
Initially, the Boxee Box was going to ship with an NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip to power it and all the media that you were viewing, however, this was changed a few months ago, which explains why we’ve had to wait until now for the Boxee Box to be shipping.
The Boxee Box is now powered by an Intel chip which, according to those in the know, actually performs better than the Tegra 2 when playing content, so we’re all for that. None of this 720p Apple TV nonsense, this thing can drive full 1080p content without a hitch!
Also inside the Box itself, you’ll find an 802.11n wireless adaptor, so that you can stream to your heart’s content whether it’s from a local NAS or a video stream from the other side of the world (that’s a hint by the way Vudu, give us Brits 1080p streaming!). There’s optical audio out alongside the HDMI port, and it supports every format under the sun. Or at least more than I can be bothered listing, which is more than enough for me.
UK Release Information
A quick look at Amazon reveals that the Boxee Box is expected to begin shipping on November 14th, which is in just a couple of days time! If you haven’t got a pre-order in yet, get one in now, because I guarantee it will be the best £200 you’ll ever spend.