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Boxee made a slew of announcements at its App Developer Challenge in San Francisco this evening, and key among them was the news that MLB.tv was added to the open-source media platform. Starting tonight, MLB.tv Premium subscribers will be able to watch games piped over the Internet on their big screen TVs (or just on their PCs) through the Boxee browser.
What’s interesting about this announcement is that the addition of baseball to Boxee was done in an official partnership with Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM). This wasn’t just some hack that Boxee put together, so presumably the company will avoid the troubles it got into with Hulu.
But it’s also nice to see the MLB is still forward thinking when it comes to web video. Sports leagues get very particular about where, when and how games reach consumers. But the MLB has proven itself very tech-savvy as an early adopter of online video, and this season added HD capabilities and DVR functionality to its service. MLB also offers an iPhone app to allow fans to watch games on the go.
Boxee CEO Avner Ronen said his team has been working with MLB.tv to ensure that the player looks good on TV and created a 10-foot UI to control the experience. Users are just accessing their MLB.tv accounts through the Boxee browser, so all blackout rules still apply. This is Boxee’s first official partnership with a live content provider.
If I was an infomercial announcer, this is the part where I’d say, “But wait! There’s more!”
Boxee also released the public alpha for Windows, so those non-Mac-or-Ubuntu heads can now play along.
The company also cleaned up its browser, better designating what’s local content and what’s from the Internet, and added new discovery functionality from Digg. Through “Digg for TV,” users will be able to see what videos are popular on the social news service as well as what’s up and coming. Users can’t “Digg” items through Boxee right now, but Ronen said that is coming.
Also in the discovery vein, Boxee users stream music and view slideshows from the people they follow on Tumblr.
And in addition to MLB.tv, Boxee has added Current as a content partner.
As we said earlier, all of these announcements (and more, check out the boxee blog for the full rundown) were made at the company’s Dev Challenge, a contest to spur development of applications for the Boxee platform. Ronen says there are now 100 applications for the platform, including the web video DVR app Boxqueue.