Boxee Box cheats on Tegra, runs off with Atom

The makers of the long awaited Boxee Box have announced they’re ditching NVIDIA Tegra in favour of Intel Atom for their TV media player.

The Boxee Box which will be sold by D-Link will now will be powered by the 1.2GHz Intel Atom CE4100 processor — a system on a chip that integrates CPU GPU and networking. It’s the same chip that will be inside the Google TV when it ships.

Apparently this decision was driven by the fact that the Atom allowed HD media at higher bit-rates to play than was possible on the Tegra. Boxee Box will play movies right up to 1080P with 5.1 surround sound.

One positive side-benefit of using Intel x86 architecture for the box is that Flash can run on it opening up even more content.

The other piece of good news is that it will go on sale in Australia in November. The price has been set at $US199 which by direct conversion is only $212 — and suggests that D-Link Australia’s RRP may be around $299.

However that’s considerably more than the $US99 being touted for the new Apple TV or the Netgear Push2TV box which receives Intel’s WiDi streams. Boxee is hoping that its large content offering will justify the price-tag — something that may be a challenge in Australia unless D-Link Australia has signed up with some really good local content vendors.

The Boxee Box plays “all major media formats and codecs” according to the press release and for US users at least it offers 40000 TV episodes for download “tens of thousands” of movies and linear internet TV channels.

It is also going to come with a double-sided QWERTY remote — presumably QWERTY on one side and more traditional remote style on the other.

Since its launch two years ago Boxee claims to have added well over a million users to its free PC and Xbox based service. They say that “when you want to shift the viewing experience from your PC to your HDTV the Boxee Box by D-Link automatically imports your account bringing your favorite TV shows apps and friends with you.”