Roku, Boxee Score Live Sports

’Net-to-TV streamers cut deals for hoops and hockey
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MULTIPLE CITIES: Boxee will stream live, professional hockey games to subscriber TV sets starting Monday, the Israeli firm said this week on its blog. Roku users will soon be able to watch live National Basketball League games. Both companies make software stand-alone devices that stream online content to TV sets.

Boxee said that as of Monday, it will offer the National Hockey League’s GameCenter Live for $19.95 a month or $79 a year. The service will feature both live and archived games “48 hours after they air where available.” Advanced features are set to be added in the upcoming season, though Boxee’s blog said “all games are subject to black-outs and other restrictions,” likely imposed by NHL broadcast partner NBC or the cable sports carrier, Versus.

Fewer details were available about the deal between Roku and the NBA, though the streamer is now offering NBA Game Time 2010 Playoff Edition on its front web page. (The package was not yet up on the page where subscribers can channels when this was posted.)

Boxee is based in Tel Aviv, Israel with U.S. offices in New York and San Francisco. The company doesn’t make subscribers numbers readily available; and has but 28,000 followers on Twitter. The software is still in beta, however, and a stand-alone peripheral box made by D-Link was just announced at January’s Consumer Electronics Show. Boxee.tv is showing the D-Link box, but not yet offering it for sale. Engadget pegged the expected price at under $200.

Boxee raised $6 million last August in a second funding round led by Boston-based General Catalyst, Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures. The company grew out of open source software developed in 2004 for transmitting online content to TVs through an Xbox. Boxee streams content from Netflix, MLB.TV, Comedy Central, Pandora, Last.fm and Flickr.com.

Roku, based in Saratoga, Calif., makes a series of stand-alone web-to-TV boxes accommodating standard- and high-def content, priced from $80 to $130. They also stream Netflix as well as AMazon Video, Pandora, MLB.TV and content form several other sites. It has sold more than 500,000 as of late January, and had revenues of $75 million last year, a report in MaximumPC said. Investors include Netflix, ReplayTV founder Anthony Wood and Menlo Ventures. -- Deborah D. McAdams