updated 11:15 am EDT, Mon September 13, 2010
Boxee Box to use Atom CE4100 chip
Boxee on Monday revealed that it's switching the Boxee Box away from the NVIDIA Tegra 2 platform to Intel's Atom CE4100 processor. The switch was described to Electronista as a form of future proofing; the company wants to guarantee 1080p HD streaming for the future as well as today, Boxee said. NVIDIA's hardware can handle 1080p, but only in VC-1 and not the more popular H.264 format.
Swapping components doesn't require a significant change in software but bumps the official price up to $229, although Amazon and retail may still carry it for the originally promised $199. The device is already available for pre-order at Amazon and should ship to North America in November.
The move is one in the opposite direction of Apple, which switched to ARM from Intel for the new Apple TV. Either company is taking a distinctly opposing approach to networked media hubs. Boxee intends its service to be an open platform useful for as much Internet video as possible and has even jumped to an HTML5-friendly WebKit browser to support the web standard as it evolves. Apple still sees the Apple TV primarily as a hub for iTunes services but has also stressed that price, simplicity and size are important factors.
The D-Link-backed startup may nonetheless face competitive trouble. It has argued that Apple is leaving a competitive space but, with a $30 higher price, may have a more difficult time luring viewers.