Boxee to supply Internet video set-top to cable operators

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Boxee is talking to small cable operators about using its Internet video set-top and live TV adapter as an alternative for distributing traditional pay TV programming to subscribers. Boxee VP of marketing Andrew Kippen told FierceCable Tuesday that the company already has "deals in place" with operators, but he wouldn't name them.

Boxee live TV stick

Boxee's live TV adapter

As programming costs for ESPN and other national cable networks continue to increase, along with retransmission-consent fees for local TV programming, some cable operators are beginning to consider the idea of focusing primarily on selling high-speed Internet access as their core business. Under the "dumb pipe" model, an operator would rely on distributing Internet video programming to a subscriber.

"We've talked with a number of cable providers about that type of scenario. The Boxee Box represents an ideal solution for them to have customers increase their bandwidth, which is a better margin business for them, and exit the pay TV business whose costs and headaches are only increasing," Kippen said.

While Boxee has been targeting consumers who are cutting the cord on cable and satellite subscriptions with its Internet video set-top--which retails for about $180--the company is also positioning it as a product that cable operators could distribute to subscribers. One of the drawbacks for Boxee's cube-shaped box, which offers access to dozens of online video providers, including TV series and movies from Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Vudu, has been its lack of live TV programming. But the company began shipping a new live TV adapter on Tuesday which will allows it to integrate local broadcast programming into its interface.

Boxee is charging $49 for its Live TV adapter, a dongle that can link Boxee's set-top to over-the-air antennas.

For more:
- See Boxee's blog post about live TV antenna

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