Watch TV Shows Live, Without Cable
BoxeeBox: $180; LiveTV add-on: $55
Paying hundreds of dollars for cable might soon be a thing of the past. With all the emerging cord-cutting options and Internet-streaming media boxes, many are choosing to forego expensive cable packages for simpler, free alternatives.
Boxee is one such option and they just added LiveTV to their BoxeeBox, which is similar to AppleTV or Roku. For the price of a couple of months of cable, you'll be able to watch over-the-air live television in addition to thousands of shows and movies.
According to their website, the "Boxee LiveTV delivers live sports, local news, special events and shows from your local broadcast stations (like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC) via an HD antenna." As most of the popular shows exist on over-the-air broadcast networks, you can still get your 30Rock or Modern Family fix, but Boxee LiveTV adds a nice interface with guide listings and info for each show and channel.
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Here in Washington, D.C., I plugged my new dongle (complete with HD antenna) into the BoxeeBox and after a simple set up process (and a long wait for the channel search) CBS popped onto my screen in beautiful HD, for free!
(To find out what the antenna will pick up, you can use the FCC's website.)
Aside from live television, the BoxeeBox is an Internet streaming media center. It can access YouTube, Pandora, and hundreds of other apps as well as shows like How I Met Your Mother, The Daily Show, The Bachelorette, House Hunters International for free. On top of that, the box can also access paid apps like Spotify, Grooveshark, Netflix, Vudu, HBOGo, MLB.tv and NHL Network. Learn more at Boxee.tv.
If you live in an apartment that provides basic cable, as I do, you can still run it through your BoxeeBox + LiveTV and quickly switch between the baseball game, Netflix, and the live programming of favorite late night host.
In the future, Boxee may add the ability to record shows (like a DVR). If they pump in that functionality, then it will probably be the perfect home theater accessory. Until then, I'm off to see if they've brought Community back yet.