Boxee Preps Live TV. What About DVR?

Dave Zatz —  November 9, 2011 — 19 Comments

As alluded to at least twice this year, Boxee intends to round out their entertainment offering by channeling live television. Whereas I assumed it’d be limited to over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts, it appears unencrypted digital cable may also be on the table.

Along with live TV, Boxee will provide the requisite guide data… but what about DVR functionality. DVR would surely put Boxee in an entirely different league than say their Apple TV or Roku competitors. And not a week goes by without some asking me about a subscription-free OTA DVR. Will Boxee take on this challenge?

From GigaOm’s brief hands on of pre-release software, recording capabilities are not immediately evident. Also, I assume they were evaluating the D-Link Boxee hardware… with limited storage. But folks also roll their own computer-based Boxee boxes and the 2TB Iomega Boxee Box may already be shipping.

Regardless, Boxee’s live TV reveal and USB tuner requirements are nearly upon us…

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19 responses to Boxee Preps Live TV. What About DVR?

  1. I would love to make my Boxee Box a DVR. It would be great to add a USB tuner and external storage to allow DVR functionality, but sadly that’s probably not an option as it would probably require an eSATA port to be fast enough.

  2. Now if it could work with the USB & Ethernet based CableCard tuners from Ceton, SiliconDust (HDHomeRun) & Hauppauge that would make it a winner!

    Along with an eSATA as Maddux said above or a better (i.e. normal) that could handle an internal hard drive!

  3. Hopefully this is just the beginning.

    DVR functionality coming next, then followed by Ceton InfiniTV4 USB and SiliconDust Cable Card tuner support as well.

    That would be awesome. Handle it right and maybe, just maybe we have a Tivo killer once and for all.

  4. I would actually love to make my TiVo Premiere box a boxee box…errr, you get the point.

  5. The PC-based boxee software hasn’t been updated in well over a year. You can basically consider it to be dead at this point.

    As for the TV integration, if it’s OTA only it will have strictly limited appeal. Now if the boxee box accepted component video inputs, came with a hard drive, and had a built-in IR blaster, that would be something interesting.

  6. this plus hd home run would = win.

  7. @Rodalpho

    While it wouldn’t be too difficult to lose faith in the pc release, I believe them when they say that a release is upcoming. I wouldn’t place any bets on them meeting stated release windows, and I would put money on a major update sometime soon.

    And if the screenshot is to be believed, it should support cable as well (probably only ClearQAM). I wouldn’t bet on them going the analog input/it blaster route, as that adds unbeleavable complexity to a product managed by a comparably small team.

  8. Please give me a reason to drop Tivo…Boxee Live TV + DVR capabilities, I would be sold.

  9. I lost faith in the PC release a long, long, long time ago. If they release it, great. I won’t hold my breath.

  10. Same here. It’s very frustrsting to see little things not get fixed. For example, last years Mlb.tv app would show the inning number and the amount of outs on the game select screen. This year it only showed the amount of outs and the inning number was missing. You would think this would be fixed within the first week of the season. Wrong! It stayed that way the whole year.

    You know how you can tell when the next Pc release is coming? Wait for them to announce a big event. It seems that is the only time they release any type of Pc version updates. Instead of doing small bug fixes here and there they decide to let the Pc users suffer.

  11. Interesting. Made me go look up the most recent OTA figures. Here’s the article I found:

    http://www.tvnewscheck.com/article/2011/06/06/51686/ota-tv-homes-include-46-million-consumers

    So about 15% of US households get their TV completely OTA. Obviously some others watch OTA TV some of the time, so its a little incomplete, but close enough.

    As far as clear QAM, I’m actually not sure how much of that there is any more. Obviously a lot of people would be perfectly happy with the basic channels, but I have a feeling that with the FCC granting exceptions for all those DTAs that included encryption without using cable cards that a lot of systems are actually encrypting all/virtually all their channels. Perhaps Dave has a better memory/number.

    Personally what I really want is for somebody to build the defacto cable card network DVR. Not a computer, just a DVR. No UI whatsoever. The UI would be your Boxee Box, Apple TV (real TV), Google TV, whatever which would just access the DVR and stream content from it when you wanted it. That’s the holy grail for me. I wonder if its even possible to build one…

  12. MythTV’s server component will do that with something like the HDhomerun prime. MythTV clients can connect to the server and play its content.

    Obviously you’re not going to see a tivo connecting to a mythtv backend any time soon.

  13. Also, remember that Google recently purchased SageTV, who produced (arguably) the best commercial built your own DVR software. It was also client/server. So we may be seeing something in future googletv generations.

  14. They also purchased Motorola’s DVR business… (after Sage). We shall see.

  15. I hope Google does try to innovate more with GoogleTV and a cable card DVR. Even make deals with Sat and IPTV providers.

    That market just fails to see much innovation. There needs to be more choice.

  16. Forgot to ask, with Adobe abandoning Flash on TV and Mobile, how does that affect Tivo and their Flash based Premiere UI?

  17. The Logitech Google TV device is now dead. So with the above stated options, I hope Boxee would support the Ceton/HDHomeRun Prime/Hauppauge CableCard devices in the future.

  18. cypherstream–I’m really not clear on the impact of the Flash on TVs decisions on Tivo. I think the Premiere currently uses Flash Lite and that Tivo has talked about moving to Air (which isn’t impacted, at least yet). But the tools Tivo is using are their own, or at least they have the source, so they don’t really need to move. Etc.

    I think.

    Certainly if Tivo thought there were going to be pre-built Flash-based applications waiting to run on a Tivo, that seems less likely going forward. And despite Adobe’s protestations, I can’t imagine the case for Air-based apps is strengthened by these announcements.

    But honestly, does it make any real difference? Were you thinking the Tivo HD work was going really well until you heard this news?

    BTW the random reboots threads on Tivo Community wrt the Elite continue and people have started to return theirs as they hit the 30-day limit since there has been no fix as yet…

  19. My Elite has been working great for the past 5 weeks.
    No spontaneous reboots. There are some bugs in certain instances that will make it reboot and are repeatable but those are not encountered in normal use for me.(I would need to try reading/writing 9 HD streams(It does 8 fine) or make a weird selection in Amazon)
    Recording 3 to 4 shows concurrently daily. Transferring to/from Premieres several times a week, watching Netflix, Hulu+, and Amazon periodically. The ELite has performed very well in my daily use. I have completely stopped using my two tuner Premieres in my main setup. My upgraded 2TB one has been sold and I still need to sell my upgraded 1 TB Premiere.

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