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Boxee to Offer Live TV, Announces Boxee Box Accessory

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Boxee Box owners will soon get the chance to watch live TV through their set-top boxes, a new twist for the over-the-top market. Boxee announced the Live TV accessory today, a $49 add-on that connects to an antenna to pull in live ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC high-definition programming. The accessory is available for pre-order and should ship in January.

While competitor Roku is offering buyers Angry Birds as an incentive, Boxee is adding live TV, showing that it's targeting the still minor cord-cutting movement. Cord-cutting has stalled partly because most people want live network programming and like the experience of something being on when they switch on their sets, with no choices needed.

Boxee's solution is an adapter that lets people plug an antenna into their Boxee Box to get live local channels. It's a curious move, since it requires a separate antenna, and viewers could simply plug an antenna into their sets directly to get live local channels. The Live TV accessory pulls those channels into the Boxee interface, but doesn't add content. Also, there's no DVR function to record programming.

"The problem with canceling your cable subscription and relying just on the Internet has been the lack of live sports, local news, special events and live TV shows (think Dancing with the Stars). But these things are all available on broadcast TV channels like ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC for free, over the air in HD. With Boxee Live TV you can watch them all on your Boxee Box (and still get all the regular Boxee stuff you love to watch too)," wrote Boxee CEO Avner Ronen in a blog post.

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