D-Link is hoping to stand out from increasingly crowded streaming-media-player market with its newest device. Boxee TV boasts two unique features: the ability to get free live TV programming and a virtual DVR service that lets you record shows and store them in the cloud.
With the arrival of Boxee TV, D-Link will stop producing the pricier, cube-shaped Boxee Box the company launched early in 2011. The company says that it will update the software for the older device for those who want to continue using it, but no future upgrades will be available.
Boxee TV comes with both over-the-air and QAM tuners, so you'll be able to get free over-the-air programming as well as basic, unencrypted cable TV channels from the major networks, such as ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, plus PBS, Univision, and others, all in high definition. Boxee TV has two tuners so you can watch a program while another is being recorded.
As you'd expect, Boxee TV also comes pre-installed with several streaming services, including Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, Vimeo, and Vudu. Other services will be added in the future, says D-Link.
While most cable and satellite DVRs record programs locally on a hard drive built into the unit, Boxee TV's "No Limits" DVR uploads recordings to the cloud. So you're no longer limited to the capacity of a local hard drive, and you'll be able to access the programs you store on other devices—a notebook computer, tablet, or Internet-connected TV, for example.
The service, however, isn't free; it'll cost $15 per month. D-Link didn't say whether there would be any limits to the number of shows you can store in the cloud, or whether programs would be deleted after a certain period of time.
The company says that the No Limits DVR service will initially be available in eight top TV markets: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. The service will be rolled out to other areas later in 2013.
—James K. Willcox