Disclosure: Some links on this page are monetized by the Skimlinks, Amazon, Rakuten Advertising, and eBay, affiliate programs, and Liliputing may earn a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on those links. All prices are subject to change, and this article only reflects the prices available at time of publication.
Earlier this year the folks at Boxee started showing off an unusually shaped set-top box designed to run the company’s media center software. I got a chance to check out an early prototype at CES and at the time it was sporting a low power NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip capable of playing 1080p HD video. Flash forward about 9 months and Boxee has finally started taking pre-orders for the Boxee Box — but the Tega chipset is gone. Instead it’s been replaced with a 1.2GHz Intel Atom CE4100 processor.
The Atom CE4100 was introduced about a year ago, and while Atom chips aren’t know for their graphics prowess (at least not without a little help), the CE4100 is capable of handling 2 simultaneous 1080p video streams. It supports H.264 video, 3D graphics, and Adobe Flash 10.
According to Boxee, the reason for the switch from Tegra 2 was that the Tegra chipset wasn’t capable of handling 1080p H.264 video as well as the Intel chip.
Personally, I just run Boxee on my PC and don’t feel the need to spend $200 on a separate box. But then, I’m one of those weirdos who plugs a full PC into my TV so I can record movies, watch web video, and surf the web from my couch. I also like the fact that I can run any software I like on the PC, including Windows Media Center, Hulu Desktop, Beyond TV, and Boxee — and if I feel like switching I can. My problem with set top boxes with dedicated software is that if the company goes out of business or changes directions, you could be left with a useless $200 box.
Boxee expects the Boxee Box to ship in November, for about $229. Pre-orders should start today, and you can sign up for more information on the pre-order page at Amazon.