A set-top box in Boxee's future?

The free software that streams Internet content onto TV screens could someday get its own hardware.

Boxee set-top box
A mockup of what a Boxee box could look like. Boxee

Boxee was approached by several hardware makers at CES earlier this month about embedding the Web content streaming software directly into a dedicated set-top box, the company said Thursday on its official blog. And it's actually considering it.

The blog post was written by CEO Avner Ronen to solicit feedback from users as to whether this is an attractive option and how much they'd be willing to pay for it. (If you want to chime in, head over to blogg.boxee.tv.)

Boxee is software that works on any Mac/Linux/Windows computer and can stream content online (videos, music, pictures, whatever) right onto a television screen. There's also a way to install the service on Apple TV. But it can be an expensive proposition for some who don't have the right equipment, as Ronen explains:

The issue with connecting a computer to the TV is that if you don't have an extra one lying around, then you're looking at a $500 investment (Mac Mini or Dell Studio). Getting Boxee on Apple TV is not simple enough for many users (plus Boxee is not optimized for the Apple TV hardware, Netflix doesn't work on it, etc.).

If there is a Boxee Box, it won't be for a while. Ronen notes that the company is in the very early stages of talking to potential partners.
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