Apple TV begins shipping today and Apple fans everywhere want to see if it will live up to what is promises. The TV home theatre device marks the entrance into a new niche for Apple and it faces fierce competition from other home entertainment devices, most notably the Boxee Box that is due to be released in November. As CEO of Boxee, Avner Ronen, has described “The Boxee Box is going to be $100 more expensive than the Apple TV, but will give you the freedom to watch what you want.” What does he mean by this? For starters, Boxee Box offers an abundant choice of free content, many unique functionalities and provides a ‘social’ approach to its media center.
Boxee’s bragging rights and justification for higher prices can possibly be explained by the fact that Boxee Box gives users the ability to create a custom made 500 channel menu of streaming shows from the internet or their computer hard drive and it will also play Hulu videos in the US. The Box will offer more than 400 apps from third-party content providers whereas Apple TV will most likely offer movie and TV show rentals from iTunes as well as ABC, Fox, Netflix, YouTube, and Flickr.
The Boxee Box presumably lets you watch TV shows, internet and movies for free. This means that even though the Boxee Box costs $100 more upon purchase, its actual long term cost will be lower than the competition when you factor in all the purchases that must be made via iTunes with Apple TV.
Its social functionalities also give it strong appeal. The box will let users share and rate what they’re watching and will act as a recommendation system among friends. Users can post ‘likes’ and comments on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Last.fm and Tumbler.
Boxee has gained its current notoriety from being a free downloadable application that is installed via a USB port to bring any video or music file from your PC to your TV. The Boxee Box is Boxee’s first and highly anticipated ‘social media center’ device and time will tell if it will be a strong contender to Apple TV and other competitors like Roku.
Given the advantages and huge range of entertainment content available by Boxee Box, do you believe it’s a better bargain than more widely recognized competition?