D-Link announced today an add-on dongle for its Boxee Box that will give users access to live TV for a one-time cost of $49. Customers can pre-order the device today. It will begin shipping in January. We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know when or how.
The Boxee Live TV stick lets users to connect their TV antenna to their Boxee Box allowing them to watch channels, including ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC in high-definition without forking over hundreds of dollars to cable companies. In short, this fantastic little device will essentially solve one of the major downsides to doing away with your cable company entirely: no live sports, news or TV events.
Unfortunately, you’ll still have to pay for cable TV channels, like Comedy Central, Discovery, CNN, etc. But as D-Link CEO Avner Ronen is quick to point out, “89 of the top 100 shows were on broadcast networks,” so it’s not as though you’ll be missing out on all the good content.
“The Superbowl, the World Series, the Oscars, the Grammys, presidential debates and addresses, the Olympics… they’re all on broadcast,” writes Ronen on the company blog. “Yes, there are hundreds of cable channels, but make a list of the stuff you actually watch. You will probably find that most are on broadcast and the rest are available on Vudu/Netflix/Network sites.”
In addition to the lack of cable channels, going with Boxee Live TV dongle has a few other notable caveats as well: It only works for US users; and it will only work with the Boxee Box — not the PC or Mac versions of Boxee’s software, so you’ll have to pony up the $180 for that device, which is still cheaper than paying for months of cable. Also, there is no DVR capability.
With all the bad news out of the way, we have to point out that this little device really is the first of it’s kind, and gives TV watchers many of the benefits of a cable subscription without such high cost. Don’t be surprised if Big Cable finds a way to shut this one down.