Boxee is apparently readying a Live TV option for its Boxee Box, allowing users to watch free-to-air channels in addition to streaming internet video, though the system is unlikely to be as capable as a PVR. The functionality is previewed in a currently-unreleased Boxee 1.5 upgrade, GigaOM discovered, with the promise of viewer’s “favorite broadcast TV stations through Boxee’s unique social interface.”
Full functionality is yet to be confirmed, but Boxee users will be able to share their viewing habits with friends through the Boxee Box’s social networking features, presumably including on Facebook and Twitter. Unencrypted basic cable channels will also be supported, though not premium content.
However, extra hardware will be required, and not all of the current smart TV functionality users have come to expect will be included. A USB TV tuner will be necessary, since the Boxee Box lacks its own integrated tuner, and there do not appear to be recording or time-shift features, meaning it’s seemingly not possible to record an individual show or series for later playback.
Of course, Boxee would argue that, as it supports Netflix and other IPTV services, there are alternative ways to access content rather than simply recording them from live broadcasts. There’s no timescale for the Boxee Live TV functionality to be released, nor confirmation of which tuner hardware vendor the company might be working with, but the guess is that it will be ready by the holidays.