Lauren Goode

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Boxee to Release Last Software Update for PCs

Boxee, creator of the Boxee Box, a D-Link device that streams live video to your television set, is getting ready to deploy updated software for PCs and Boxee Box devices.

An expected software update on a slow day at the end of December is hardly big breaking news. But for start-up company Boxee, it signals a shift away from its software for PC browsers and a focus on Internet-connected TVs: The company says version 1.5 of the software will be its last Boxee update for PCs, Ubuntu and Mac computers.

It will be launched along with a Live TV dongle for the Boxee Box later in January.

Version 1.5 of the downloadable software on the Web will include better file support, a new onscreen display, search functionality, HTML5 WebKit-based browser, and will support multiple languages. It will run on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit), Mac OS X 10.6 and higher, Linux Ubuntu 11.10, and will be available on Boxee.tv through the end of January.

And for those who would rather develop their own software for Boxee: The company is also releasing an open source version of its software.

The update won’t, however, offer PC users access to the same apps that are available on the Box, such as Netflix, Pandora and VUDU.

Boxee first launched in January 2010 as a Web application for watching Internet video online. In November 2010, it launched its awaited Boxee Box device, which came with a nifty Qwerty-style remote and offered a variety of apps — but it launched amid a growing market of Internet-connected TV boxes, including Apple TV, Google TV, Microsoft’s Xbox and the competitively-priced Roku box. At the time of the Boxee’s hardware launch, about 1.5 million people were using the Boxee software.

Boxee explained its shift away from Web software by saying it believes the future of TV will be driven by Internet-connected boxes, connected TVs and second screen devices like tablets. “While there are still many users who have computers connected to their TVs, we believe this use case is likely to decline as users find better alternatives,” Boxee wrote.

The company also said that the lack of premium apps on the downloadable version of Boxee was due to extensive DRM and certification requirements.


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