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HOME CINEMA / HOME CINEMA IN A BOX

Boxee The Box In OZ Today But Where Is The Content?

By David Richards | Thursday | 18/11/2010

D Link Australia is set to roll out the Boxee Box media content system today, but it is still unclear as to what content they will deliver for Australian consumers who are currently being bombarded with new IPTV content from Foxtel, Telstra with their T Box, and Fetch TV.

The device is also going to have to compete with the likes of Sony's PS3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 which earlier this month announced content deals with Foxtel. Both Gaming console providers also deliver movie content for their customers.

Boxee is a dedicated media player that incorporates streaming media software which is owned by Boxee, the device is manufactured by D-Link and is a sort of half cube, half hexagon looking object, which has one side coloured green and another side has a Boxee logo that lights up when it's switched on.

It comes with a quick start guide, an HDMI cable, a power adaptor and a remote control. Its ports for HDMI, optical audio out, left and right analog audio, Ethernet, two USBs and a power connector are all at the rear. The power button is on the top of the Box.

The device runs on an Intel Atom CE4100 processor, has 1GB of RAM and its OS is Boxee's open source based, connected TV software.

As it's primarily a streaming device it does not have any internal storage beyond what its SD card slot can support, which is up to 32GB. However it does support an impressive list of audio and video formats, including VC-1, Xvid, DivX, WMV9, all the MPEGs and H.264.
 
According to D-Link Australia marketing director, Maurice Famularo, the launch is imminent. However there appears to be no clear content partners. In the US consumers are being told that they will have access to content from Hulu Plus and Netflix as well as premium subscription apps for VUDU, MUBI, OpenFilm, IndieMoviesOnline, EZTakes, MLB TV, NHL GameCenter, Flickr, and Pandora, all of which are content services that are not available in Australia.

Google TV, who recently entered the US with a similar product to what Boxee is based on, is struggling to get prime time content with several US TV networks moving to stop Google getting access to their content online.

Scott Howell from D-Link Australia is trying to spruik Boxee as a device that "scrapes" content from the Internet. However the content that is available using the Boxee API is either old catalogue movie content, promotional videos or in some cases illegal content.

"If we could sell 10,000 units into Australia, we'd be doing well" said Howell recently. In comparison Telstra sold 60,000 T Box systems in 6 weeks.

While Famularo will not talk about content partners he has said that retailers started to get stock yesterday including the likes of Harvey Norman, Dick Smith and Officeworks in Australia. Missing is the likes of JB Hi Fi, Big W and major department stores.

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