Boxee TV hits Wal-Mart, Roku gets Universal Search

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The first Boxee Box manufactured by D-Link didn't exactly take off, reportedly selling around 120,000 units. Whether that was due to the feature set or the unique 'sunken cube' design that was a challenge to place in your entertainment center isn't clear.

What is clear is that Boxee isn't giving up the fight for that space next to your TV. In fact the latest revision of the Boxee Box, now called Boxee TV, should be hitting Wal-Mart today for about $100, according to Bloomberg. As someone who was really puzzled by the old design, I was glad to learn that Boxee TV comes in a more traditional rectangular shape, so it should fit anywhere.

Boxee TV is designed to pull in over-the-air TV signals as well as streaming Internet content. The OTA feature sets it apart from competitors like Roku. Better still, in some areas Boxee TV offers an unlimited DVR feature for $14.99/month. For now this feature is supported in eight cities: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Boxee will expand coverage to other areas in 2013.

Roku isn't sitting still while all this is going on. They've added a Universal Search feature. If you're looking for a particular piece of content, Roku now makes it easy to search across Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Crackle, VUDU and HBO GO, and then go right to that service and start watching with a single click. Pretty handy stuff.

If your Roku player (Roku 2, Roku LT, Roku HD players and the Roku Streaming Stick are supported) doesn't have universal search yet, the Roku blog includes directions for forcing an update. Otherwise you should get it automatically in the next week.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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