Boxee Box’s upcoming 1.5 software update will apparently support live TV tuning via a special USB dongle. The dongle will capture over-the-air local broadcasts from networks such as NBC and FOX, allowing you to watch digital SD and HD television for free. GigaOM’s Janko Roettgers wrote about the tuner integration when he discovered the option in an unreleased Boxee 1.5 update.
Getting HD television over-the-air is nothing new though. If you’ve got an antenna and TV with a built-in tuner you don’t even need a Boxee Box to help, but the software update sure will be cool.
According to Roettegers, the Boxee update also dips into more social integration. He suggests Boxee could turn into a check-in service, referring to Boxee’s enhancement of “sharing viewership data with friends.”
While the OTA television integration might pair Boxee against Google TV which can also capture digital transmissions, the jury is out on whether the Big 4 networks and PBS in HD can convince cable subscribers to “cut the cord.”